Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) Design and Build
The AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) largely retains the design of its predecessor, coming in the iconic white color. Its in-ear design ensures a secure fit and effective noise isolation, enhancing active noise cancellation. The controls are intuitive with a force-touch button on each earpiece, allowing for easy playback control and call management. You can also switch between active noise cancellation and transparency modes with a long-press, or activate Siri if you prefer. While the design may not have changed drastically, it’s still a tried-and-true formula.
New Charging Case
One notable update is the introduction of a ‘smart’ charging case, which adds a layer of convenience to your daily use. This case provides efficient charging and protection for your AirPods Pro (2nd Gen).
Stay tuned to explore the sound quality, noise cancellation, and performance improvements in the following sections of this review.
Intuitive Volume Control
The second-generation AirPods Pro introduces a notable convenience with volume control directly on the earpieces. Sliding a finger up or down the force-touch area allows you to adjust the volume effortlessly. This feature minimizes the need to reach for your iPhone, streamlining your listening experience.
Redesigned Charging Case
While the earpieces maintain their familiar design, the charging case of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) has undergone significant changes. It sports a similar shape and size but now features a small looped hook on the right side, allowing you to attach a lanyard for added convenience. The case also boasts MagSafe compatibility for wireless charging and houses a small speaker at the bottom, in addition to the Lightning charging port.
The AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) comes with a host of features, including improved active noise cancellation, quick pairing, seamless device switching across your Apple ecosystem, and personalized Spatial Audio. Spatial Audio leverages your iPhone’s camera to create a customized audio profile, optimizing your listening experience.
In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the active noise cancellation, sound quality, and overall performance of the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen).
Universal Connectivity with iOS Integration
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) maintain their universal Bluetooth connectivity, making them compatible with a wide range of devices. However, to access certain features and customization options, pairing with an iOS device is recommended. The full range of functionalities can be accessed via the device’s Bluetooth settings on iOS.
Enhanced Battery Display and Controls
Upon pairing, the iOS device provides a graphical display of battery levels for both the earpieces and the charging case. Notably, the U1 chip now allows you to check the case’s battery status even when the earpieces are not in use. Key functions at the top of the interface allow you to switch between Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency modes, customize the press-and-hold gesture’s function, and perform an ear tip fit test for an optimal seal.
Additional Features for iOS Users
iOS users can access a range of functions, including enabling Adaptive Transparency mode, which reduces loud sounds even when Transparency mode is active. The ear detection feature now uses a Skin Detect sensor for enhanced accuracy. iOS devices offer optimized battery charging, Find My functionality, and case charging chimes. With iOS 16, the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) settings are available as a dedicated selection within the device settings. Users can also control functions like volume and Spatial Audio directly from the iOS Control Center.
In the subsequent sections, we will explore the performance of the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen), including their sound quality, active noise cancellation, and other noteworthy features.
Optimized Performance for iOS Devices
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) are designed to fully leverage the benefits of Apple’s ecosystem, making them an excellent choice for iPhone users. However, it’s important to note that these earphones may not be the most practical option for those without an iPhone. The seamless integration with iOS devices and comprehensive codec support ensures optimal performance.
Codec Support and Sound Quality
The choice to prioritize iOS compatibility affects the sound quality of the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen). While they offer a high-quality audio experience, they may not match the analytical and detailed sound of alternatives like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3. It’s worth mentioning that the latter options require an Android smartphone for their full potential to be realized. In this context, the original Apple AirPods Pro stand out as the closest competitors to the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen).
In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve deeper into the sound quality and active noise cancellation performance of the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen). Additionally, we’ll assess the battery life and other features that make these earphones stand out in the premium true wireless segment.
Improved Active Noise Cancellation
The AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) incorporates Apple’s H2 chip, which enhances its active noise cancellation (ANC) capabilities compared to the previous generation. The difference is noticeable, and even without music playing, the earphones effectively reduce environmental noise. This reduction is evident both indoors and outdoors, and even non-uniform sounds like train horns and loudspeaker announcements are noticeably quieter with the earphones on.
When listening to music at around 50 percent volume, the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) create an almost isolated listening environment, even in noisy outdoor settings. While the ANC isn’t adjustable, the overall competence of this feature more than makes up for the lack of customization.
Natural Transparency Mode
The transparency mode on the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) offers one of the most natural experiences among true wireless earphones. It feels as if you’re not wearing earphones at all, especially in relatively quiet environments. This feature ensures that you remain aware of your surroundings without compromising your listening experience.
Impressive Call Quality and Connectivity
Call quality on the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) is top-notch, even during extended conversations. The earphones also exhibit stable connectivity at distances of up to 4 meters, providing an excellent user experience. In the subsequent sections, we’ll explore sound quality and the user experience with these premium true wireless earphones.
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) builds on the success of its predecessor, delivering an even more refined and user-friendly experience. While the design remains largely unchanged, the addition of volume control through the force-touch area is a welcome improvement. The active noise cancellation is significantly better, making it highly effective in reducing unwanted ambient sounds. Transparency mode offers a natural listening experience while staying aware of your surroundings. However, the earphones’ full potential is unlocked when used with an iOS device. For iPhone users, the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) is a compelling choice, offering seamless integration and impressive overall performance in a familiar design.