The AirPods Pro are an Apple product which means they'll work best when paired to an Apple device such as an iPhone or an iPad. However, the AirPods Pro still function like any other Bluetooth earbud on Android.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)/Transparency Mode
The biggest reason to grab the AirPods Pro instead of any other earbuds is for their fantastic combination of ANC and transparency mode the buds offer. The ANC performance is surprisingly good for their size and they can easily be the only pair of earbuds you travel with, especially if you're tight on space. The AirPods Pro are great at blocking out low-end, and midrange noises, but struggle with higher pitched noises. However, that's expected as most other ANC headphones and earbuds face the same problem. If we had to draw parallels to over-ear headphones, the AirPods Pro are very similar to the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. Obviously, you won't get the same amount of passive isolation because the AirPods Pro are in-ear earbuds and the Bose NCH 700s are over-ear headphones that rely on the over-ear seal to block out some noise.
The transparency mode on the AirPods Pro are excellent here as well. The transparency mode is one of the best we've heard sounding very natural and giving you the feeling as if you're not wearing earbuds at all. If there were any faults, we'd say that there's a smidge more treble than you'd hear in real life. For those who don't know what transparency mode is, the AirPods Pro use their built-in ANC microphones, but instead of blocking out noise, reverses those microphones so you can hear what's around you.
Still one of the best Bluetooth experiences out there
While you won't get the easy pairing or propagation between all of your devices after pairing to your Android phone, the AirPods Pro still have some of the best Bluetooth experiences even when paired to an Android phone. While they won't pair automatically when you put them in your ears, switching between multiple previously-paired devices is still a great experience. No need to put them into a special pairing mode, simply go into your Bluetooth settings and tap connect and the AirPods Pro will automatically switch to that device.
You'll also get the super reliable connection that the older AirPods are known for. Compared to other truly wireless earbuds, you can walk a considerable amount further with the AirPods Pro before you start hearing audio dropouts. And while not as great as some other earbuds that feature higher quality Bluetooth codecs such as aptX, aptX-HD, aptX-LL, or LDAC, the AirPods Pro still have relatively low latency, even on Android. Unless you're specifically looking for it, you won't notice the audio delay while watching videos.
Gestures still work (albeit not customizable)
You won't get automatic play and pause as it relies on automatic ear detection, which is exclusive to Apple devices. This also means you won't be able to use a single AirPod Pro independently either as that relies on automatic ear detection. However, you still have access to the force sensors found on either bud. While you won't get any customizability, the stock gesture system works perfectly, and most wouldn't even change it in the first place.
The only thing you're missing out on is being able to change the tap and hold gesture from toggling ANC/transparency mode to either Siri or another combination of ANC, transparency mode, or off. You can't trigger Siri on Android in the first place, and toggling the AirPods Pro to "off" turns off the Adaptive EQ feature which makes the sound quality great. That being said you'll still be able to toggle between ANC and transparency mode with a tap and hold, and the rest of the non-customizable gestures still work as expected. Single tap to play/pause/answer or decline a call, double tap to skip forward, and triple tap to skip back.
While you can easily get better sound from a pair of $250 earbuds, the AirPods Pro feature some of the best comfort compared to others we've tried. Yes, the ear tips are proprietary and you'll need to visit an Apple Store if you ever lose them. However, the comfort gained from the proprietary ear tips can't be understated.
The comfort is primarily thanks to the earbuds using a proprietary snapping mechanism to get the buds to attach to the ear tip instead of the typical ear tip that requires you to shove a plastic tube into your ear along with the ear tip. This means the entire ear tip is able to mold to your ear without anything getting in the way. This makes for an exceptional listening experience, even over long periods of time.
Lightning still sucks, but wireless charging is always welcome
As an Android user, Lightning for charging is a pain. It's a separate connector, and is vastly inferior to USB-C, the charging standard literally everyone else is adopting. Even Apple itself is adopting USB-C on its MacBooks, iMacs, and iPad Pro.
With that being said, wireless charging on the AirPods Pro is a nice addition, especially if you own a recent Android smartphone that supports bilateral wireless charging. The AirPods Pro charge over the Qi standard protocol which means they'll basically work on any wireless charger you have around, including the bilateral charging coil on your latest Android smartphone. Simply place your AirPods Pro case on a wireless charging mat and they'll begin charging.
While the AirPods Pro aren't a terribly great value on Android, they still have a few things going for them. The biggest reason you'd want to pick up AirPods Pro over anything else is comfort and ANC/transparency mode. The AirPods Pro are super comfortable, and can be worn for hours on end without ear fatigue or discomfort. However, the proprietary ear tips means that if none of the tip sizes work for you, you're out of luck. ANC performance is fantastic and is one of the best we've heard on any pair of earbuds, let alone a truly wireless pair.
However, you have to consider how important that is to you as you're losing a ton of features if you choose to pick up AirPods Pro and intend to use them on Android. You'll lose hands-free Siri, using a single bud independently of the other, automatic play/pause, the surprisingly useless ear tip fit test, and the ability to customize the force sensor.
While slightly less comfortable, the Sony WF-1000XM3 offers longer battery life, more customizability with the Sony Headphones companion app, automatic play/pause, support for Google Assistant, and USB-C for charging. You get slightly more ANC with the WF-1000XM3, but the AirPods Pro are more consistent at blocking out noise. Also, the transparency mode on the WF-1000XM3 isn't the greatest and you'll lose out on wireless charging.
Basic buds on Android
Great ANC, superb comfort, and intuitive controls. You lose some features on Android, but if you care about comfort, or ANC, the AirPods Pro aren't a bad value.
Long Battery Life
Great ANC at the expense of comfort
The Sony WF-1000XM3 features longer battery life and more customizability at the expense of slightly worse comfort and fit.
Be an expert in 5 minutes
Get the latest news from Android Central, your trusted companion in the world of Android