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Apple AirPods Pro vs. Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus: Which wireless noise-cancelling earbuds win?

Apple AirPods Pro vs Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

True wireless earbuds have made a progressive transition into the active noise-cancelling space. The three players generating the most buzz are Apple, Sony, and now, Master & Dynamic.

The Apple AirPods Pro remains the most popular option in the sub-category. But with the all-new Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus hitting store shelves, promising elite sound and noise cancellation in a deluxe package, it’s only right that we compare it to the current top dog.

Our reviews on these two models suggest they’re both splurge-worthy options, but only one can claim the No. 1 spot. Let’s take a more in-depth look, as we pit the AirPods Pro vs. the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus to determine the true ANC champ.

AirPods Pro vs. Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus: Specs compared

AirPods ProMaster & Dynamic MW07 Plus
Price$249.00$299.00
Wireless ChargingYes, includedNo
Rated Battery Life4.5 hours (24 hours with charging case)10 hours (40 hours with charging case)
Water ResistanceIPX 4 (can withstand sweat and water, but not for use in water sports)IPX 5 (can withstand a sustained, low-pressure water jet spray, but can’t be submerged)
Case Size1.78 x 2.39 x 0.85 inches2.5 x 1.7 x 1 inches
Case Weight1.61 ounces2.9 ounces
Special FeaturesActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, customizable fit, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistanceActive noise cancellation, ambient listening mode, Bluetooth 5.0, customizable fit, digital assistant support

Design

They don’t come any fancier or more well-constructed than the MW07 Plus. M&D’s design pedigree continues to shine, having built its latest model from the same handcrafted acetate and stainless steel that was used on the original MW07. The material feels luxe and will withstand scuffs that develop from everyday wear. Also, the different colorways – Steel Blue, Tortoise Shell, White Marble, and Quartz Black – all have a unique, striking appearance that exudes elegance.

One upgrade M&D made to the design was IPX5 protection, making the buds sweat and water resistant. Don’t confuse the latter for waterproof (aka don’t go swimming with them). Technically, you could use them for exercising or relaxing in a jacuzzi, but they’re too handsome to risk ruining that way. I recommend the sportier MW07 Go (IPX6) for any outdoor or wet activities.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Besides the sweat and water-resistance casing, Apple made very few design changes to the AirPods Pro. The stems are shortened, and a black microphone vent is placed on the front of each bud; this allows consumers to easily distinguish the newest version from older ones. One signature attribute that does remain intact is the chrome accent at the bottom. Something else worth noting is Apple took a more eco-conscious approach this time around, building the buds from recyclable components. We’re still holding our breath for new colors.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Let’s move on to the charging cases. M&D put more creative thought into theirs, crafting one small block of stainless steel to store and charge the buds. It looks and feels premium AF. Apple sticks with the same plastic construction used on its previous cases, which is unflattering and begs for stylish cover. The AirPods Pro case is also wider to accommodate the buds’ elongated, angled sound port. Unfortunately, neither case holds up well against scuffs and fingerprints.

Winner: MW07 Plus

Comfort

Apple finally caved into our demands and gave us what we’ve been asking for since the original AirPods: ear tips. Sure, it sounds trivial, but it’s essential for achieving a personalized fit. The tips slide gently into your ears and create a firm, tight seal that locks them into place when adjusted properly. This improves on-ear grip and ensures they won’t fall down a sewer grate, like your last pair. Even with all of the new circuitry stuffed underneath its porcelain shell, the AirPods Pro (0.19 ounces) feels featherweight and comfier than the MW07 Plus (0.32 ounces).

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Where the AirPods Pro gains the upper hand is in its adaptability. Apple developed an Ear Tip Fit Test exclusively for the product to determine the best tip size and fit for your ears. It sounds like a gimmicky feature, but in reality, it’s helpful for achieving optimal audio performance, using the internal mics to analyze the sound hitting your ear canal. Don’t knock it until you try it.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

M&D’s proprietary Fit Wings provide the MW07 Plus some of the best on-ear stability in the category. The silicone ridges mold perfectly to your ear shape and feel gentle on the skin, eliminating any worries of irritation, even when sweating profusely. Adjusting the ear tips will form a tight seal to attain great noise isolation. You can sport the buds for 2-3 hours without worrying about any fatigue. Just be mindful that the controls can affect their comfortability. 

Winner: AirPods Pro

Controls

Apple took a gamble switching the AirPods controls from tap gestures to a force sensor at the bottom of each stem that initiates commands via pinches. In hindsight, this control scheme is superior and more responsive. Every pinch produces a click sound that confirms your intended commands; it’s pretty spot-on. The controls are simple as well. You can play/pause music or answer/end calls (1x pinch), skip tracks (2x pinch), skip back tracks (3x pinch) and enable ANC/Transparency Mode (long pinch).

