Apple’s new AirPods Pro 2’s are updated and refreshed. They look nearly identical to the previous iteration, with a friendly and familiar design — but there are some subtle differences that allow you to visually tell the difference between the new and the old. Under the hood is where most of the updates have taken place, with improved sound quality and new drivers and features such as precision finding.
AirPods Pro 2
As is tradition with a lot of Apple products, Apple has kept the refreshed design of the AirPods Pro 2 very similar to their predecessor – with only a few minor design tweaks that make them almost indistinguishable from the first generation. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, with the design being tested and proven the AirPods Pro 2 fit great in my ear and I can wear them all day long without any discomfort or annoyance – this makes them great for wearing in the office or out and about.
The earbuds feature a short stem design, within the stems are the touch controls which can be squeezed to perform customisable functions or adjust the volume. It’s great to see that volume adjustment can now be done directly from the earbuds as it means that I don’t have to worry about getting my phone out my pocket for making basic adjustments to my listening.
The design is also sweat and water resistant, as well as the charging case, meaning that you can take these to the gym or use them in the rain without worry.
The AirPods Pro 2 feature a glossy white plastic design which does a good job of hiding scratches and scuffs that an appear from regular use. My older AirPods 2 case is pretty scratched up at this point, but doesn’t look too bad as it is white. The Pro’s feature a few black design accents for vents as well as a new skin detection sensor for automatic play and pause which works very nicely and is much more responsive than my older AirPods.
The only thing about a white earbud design that does stand out to me in a negative way, is how the white rubber ear tips will age over time and if they will stay white. There’s also an additional smaller size ear tip included so you have more choices to get the best fit – I found the ear tips fitted out of the factory to work well for me.
The charging case has a bunch of new features that are pretty interesting. For finding your AirPods Pro, there’s an integrated speaker to ring out in the Find My app as well as precision finding which works in the same way as an AirTag. There’s also a spot to attach a lanyard loop to the side of the charging case.
The rest of the case is pretty standard, there’s a manual pairing button on the back and the earbuds are held into the case magnetically. It feels durable and well made. I do have to give an honourable mention to the best novelty feature ever – if you have custom engraving on the charging case, this will appear within iOS when you check power status.
With the AirPods Pro 2 being a premium choice for wireless earbuds on the market, you want to make sure they have a fantastic sound that just sounds great from the moment you start using them – and I’m pleased to say that they do, I’ve been really happy with how these earbuds sound.
Apple has done a nice job of balancing the sound across the AirPods Pro 2, one of the main things I noticed with these is that the bass and treble isn’t overpowering or piercingly sharp – something that I have noticed on other earbuds I’ve used in the past. The mid and treble is clear, and vocals sound great. And, when it comes to bass, it still has enough energy to pack a punch but doesn’t overwhelm the other parts of a track this is particularly nice with sub-bass – sounding great for my personal preference.
I’ve found that the earbuds sound great for a range of different genres, whether it be electronic, pop or rock music – they hold up very nicely. Particularly with rocky music as there can usually be quite a bit going on in those tracks, where other earbuds would commonly fall apart (including my normal AirPods) the Pros hold their ground and do a good job of keeping it all together.
Overall, if you can’t tell already, I am really pleased with how these sound and for daily use whilst at work these offer what I’m looking for – I don’t find myself wishing that I’d packed my rucksack to the brim by packing my over-ear headphones so having something that sounds great and can be stowed away in my pocket when I don’t need them is fantastic.
As Apple’s flagship true wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro 2 come packed with features, including the H2 chip as well as active noise cancellation, adaptive transparency and spatial audio modes. To get full use of these features, you’ll want to use them with an iOS device or Mac – however you will be able to pair these to a Windows or Android device via Bluetooth at the sacrifice of some features.
Both the ANC and transparency modes are really good, I pretty much use the AirPods in their ANC mode all the time – this is great when working as it lets me focus on what I need to get done without being distracted by what is going on around me. The transparency mode is the best I’ve ever heard on a pair of headphones or earbuds, there is no white noise at all – it feels as if I’m not even wearing the AirPods, allowing me to be alert but still have a bit of background music going on in the background.
One thing that’s really nice about the ANC and transparency modes is that the AirPods will intelligently switch between modes when you’re only using one of the earbuds – so you’re not noise cancelling once ear, instead, it’ll activate transparency mode, so it feels natural.
The AirPods Pro also feature 3D tracked spatial audio, creating a virtual surround-sound environment around you, whilst this isn’t a feature exclusive to the Pro 2’s and can indeed be found on the Pro 1’s, I thought it’s worth a mention. You can also use your iPhone to 3D scan your ear using lidar to provide a customised profile. The effect is definitely noticeable and recognisable when enabled and does increase the audible soundstage of what I am listening to – although I only use this feature sparingly, most of the time I’m listening with it turned off.
I’ve used the AirPods Pro 2 a number of times to make calls on the phone, FaceTime and Zoom and they have worked great – I’m able to get clear audio from the earbuds that pick up my voice well and let the person on the other end of the call hear me without issue. If microphone quality is your focus, a decent wired microphone will still come out on top, but if you’re looking for something that’ll get the job done, these will have you sorted.
The battery life on the AirPods Pro 2 have been great, with up to 6 hours of listening on a single charge, the earbuds charge automatically in their case when not in use and the case will give me up to 30 hours of listening time. I’ve found this claim to be accurate as I am using the earbuds pretty much all day at work and find myself only needing to charge the case once, maybe twice, a week.
When it’s time to charge the case up, this can be done in a bunch of different ways. The case supports the Apple Watch charger, MagSafe, Qi wireless charging or via Lightning – yep, Lightning.
The choice of Lightning is a bit perplexing as Apple has moved pretty much their entire line-up aside from the iPhone and AirPods to USB Type-C at this point but seeing as Apple just released a USB Type-C iPad that supports an Apple Pencil that charges via Lightning, it seems the choice of port is a bit perplexing in Cupertino at the moment.
Either way, the addition of the Apple Watch charger is a welcome one, as it means that I can pop my AirPods on my watch charger without having to have another charger set up.
The AirPods Pro 2’s are Apple’s pair of flagship true wireless earbuds with flagship performance to match. They certainly aren’t cheap, however they sound great and offer an experience that I am really happy with and are really comfortable to use all day long.
If you’re not planning to use them with an Apple device, it is probably best to still steer away from these as you’ll miss out on the deep software integration that Apple offers to keep you hooked, such as audio sharing and quick device switching. Overall, these are a really nice package and I’m happy with my purchase, so I would recommend them if you’re interested in getting them for yourself.