If you’ve got some gift card money to spend after the holidays and are looking to grab a new pair of wireless earphones, here’s a deal worth noting: Apple’s AirPods Pro are back on sale for $190 at Amazon, Target and Best Buy. We’ve seen the noise-canceling earphones fall to this price a few times over the last couple of months, but it still comes within a dollar of the best deal we’ve tracked. The offer applies to latest version of the earphones, which comes with a USB-C charging case as standard. For reference, Apple normally sells the pair for $249, though it’s almost always gone for less at third-party retailers since arriving last September.
The second-gen AirPods Pro are the “best for iOS” pick in our guide to the best wireless earbuds, and we gave the Lightning-based model a score of 88 in our review back in September 2022. This USB-C model adds slightly improved dust resistance and lossless audio support with Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro headset on top of the new charging port but is effectively identical otherwise. That means it still delivers pleasant and warm sound, effective active noise cancellation (ANC), a superb transparency mode, and a host of features that make life easier for Apple device owners, including faster pairing, hands-free Siri, virtual surround sound (which is personalized to your fit) and Find My tracking.
A software update last fall added a few more helpful tricks, including an “Adaptive Audio” mode that automatically adjusts the ANC and transparency modes based on your surroundings and lowers the volume when you start a conversation.
You really need to be an iPhone owner to get the most out of the this, though. Even then, the AirPods Pro’s call quality and six-hour battery life are just OK, and its sound isn’t as customizable as competing models. Bose’s QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds offer better ANC, the Beats Fit Pro has a better fit for the gym and Sony’s WF-1000XM5 is more well-rounded on the whole. Apple may also add ANC to its lower-cost AirPods at some point in 2024, according to a recent Bloomberg report (though new Pros aren’t expected until 2025). And if you already own the Lightning-based Pros and just want the USB-C case, you can now buy the latter separately. All that said, at this price, the USB-C AirPods Pro remain a solid value for Apple diehards in search of a new pair of premium wireless earphones.
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