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AirPods Pro 2 review: Smarter for the same price

AirPods Pro 2 review: Smarter for the same price

AirPods Pro 2 (aka AirPods Pro (2nd generation)) promise improved performance, longer battery life, and practical improvements to the charging case. Here are our initial reactions.

Positives

Includes a new adaptive transparency mode

Bass performance improvement

New charging case

Longer battery life.

cons

Limitations in codec support


The Apple AirPods Pro 2, also known as AirPods Pro (2nd generation), has quite a few improvements for the same starting price of $249 (AU$399). Some of the greatest wireless earbuds could get better with these as they last longer, work better, and have some creative upgrades.

AirPods Pro 2 feature improvements over the original AirPods Pro, including active noise cancellation that's twice as effective, 1.5 hours longer battery life (rated for 6 hours of playtime), and custom spatial audio that uses iPhone's TrueDepth technology A camera for truly personalized listening.

Plus, the case is improved with up to 30 hours of battery life, Find My capability, wireless charging via Apple Watch charger, and a small recess for attaching the strap.

New AirPods Pro tested live. Here are our initial thoughts and everything else you might be interested to know.

AirPods Pro 2 price and accessibility

The AirPods Pro 2 costs $249 (AU$399), the same price when the original AirPods Pro debuted in 2019. While you wait, the best AirPods deals can usually be found on older AirPods Pro.

Check out our overview of AirPods Pro 2 pre-orders, which start September 9. On Friday, September 23, full availability will begin.

AirPods Pro 2 review: Design

The new AirPods Pro appear to have little difference in terms of design at first glance. The earphones themselves are quite recognizable, with the touch pads and visual hardware in the same place. There are still many ear tips available, and it's easy to swap them out and evaluate using the ear tip fit test. But there is a very small group that is completely new.

Apple AirPods Pro 2, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple,    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite,Amazon Fire HD 8,Samsung Galaxy Tab A7,reMarkable 2,Microsoft Surface Go 2,Apple iPad 2021,Amazon Fire 10 HD,Amazon Fire 7,


The charging case is where the AirPods Pro 2 design improvements can be seen. The bottom speaker grille first caught my attention because it might ping for location now that the case is Find My compatible. The AirPods Pro case also has a cutout on the side where the lanyard loop can be attached.

Apple AirPods Pro 2, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple,    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite,Amazon Fire HD 8,Samsung Galaxy Tab A7,reMarkable 2,Microsoft Surface Go 2,Apple iPad 2021,Amazon Fire 10 HD,Amazon Fire 7,


However, now that Memojis can be embossed on the front of the case to add some fun personalization, all of the AirPods Pro 2 cases I've looked at have embossed emojis. Although I realize not everyone will enjoy it, I do.

Review AirPods Pro 2 features and performance

While I'm a little sad that more audio codecs weren't supported for the second generation AirPods Pro, there are a lot of nice performance improvements. These buds have an entry-level H2 chip. A new function called Adaptive Transparency, which is a nice balance between passthrough and noise cancellation, is powered by the H2 chip. It allows you to reduce the volume of uncomfortable loud noises while remaining environmentally conscious.

With AirPods Pro 2, spatial audio can be transformed into custom spatial audio. Create a unique auditory profile for all currently available listening experiences that support spatial audio using the TrueDepth camera on iPhone. My demo didn't include the use of this functionality, but I'm very interested to see if it makes a difference.

Apple AirPods Pro 2, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple,    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite,Amazon Fire HD 8,Samsung Galaxy Tab A7,reMarkable 2,Microsoft Surface Go 2,Apple iPad 2021,Amazon Fire 10 HD,Amazon Fire 7,

A new low-distortion audio driver and custom tweeter built into AirPods Pro 2 support deeper bass and cleaner overall quality. Although more extensive testing was necessary, the AirPods Pro 2 Bass significantly improved its weight when listening to a music sample.

You have successfully grasped the new touch controls. Now that volume can be changed directly on the tip of the AirPods Pro, it might be more intuitive than grabbing your iPhone for a quick adjustment. It took a little getting used to because the tool was somewhat unpredictable during the demo. However, people with large toes may want to avoid it.

Apple AirPods Pro 2, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple,    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite,Amazon Fire HD 8,Samsung Galaxy Tab A7,reMarkable 2,Microsoft Surface Go 2,Apple iPad 2021,Amazon Fire 10 HD,Amazon Fire 7,

My favorite element of using the AirPods Pro 2 was noticing the active noise cancellation's ability to reduce the volume of sound reaching my ears. The test environment was really noisy, but the decibel readings dropped about 50% when I switched to ANC. Since the launch of the Noise app on the Apple Watch, I've been a fan of long-term hearing health tracking, but with the AirPods Pro, there's actually something you can do to protect your ears from the outside world.

AirPods Pro 2 hands-on review: battery and charging

Apple AirPods Pro 2, AirPods, AirPods Pro, Apple,    Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite,Amazon Fire HD 8,Samsung Galaxy Tab A7,reMarkable 2,Microsoft Surface Go 2,Apple iPad 2021,Amazon Fire 10 HD,Amazon Fire 7,


We were hoping for even longer battery life with the AirPods Pro 2. The headphones' ANC listening time rating has been increased from 4.5 hours to 6 hours. The charging case extends the playtime by 30 hours. We will, of course, need to test these estimates.

Although an internal update to the wireless charging system now allows the AirPods Pro to be charged with the Apple Watch magnetic charger, the AirPods Pro 2 still has a fast charging connection for charging.

AirPods Pro 2 review:

While the AirPods Pro 2 may not have received all the improvements we were hoping for, they still offer enough improvements over the originals. Considering we gave this pair a very unusual 5/5 rating, there is a lot to be concerned with how the buds perform when put through their full stride.

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