AirPods Pro 2 reviews: ANC improved, impressive Adaptive Transparency, useful volume controls

1 week ago 22

The first reviews of the AirPods Pro 2 are here. Ahead of pre-orders arriving to buyers on Friday, these early reviews provide our first in-depth look at the AirPods Pro 2 audio upgrades, the new MagSafe Charging case design, Find My capabilities, and more.

For CNET, Apple has improved the Active Noise Cancelling feature while also highlighting the bass better:

You can definitely hear the improvements to both the noise canceling and sound. As for sound, you get better clarity, more bass punch with better definition, and just more all-around depth and dynamic sound. The sound just has a little more girth and dimensionality. I compared a few tracks I always use during testing, like Spoon’s Knock Knock Knock, and you can really notice a difference in the bass performance. The earbuds use Adaptive EQ, which uses an inward-facing microphone to monitor the sound going into your ears, and the H2 chip, which optimizes the audio that you’re listening to on the fly (there are no manual EQ settings). The chip’s increased computational power helps it process and optimize a wider range of frequencies, particularly the highs.     

PCMag was impressed by the Adaptive Transparency feature, which is an upgrade from the Transparency Mode.

But another possibility is to use the earphones as active, semi-transparent earplugs at a concert. Adaptive mode lowers volume intelligently; it keeps the basic timbre and envelope of the audio intact, while bringing anything over 85dB back down to that level. As a result, you hear music roughly as you would without them and can avoid potential hearing damage. (…) Compared with the Bose version of this feature—ActiveSense Aware—Apple’s version sounds far more natural. You can easily hear when Bose’s Aware mode adjusts for loud sounds, and at high decibel levels, it doesn’t behave very differently than the regular ANC mode. 

Tom’s Guide praises the new volume button, which was a feature lacking in all previous AirPods models:

One problem the original AirPods Pro had that wasn’t talked about often was the inability to change the volume on the earbuds. If you wanted to change the volume, you’d either have to ask Siri nicely or pull your phone out of your pocket to change it yourself. 

That’s not an issue with the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) that have improved touch controls that support swiping up and down on the stems to raise or lower the volume. Beyond the volume controls, you can tap the earbuds once to play or pause music, skip or rewind tracks with two or three taps, respectively, and hold to toggle active noise cancellation.

DigitalTrends highlights AirPods Pro 2 new case with Find My capabilities but complains about the lack of a lanyard in the box of the product:

Speaking of the case, I need to say two quick things: first, the precision finding via Apple’s “Find My” feature that’s enabled by the U1 chip is awesome, as is the built-in speaker. Just getting a confirmation tone for wireless charging is worth the upgrade. But second — really Apple, you put a lanyard loop on this thing but couldn’t give us an actual lanyard in the box?

Reviewers also talk about the new XS ear tip – although some complain Apple should also include an XL ear tip. Overall, reviewers seem impressed about these new wireless earbuds. While much hasn’t changed on the outside, Apple has made a good job of changing the internals.

Apple isn’t selling its own lanyard for AirPods Pro 2; here are some other options

AirPods Pro 2 review and hands-on videos

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