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AirPods Pro 2: Two-minute review

When you try the new AirPods Pro 2, the first question arises: what is really different? The first AirPods Pro were a nice step forward for Apple, the sound quality was good and the overall performance was great when you have multiple Apple devices.

What can be improved?

Well, while the design hasn't changed much since the first iteration (just a new audio vent to indicate a difference), the new case has a speaker and cable mount, both to make it easier to find misplaced headphones and keep them on. . His person.

There are also some new features we liked in the mix: the volume control from the stems is welcome, if cumbersome to use, and the microphones have also been improved to allow for better voice clarity.

It's nice to have the custom spatial audio capability, making them feel like your headphones, but we're not sure it adds much.

However, audio performance has been vastly improved thanks to the new H2 chip, making it a real contender for the best true wireless earbuds.

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

  • Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation at Amazon for $199.99 (opens in a new tab)

The overall soundscape is wide, expansive, and the AirPods Pro 2 are great at extracting different instruments from the audio. Vocal tones are clear, bass is muted but not overpowering - we found ourselves reaching for them only to immerse ourselves in a world of sound when we had a moment of downtime.

That immersive feeling of audio comes from improved noise-canceling capabilities, and it's brilliant in the AirPods Pro 2. Turn it on and the world melts away: It's among the best we've tested in any true wireless earbud.

Battery life has been extended, but not to beat many other rivals on the market. Turn on all the head tracking, spatial audio and noise canceling features and you'll get around 4-5 hours between charges, with the case now also capable of charging in multiple ways.

In short, while expensive and a real investment, if you're integrated into Apple's ecosystem, they're great immersive, great-sounding headphones.

AirPods Pro 2 price and release date

  • Impressive price remains the same as the original AirPods Pro
  • AirPods Pro 2 release date: September 23

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

If you're looking to get the new AirPods Pro, you'll need to shell out $249 / £249 / AU$399. AirPods Pro 2 pre-orders are now open ahead of their September 23 release.

It's exactly the same official price as the previous model, except in the UK, where it's a £10 increase. As mentioned above, however, the previous model is still discounted these days at non-Apple retailers. , so while both are available, the new version costs more, effectively.

In the current climate, keeping the same official price is actually a more aggressive move by Apple than it sounds, as almost every other new flagship headset has gone up in price. They are expensive, to be sure, but many other great players come in higher…

AirPods Pro 2 design and features

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

  • The design is almost identical to previous models.
  • The case is the same shape, but with some additional accessories.
  • Volume control is welcome, but erratic
  • Good built-in microphones for vocals.

If you're looking for AirPods with a completely new design, you won't find it here. AirPods Pro are exactly the same as previous iterations, with a shorter stem and a thicker, wider case to house them.

Side by side, you'll notice that the AirPods Pro 2 have an additional black section cut out, which is an audio vent designed to improve the quality of sound coming out of the little buds, and as you'll see in a moment, that audio quality is impressive. .

The only other small change to the button layout actually comes in the box, where Apple has thrown in a few extra little tips for those with younger ears, as our Senior Audio Editor Becky Scarrott can attest, it's an essential change and Apple should be applauded. to do (especially since it keeps the RRP of the AirPods the same as the 2019 models).

Although the stems of the AirPods Pro 2 may look similar, they house a new feature on AirPods: volume control. We've been clamoring for this feature since the first AirPods appeared years ago, and it's finally here, except, well, it's far from perfect.

It works by stroking the little stem up and down, waiting for the little click to confirm a change. When you get the rhythm, it's fine: the hits work perfectly and you can easily change the volume, even if you're a bit slow to react.

However, it's very difficult to hit the sweet spot every time: while the feature is nice to have and we use it regularly, it's not implemented well enough to be perfect.

The only other design change is the new charging case, which lasts longer on a single charge, but also comes with a new cable clip, as well as a speaker on the base.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

The lanyard clip is a surprise, making wearing the AirPods case around your neck a nod to the fashion world, but the speaker is more of a useful upgrade.

