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A must buy, even if you have the old pros

AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

Sophie Pitt

Transparency mode is actually transparent

When you’re using your AirPods Pro and you’re not in noise canceling mode, you’re in what Apple calls transparency mode. When you press and hold the stem of your AirPods and you can hear sound from the volume down or filtered, you’ll switch between noise cancellation mode and transparency mode.

Noise cancellation and transparency settings for AirPods Pro (2nd Gen).

Sophie Pitt

What’s great about the new AirPods Pro is that when you’re in transparency mode, you can really hear what’s going on around you. The old version blocked some sounds even when you are in transparency mode. A lot of times when I wore my old pros, I had to pull one off in the middle of a conversation. Now I can hear everything clearly as long as transparency mode is on.

This breakthrough is made possible by Apple’s new H2 chip. Thanks to H2, there is also a feature called adaptive transparency mode, which automatically blocks out harsh noises such as a siren or a motorcycle. This feature can be enabled or disabled. I like having it to protect my ears from really loud decibels when walking around a busy city.

Noise cancellation is even better

The H2 chip has also improved active noise cancellation. Apple claims the next-generation AirPods Pro offer up to double the noise cancellation, and I could hear the difference.

While on a plane, which usually has a lot of loud ambient noise, I was able to completely turn off the loud hum of the engine and air conditioning while watching Netflix. When the person sitting next to me started trying to chat I couldn’t hear him and just pointed my headset. Phew.

There’s a new feature that even shows you how much noise is cancelled. When you use your AirPods Pro (second generation) with Apple Watch, you can see the noise level reduction in real time.

When you use AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with Apple Watch, you can see the noise level reduction in real time.

Sophie Pitt

Volume control directly on the AirPods

A touch control on the new Pros lets you lower or raise the volume by swiping slightly up or down on the AirPods stem.

I was initially worried it was too sensitive, but after a few weeks of use, I’m happy to report that I never accidentally enabled this feature. I often fall asleep with my AirPods on, so I was impressed that the volume controls weren’t activated when I tossed and turned.

The charging case works with the Apple Watch charger

The new AirPods also come with a new MagSafe charging case. You can even use your Apple Watch charger for the new Pros, which is really handy.

You can now charge AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with your Apple Watch charger.

Sophie Pitt

Along with easier charging, the battery life of the new AirPods is noticeably better. Overall, Apple says battery life has improved by 33%. You now get up to 30 hours of total listening time when Active Noise Cancellation is enabled. That’s six hours longer than the previous generation.

The speaker in the case is ideal for lost AirPods

If you’ve read my previous reviews, you may have noticed a common theme: I lose a lot. There’s a built-in speaker in the new AirPods Pro that plays sound so you can locate your lost AirPods.

The new AirPods case also comes with a new U1 chip, so you can use the Find My app to see the exact location of where you last left your AirPods.

There is a lanyard loop on the side of the case that allows you to strap your AirPods to your wrist or a purse. I haven’t tried a lanyard yet as they are sold separately by 3rd parties, but I can see how this would help me keep up with them.

Audio quality is superior

The new AirPods Pro sound superior for several reasons. First, there’s a new little ear tip, so hopefully people who say AirPods are falling out of their ears or not getting a good seal will see this as a solution.

There is also a new feature called Custom Spatial Audio. Using your phone’s front-facing camera, your iPhone remembers the size of your ears and helps ensure that the sounds you hear are appropriate for your ear size.

In the AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) settings, you can see and hear how spatial audio works.

Sophie Pitt

In Apple Music, there are songs specially designed for spatial audio, and you can really hear the difference. When you’re in your AirPods settings, you can even play audio by going to the tab under Spatial Audio that says See & Hear How It Works. You can see how much more immersive the sound quality is when spatial audio is enabled.

You can test the Spatial Audio feature in your AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) settings.

Sophie Pitt

Bluetooth switches seamlessly between devices

One complaint I hear a lot about AirPods is that previous generations claim to seamlessly and intelligently switch between whatever device you’re using, but that feature doesn’t work well. I think this may have been fixed with the new pros.

I was in my kitchen cooking, watching the iPad with my AirPods. When I received a call, I was able to seamlessly switch to the call, then once the call ended, I resumed watching my show. When I finished watching my show, I asked Siri to play the podcast I wanted to hear on my iPhone, and I was able to stop listening to my iPad and pick up where the podcast left off for the last time.

I really enjoyed this smooth transition. Having trouble connecting to Bluetooth and switching between devices can be infuriating, especially when working remotely. Being able to jump across different devices without performing a Bluetooth hard reset was a luxury I didn’t miss.

Should you buy the new AirPods Pro?

I have nothing negative to say about the new AirPods Pro. They’re comfortable to wear, noise cancellation and transparency modes are significantly better, and battery life has improved. You’ll find it hard to lose them with all the new features, you can control the sound without having to touch your phone and best of all the sound quality is excellent.

When I was too lazy to rummage through my bag and get my new AirPods Pro, I listened to an audiobook with the old AirPods. I could totally hear and feel the difference. Not only do I recommend buying the new Pros, but my advice to previous-generation AirPod owners is to upgrade if you have the money. I think you will notice a big difference.

LOOK: Apple launches the iPhone 14


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