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

M&D kept things traditional by placing multifunctional buttons at the top of each bud. The left has a volume rocker to manage volume, as well as enable ANC and Ambient Listening modes by holding down the top/bottom button, respectively. The right has one button to play/pause (1x press), skip forward (2x press), skip back (3x press), or access the digital assistant (hold down for 3 seconds). The controls are responsive, however, pressing them applies extra pressure to the concha and causes discomfort.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

On-ear detection is another playback option you’ll find available on the AirPods Pro and MW07 Plus. This lets you automatically pause music when removing the buds from your ears and resume playback when placing them back on. I found it worked better on Apple’s buds; the motion-detecting accelerometer is very accurate. The MW07 Plus struggled to recognize movements, leaving me with the only other serviceable (and comfier) option to control music: my smartphone.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Active noise cancellation

Apple had zero credibility in the ANC space before launching the AirPods Pro. Now, it has quite the reputation, thanks to the impressive noise cancelation demonstrated by its latest sound-silencers. Is it Bose quality? Certainly not. However, Apple’s technology is surprisingly effective, and that, combined with the tight-sealing ear tips, helps to reduce a reasonable amount of ambient sound.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The AirPods Pro has a special two-mic noise-cancelling system – one mic is located on the outside to filter out external sounds and another is on the inside to block any other noise from leaking onto the soundstage. At best, the feature is useful for muting chatty co-workers, as well as incoming trains and subway platform performers. You’ll also be able to ignore construction work from several feet away. Although, blaring sounds like a jackhammer and police sirens will be audible. Even so, the AirPods Pro provides enough noise neutralization to enjoy music peacefully on the go.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

M&D’s noise-cancelling technology might rank the lowest on the ANC true wireless totem pole, but it’s still functional. Enabling the feature on walks kept environmental noise to a minimum; street traffic barely caught my attention, but barking dogs did. I did get to use the buds in flight and appreciated their ability to hush irritating passengers around me. Loud dings and intercom announcements did still wake me during naps. You’ll get some performance out of them, just not the best in class.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Audio quality 

If impeccable sound quality is what you want, then the MW07 Plus is calling your name. M&D’s 10mm dynamic drivers produce clean, full, and vibrant audio across the frequency spectrum. Pull up a symphonic masterpiece like Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life and you’ll be enthralled by the depth and reproduction demonstrated on every song. The transparent, steady hi-hat action on “Sir Duke” immediately gets your feet tapping, while Stevie’s blissful vocals on “Village Ghetto Land” blend beautifully over the regal orchestral arrangement. 

As a hip-hop lover, I tend to enjoy earbuds that deliver the right amount of bass – not too harsh, and not too soft. The MW07 Plus balances the low end superbly, producing plenty of boom without compromising clarity. I blasted Travis Scott’s “Butterfly Effect” during my flight, allowing the booming effects and striking synths to stimulate rhythmic head-nods. This caught my fiancée’s interest and had her curious as to what had me so hyped on the red-eye back home.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

With most noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds, ANC mode can often increase bass response, for better or worse. You’ll be happy to hear that audio remains neutral on the MW07 Plus, no matter if ANC is turned on or off. It’s only when you enable Ambient Listening that lows are emphasized, but that is a small modification that only hardcore bass lovers will notice. Either way, it’s a nice option to have available since the MW07 Plus doesn’t have a customizable EQ.

Apple isn’t known for its sound, but you’ll get some clean, engaging audio out of these buds that gives the mid-range prominence, but also mutes the low end on boomy productions. The infectious bassline on Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s “White Lines” sounded warm, however, the MW07 Plus’ profile gave the record a punchier presence. What really caught my attention was how clear and resonant the monotone vocals sounded throughout the track.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

You gain a greater sense of the AirPods Pro’s sonic capabilities on instrumentals. Melodic tunes like Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green” are an excellent listen that bring the soul out of each instrument. The lush piano chords and horns are reproduced well, intensifying the song’s somber atmosphere. These elements also have a bit more depth to them on the MW07 Plus. 

Winner: MW07 Plus

Special features

Despite the lack of a mobile app and sound customization settings, Apple still provides a decent number of features to satisfy AirPods Pro owners. The majority are programmed into the H1 chip which streamlines iOS/MacOS functionality. This includes Bluetooth 5.0, hands-free “Hey Siri” support, and instantaneous connectivity to compatible Apple devices, just to name a few. Newer features like Announce Messages and Audio Sharing have also become available through recent updates. It’s cool having Siri read off your incoming messages, as well as the ability to share audio from one pair of AirPods to any other Apple/Beats headphones. Play around with the settings and you’ll discover some other useful AirPods Pro tricks.

