I accepted that the original AirPods Pro didn’t work for me long ago. But worse, I wound up convincing myself that all wireless earbuds didn’t work for me because of how poorly the first-gen AirPods Pro felt in my ears. Yet with one small change, the AirPods Pro 2 might’ve fixed the problem.
Or, should I say, one “extra small” change.
Among all the differences between AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro, the addition of another ear tip size might seem minor. The first AirPods Pro offered three wing tip sizes: large, medium and small. Now, the second-gen model offers those options plus a new extra small set.
Knowing how to use the AirPods Pro Ear Tip Fit Test, the small ear tips were deemed the right size for creating the best seal in my ear. Having a proper seal is essential to both effective active noise cancellation and audio performance.
While I didn’t pick up on any sound defects on the original AirPods Pro, I did struggle to keep them in my ears. They either felt uncomfortable after an hour or fell out of my ears long before then. Running with AirPods Pro was so much of a failure for me that I tested several other of the best running headphones over the course of a month.
So when I tell you the extra small ear tips on the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) are a revelation, I mean it. I recently flew across the country for a work trip, and opted to leave my Sony WH-1000XM5 at home for the sake of saving space in my bag. Was it a gamble only having the new AirPods Pro for entertainment on a 4-hour flight? Probably. But it wound up paying off.
I wore the AirPods Pro with the extra small ear tips for the entire trip, not once experiencing discomfort. Heck, I even fell asleep for a bit with them still on. At no point did the they budge, either — there’s nothing more awkward than trying to retrieve a dropped earbud on a crowded airplane, so I felt relieved.
Great sound and the convenience of a lanyard hook (here's the $13 strap I have) certainly elevated my overall impression of using the AirPods Pro 2 when I'm on the go. But my improved experience comes down to the fit and security, both of which are made possible by a smaller ear tip.
Wireless earbuds aren't one size fits all
Last month I got sized for a custom pair of wireless earbuds. The process involved sound tests and molding for UE Drops, true wireless earbuds that can mold to the shape of your ears with a warming light. The person who assisted me on behalf of Ultimate Ears pointed out that not only were the inside of my ears particularly small, but they're also two different sizes.
A product like UE Fits could be a good choice for those who struggle to find comfortable earbuds. But it's also good to pay attention to the ear tip variety of the best wireless earbuds from brands like Apple, Sony and Bose. Premium buds should come with a wide range of options to up the chances they'll fit for most consumers.
This isn't a spec I've always looked out for, but after realizing how it transformed my testing of the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation), you can bet it's something I'll keep an eye (or ear) out for going forward.
More: Some AirPods Pro 2 users are reporting audio sync issues, get in touch if yours are affected.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.