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AirPods Pro 2: first impressions of the new Apple headphones

You may think that the new AirPods Pro 2 look very similar to the original AirPods Pro, but many things make these true wireless earbuds a big draw for many people.

Whether it’s the new and vastly improved noise cancellation, the extra speakers in the case to make them much harder to miss, or the improved transparency mode for chatting with your friends, there are plenty of reasons to upgrade from the previous AirPods Pro (2019). . .

Of course, they are a bit more expensive than the previous AirPods Pro. The price of the previous model has come down a lot and will continue to go down as the remaining stock is sold, so if you plan to make this purchase today you will have to pay more for the new ones. functionality, then you will have to decide if you need it.

AirPods Pro 2: price and release date

AirPod Pro 2

If you want to get the new AirPods Pro, you will have to pay €299, you can reserve them from September 9th and they will be shipped from September 23rd.

This price is 20 euros more than the previous model, which launched at 279 euros in Spain. However, as mentioned above, the older model is on sale in non-Apple stores.

In the current situation, it would have been nice of Apple to keep the previous starting price, since almost all new flagship headphones have increased their price. They’re priced high, no doubt, but they’ve taken advantage of inflation to, perhaps, adjust the limit too high.

AirPods Pro 2: design

Image of AirPods Pro 2 in action during launch

The design changes to AirPods Pro 2 are surprisingly subtle, considering the dramatic improvement in the overall performance of these headphones.

AirPod Pro 2

Pre-launch rumors suggested these true wireless earbuds could ditch the stems and opt for a flat, in-ear “diamond” style, but the stems remain and are part of how Apple’s latest earphones work.

As for the earbuds themselves, aside from the slight mic alteration and some black accents, the AirPods Pro 2 look identical to their predecessors. If you’re going to buy them to show you have the latest Apple gear, not everyone is going to appreciate that you’re up to date.

AirPod Pro 2

However, while the case looks the same as its predecessors, there are also several key changes.

First of all, at the base of the AirPods Pro 2 case, there are four dots: one to the right and three to the left of the Lightning charging port (which will surely be one of the last times Apple will use this connector).

They’re an acoustic output and speaker, so if you lose your AirPods Pro 2, you can trigger a “Find My” request from your phone to find them. It’s quite loud in testing, and considering we’ve lost such a case for nearly a week in the past due to being unable to hear it indoors, this is a worthwhile measure.

AirPod Pro 2

Now also IPX4 waterproof (meaning it can withstand splashes and sweat), the case has a small lanyard clip on the side, so you can loop it through a holder and hang AirPods Pro 2 from a bag or belt.

This was an amazing addition Apple made on a “user comfort” basis, not something we saw coming, but if you like to show off your AirPods Pro or want to wear the case around your neck… here it is.

When we first saw it, we expected it to serve as a base for headphones, acting as a microphone to make it easier to hear the conversation… but that’s not the case, since there’s no microphone on board.

AirPods Pro 2: sound

Apple has made huge strides in the sound quality of the AirPods Pro 2, adding new drivers, amplifiers, and much improved active noise cancellation, and the effect is quite amazing.

After using the AirPods Pro for several years, it’s clear that the audio quality is much richer than before, with the bass in particular much more vibrant.

Image of AirPods Pro 2 in action during launch

The rest of the soundscape seems large and expansive, but “rich” is the best adjective we can use when listening to these new AirPods Pro 2. Although, sadly, they do not support lossless audio, despite the numerous rumors about this in the preparation phase, the overall sound quality when watching a video or listening to Apple Music in our tests made a noticeable difference from the previous model (which is still quite good).

The other impressive thing was the aforementioned noise cancellation. While it’s still very good in the original AirPods Pro, it’s been beaten by other rivals in the three years since its release, but thanks to the built-in H2 chip, you can now barely hear things you don’t want to when ANC is on.

The effect is truly amazing: if you listen to music while someone is talking to you, you’ll normally hear part of the conversation, but now it’s virtually inaudible. In tests conducted with simulated airplane sounds, they were completely impossible to hear.

It makes music much more immersive, and Apple’s claims that it made noise cancellation twice as effective as before are entirely credible.

AirPods Pro 2: Adaptive transparency mode

AirPod Pro 2

There have also been some improvements to Transparency mode, where you can hear the outside world when you long-press one of the sticks during use.

Speech processing is now much more natural, and it’s possible to carry on a conversation without realizing you’re wearing Apple’s new earphones, even if that might sound a little rude. This is a feature added by various brands, such as Sony, which does something similar automatically with its over-ear headphones, but it certainly works in this case.

Apple also claims that thanks to the H2 chip, it can automatically offer “Adaptive Transparency”. So if you’re using Transparency when you’re walking down the street and a vehicle with a siren passes by, AirPods Pro will automatically lower the sound without removing it completely (in case you need to hear it as a warning).

This is a complex feature that we should test in the real world, as it was not possible in print tests.

The stems also add a new feature: you can finally control the volume of your music from your AirPods Pro. While holding the stems, slide a finger up or down the edge, which can feel your touch across the new capacitive surface.

While this feature is nice to have (and was one of the most anticipated, despite being a minor change), it’s probably the weakest addition as a result. Changing the volume significantly requires several “presses” of the headphones, and it would have been nice to have a situation where longer presses would raise or lower the volume more quickly, or perhaps you could press and hold to raise and hold.

We didn’t get a chance to test Custom Spatial Audio on the AirPods Pro 2, which scans your head and ear and delivers enhanced custom sound. This feature made it to the latest iteration of the “standard” AirPods, and it would be interesting if it worked better with the new Pro 2 earbuds, as we weren’t convinced by the other AirPods in the test.

AirPods Pro 2: Battery

AirPod Pro 2

The last improvement of the AirPods Pro is the battery life: thanks mainly to the more efficient H2 chip (compared to the original H1 of the old AirPods), the Pro 2 headphones can last six hours on a single charge when using the ANC, and seven hours without.

The case can charge the AirPods Pro 2 five times, so you get 30 hours of use in ANC mode, which is a big jump from the previous 24 hours of use.

Plus, you can charge the case in a new way: using an Apple Watch charger. This is something that makes a lot of sense, especially considering that Apple intends to get people to think of AirPods as a fundamental part of having a watch since you can easily listen to and control music from your doll screen.

AirPods Pro 2: first conclusions

AirPod Pro 2

The AirPods Pro 2 aren’t cheap, just like their predecessors, but what they offer is a real breakthrough. The ease with which they connect to all your Apple gadgets would be enough to convince most people to buy them, but the fact that you get much better audio, better noise cancellation, volume control, and much more make it a worthwhile purchase. easy…if you can afford it.

The new AirPods Pro 2 are definitely in “great gift” territory if you’re thinking about buying them for a loved one. You’ll need to save some time to get this upgrade from your current true wireless earbuds, as they’re not cheap at all.

Still (and we need to do some more extensive testing to validate these first impressions) what’s on offer appears to be a worthwhile investment, thanks to the improved feature set and audio quality. These headphones look like potential leaders for our list of the best noise-canceling headphones.

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