I honestly didn’t think we would get a new pair of AirPods Pro. Although I was fine with the first one, there were some aspects that could be better. These buds weren’t know for their sound quality, and not all updates. (I noticed that the last few updates did impact ANC for me.) Good thing we got the 2nd-generation AirPods Pro alongside the new iPhones last September. (I’ll be calling them the AirPods Pro 2 for the rest of the review.) Despite all the flashy new upgrades in the new iPhones, I think that these new earbuds are Apple’s best product of 2022. Find out why in my full review.
Disclaimer: I purchased the AirPods Pro 2 from The Loop on December 11, 2022. Since then, these earbuds have been my daily drivers for over 2 months now.
Unlike the first-gen AirPods Pro, the box of the 2nd-gen ditches the plastic wrap for the pull tab setup. We do get the usual stuff inside: manuals, a Lightning to USB-C cable, and 3 more sets of eartips. We now get a new extra-small (XS) ear tip size alongside the small (S), and large (L) ear tips. As usual, the medium (M) ear tips are pre-installed on the buds themselves.
Besides the additional eartips and the paper packaging, we just got the usual stuff in the box.
Design and Comfort
If I just showed you this picture, then you would have no idea which one is the new one. Apple did a good job with the overall size and weight of the original AirPods Pro that I didn’t expect much change there. The company did add a lot of things to the charging case.
I’ll focus first on the changes we see on the outside. We now get a lanyard loop that (obviously) lets you attach a lanyard to the case. There’s also a speaker on the bottom right part of the case that’s used for Find My functionality.
In terms of comfort, it’s actually no different from the 1st-gen ones. I really don’t get that pressurized feeling while using these buds. It also helps that the buds themselves are light. There were times when I would wear these for nearly a full day and I would forget they’re in my ears. If you were already into the AirPods Pro, you should have no problem here.
Most of the controls of the AirPods Pro 2 stay the same. The new controls we get is a heavily-requested one: volume controls! On the touch-sensitive area of the stem, you can swipe up and down to adjust the volume. I think they work well but sometimes these controls clash with the pinch to change to ANC or Transparency Mode.
I never considered any Apple audio products to have really good sound quality. (The AirPods Max could be really good but I personally haven’t tried it.) This would be the first time that my opinions on that changes.
One of the aspects that really got a boost in the AirPods Pro 2 is in the sound quality. With the custom-built driver and amplifier working with the Apple H2 chip, there’s lower distortion during playback. I did compare the second-gen to the first-gen AirPods Pro and there’s really a noticeable step up in quality. The most noticeable parts are definitely with the bass. I also notice the highs, especially having more emphasized vocals. Listening to podcasts also got more satisfying as I can hear the voices clearer. Also helping out the sound quality of these buds is Adaptive EQ. These buds will adjust the
It also helps that the better sound quality is paired with better ANC.
ANC and Transparency Mode
When I first used ANC with the 1st-gen AirPods Pro, I already thought it was good enough. Some wireless earbuds actually came close (or even tie the AirPods), but I always found them good enough. That’s until I tried the 2nd-gen AirPods Pro.
The active noise cancellation on these are basically better in every way. Sometimes it would scare me since I wouldn’t hear my surroundings especially when I cross the road. (DO NOT DO THIS.) It’s especially useful when you’re in a coffee shop and it happens to be really loud while you’re there. You can barely hear most of the noise and only sounds that tend to vary get in. (Those sounds aren’t even that loud, so I don’t mind at all.) If you do need to cross the road, that’s where Transparency Mode kicks in. I don’t know why other brands haven’t figured out how to do this mode properly. Apple is simply the best at doing transparency mode and that only got better with AirPods Pro 2.
I especially appreciate the new Adaptive Transparency feature on these buds. With help from the H2 chip, it can reduce loud sounds in order to help protect your ears. This feels subtle at first, but made an impact to me after I put the buds back in the case. It’s also nice that you can use the Noise app on the Apple Watch to check if the AirPods reduced the noise level for you.
Apple may just use tech in a really clever way, but these kinds of features feel magical.
I almost forgot to put this section in the review. This is because the battery life of the AirPods Pro 2 is so good that I tend to forget to charge the case! Apple claims that the battery life of each bud is 6 hours of listening time and 4.5 hours of talk time. That’s even with ANC on! It does go down to 5.5 hours when Spatial Audio and Head Tracking are enabled. The case provides extra juice with up to 30 hours of listening time and 24 hours of talk time.
Six hours is more than enough for my use. I almost never run out of battery before I put the buds in the case. With my use, I charge the case once or twice a week depending on how much I use the buds. Charging the case isn’t much of an issue for me since I am able to use my MagSafe and Apple Watch chargers at home.
Like the first-gen ones, the AirPods Pro 2 still have all the Apple ecosystem features you know and love.
From the initial pairing setup to the automatic connection switching between Apple devices, you are sure to find them here. The noteworthy updates are mostly related to the upgrades in the charging case. Besides the AirPods themselves, the charging case also gets Find My functionality. Spatial Audio and Personalized Spatial Audio are also present but only work with supported apps like Apple Music, Apple TV app, and Netflix.
One thing that really improved over the first-gen AirPods Pro is that automatic connection switching. It no longer feels like a chore whenever I use the AirPods Pro 2 between my iPhone and my Mac. It would be nice to
Should You Buy the AirPods Pro 2?
I’ll just get this out of the way: if you don’t own an iPhone, don’t even bother getting the AirPods Pro 2. You are better off getting other wireless earbuds that are cheaper that offer almost the same features. If Apple wants to capture the non-Apple crowd with its wireless earbuds (which I don’t see the company doing), then it should at least put out a dedicated AirPods app for non-Apple devices.
But if you’re deep into the Apple ecosystem like me, then you’ll have a great time with the AirPods Pro 2. The significant boost in sound quality and ANC really cement these buds as my daily drivers. Adaptive Transparency is a game-changer in a sense that I’d rather wear the AirPods Pro 2 when I’m just out and about. There may be wireless earbuds that have slightly better ANC or sound quality, but I value the ecosystem features a lot.
At P14,990 in Apple’s Online Store and P15,990 in Philippine Apple resellers, I still think these are pricey. I did manage to use the first-gen AirPods Pro for almost 3 years and still work for me. These are better in almost every way and I would keep using them for the next 3 years.
- A fully-featured charging case
- The addition of an extra small (XS) ear tip
- Support for MagSafe and Apple Watch chargers
- Overall better sound quality
- Better ANC and Transparency mode
- Adaptive Transparency is subtle at first, but really helps protect your hearing
- IPX4 water and dust resistance on both the buds and case
- All the Apple ecosystem-related features
- Same design as 1st-gen
- Case still scratches up a lot
- Only comes in white
- Find My functionality can be spotty
- Poor support for non-Apple devices