Apple AirPods Pro Are Here—and the Transparency Mode Is Ideal for Runners and Cyclists
The new wireless headphones are now available in-store and online.
Apple just dropped its AirPods Pro earbuds, and fitness fanatics might want to take note. Not only are the earbuds sweat- and water-resistant (perfect for active lifestyles), but they also boast some cool updates that are game-changers for athletes. (Related: The Best Wireless Earbuds to Power Your Workout)
The Apple Airpods Pro ($249, amazon.com) feature a custom-like fit, noise cancellation—whether playing music, watching a movie, talking on the phone, or practicing meditation through an app—and transparency mode, which allows runners, cyclists, and pedestrians the ability to listen to music while still fully being aware of their surroundings.
But is it actually worth the hype? I was able to test the AirPods Pro before its release date—here's what you need to know. (Related: I Tried the Apple Watch Series 5—and It Legit Made Tracking My Period *So* Much Easier)
A new customized fit
With the same lightweight feel, the AirPods Pro comes with three different sizes of soft, pliable silicone ear tips that mold to the contour of your ear. The all-new design is especially ideal for runners or those partaking in intense workouts in which there is a lot of movement—the silicone tips hold the earbuds securely in place. Plus, the seal and ultra-comfortable fit are essential in delivering immersive sound, whether you're listening to music or talking on the phone.
What's more, leave it to Apple to go to great lengths to guarantee users get the best audio experience. The new Ear Tip Fit Test ensures a custom-like fit by testing the seal and identifying the best ear tip size for you. Just place Airpods Pro in each ear, and the advance algorithms work with the microphones in each Airpod to measure the sound level in the ear and compare it to what is coming from the speaker driver. Bottom line: The algorithm detects whether the ear tip is a good fit, or if it should be adjusted for a better seal or swapped out for a different size. (Related: 9 Sweat-Proof Headphones for Your Toughest Workouts)
I've always been of the mindset that ears need to be completely covered with headphones in order to achieve total noise cancelation. However, Apple has changed the game (and blown my mind) with the new AirPods Pro.
When I first put them in and switched from off to noise cancellation mode, I noticed everything around me immediately quieted, and I couldn't hear the person talking next to me—at all. When I began to play music, I didn't need to have the volume blasting like I usually do, because the sound quality was *so* good. Okay, it was amazing. Later, I stood beside a construction site at World Trade Center (all for the sake of journalism), switched the AirPods Pro into noise cancellation mode, and was astounded that I could hardly hear the clanking of equipment and men shouting. It was downright peaceful. (Related: The Best Wireless Headphones for Working Out and Every Day)
I'll admit: I have terrible hearing, so what I love possibly the most is that when I made a phone call in noise cancellation mode, I didn't have to push the pods further into my ear or hold them in place to hear the conversation better. They are a godsend. (Apple, can you please make chic hearing aids next? Thanks.)
Transparency mode for athletes
While the noise-canceling feature is obviously a big selling point, the transparency mode might be the reason to buy the new Apple AirPods Pro immediately. It allows users the option to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing and being aware of their environment, whether it's traffic or an in-flight announcement. Transparency mode is ideal for runners, cyclists, and pedestrians who want to safely listen to music and still be in tune with what's happening around them. (Related: The 10 Best Wireless Headphones of 2019)
This morning, I put the AirPods Pro in and selected the transparency mode, and was able to listen to my morning commute playlist and hear announcements on the subway. (If you're a New Yorker, you know that is a feat.) I then further tested them by hopping on a Citi Bike. You should know that I would never ride a bike with headphones on—I'm way too paranoid that I'll be in the zone jamming out to Taylor Swift and be plowed down by a car. But as skeptical as I was, I was able to hear other cyclists, pedestrians, and cars around me with no issue and, most importantly, felt safe. Airpods Pro FTW.
If you're in the market for wireless headphones for your workouts—or already have a pair that you love for running or cycling—you may have noticed that many options have an unmistakably sporty look that doesn't work well for everyday wear. You would then need to purchase another wireless set just for commuting and travel because wearing bone conduction headphones in-flight honestly looks odd. While the Airpods Pro is certainly a splurge, it is sweat- and water-resistant and has a sleek design, meaning you can rock it for your workouts and beyond, and save money by investing in a single versatile pair. (Related: The Best Running Headphones, According to People Who Run a Crapton)
AirPods Pro is available to order on Apple's site today. You can also shop it in stores if you prefer to test the AirPods before pulling the trigger.
This story originally appeared on Health.com by Susan Brickell.