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Exploring The Enhanced Features Of AirPods Pro 2 (2023)

Apple has updated the AirPods Pro line. Not the third-generation AirPods altogether, but an improved version of the original AirPods. In addition to replacing the Lightning connector with the USB-C connector, the new AirPods Pro 2 (2023) have a number of other enhancements.

Tom Mohamed
Nov 10, 20239258 Shares165323 Views
Apple has updated the AirPods Pro line. Not the third-generation AirPods altogether, but an improved version of the original AirPods. In addition to replacing the Lightning connector with the USB-C connector, the new AirPods Pro 2 (2023)have a number of other enhancements.
The AirPods Pro 2 (2023) with USB-C charging, which were just revealed at Apple's September Wonderlust event, went on sale on September 22, 2023. They will be the only AirPods Pro 2 model available on Apple retail shelves from now on.
However, they will not completely replace the older model everywhere at once, and you will continue to see the older 2022 AirPods Pro with the Lightning charger for sale at your local electronics outlet for the foreseeable future.
Is it worth buying up the older AirPods Pro 2 before they go, with their window of availability soon approaching? And what if you have an earlier model and want to upgrade? Is it worth it?

Differences Between AirPods Pro 2 Models

When it comes to Apple's AirPods, choosing the right model can be a challenging decision, especially when there are incremental upgrades.
Are you contemplating switching from the original Lightning port model to the new USB-C variant? We'll dissect the key disparities between the two to help you make an informed choice.

The Charging Port And IP Rating

The most conspicuous difference between the two AirPods Pro 2 models lies in the charging port. While it may affect the number of cables you need to carry, it doesn't significantly impact the earbuds' battery performance.
Apple has listed an IP54 dust-proof rating for the newer AirPods Pro 2, which may be due to extended certification testing. If you work in dusty environments, the new model might be a safer bet.

Lossless Audio Support (for Vision Pro)

The second advantage of opting for the newer AirPods Pro 2 is their lossless audio support. However, it's essential to note that this support is currently limited.
Apple specifies that this feature will work with the Apple Vision Pro headset, set to launch in the coming months. For lossless audio to function, both devices must have an H2 Wireless Chip and the requisite software.
While the ability to play lossless audio is a significant selling point, the limitation to pairing it with the Vision Pro is somewhat disappointing. We hope that Apple will expand this feature to iPhones and iPads in the future, but this remains unconfirmed.

Acoustic Architecture

One intriguing aspect of the AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C charging is the potential difference in acoustic architecture. The impact on your music experience is yet to be determined.
Some have reported a slight improvement in audio quality with the newer model, but it might be subtle. Audiophiles might want to consider the new version, but casual listeners might not notice a significant distinction.

Price

Depending on where you shop, you might find variations in pricing between the two models. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Case (USB‑C) is generally priced at $249, while the older AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) costs $199. Saving $50 is noteworthy, and the price gap may widen further during clearance sales.
Some retailers, like Best Buy, maintain the same $199 price tag for both models. Thus, it's essential to compare prices across different sellers.
Two pairs of AirPods Pro
Two pairs of AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro 2 (2023) Design

The design of the AirPods Pro has always been a strong suit, and the AirPods Pro 2 maintain that winning aesthetic. Externally, these new Pros look almost identical to their predecessors. The dimensions and weight remain the same, giving you that sleek, minimalist look.
However, there are two key additions. Firstly, a capacitive touch sensor on the back of the earbuds now allows you to control the volume with simple swipes up and down. This makes the AirPods Pro 2 the only AirPods in the lineup to have external volume control – a feature users have longed for.
Secondly, 'skin-detection' sensors have replaced the IR optical sensors present in the first-generation AirPods Pro. These new sensors, also used in AirPods 3, offer improved in-ear detection and prevent accidental activation when stowed in a bag or pocket.
For those with smaller ears, Apple has thoughtfully included XS ear tips in addition to the S, M, and L options. These earbuds are still rated at IPX4 for water resistance, which means they can handle splashes of water, though submerging them is not advised (so don't take them into the shower).
The case of the AirPods Pro 2 has received some updates as well. Like its predecessor, it supports MagSafe charging. Apple has added 'Find My' support through a U1 chip, a speaker for low battery alerts (useful when trying to locate them), and a lanyard loop. Unfortunately, the wired charging is still done via a Lightning port, despite USB-C becoming more prevalent in Apple's product range.

AirPods Pro 2 (2023) Features & Performance

The AirPods Pro 2 are equipped with a new low-distortion driver, similar to the Beats Fit Pro, and an upgraded amplifier. This combination, according to Apple, delivers more detailed and clear sound across the entire frequency spectrum. Even casual listeners will likely notice this improvement.
While the Sony WF-1000XM4 is still considered the gold standard for pure audio enjoyment, the AirPods Pro 2 certainly hold their own. Keep in mind that sound quality can be a subjective preference, and you are unlikely to be disappointed with the AirPods Pro 2's audio performance.
The brains behind the AirPods Pro 2 are powered by Apple's new H2 chip, which promises to deliver 2x more effective active noise cancellation (ANC) compared to the H1 chip in the original AirPods Pro.
As a result, the AirPods Pro 2 provide ANC performance that matches some of the best (and most expensive) earbuds on the market, such as the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.
Apple has also overhauled the Transparency mode in the AirPods Pro 2, thanks to the H2 chip. This new mode, known as 'Adaptive Transparency,' can react to sudden external noise spikes, such as sirens or power tools, while still allowing you to be aware of your surroundings.
This improvement takes an already excellent feature from the original AirPods Pro to a new level, arguably making the AirPods Pro 2 a class-leading choice for wireless earbuds.
Finally, the AirPods Pro 2 feature an upgrade from Bluetooth 5.0 to Bluetooth 5.3, which offers advantages such as lower power consumption, reduced interference, improved security, and more reliable connectivity.

