You should understand AirPods Pro 2 new features before deciding whether to upgrade or switch to it.
As the 2nd generation of AirPods Pro, you'd expect many cool new improvements and upgrades in the AirPods Pro 2 (aka AirPods Pro 2nd Gen).
This AirPods guide explains the major AirPods Pro 2 new features you should know, including the H2 chip, touch control, skin-detection sensor, adaptive transparency mode, improved noise cancellation, personalized spatial audio, longer battery life, a speaker and U1 chip in the case.
Update: with the release of iOS 17, some new features were added to AirPods Pro 2, including mute and unmute, adaptive mode, conversation awareness, and personalized volume. Please read this guide for a detailed explanation of these new features in iOS 17.
H2 chip is the heart of AirPods Pro 2.
Most of the AirPods Pro 2 new features and improvements can be traced back to the new chip.
AirPods Pro 2 is the first AirPods powered by the latest H2 chip. Most of the AirPods Pro 2 new features rely on this new chip.
Apple did not release the technical specs of the H2 (and H1) chips. But the improvements can be read from the claimed 2x noise cancelling capability, adaptive transparency mode, better sound quality, and lower power consumption (longer playtime).
Please note AirPods Pro 2 still does not support any advanced codec, e.g., aptX or LDAC. So, you are still limited by the AAC regardless of the music source. In comparison, Galaxy phones with Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can enjoy Hi-Fi level music with Samsung Seamless Codec. Sony WF-1000XM4/XM5 with Android phones can even enjoy Hi-Res audio with the LDAC codec.
Although AirPods Pro 2 looks similar to AirPods Pro with stems, touch controls were added to AirPods Pro 2's stems.
Instead of relying on pressing force sensors, AirPods Pro 2 adds touch sensors and therefore, you can have more controls from the stem.
One of the most welcomed new controls from the touch sensor is volume adjustment. You can swipe up and down to adjust the volume for AirPods Pro 2. Previously, you had to ask Siri or open the phone to adjust the volume for the AirPods and AirPods Pro.
Touch control is one of the most anticipated AirPods Pro 2 new features.
- RICHER AUDIO EXPERIENCE – The Apple-designed H2 chip pushes advanced audio performance even further, resulting in smarter noise cancellation and more immersive sound. The low-distortion, custom-built driver delivers crisp, clear high notes and deep, rich bass in stunning definition. So every sound is more vivid than ever..Note : If the size of the earbud tips does not match the size of your ear canals or the headset is not worn properly in your ears, you may not obtain the correct sound qualities or call performance. Change the earbud tips to ones that fit more snugly in your ear
- NEXT-LEVEL ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION – Up to 2x more Active Noise Cancellation than the previous AirPods Pro for dramatically less noise on your commute, or when you want to focus. Adaptive Transparency lets you comfortably hear the world around you, adjusting for intense noise—like sirens or construction—in real time.
- CUSTOMIZABLE FIT – Now with four pairs of silicone tips (XS, S, M, L) to fit a wider range of ears and provide all-day comfort. The tips create an acoustic seal to help keep out noise and secure AirPods Pro in place.
- SOUND ALL AROUND – Personalized Spatial Audio surrounds you in sound tuned just for you. It works with dynamic head tracking to immerse you deeper in music and movies.
- HIGHER LEVEL OF CONTROL – Now you can swipe the stem to adjust volume. Press it to play and pause music or to answer and end a call, or hold it to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive Transparency.
- A LEAP IN BATTERY LIFE – Up to 6 hours of listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled — 33% more than AirPods Pro (1st generation). With the charging case, you can get 30 hours of total listening time with Active Noise Cancellation enabled — 6 hours longer than AirPods Pro (1st generation).
Apple replaced the optical (proximity) sensors with new skin-detection sensors to check whether the earbuds are in your ear or not.
The new skin-detection sensor offers more accurate in-ear detection.
Adaptive transparency mode
Adaptive transparency mode sits in between the normal transparency mode and normal (full) active noise cancelling (ANC),
Basically, the adaptive transparency mode lets you hear better in a noisy environment (e.g., on a busy street) when using the pass-through (transparency) mode. It reduces ambient noises like sirens or loudspeakers without affecting other sounds.
Better Active Noise Cancellation
Apple claimed AirPods Pro 2 offers 2X noise cancelling, compared to the original AirPods Pro.
This is a marketing gimmick.
2X noise cancelling is not as significant as you expected. For example, if the original AirPods can cancel 50dB noise, 2x means 53dB, NOT 100dB.
In fact, because the decibels are logarithmic (of the energy level), 2x means 10*log10(2)=3.01 dB only.
So, if Apple claimed 3dB more noise cancellation, most people would laugh. But once they convert the 3dB to 2X, many reviewers feel it is a big improvement.
Personalised Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking
The personalized Spatial Audio feature was first introduced on the AirPods 3. With iPhone's front camera, the software on iOS 16 can map out the shape of your head and ears to create a personal Spatial Audio profile tailored for you.
You need to be very patient when using your iPhone to scan your ears, especially when capturing left and right ears. Some users feel frustrated due to the lack of guidance when scanning the right or left sides of the head/ear because they cannot see the screen.
However, once you finish the process, the profile will be synced to all other devices.
Do not confuse this personalized spatial audio with the personalized volume added to AirPods Pro 2 in iOS 17
Longer battery life
Thanks to the new H2 chip, AirPods Pro 2 can increase the play time from 4.5 hours to 6 hours with ANC on with a single charge. So, the battery life is similar to the latest Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and significantly longer than Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro (5 hours).
The case offers another 4 charges. So, the total play time is about 30 hours with the case. It is longer than Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (24 hours in total) and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro (18 hours in total).
Case With Speaker, U1 chip and MagSafe
The AirPods Pro 2 case has some very useful upgrades, including:
- U1 chip.
- MagSafe charger support.
- Holes for a lanyard.
The added speaker in the case lets you play sounds when you need to locate it. U1 chip makes the case discoverable by Find My network.
In the past, you could only play sounds on the buds. When the buds are inside the case, it is often hard to hear. The speaker and the U1 chip in the case solved this issue completely.
In addition to the lighting port on the case and Qi wireless charging, the case now also supports MagSafe. You can even use the Apple Watch charge to charge the case.
Another handy improvement is the lanyard loop which allows you to attach the case to a backpack or handbag.
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