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Apple AirPods Pro USB-C review: One important change

Published Oct 7th, 2023 10:33AM EDT
AirPods Pro USB-C Main
Christian de Looper for BGR

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AirPods Pro

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The AirPods Pro may not be that different for 2023, but they do make one important change — the addition of USB-C.


  • Good fit
  • Solid audio
  • USB-C
  • Good feature-selection
  • Nice design


  • Battery is only fine
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The AirPods Pro aren’t being left behind in the shift to USB-C. Alongside the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro, Apple unveiled a refresh of the AirPods Pro, finally bringing the USB-C charging port to them — and allowing users to charge their AirPods with the same cable that they use to charge their shiny new iPhone.

So, what else is new about the AirPods Pro? Well, not much. That, however, isn’t a bad thing — the AirPods Pro earbuds are still among the best wireless earbuds out there, and still the single best option for use with Apple devices. And, considering how great they are, we took the opportunity of the port change to revisit the new AirPods Pro.

AirPods Pro USB-C design

The design of the AirPods Pro remains completely unchanged in every way but one for the latest generation. They still have the larger bud with the short stem that extends out the bottom of your ears, and they still slot nicely and magnetically right into the charging case.

AirPods Pro USB-C In CaseImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

I find that the stem controls are the best way to control wireless earbuds. They’re easy to squeeze and hard to accidentally trigger. Plus, controlling the earbuds doesn’t involve having to push the earbuds deeper into your ears, like it does for earbuds with buttons on the face of the buds themselves.

As mentioned, there is one small change to the design of the AirPods Pro — and it’s found at the bottom of the charging case. Finally, the AirPods Pro have a USB-C charging port, which is a little larger than the Lightning port, but allows users to charge their AirPods Pro with the same cables that they use for other devices. It’s a great move.

AirPods Pro USB-C features and battery

One of the best things about using Apple earbuds with Apple products is that they enable a series of helpful, high-tech features. Thankfully, all of these awesome features are still available on the AirPods Pro.

For starters, you’ll get Apple’s Automatic Switching, which means that the earbuds will switch between your iCloud connected devices — like your iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch — automatically when you play media on them. The feature is awesome when it works properly, but you may find that it can sometimes switch devices when you don’t intend it to, which can be a little annoying.

AirPods Pro USB-C PortImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The earbuds also support Spatial Audio, which simulates a surround sound experience. This feature works with music and video content, but I find that I really only appreciate it when watching movies and TV shows, which are enhanced by a surround sound experience. Music is usually mixed to be in stereo, and even the music that has been remixed for Spatial Audio can feel a little empty. Your mileage may vary though — it’s worth experimenting with it a little.

The battery life on the AirPods Pro largely remains the same, too — though the way you charge your AirPods has changed a little. The AirPods Pro will get a battery life of around six hours of continuous listening, which isn’t bad — and with the charging case, you’ll get a total of 30 hours of listening time. That’s not bad, though it’s not necessarily at the pinnacle of wireless earbuds, either.

It’s very easy to charge the earbuds. You can use a traditional Qi wireless charger, or you can use a MagSafe wireless charger. And, you can use a USB-C cable to charge them too — finally.

AirPods Pro USB-C comfort

I find the AirPods Pro to offer among the best fits for wireless earbuds out there. The earbuds offer a nice seal, and fit tightly enough to be usable for things like running and sports. They’re an excellent pair of earbuds for those who want buds that can fit no matter what the scenario.

AirPods Pro USB-C EarbudImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The earbuds come with a few different pairs of ear tips, allowing you to find the pair that fit best for you. I find that the default ear tips that come pre-installed with the earbuds fit best for me, but it’s worth experimenting a little when you get the buds.

AirPods Pro USB-C sound quality

The AirPods have never been the best-sounding earbuds out there, but for most casual listening, the AirPods Pro sound great. They’re not audiophile headphones, and you shouldn’t really expect them to be. But they do deliver a solid frequency response that most users should appreciate.

For starters, the earbuds offer a solid bass response. They do have a slight bass boost, but it’s far from over the top, and it never gets muddy. The bass extension is pretty good — not incredible, but for the most part, you’ll find that the buds can reproduce most lower frequencies.

AirPods Pro USB-C In CaseImage source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The mids are a little laid-back compared to the bass and the highs, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is common amongst consumer headphones, and it helps make them sound a little more premium. The highs are also quite well-tuned — they deliver a decent amount of sparkle and detail, though again, you won’t get the brightest of bright listening experiences.

The AirPods Pro offer good noise cancellation and transparency modes. I find the ANC on the earbuds to be amongst the best out there, for a pair of earbuds. It’s not as good as some of the top-tier over-ear headphones out there, but you wouldn’t expect that.

The only thing that’s really missing from the earbuds’ listening experience is a solid EQ. You can kind of get around this through accessibility settings, but I hope Apple brings a good EQ to the mainstream AirPods experience in the future.


The USB-C-equipped AirPods Pro earbuds may not differ much from the non-USB-C model, but that’s not a bad thing. The AirPods Pro are already among the best earbuds out there, and adding USB-C means that you can charge them more easily, with the same cable that you use to charge your other devices. These aren’t the last Apple products to get USB-C — but they’re close, and they represent a step forward to USB-C-ifying Apple’s lineup.

The competition

There are plenty of wireless earbuds out there, and some of them are excellent. For example, the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds are among the best out there, with a great fit and tons of high-end features. If you use any non-Apple devices, it’s probably worth going for them instead of the AirPods Pro.

If, however, you’re squarely in Apple’s ecosystem and only plan on connecting your earbuds to Apple devices, then the AirPods Pro are worth going for. They’re excellent earbuds made better by USB-C.

Should I buy the AirPods Pro USB-C?

Yes. They’re great earbuds for Apple users.

Christian de Looper Senior Reviews Editor

Christian de Looper is based in sunny Santa Cruz, California. He has been expertly reviewing tech products for more than 8 years, and brings experience in deep technical analysis of consumer electronics devices to BGR's reviews channel.

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