AirPods Pro 2 (2023) Battery Life

Battery life is a key aspect of any wireless earbuds. Here's how the AirPods Pro 2 compare to their predecessor:
  • AirPods Pro - ANC on - Up to 5 hours of listening time; ANC off - Up to 5 hours; Talk time - Up to 3.5 hours; Up to 24 hours total usage with the charging case.
  • AirPods Pro 2- ANC on - Up to 6 hours of listening time; ANC off - Up to 7.5 hours; Talk time - Up to 4.5 hours; Up to 30 hours total usage with the charging case.
These improvements in battery life make the AirPods Pro 2 one of the longest-lasting ANC earbuds on the market. While they don't quite match the Sony WF-1000XM4's battery life (8 hours with ANC on, 12 hours with ANC off), the AirPods Pro 2 offer a strong balance between performance and portability.
Additionally, the AirPods Pro 2 case can be charged using an Apple Watch charger, an added convenience not present in the original AirPods Pro.

Audio And Calling Performance

While both sets of headphones provide excellent call quality and acceptable audio quality, the AirPods Pro 2 offer superior sound quality. The stereo image is more clearly delineated, the sound quality is higher, and the bass is deeper and more impactful. They also provide custom Spatial Audio, albeit our testing has shown no significant improvement as a result.
Both sets are excellent for making calls, but the new ones appear to have an advantage in really loud environments. I put them through their paces with my hearing-impaired mother close to a busy construction site, and they performed well.
Sony's WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 are two examples of superior headphones in this price range when it comes to sound quality. Although the new sound is not as good as the old, the improvements are enough to give the most recent pair another victory.

Noise Canceling And Transparency Mode

As the saying goes, here is where everything changes. The AirPods Pro 2's improved noise cancellation is superior than that of almost every other set we've tried.
The AirPods are on par with or outperform other high-end headphones in terms of noise cancellation across frequencies, such as the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. Even when compared to the best over-ear noise canceling headphones, Sony's WH-1000XM5, they hold their own.
This is a significant improvement over the previous generation of AirPods Pro. The only headphones we tested that performed better than the newest AirPods Pro were Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds 2 (while I haven't put them in my ears to evaluate them myself, Reviewed's Tech Managing Editor John Higgins has).
Apple's engineers credit the new H2 silicon for the remarkable performance boost, which is especially noteworthy since the new AirPods maintain the same small chassis and lightweight.
Similarly, the new Adaptive Transparency mode not only restricts the loudest noises in your area to help filter out potentially harmful environmental sounds, but it also sounds crisper, more natural, and less stopped up than the previous version.
Neither Reviewed nor Apple recommends the AirPods Pro 2 for ear protection, but I used them at a loud football game and a concert, and they were almost as effective as my own handmade earplugs.

AirPods Pro 2 (2023) Price

The AirPods Pro 2 maintains the same $249 price tag as their predecessor. They remain one of the few Apple products that have not seen a price increase since 2019. Additionally, you can often find these earbuds on sale for around $200.
In comparison to the competition, the AirPods Pro 2 are priced lower than the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, both retailing at $279.
They are slightly more expensive than Google's well-regarded Pixel Buds Pro at $200. However, it's essential to consider that each of these earbuds caters to different ecosystems, so your choice should align with your specific needs.

FAQs - AirPods Pro 2 (2023)

Will There Be A New AirPods Pro In 2023?

Apple updated the AirPods Pro, which had debuted in September 2022, with the release of the AirPods Pro 2. Apple didn't alter the look of the AirPods Pro 2, but the new headphones now connect via USB-C instead of the Lightning connector.

Are AirPods Pro 2nd Generation The Same As AirPods Pro 2?

AirPods Pro 2 is what Apple now refers to its second-generation model as, but I'll just call them "AirPods Pro 2" for short. The first generation of AirPods Pro is now out of stock.

Are The AirPods Pro 2nd Gen Better?

Apple's updated AirPods Pro have the same classic design as the original model but provide a few minor upgrades. The updated H2 chip from Apple results in superior noise cancellation and battery life, while the U1 chip and built-in speaker allow for pinpoint case location.

Final Words

The AirPods Pro 2 (2023), with their advanced features, represent a significant step forward for Apple's wireless earbuds lineup. If you value top-notch noise cancellation, a customizable fit, and an immersive audio experience, these earbuds are a worthy investment.
The AirPods Pro 2 represent a comprehensive upgrade over their predecessors. With enhancements in design, sound quality, active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and battery life, they cater to both audiophiles and everyday users alike.
The addition of the H2 chip significantly boosts their performance, and the familiar, sleek design ensures they retain their iconic look.
If you're considering an upgrade and value high-quality audio and features like noise cancellation and transparency mode, the AirPods Pro 2 are certainly worth the investment.
While the original AirPods Pro still offer decent performance, the AirPods Pro 2's improvements make them a standout choice in the wireless earbuds market.
However, if you're on a tight budget, or if you're satisfied with your existing earbuds, you may not feel the urgency to upgrade. Ultimately, your decision should be based on your specific needs and preferences.
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