As someone who has always appreciated the convenience and innovation of Apple products, I recently upgraded to the second-generation AirPods Pro, and while the update was small and almost unnoticeable cosmetically, I did experience many positives from the upgrade over my time using them so far. The transition to USB-C, aligning with the iPhone 15, marks a significant step towards universal connectivity, making these earbuds even more appealing for the modern Apple user.
At first glance, the design of the AirPods Pro 2 remains faithful to its predecessor, featuring the classic, sleek white exterior. However, the shift from the Lightning port to a USB-C port on the charging case is a noteworthy improvement. This change not only streamlines charging across my Apple devices but also enhances the overall user experience by eliminating the need for multiple cables.
The fit of the earbuds is something that Apple has clearly considered. I found them snug and comfortable, thanks in part to the variety of eartip sizes provided. The earbuds’ active noise cancellation (ANC) and Transparency modes, powered by the new H2 chip, are exceptional. The H2 chip, with its substantial increase in transistor count, offers improved power efficiency and a more stable, effective ANC experience, which I found to be quite impressive during my daily commutes.
Regarding audio performance, the AirPods Pro 2 boast 11mm dynamic drivers, though Apple remains tight-lipped about the specific frequency range. The earbuds support AAC and SBC codecs, but the absence of lossless audio streaming capabilities from Apple Music or other services is a bit disappointing. However, this limitation is somewhat mitigated by the consistent, high-quality audio output that these earbuds deliver.
One of the most convenient features is the seamless pairing with the iPhone. The automatic connection, with a simple tap, is as smooth as ever. I also appreciate the versatility of connecting the earbuds to multiple Apple devices, though the automatic switching between sources can sometimes be more of a nuisance than a help. The on-ear controls are intuitive, offering a range of gestures for playback, call management, and even Siri activation, though it did take me some time to get used to the volume swipe gesture.
The IP54 rating is a subtle but important upgrade, ensuring the earbuds are more resistant to dust and water. This makes them a more viable option for workouts or outdoor activities, although they still aren’t suitable for submersion or intense water exposure.
The carrying case, now with a U1 chip, not only supports wireless charging but also offers enhanced tracking capabilities through the Find My app. This feature is particularly handy for someone like me who tends to misplace small items frequently.
The spatial audio feature, while unchanged in this iteration, remains an intriguing aspect. The ability to create a personalized spatial audio profile using the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone is innovative, though the practicality and impact of this feature on the overall listening experience might vary from person to person. In my case, I found the spatial audio to be more of a novelty than a necessity.
In summary, the second-generation AirPods Pro with USB-C offer a range of incremental but significant improvements over the original model. The enhanced ANC, convenient charging options, and seamless integration with iOS make them a compelling choice for any Apple user. While they may not represent a revolutionary upgrade, the AirPods Pro 2 certainly reinforce Apple’s position in offering a high-quality, user-friendly earphone experience. For those deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem, these earbuds are an excellent choice, deserving of the Editors’ Choice accolade for their effective noise cancellation and seamless software experience.