Why the new AirPod Pros are comparable to $2,199 headphones.

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A comparison and explanation of my experiences with three different headphone options: AirPods ($199), AirPods Pro ($249), and the UE Lives ($2,199).

First off, I am a huge Apple product and brand fan. It started in college when I purchased my first MacBook and then eventually got hooked on the iPad. When I first started getting into sales roles, I wanted to have three monitors, but for the past six months, I’ve been working solely off my iPhone X. (The only time I use my iPad is during a meeting when I need another monitor or when viewing an extra-large excel document.)

Working in sales and managing a remote sales/marketing team, I am on the phone and use headphones all day. A solid pair of headphones can be a game changer. 

I purchased the AirPods ($199) when they first came out and over the years never had any complaints from me or anyone I spoke to. They were great, and like with every Apple product, the ease of connectivity was simple and clean. 

Then last Christmas, a friend in the music industry gave me a pair of Ultimate Ears Live professional headphones ($2,199). These are headphones for top musicians who sell out Madison Square Garden, not a tech sales guy. But how could I pass up a gift like that? 

The sound quality they provide is more clean and clear than I thought possible. (If you don’t like complete noise canceling headphones, don’t even bother thinking about these.) They’re great headphones but a little overkill for the average person. If you have that type of money for headphones, you will be glad you have them, especially on planes! Movies on planes are now worth watching, and I don’t even have to have the volume all the way up. (These headphones work with both Bluetooth or IEM audio cables.) 

When the AirPods Pro ($249) dropped, I had zero intentions to purchase another set of headphones, until the sales rep at the Mac store insisted I give them a try. He knew I would be hooked. Sold. I walked out of the store with them already in my ears, calling my wife to justify my impulse purchase, and she couldn’t hear me. 

She said it sounded like I was standing 10 feet from my phone. $249 and you can’t talk with them? Come on, Apple. I did some troubleshooting and fixed the problem:

  1. Forget this device, AirPods Pro, on iPhone

  2. Hold down the button on the back of the case to reconnect 

  3. Click connect and go through the required set-up steps once iPhone picks up new AirPods 

 Now, they work flawlessly. 

Comparing the Headphones

In my opinion, it’s like comparing a Ferrari, Porsche and a Toyota. All awesome cars that cater to a specific individual. The basic AirPods are simple, reliable, and get the job done. The AirPods Pro are built solid, perfect fit in the ear, sound amazing (transparency and noise cancellation), and still have the Apple look. The UE Lives are at a price point that many people will never experience, but if you do, the sound is so clean, and the fit is perfect. It’s easy to understand why the top musicians use these ears. 

Rating (1-10)

Overall Sound

AirPods: 5

AirPods Pro: 9

UE Live: 10


AirPods: 9

AirPods Pro: 10

UE Live:  10

Noise Canceling 

AirPods: 0

AirPods Pro: 8

UE Live: 10

Phone Calls

AirPods: 8

AirPods Pro: 10

UE Live: 5


AirPods: 10

AirPods Pro: 10

UE Live: 5

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