I’ve grabbed a pair and these are my first headphones with noise-cancelling, though I have some Etymotics that go right into the ear so I had a vague point of comparison (I use these when drumming) plus the original Airpods. Mini review follows.
The noise cancelling is great. I didn’t know what to expect, and it is a little surreal at first to walk around the house and hear barely any ambient noise, even without music playing. The transparency mode, which keeps noise cancelling on and somehow also lets you hear people talk, works eerily well also.
Sound quality is better than the older Airpods, at least to the point that I’ve turned off the EQ. Bass is noticeably hummier - in a good way - no doubt because the rubber tips create that airtight seal. They don’t seem any more or less comfortable than regular Airpods, and I can fall asleep in bed with those and they don’t fall out (yet to test the Pros as I only got them today).
The Pros use a fake button on the stem to activate pause and skip functions, which I’m still getting used to. The old ones use tapping, which is uncomfortable to do with the tips sealed in your ear, so I can see why this has changed. Holding the fake buttons cycles through the noise cancelling options (or activating Siri), though for now I prefer to change them through long-pressing the volume slider in the control centre on my phone.
I also had a go on the drums with these, something you can’t do with regular Airpods if you value your hearing. Playing gently, they work surprisingly well as earplugs/monitors. Playing hard, my ears began to ring. Still, I doubt many people will use them for this purpose.
In summary, a great upgrade over the regular model.