I’ve been using the AirPods since they first came out and have never looked back. They’re perfect for any situation, whether that be on a work call, walking the dogs or laying in bed to watch something on my iPad as I try to sleep. This went a step further with the first-gen AirPods Pro which replaced my noise cancelling headset on any flight or environment where I’d want to cancel out noise and quickly became my all-purpose headset.
Unlike most tech products, there was nothing that glaringly stood out as something that I desperately wanted improved with a new gen of AirPods Pro, but Apple has managed to deliver a 2nd gen product that does the unthinkable and improves on a bunch of areas, that I honestly never knew that I wanted, but could never live without now.
Firstly, let’s talk about the noise cancelling, which was fantastic on the original set, but is even better now thanks to the H2 chip. Just by chance I had two flights to Sydney days apart, one before I had the 2nd gen set, which served as a great test between how the two fared in an area where everybody wants noise cancelling, in an airplane. I was honestly super impressed with how much better the 2nd gen AirPod Pros did at blocking out the idle noise of the plane engine, not that I’d ever had a huge issue with the performance of the original set, but this was miles ahead in terms of just totally drowning it out and letting me enjoy what I was watching on my phone.
Apple didn’t stop there though. The 2nd gen set also improves transparency with a new Adaptive Transparency mode, which basically means that the AirPod Pros can now drown out loud noises such as a car horn or sirens, whilst still letting through noises such as voices or maybe an announcement on a train. Even more importantly though, transparency mode now feels more natural, rather than voices being beamed very loudly into your ears, it feels just like it would without wearing any headphones.
By all means, unless you’re someone who flies often or feels like the original AirPod Pros just aren’t cutting it in the noise cancelling department, there’s no need to run out today to buy a 2nd gen pair, but know that if and when you do, you’ll be getting a much superior set of headphones in the noise cancelling department.
Looking at the actual AirPods Pro 2nd gen design, you’d be hard pressed to find a difference aesthetically, but there’s a few key differences. You can now use touch controls by either swiping up or down on the actual stem of the AirPods Pro to turn the volume up or down, which is great for when you don’t have your phone on you. There’s also a new XS tip in the box for those that had maybe tried the AirPods Pros previously and had an issue with the fit.
Battery life is another one that I’ve never really had a problem with on the original AirPod Pros, but Apple has increased the battery life in the AirPods Pro 2nd gen. You now get up to six hours of listening time with noise cancelling on and up to 30 hours of listening taking the charging case into account. This is a six hour increase over the original pair, and I definitely noticed getting a few extra days out of my AirPods Pro without needing to charge them.
The case is now a MagSafe charging case which can also be charged by your Apple Watch charger. Something that is extremely clever is a new built-in speaker in the actual case itself, so not only do you get an audible ding when you place your AirPods Pro 2nd gen charging case on a charger (which I really love), you can obviously now find your actual case using Find My with the speaker playing a surprisingly loud noise and also flashing in darkness. You can also locate its exact location in the same way you can an Air Tag, with your iPhone guiding you directly to the case.
The charging case also now incorporates a lanyard loop so that you can attach your case to a bag or just have something tangible to hold onto. Unfortunately, no actual strap is included in the box, and surprisingly, Apple hasn’t made one, but there’s already a few options available and obviously it’s a fairly standard loop.
When it comes to actual sound quality, I never had a huge issue with how the original set sounded, although everything feels that little bit richer and clearer with the AirPods 2 and obviously, takes advantage of Personalised Spatial Audio which uses your iPhone to take capture the shape of your ears to deliver an even more immersive experience.
All-in-all, the AirPods Pro 2nd gen incorporates a bunch of really clever features that all work together to further Apple’s lead in having one of the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market. They’re incredibly easy to use, perform great under noise environments and also sound fantastic.
The Apple AirPods Pro 2nd gen once again puts Apple ahead the pack when it comes to the wireless headphones market. With improved noise cancelling, bigger battery life and great sounding audio, you really can't go wrong with the new AirPods Pro 2nd gen