I’ve been testing the Airpods Pro for quite a while now and I would be ready to write a thorough review, if a substantial problem hadn’t intervened: the Active noise cancellation quality was reduced with the firmware 2B588 in mid November and the problem persists with the latest firmware 2D27. The original 2B584 firmware is the only one not having issues but there is no way to stop the update, which is automatic.
The active noise cancellation is the main feature of these new iteration of the AirPods line; it works through the generation of an inverted signal (in antiphase) That disrupts the sound wave that reach the microphones of the AirPods. this allows to cancel the noises around you and let you isolate yourself or hear your music at a much lower volume. When I saw the first reviews on YouTube I was amazed about how cool this feature can be in everyday life. traffic, public transportation, people chatting, noisy neighbors, all gone with a simple setting from the control center. Unfortunately I experienced this feat for a few hours until the software was automatically update through the iPhone, Now it’s basically almost useless and the proof is that there is almost no difference between ANC on and off. At home with noises like the water running from the tap, the music from a stereo or even people speaking the effectiveness is very low, in the airplane it managed to cut the low Rumbling of the engine but not the higher pitch of the turbine or the noise of a crying baby. ANC usually works better with low pitch constant noises and this is related to the fact that it was born in the aviation world where the pilots need to be able to listen to the ATC communications clearly.
At this point I feel that I can’t speak about the design or the other features with such a huge problem looming.
If you are experiencing the same issue contact Apple and let them know what happened with the firmware update: resetting the iPhone or the AirPods or having a replacement won’t be useful, we can only wait for a new firmware. There are thousands of people that state the same as you can see at this link to the official Apple discussion forum.
I am disappointed by the performances of the AirPods Pro. I guess that, for now, the Best Buy are the AirPods 2, which are also more comfortable as they are not in-ear.
Did you try the AirPods Pro? How does the ANC work for you?