This speaker allows AirPods Pro to access "Find My" features, so you can press a button on your phone to play sound from the AirPods Pro case. This is a useful upgrade from the previous method on older models. old ones (making the buttons play a ripping sound) didn't really work.

The AirPods Pro 2 also incorporate the U1 chip that was recently added to iPhones, which means you can also see the direction of the earbuds on your phone, useful if sound isn't playing.

It's not perfect because sometimes we just couldn't connect to the box when we knew it was somewhere in the house, but at other times when the connection did show up it was fun to follow the signal around the house, with a vibrating signal getting louder and louder. strong. the phone happening as we got closer.

The new charging case has another neat trick: It lets you use an Apple Watch charger to recharge the AirPods Pro holder. It's so easy to do it's hard to see why it hasn't happened sooner, but it's a neat feature nonetheless.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

There is also a new AirPods app in iOS 16, which allows you to go in and change the settings of the AirPods.

One of the headline features here is the ability to set up custom spatial audio, where an analysis of your face and ears can recalibrate the AirPods Pro 2's sound performance.

It's hard to see how holding the phone an arm's length from your head will be able to see into your ear, but Apple insists it makes a difference.

Setup is fairly easy to do, and there's a marked difference when using the custom system: much more expansive and "interesting" to listen to, with different instruments easier to choose from.

Another useful feature of the AirPods Pro 2 is loud voice pickup when using the headphones as a headset for a Zoom call or taking a phone call. You can pair the Pro 2 with any Bluetooth device that requires a headset (like a laptop, tablet, or phone) and therefore have decent video calls or have a phone conversation without worrying about the headset not picking up.

It may seem like a minor thing, but being able to use the new AirPods as headphones is crucial for many people, and the new AirPods Pro 2 didn't disappoint in our tests. Just be careful: if you connect them to a Windows PC, you can disable the automatic connection feature on your iPhone.

  • Design Score: 4.5/5
  • Qualification of characteristics: 4.5/5

AirPods Pro 2 sound quality and noise cancellation

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

  • The sound quality is brilliant.
  • Noise reduction is phenomenal
  • Spatial audio works fine
  • Transparency allows natural conversations

Alright, let's get to the good stuff: how the AirPods Pro 2 actually sound. Short answer: phenomenal.

Longer answer: Despite Apple's decision not to make the AirPods Pro 2 capable of playing lossless audio (even though its own Apple Music platform supports it very strongly), the sound quality is just as good. that we find ourselves wanting to drift them into beautiful sound. world.

It's hard to put into words how a pair of headphones can bring joy, because it's all about how they enable a connection to music that wasn't there before.

The way the AirPods Pro 2 do this is a combination of factors: a clear ability to separate different elements of music, a great ability to reproduce bass, clarity in voice in particular, and all this combined with excellent reproduction and spatial audio spirit. – suppression of puff noise.

Which makes it all the more galling that lossless audio isn't supported here because you think there could be even more, but if it's the cost of keeping the price the same as it was in 2019, we think we can handle it. .

Let's dwell on the noise-cancelling qualities of these headphones for a moment, because it's truly amazing for a pair of headphones and up there with anything we've ever experienced. Sure, there's no gradient cancellation (some headphones let you adjust the level of noise cancellation to suit your situation), but you'll have to worry about that when you turn it on.

We've been using noise canceling products for almost 20 years, back when headphones came with a massive extra mic block to accomplish the feat. But slip the AirPods Pro 2 in a noisy environment (we're currently writing this review in a noisy cafe, for example) and hold one of the stems to activate noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

The world calms down and you instantly walk into a soft and cozy studio where it's just you and your music. The effect is impressive and worth the cost of the headphones alone.

AirPods Pro 2 will cancel wind, train noises, and easily destroy background noise from an air conditioner or fan. This is all made possible by the H2 chip that was introduced with the Pro 2, and it's a huge upgrade.

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