Apple’s AirPods Pro seemingly came out of nowhere in October 2019, offering the kind of powerful upgrades and shockingly improved sound we hoped we’d get with the second-generation regular AirPods. (Instead, we got a wireless charging case, and not much else.)
There’s no doubt the AirPods Pro are an awesome new option in an increasingly compelling wireless earbuds space, but they’re far from the only game in town. Master and Dynamic’s acclaimed MW07 have also stepped up big-time, adding noise canceling and massive battery upgrades among other new features. Below is a head-to-head comparison of these two highly regarded (and high-priced) earbuds.
Design and fit
Love it or hate it, the design of Apple’s AirPods is certainly iconic, and that continues (though in a stubbier package) with the AirPods Pro. While I’m not crazy about the look, there’s no question the golf-tee antenna shape of the buds makes them easy to put in, and even easier to use thanks to readily available touch controls that require just a light hand to control playback and Siri. But the biggest upgrade for the AirPods Pro are the removable eartips that snap on and off with ease and offer a much more stable fit than the original AirPods.
The MW07 Plus keep the same “handcrafted acetate” design of their predecessors, which, like the AirPods, is both iconic and polarizing. I personally think they’re as sexy and stylish as any offering in the space, and you can even add skins to change up the look. More importantly, the triple-button controls (two on the left earbud, one on the right) make it brilliantly simple to control everything from playback to song skip. And while you can’t call up your voice assistant hands-free like on Apple’s buds, they have something no AirPods do: Onboard volume control.
While volume control is a huge bonus, the AirPods’ hands-free Siri option can control volume for iPhone users. Plus, while both sets of earbuds offer a comfy and solid fit, the AirPods are easier to put in and take out, as the fin-and-eartip design of the MW07 Plus takes a bit of wrangling. This one is extremely close, and somewhat subjective, so we’ll call it a draw.
Features and battery
Apart from the volume control discrepancy mentioned above, feature sets for both earbuds are quite similar (and you can count on this as a blueprint for earbuds to come). Both offer water resistance (IPX4 for the AirPods Pro, IPX5 for the MW07 Plus), ambient mode to hear the world around you, sensors to pause sound when you pull the buds out, and noise cancellation to drown out the world around you.
Where the MW07 Plus really pull ahead is battery life. And frankly, it’s not even close. While the AirPods Pro offer just 4.5 hours per charge (24 hours in the charging case), the MW07 Plus offer a brawny 10 hours per charge and 40 hours in the case. The AirPods Pro should rarely have issues since they’ll be constantly charged in the case, and they can quick charge for hours of playback in a matter of minutes. But over time, this may wear down the battery and take a toll on durability.
For their incredible battery life and impressive feature set, the MW07 Plus take the win.
Winner: MW07 Plus
It’s hard to beat Apple when it comes to minimalist design, and that’s maybe most evident in the company’s charging cases. The AirPods Pro’s sleek pearl of a case is among the most pocket-friendly you’ll find. The magnetic charge stands zip the buds in place (though it can be somewhat difficult to pull them out for those with large fingers), and you can quickly open the cap with a flip of your thumb. In addition, unlike the MW07 Plus, the AirPods Pro’s case can be charged wirelessly.
The MW07 Plus’ gleaming steel charging case is certainly a looker, and it’s also quite pocket-friendly (though it’s bigger than the AirPods Pro case). That said, the mirrored finish is a magnet for both fingerprints and scratches, while the buds are hard to get properly seated with the rubberized fins attached. The MW07 Plus case does offer more battery, of course, but otherwise, Apple is the clear winner here.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Like many reviewers, I was shocked at how effective the AirPods Pro’s noise-canceling is. Matched only by Sony’s WF-1000XM3 (which is better is a tough call), it offers whisper-quiet sound as soon as it’s engaged, even when confronted with loud noises like vacuum cleaners.
For the MW07 Plus, noise-canceling is a handy addition and effective when paired with the earbuds’ excellent passive noise isolation, but it’s not quite as powerful as Apple’s. While you’re unlikely to be disappointed with either earbuds here, Apple’s new solution is the most effective.
Winner: AirPods Pro
Connection and pairing
Both pairs of earbuds are extremely easy to set up, but Apple’s are the easiest you can buy — if you have an iPhone. If you don’t, they’re still quite easy to pair, but their ultra-quick pairing to iPhones gives them the edge here.
When it comes to solid connection, both earbuds work fantastically with my LG G8. However, the MW07 Plus seemed to have a little trouble with my older iPhone and my aging LG V30. While I don’t think most users will be affected, Apple’s rock-solid connection and simple pairing take this category.
Winner: AirPods Pro
The new AirPods Pro are a revelation for Apple when it comes to sound, offering balance, detail, and the kind of presence of transients that is not only extremely accessible but also incredibly engaging.
That said, I still prefer the brilliant zeal of the MW07 Plus, which offer a sweet metallic gleam to the midrange and treble paired with rich, powerful, and smooth bass below that easily bests Apple’s latest. While both earbuds sound very good, the MW07 Plus are my earbuds of choice for their impressively nuanced sound.
Winner: MW07 Plus
For their convenience, their simplicity, and their abundance of features, the AirPods Pro will appeal to just about any user — especially those with iPhones. It’s hard to beat their assortment of goodies, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re $50 less than the MW07 Plus, either.
That said, if you follow your ears and eyes first — and you’re interested in near bottomless battery life — the pricier MW07 Plus are hard to resist. Either of these impressive offerings are a solid purchase, so in the end, the choice is yours to make.
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