Are AirPods Pro (2nd-gen) worth buying? Here’s what reviews say
Apple took the annual iPhone event earlier this month to drop some refreshed AirPods Pro onto the market. They get new features this time, including touch controls and more ear tip sizes.
The best thing? Those new features don’t cost you more, as they’re still $249.
Now, before you go off to buy some, you’re probably wondering how they sound. I mean, not everyone buys the latest thing just because it’s the latest thing, right (or is that just me?).
Reviewers have had AirPods Pro (2nd-gen) in their ears for a while now, and review embargoes are up. Let’s see how they fare.
Okay, this is going to be a short section. Why? Apple barely touched the design of the AirPods Pro for the second-generation buds. The Verge led with “that’s it?” in their review, and we’d have to agree.
Then again, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The design isn’t just what you can see on the outside, though, and Apple has upgraded multiple features that we’ll touch on later.
What we’ll touch on right now is the new functionality on the ear stems. They’ve always worked for music controls, but now you can slide your finger up or down to change the volume, as well.
The Verge says it gives a feedback click, so you know you’ve changed things, but the click is always the same volume. That’s kinda weird, but at least it has an indicator.
Apple redesigned the ‘gunk filter’ below the ear tips, although we’d be hard pressed to tell you why. The new ear tips come in four sizes, with an extra-small size included in the box.
AirPods Pro (2nd-gen) now has the skin detection sensors from the third generation of AirPods, a marked improvement from the IR sensors of the previous model.
The other new design feature is easy to overlook. The bottom of the case has a small speaker near the charging port, used for battery notifications and to play noise if you lose them. Nice.
The sounds of silence
Wired says the AirPods Pro has now brought “Apple back to the cutting edge” for sound quality. See, Apple redesigned both the drivers and amplifiers for this gen while keeping them at 11mm.
That results in a more balanced sound, with a “punchy” low end, “present” mids, and “clear but not sibilant” high end.
The other thing to note is that noise cancellation is improved, and a new adaptive Transparency mode adjusts loud noises around you while still allowing you to be aware of them. Think of it as a compression of the real world’s audio, like the night mode on your TV.
Tom’s Guide calls the noise cancellation “world-class,” while Apple says they cancel “twice the amount of noise as their predecessors.” In their estimation, the AirPods Pro (2nd-gen) ANC is within their “top-three of all time.”
There’s even a fun feature when you use the AirPods Pro connected to an Apple Watch where you can see the noise level reduction in real-time.
That all sounds great, but what about the rest of the buds?
Battery life, connectivity, and other things
Every reviewer remarked on how much better battery life was compared to the first generation. Wired said they were getting enough to “get [you] through a day at the office or around town.”
Engadget got six hours and fifteen minutes of battery life with a “mix of noise cancellation, transparency mode, and calls.” That’s impressive, considering the previous model peaked at 4.5 hours.
Speaking of battery life, did you know the new AirPods Pro (2nd-gen) case can charge from your Apple Watch charger? Apple didn’t change the port to USB-C from Lightning, but this is pretty cool.
CNBC mentions that you can use the Find My feature to locate your AirPods case now, as they have the U1 ultrawideband chip inside.
Complex walked us through the Personal Spatial Audio profile, another new feature this year. It works by using your iPhone’s TrueDepth camera to scan your face and ears.
This tweaks the AirPods Pro sound to account for your physiology. That created a bass response that “slapped,” according to Complex.
Should I buy AirPods Pro (2nd-gen)?
As always, deciding if you’re going to buy any AirPods version boils down to if you are an Apple user or not.
The new H2 chip is great, but you won’t get all the fancy features like personalized spatial audio without an iPhone to pair them to.
If you’re an Apple fan, these are the AirPods to buy right now. For Android fans, you’ve got a wealth of other options (and you can get colors other than white).
CNBC might have the final word here. They said, “Apple’s new AirPods Pro are worth the $249 even if you already own the older version.” Hear that? That’s a glowing recommendation and a half.
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