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Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation Review

By Best Smart Home Reviews

18th January 2023

Back in October Apple announced and released the 2nd Generation of their AirPods. In our Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation review we share our thoughts on the new AirPods Pro.

If you’re thinking about upgrading then keep an eye on the blog as our 1st vs 2nd generation comparison review will be arriving next week. You can also subscribe on YouTube.

What are Apple AirPods Pro?

The AirPods Pro 2nd generation are the 2nd generation (unsurprisingly!) of the Apple AirPods Pro which are Apple’s premium in-ear earphones. They were announced in October 2022 and have a lot of improvements over the 1st generation and a few new features.

Wireless earbuds allow you to easily stream music form your devices without using a cable and with no trailing cable between your ears and have become the go-to type of earbuds for many people over the last few years.

What’s new with the AirPods Pro 2nd Generation?

On the surface not a lot looks new, in fact, sit them next to the 1st generation and you’d barely tell the different but there are a few key differences.

An improved case

The new case for the AirPods Pro now has a built-in speaker which allows it to make a noise when you charge it or if you lose it and need to use a ‘Find My’ mode. The case also has a new magnetic port on the side for lanyard attachments.

The improved battery life of both the case and AirPods gives you up to 30 hours use with noise cancellation equating to 6 hours from one charge on the AirPods pro and 24 hours worth of charging from the case. This means, even when using these every day I’m only charging them about once a fortnight.

The new ‘Find My’ mode on the case gives you the same features as Apple’s AirTags. This allows you to find your AirPods with precision if you lose them or just the case.

The new H2 Chip

The new H2 chip inside the AirPods Pro allows for improved audio quality, better battery life, improved transparency mode and 2x better noise cancellation.

How much do the 2nd Generation AirPods Pro cost?

At £250 the 2nd Generation AirPods Pro aren’t cheap but with earphones the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true and my first generation Apple AirPods Pro are still going strong after a few years and, given that they get used at least 5 out of 7 days a week this is pretty good!

AirPods Pro 2nd Generation Review – Setting Up

Over the last few years Apple have perfected the art of setting up a device and setting these up is as simple as opening them near your phone (or Mac/iPad). A little window pops up and you click ‘Connect’. You can then name them and you’re done!

From that point they’re available on all the Apple devices linked to your Apple ID allowing for easy switching between devices.

So, let’s talk about using these and talk about transparency mode, noise cancellation and sound quality

Transparency Mode becomes Adaptive Transparency

The H2 chip allows for the all new adaptive transparency mode which replaces the existing transparency mode. For those who don’t know, transparency mode uses the built in microphones to relay what’s going on around you in real time allowing you to hear your surroundings…this is great for avoiding the ‘goldfish bowl’ effect you get with in-ear earphones and allows you to have conversations and be aware of your surroundings without removing your AirPods.

As a runner, this is essential for me so that I know what’s going on around me when running near/on roads.

The new adaptive transparency mode is absolutely incredible and a massive step up! The H2 chip allows your surroundings to be analysed 24,000 times per second and the volume of your surroundings is effectively balanced out. This means, if you’re using transparency mode and walk past a building site with lots of drilling that noise is made quieter in real time, allowing you to hear what’s going on without it being a massive disturbance.

Noise Cancellation

On their website Apple claim the 2nd Generation AirPod’s Pro noise cancellation is 2 times better. Whether the noise cancellation is actually 2 times better is difficult to gauge is tricky but it’s certainly better.

I’ve tested this out on flights and when I just need some quiet space and whether you’re listening to music, a podcast or just using the noise cancellation without any audio playing it does a great job at blocking out the noise around you.

What’s the sound quality of the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation like?

The sound quality on these is excellent offering plenty of volume, a great balance of lows, mids and highs and is certainly (and audibly) better than the already great-sounding 1st generation of AirPods Pro.

Apple offer several modes for audio. A normal mode, spacial audio and head-tracked spacial audio. All 3 modes sound great although, personally, I dislike head-tracked spacial audio.

It’s also worth mentioning the new personalised spacial audio profile which you can set up via the AirPod settings. This allows you to use your phone cameras to build up a picture of your head and process spacial audio based on your head.

All in all, when it comes to sound quality these are incredible and I notice parts of songs that I’ve been listening to for years that I’ve never noticed before.

AirPods Pro 2nd Generation Review: Everything Else

There are also are few other things worth talking about:

Making and receiving phone calls on the new AirPods is a clearer experience with an improved microphone.

The new swipe feature on the AirPods to adjust volume is a nice extra but a bit fiddly to get used to. The click to activate Siri, play/pause, answer/end calls is still there!

They now come with new extra-small silicone tips. This gives you a choice of 4 tip shapes to cover most ear sizes.

Finally, they are still IPX4 sweat and water resistant which is great for exercising with them.

AirPods Pro 2nd Generation – Our Verdict

Whilst Apple’s keynote didn’t make it sound like there was much of an upgrade with the 2nd generation AirPod Pros they actually pack in a huge amount with improved sound quality, incredible transparency mode and a nicely updated noise cancellation mode.

The ‘Find My’, speaker and improved battery life of the case are also very welcome additions and we think the AirPods Pro 2nd Generation are a great pair of wireless earbuds.

You can pick some up here.

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