Is the AirPods Pro 2 upgrade worth it? Absolutely!

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Already own the AirPods Pro and wondering if the 2nd generation just all hype? The initial reviews have all claimed better active noise cancelling (ANC) and richer sound quality. If you are an audiophile, perhaps the little sound quality improvements are audible. But for someone that I would just consider a regular prosumer, would I be able to hear the difference? Is the AirPods Pro 2 upgrade worth considering?

Apple AirPods Pro 2 on top of its box

Well, I took the plunge and here’s my first impressions of the AirPods Pro 2.

The Apple Experience

Firstly, here are some photos of the AirPods Pro 2’s packaging.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 Box - Perspective view

Apple no longer seals the box with plastic wrapping for all their products. So it’s the same here. The only bit of plastic is the protective wrapper over the AirPods Pro’s charging case itself. Opening the box is simple and intuitive so there’s aren’t a lot of surprises here.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the AirPods Pro 2 can now be charged using an Apple Watch charger! The magnet on the charging case automatically positions the case to be charged, just like the Apple Watch. This increases the charging options, especially when travelling.

Manual of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 showing charging support with the Apple Watch, MagSafe and Lightning connector
Charging the Apple AirPods Pro 2 case with Apple Watch charger

Pairing the AirPods Pro 2 is exactly the same as with the first generation. So it’s literally just like using the old one. If you have set up the Personalised Spatial Audio on your AirPods Pro 1, the new AirPods Pro 2 will also inherit the profile over! Talk about a completely seamless upgrade experience. Also, as expected, once paired, the AirPods Pro 2 is immediate available to use with all your other Apple devices.

Comparing AirPods Pro 1 and 2

In general, the two generations of AirPods Pro are very similar. The dimensions of the charging case and the AirPods Pro itself are like for like as you can see from the photos below comparing the two.

Comparing AirPods Pro 1 and 2 side by side

There are of course visual difference between the two generations. The new charging case now sports speaker holes at the bottom and a lanyard loop hole at the right side of the case. With this new upgrade, the new charging case now plays an audible sound when it gets charged or when you ping it from the Find My app.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 - Charging case compared

As for the earbuds, the different position of the AirPods Pro 2’s in-ear mics jumps out quite quickly as it’s not a familiar sight when opening the case. It’s interesting to see both the mics are now at the top of the earbuds.

Top view of the AirPods Pro 2

The AirPods Pro 2 upgrade is significant!

Better Active Noise Cancelling

Firstly, the active noise cancelling on the AirPods Pro 2 is audible (or lack thereof) significant. While it does not completely removes external noise, loud humming and rumbling sounds are much softer when compared to the 1st generation AirPods Pro. I’ve no idea how to measure if it is really 2x better ANC as Apple claims. But I can tell the difference of the noise cancelling between the two.

9 Sept 2022 Update: I’ve managed to test the AirPods Pro 2’s ANC when I had to take a flight recently. I was seated at a window seat right by the wing. The AirPods Pro’s ANC is able to effectively remove the engine noise to a point where I can hardly hear it. I was however able to hear the higher pitch hiss from air flowing out of the air conditioning vent above my seat. It is quite impressive as it was almost comparable with my over ear Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2.

New Apple Watch integration

Another thing that makes a lot sense is the integration between the AirPods Pro 2 and the Apple Watch. The Noise app now tells you what you are really hearing on your AirPods Pro instead of just providing you the ambient noise levels.

Apple Watch noise level integrated with AirPods Pro 2

Better and richer sound quality

Comparing sound quality can be quite subjective. But from my untrained ears, I seem to hear better and richer sound on the AirPods Pro 2. There is much more bass on the new AirPods Pro which is a lot more noticeable when using Adaptive Transparency mode. The new H2 chip is definitely doing some great audio processing inside the AirPods Pro 2.

Better Find My integration

The new charging case now includes a U1 chip that allows it to be found more easily like the AirTags. Find My will also separately discover the left and right earbuds.

Find my AirPods Pro 2 screenshot

Better iOS integration

I did not personalised my AirPods Pro charging case, but if you do, you will see if reflected also on your iPhone when connecting it. A subtle but really nice touch, very Apple indeed. 😄

The charge level of the new AirPods Pro and its case will also continue to show on all your devices. No need to open up the case anymore to see how much charge it has!

AirPods Pro 2 case and earbuds charging levels

Better hardware

I got used to not having the ability to control the volume on the AirPods as I would use my Apple Watch to do so. But the new swipe up and down on the AirPods Pro is really convenient. Finally it catches up with some other earbuds that supports this.

Lastly, the charging case is now IPX4 rated as well! I used to be quite concerned whenever it rains during my runs. But with the case now sweat and water resistant, this will no longer be a worry. I also hope Apple has improved the charging contact points inside the case to be more hardy. I’ve had to replace the AirPods Pro charging case before as the contact points got corroded after a couple of years.

Go get your AirPods Pro 2 upgrade now!

As you can tell, I’m quite happy with my AirPods Pro 2 upgrade. It has been 3 years since Apple released the original AirPods Pro and they made quite some strides with the 2nd generation release.

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