I’ve always been a fan of Apple’s AirPods Pro. And the second generation makes the earbuds even better. I like the better (though still not great) battery life and the Spatial Audio feature, among other things.
Battery life and the new case
Apple says the AirPods Pro 2 offer 1.5 hours of additional listening time over the first generation, for a total of up to six hours with Active Noise Cancellation. Using the case for four additional charges gives you up to 30 hours of total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation (more on that in a minute). After using mine for five days, I find that’s about right.
In other words, the AirPods Pro 2 offers about six hours more than the AirPods Pro 1.
Plus, you can now charge the earbuds with an Apple Watch charger in addition to a MagSafe charger Qi-certified charging mart, or the Lighting cable. Having these options is very convenient when traveling.
Speaking of the new charging case, the AirPods Pro 2 come with charging case that’s sweat- and water-resistant (which is, keep in mind, not the same as waterproof). It includes a lanyard loop; Apple doesn’t make a lanyard for it, but third parties such as InCase do (look for my review of the Incase Lanyard soon).
With what Apple describes as “Precision Finding” folks with a U1-enabled iPhone can locate their charging case with guided directions. The charging case also has a built-in speaker to deliver louder tones, so it’s even easier to locate.
By the way, the U1 is a chip from Apple that allows its more recent iPhone models to precisely locate and communicate with other U1-equipped devices, or other devices that support ultra-wideband. The The iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, and iPhone 14 smartphones include such a chip.
Spatial Audio and better audio
Another feature of the AirPods Pro 2 I really like is Personalized Spatial Audio. With it, you’ll perceive sound individually, based on the size and shape of your head and ears.
For example, using the TrueDepth camera on iPhone, you can create a personal profile for Spatial Audio that delivers a listening experience precisely tuned just for you. This allows you to enjoy Personalized Spatial Audio with music, movies, and TV shows — with dynamic head tracking — across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
What’s more the AirPods Pro 2 pack the new H2 chip that Apple says cancels up to twice as much noise as the previous generation. That and a new low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier team up for offer richer bass and crisp, vibrant sound across a wider range of frequencies.
The H2 chip and enhanced noise-canceling microphones— building on a feature introduced in the first-generation AirPods Pro— feature up to 2x better Active Noise Cancellation. This means less ambient noise creeping into your ear when using Active Noise Cancellation.
Along with Active Noise Cancellation, the AirPods Pro feature Transparency Mode, which uses outward-facing microphones to let you hear the world around you. The new generation kicks things up a notch or two with Adaptive Transparency Mode that reduces loud environmental noise — like a passing vehicle siren, construction tools, or even loud speakers at a concert Better In-Ear Detection — to make using the earbuds even more comfortable.
Speaking of comfort, the new AirPods Pro feature skin-detection sensors for even better in-ear detection. And Apple adds a new extra small ear tip in the box to accommodate more customers.
The new charging case has speaker holes running along its bottom to relay status tones such as low battery or ringer for Apple’s Find My item tracking. You’ll be surprised at how much volume the speakers can pump out: a peak of about 67 decibels. Obviously, you’re not going to be using the case to listen to your tunes (or at least I’m not), but the sound output from such a small device is impressive.
The AirPods Pro 2 are available to order for US$249 from apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app.