Last Fall a very exciting rumor circulated with some vigor, claiming that new AirPods Pro would come in up to eight different colors. This would mark an aggressive change in Apple’s accessory profile, while moving away from the traditional white color scheme. When Apple failed to offer a matching Midnight Green, or any other variation, I turned to ColorWare to solve my AirPods Pro color lust. ColorWare is known across the tech community as the best modification shop and my matte black case and cosmic purple AirPods Pro did not disappoint.
ColorWare custom AirPods Pro
ColorWare has been modding tech gadgets for more than a decade. With a process similar to the precision provided in the auto industry, their painting process is extremely detailed and elegant. ColorWare tears down gadgets to just their outer cases and then carefully paints the shells, without damaging the interior hardware. After the meticulous paint job, the gadgets are methodically pieced back together.
The finished product is shockingly well done. You cannot help but smirk with pleasure and some disbelief when you unbox your item. Previously, I worked with ColorWare to observe their work on a custom Nintendo Switch controller and a Super Nintendo inspired pair of Joy Con. This time, they were generous enough to send over a brand new set of AirPods Pro, which are still difficult to even get from Apple.
The process to order your custom ColorWare AirPods Pro is extremely simple. As shown above, the product builder on the site allows you to customize each individual AirPod, the charging case, and even offers engraving. Color choices are offered in solids and metallics. Each version also comes in either matte or or gloss finishes. Consequently, you are able to choose from up to 64 different options. If my math is correct, that is more than 4,000+ different combinations when considering a different color and finish for each AirPod!
To ensure a proper graphic representation of the mockup, the case and AirPods color preview are actual pictures of real units painted with those color combinations. This ensures you know exactly what to expect. Of course, depending on your monitor and other factors, the representation will not be absolutely exact, but I appreciate their real photographic images.
ColorWare custom AirPods Pro are delivered in the Apple stock box, with a couple additions. First, a warning, indicating that if you have acidity in your sweat and ear wax, it may cause some minor reaction with the paint over time. Your mileage may vary. ColorWare adds, wiping off your AirPods Pro after each session will prevent any would-be deterioration, should you have sweat and earwax that include the higher acidity. Wiping with a sterile alcohol pad or a moist microfiber cloth is recommended.
Obligatory warnings aside, toss the paperwork and find the brand new custom color charging case waiting inside the stock Apple case wrapper. I love the attention to detail. Anyone that obsesses over new gadgets wants to pull that wrapper off themselves and ColorWare, in fastidious nature, re-wraps the case to give you that joy.
The charging case is incredibly well painted. Aside from the charging LED, back hinge, and lightning port, the exterior is completely coated. I chose a matte black finish for the case to dramatically contrast the standard Apple-white as possible. The matte finish is smooth, yet rough in the hand. It seems like a sturdy coating and I have not noticed any scratching or noticeable imperfections after carrying them around for about a week; albeit, I have been careful not to put them in my pocket with anything else and same goes for my daily backpack.
Above, you can see the reflections in the metallic finished paint, when zoomed in.
The actual AirPods Pro are just stunning. I would argue, a piece of tiny gadget art. To contrast the solid matte black finish case, I chose metallic gloss in cosmic purple for the earbuds. ‘Precision’ is again the best way to describe the paint job. Each port and sensor is still operable and uncovered, but the full plastic portion of the bud is perfectly covered. As shown in the picture above, even the tiny, stainless mic tips are perfectly painted around.
Metallic cosmic purple is a deep, rich color and you can see the depth thanks to tiny flecks in the paint. It is exactly like a premium color paint coat on a luxury vehicle. It’s as if there is a clear coat over top and then the metallic paint clearly shines.
I have been putting the AirPods Pro through their paces and wiping them down after each wear to prevent any ear wax build up. The paint finish is showing neither signs of normal wear nor any scratches from wiping them down. As mentioned, ColorWare recommends an alcohol pad or microfiber for cleaning. I’ve been wiping them down on my shirts, hoodies, or anything else I’ve found nearby that’s soft. Certainly, if you have a soft cloth nearby all the time, use that, but I haven’t had trouble with my daily habit.
Questions still remain about durability over time. Popping them in and out of the case multiple times a day, gives a chance for wear to develop. The AirPods Pro case is very smooth and contours to the design. A perfect fit in the case should prevent any long term frustrations, but that is yet to be seen.
Order your own ColorWare custom AirPods Pro
These completely customized AirPods Pro are only available via ColorWare. Their online design store is the specific way to grab a pair of these impressive buds. My matte black case and cosmic purple buds came to $429. Stock Apple AirPods Pro are $249. Doing the math, you are paying a $180 premium to have your own custom pair. If you want to save a little on the customization, you can order just the AirPods Pro to be painted and leave the case stock Apple-white. This will save $50, lowering the premium to $130. No one sees the case anyway, right?
The question to ask yourself is: would I love a completely unique, specifically mine, no-one-else-has-them pair of AirPods Pro? I assume the answer is, ‘of course!’ Now, decide if $130 is worth that experience.
If you have access to that kind of headphone budget, definitely buy them! No doubt, the work put into the ColorWare custom AirPods Pro is undeniably impressive. These are not for everyone and I’m not intending to suggest general AirPods Pro consumers should go out and pay extra for custom work.
I am definitively saying, if you want something completely unique and the extra investment is an option, then absolutely buy a pair of these custom AirPods Pro. You will be incredibly pleased with the final product.
It was a tough choice to pick matte black and purple. Here are a couple other designs I considered: