Whenever Apple releases a new product, people tend to get excited. That’s what happened in 2016 when the AirPods were announced. Apple launched the Pro version a few years later, and the 2nd generation of these earbuds arrived in 2022. While popular, complaints about the AirPods Pro are more common than you think.
|AirPods Pro 2nd Gen|
|Released||September 23, 2022|
|Battery Life||4-6 hours|
|Charging Case||24-30 hours|
|Microphones||Dual Beamforming, Inward Facing|
|Processor||H2 Headphone Chip|
- Apple-designed H2 chip
- Low-distortion, custom-built driver
- Up to 2x more Active Noise Cancellation than the previous AirPods Pro
- Personalized spatial audio
- Up to 6 hours of battery life or 30 hours with the charging case
Biggest Complaints about the AirPods Pro
Below you’ll find some of the top reasons why consumers aren’t exactly blown away by the latest version of Apple’s wireless earbuds. After careful consideration, we also put together a short list of alternatives compatible with smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
In our experience, one of the biggest complaints with the AirPods Pro Gen 2 is the design. It screams “Apple” and stays true to the company’s design language, but Apple didn’t really change the design from the previous version.
All of Apple’s earbuds have a distinct style. The stems are an acquired taste, and something companies have knocked off recently. That means the prestige of those quirky stems is gone considering you can find $20 wireless earbuds with the exact same design. That famous design is still popular although the wireless earbud landscape has changed significantly since 2016.
You can now find discreet earbuds in a variety of colors and styles. By comparison, the AirPods Pro are only available in one color and design. This may seem like a minor concern, but it ties into another complaint. If you aren’t keen on the AirPods Pro design, this next issue could push you towards another brand.
Apple Exclusive Features
Do you own an Android smartphone or an iPhone? That can be a significant issue for Android users along with people that plan to use the AirPods Pro with other devices. That’s because some of the nifty features of the AirPods Pro are tied to Apple’s Ecosystem.
Siri is the biggest loss and one complaint about the AirPods Pros from Android and Windows users. You can only use Apple’s assistant with Apple devices, ruling out Android along with other gadgets. That’s not the end of the world for many people, but you can’t use Apple’s Spatial Audio feature without certain devices either.
Spatial Audio is a unique feature that brings surround sound to the earbuds. Dynamic head tracking kicks things up a notch when watching films or media. You can only use it on the iPhone 7 and up along with select models of the iPad. The Apple TV and Macs built using Apple’s chips are included on that list.
It’s important to note, that you can use Apple AirPods Pro earbuds with Android smartphones and many other Bluetooth-enabled gadgets. You just won’t get some of the flagship features unless you own an Apple-branded device.
It’s hard to know how a pair of earbuds will fit or feel in your ear until you try them out. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can do with new earbuds. Regardless of what you think about the design of the AirPods Pro, consumers have had mixed feelings about the fit.
Do you plan to use the earbuds during workouts? If so, you may have to deal with slippage. That’s another common complaint with the AirPods Pro, which isn’t exactly designed for fitness enthusiasts. The newest models come with more ear tips, although those silicone nubs aren’t as comfortable as other alternatives.
Apple has a fit test for the AirPods Pro that can help to ensure a tight seal. It’s helpful, but a feature you can find on other wireless earbuds like the Echo Buds 2. Fit may not be something you can figure out beforehand, but it’s certainly something to be aware of considering the AirPods Pro price.
It’s no secret that any product carrying Apple branding is priced at a premium. That’s due in part to the prestige behind the name, but also because of the quality and attention to detail Apple puts into its products.
The latest version of the AirPods Pro wireless earbuds are priced at $249 direct from Apple. You can save a few dollars picking them up through third-party retailers, but they are still in the premium class. That puts them close to comparable earbuds from brands like Bose, Sennheiser, Bowers & Wilkins, and others.
You can find the previous generation at a discount or purchase refurbished editions from Apple when they have them in stock. They are still pricey, however, especially when you consider the next complaints on our list.
There are many reviews comparing audio quality between the AirPods Pro and earbuds from companies that only produce audio gear. The results may surprise you, even if Apple is certainly no slouch in the audio department.
Apple’s Pro version of the AirPods earbuds has a more robust sound than the regular versions. They aren’t a significant improvement over the original AirPods in that regard either. We feel these earbuds are solid all-around, but audiophiles may be disappointed by the quality.
That comes down to the types of music you enjoy and your experience with wireless earbuds. If you’ve never listened to tracks using high-end earbuds from Sony or Bose… you won’t know what you’re missing. Sound quality is great on the AirPods Pro, but some earbuds sound just as good if not better with comparable prices.
Best Alternatives to the AirPods Pros
Whether you want a set of earbuds with better audio quality or are turned off by compatibility issues, consider one of these alternatives to the AirPods Pro.
Best Alternative Overall: Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony has produced more headphones than most companies combined. They also have a pair of True Wireless earbuds widely regarded as the best around. The Sony WF-1000XM4 noise-canceling earbuds are in the same price range as the AirPods Pro, and with just as many features.
You’ll get around 8 hours of power from these high-end headphones, which play anything you throw at it beautifully. From Bluetooth Multipoint to slick built-in features, it’s hard to go wrong with these well-received earbuds from Sony.
- Sony's new V1 Processor and the LDAC codec.
- Provides up tp to 8 hours per charge.
- Bluetooth Multipoint connectivity.
- Beamforming microphones with bone conduction sensors.
Best Fitness Alternative: Jabra Elite 7 Active
One of the complaints about the AirPods Pros is from fitness fanatics. They can become hard to keep in during strenuous routines, which isn’t ideal for a variety of reasons. If you don’t want to deal with disconnects or losing an earbud during a run, the Jabra Elite 7 Active is an excellent choice.
With 4 internal microphones and top-notch ANC, these earbuds let you stay connected and provide clarity while you’re on the go. The audio quality is fantastic along with the battery life, and they are far less likely to come dislodged during a workout.
- IP57 water and sweatproof stay safe no matter how hard you work
- Up to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge, 30 hours with case
- Choose your preferred level of active noise cancelation with HearThrough technology
- Four built-in microphones ensure that phone calls are protected against wind noise
Best Budget Alternative: Echo Buds Gen 2
Sony and Jabra’s earbuds are better than the AirPods Pro in different ways, but their price tags aren’t exactly budget-friendly. If you’re looking for something with a better price point, it’s hard to go wrong with the Echo Buds 2 from Amazon.
Amazon’s second-generation Echo Buds have improved significantly from the originals, but the company didn’t jack up the price. The ANC is solid and they have a low profile compared to the AirPods and their stems. Echo Buds 2 has Alexa built-in, and work with both Android and iOS devices as well.
- Up to 5 hours of playback and 15 hours with the charging case.
- Active noise cancellation with pass-through.
- IPX4 sweat-resistant with a customizable fit through a variety of ear tips.
- Use Alexa to listen to Podcasts, make calls, and perform other tasks hands-free.
Apple gained a lot of new fans with the release of the AirPods, which are still top sellers today. They have more competition from brands like Sony, Amazon, and Samsung, however. If you’re still on the fence about the AirPods Pro and how they stack up to the previous version, this comparison can help make things clear.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Fadhli Adnan/Shutterstock.com.