AirPods Pro 2 Review: Apple catches up with their best yet

It’s been three years since Apple first entered the noise-cancelling in-ear headphone market with the Pro version of their iconic white AirPods, and they were an outstanding offering.
However in those three short years the market has leapt forward, making this week’s release of the AirPods Pro 2 an important one for Apple.

The 2nd generation AirPods Pro pack a host of changes into an almost identical form and will be well received by users.

In my week of testing, they certainly are producing some of the best audio you can get in this form factor. Adding to that this time round is a new “personalised spatial audio”, which uses the true-depth camera on your iPhone to scan your ear to give you a unique sound profile.

The 2nd Generation AirPods Pro pack a host of changes into an almost identical form and will be well received by users. (Supplied)

Does it work? Does it make a difference? I can’t really say — I’m not sure the John Farnham and Crowded House I was listening to sounded different or better before and after.

The audiophiles among us might find the difference.

For most users the real difference this year are new controls, and a simpler search for your missing AirPods.

The small indents on each stalk are now both pinch controls to activate noise cancelling or skip tracks, but they are also touch sensitive allowing you to swipe up or down to raise or lower the volume of your audio.

This very simple feature is one of the things so many other brands are offering and so is long overdue, and it works very well.

A touch unnatural at first, but you very quickly get used to it.

For most users the real difference this year are new controls, and a simpler search for your missing AirPods.
The small indents on each stalk are now both pinch controls to activate noise cancelling or skip tracks, but they are also touch sensitive allowing you to swipe up or down to raise or lower the volume of your audio. (Supplied)

For those of us who seem to misplace our AirPods, you now have a much greater chance of finding them because the actual case now has a speaker in it and emits a piercing sound when summoned so you’ll certainly locate them.

The buds are still individually identifiable, though they are still a bit hard to hear if they’re really snug into the couch cushion.

Battery life is up from between four and five hours to six hours now, and that’s great, though not the best in class — there are some which will do eight hours or more, however I’m quick to point out that I don’t remember a single time I’ve worn headphones that long in a stint.

Perhaps most critical to the AirPods Pro 2 uniqueness in the market is the way they approach Noise Cancelling and Transparency.

The actual case now has a speaker in it and emits a piercing sound when summoned so you’ll certainly locate them. (Trevor Long)
Apple AirPods Pro 2. (Trevor Long)

Transparency is what Apple calls the mode when Noise Cancelling is off, and the sound around you is amplified into your ears.

If you push the AirPods Pro 2 into your ears they naturally block out sound, so with Transparency on it opens up the world around you again.

And it’s quite amazing. If you lose track of the fact you’re wearing them, you can literally forget.

They are light in the ear, the world sounds normal around you, and it’s a way to really see them worn for much longer periods.

When this really matters is when you walk into an area that is loud, the AirPods Pro 2 gently reduces that volume so you still hear it — but it’s just not at dangerous levels.

Quite remarkable, and probably the AirPods Pro 2’s greatest feature.

Not much has changed in the appearance of the new Apple AirPods Pro 2. (Trevor Long)

Some long overdue features, and some new innovation, Apple has kept their users happy here with the AirPods Pro 2, but at $399 they are still among the most expensive in-ear headphones on the market.

Their ease of use on Apple devices is a reason many are willing to pay that amount, and for others it’s the iconic nature of the product.

Nokia 3310 (2000)

Mobile phones from the past 30 years

Other than price, you’re unlikely to be disappointed with the new Apple AirPods Pro 2.

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