The AirPods Pro have an ambient-listening mode called Transparency Mode that lets users become more aware of their surroundings. It’s a niche feature that benefits commuters and outdoor exercisers who want to keep listening to their music, while knowing what is happening around them at the same time. Enabling it kept me alert to train announcements and let me eavesdrop on random conversations.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The MW07 Plus also has an Ambient Listening mode, and sadly, that is its only other special feature minus ANC. No app. No adjustable EQ. No firmware updates. No music presets. You get the picture. Anyhow, the one positive here is that Ambient Listening works incredibly well. I was able to communicate clearly with family members and identify most of the sounds around me. Some people might consider Bluetooth 5.0 a special feature of the MW07 Plus. I don’t, as it’s a practical feature found on most current models. 

Winner: AirPods Pro

Call quality and digital assistant

These are two areas where the AirPods series always kills it. The AirPods Pro is one of the best calling headsets available and the best Siri companion. Having used the buds for several months, I’ve been able to carry out loud and crisp-sounding calls in all weather conditions. Apple’s noise-cancelling technology helps filter out background fracas, but every so often the caller on the opposite end will notice me walking through a construction site. Siri continues to be the blueprint for digital assistance, demonstrating great speech recognition on the AirPods Pro and responding to voice commands as quickly as she registers them.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

With such dynamic hardware underneath the hood, it’s shocking to see how underwhelming the call quality is on the MW07 Plus. Phone calls sound very low and the mics are sensitive to ambient noise; my friends could hear buses and noisy commuters passing by me. Google Assistant operates fine on the MW07 Plus, picking up vocals clearly and executing commands in a timely manner. Siri was buggy, mostly on MacOS, and misinterpreted requests at times.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Charging case

Apple and M&D have done great work building stylish, tiny charging cases with lots of power. While it’s tough choosing between the two because of their pros and cons, it all boils down to portable convenience and reliance. Therefore, the AirPods Pro wins this round. Apple’s charging case is lighter, thinner, and holds up to 24 hours of total playtime, which you’ll depend on heavily to get through the day.

M&D’s charging case is the same one bundled with the original MW07. It’s handsome, shiny, and supports USB-charging. Unfortunately, its heftier weight and thicker shape can feel a bit cumbersome in your pockets.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

If there is one thing that these two cases share, it’s that they are cosmetic nightmares. The plastic casing around the AirPods Pro’s case won’t hold up well against scuffs and doesn’t secure the buds safely when hitting the ground; they’ll pop out and fly across the floor. The MW07 Plus case has a poor storing system which requires some adjustments to lock the buds in place. Not to mention it’s a fingerprint magnet, too.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Battery life

There is no contest here. M&D crushes Apple with a 10-hour-rated battery, which is really about 9 hours when factoring in ANC and high volume. Too see the MW07 Plus last longer than 6 hours with noise cancelation enabled, a precedent set by the WF-1000xM3, is quite the feat. I had plenty of power available to enjoy Spotify playlists during work-week commutes for about 2 hours daily. Fast-charging also got me 4.5 hours on a 15-minute charge.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Those who’ve owned AirPods in the past already know to expect low battery life. The fact that the AirPods Pro (4.5 hours) offers slightly less than the AirPods II (5 hours) is shockingly disappointing. I give Apple some credit for programming these buds with better battery maintenance, especially since ANC and video steaming sucks up so much juice. The AirPods Pro has quick charging as well, to generate 1 hour of listening time when placed in the charging case for 5 minutes. 

Winner: MW07 Plus

Price

Active noise cancelation in true wireless form doesn’t come cheap and these are the most expensive models in the sub-category. The AirPods Pro ($249) are the less expensive choice and offer more functionality, be it on the design or feature end. They're not as cheap as AirPods or any of the best fake AirPods, but they live up to their value.

The MW07 ($299) does carry a higher price tag, but also gives you top-tier audio performance in the fancier package. Either purchase will leave your wallet feeling light, so be rational with your decision and seek out what matters most before adding either one to your Amazon virtual cart.

Winner: AirPods Pro

If any of our face-off features have proven anything, it’s that defeating the AirPods Pro is no simple task. M&D puts up a worthy fight, but Apple reclaims its throne as both the best overall and ANC true wireless model. Its noise-cancelling technology performs better and adaptively improves sound and call quality. iOS integration remains flawless, giving iPhone/iPad users a seamless user experience. Battery life still has yet to be perfected, but at least the charging case affords enough charge cycles and portability to travel conveniently.

AirPods ProMaster & Dynamic MW07 Plus
Design (15)1112
Comfort (10)98
Controls (5)43
Noise Cancellation (15)1311
Audio (20)1719
Special Features (10)75
Call Quality and Digital Assistant (5)53
Charging Case (10)98
Battery Life (10)610
Total Score (100)8179

M&D created an audio gem with the MW07 Plus. There is only one other model that outperforms it on a sonic level, and that has Sennheiser branded all over it, which speaks to the MW07 Plus’s greatness. The massive boost in battery life is another bonus for users, giving them nearly double the juice of Apple’s buds and charging case. And it has such an exotic, handcrafted design. But for the asking price of three Benjamins, you would expect the best noise cancellation and call quality, along with a plethora of extra features. Those aren’t what the MW07 Plus provides.