AirPods Pro 2 Impressions

I picked up a pair of the second generation AirPods Pro recently and wanted to share my thoughts on them so far. For reference, I picked up the original AirPods Pro in December of 2019 and have used them almost every day since. Before that I used the regular AirPods daily.

So why did I upgrade from the original AirPods Pro? My originals still worked great. I love the noise cancelling, transparency mode, and how well they work when you are in the Apple ecosystem. There was really only one major reason I upgraded and that was battery life. As I mentioned in my intro, I have worn my original AirPods Pro pretty much every day since I got them and boy does the battery life on them bear this out. They are constantly needing to be recharged, both the AirPods themselves as well as the charging case that they go in. It is truly unfortunate as other than the battery life, they are perfectly functional. I wish there was a way to replace the batteries in them but as far as I know, there isn’t.

Truthfully, I have been putting up with the bad battery life for months now as I definitely didn’t want to buy another pair of the originals at full price. So I was thrilled when Apple announced the second generation model. I picked them up about a week ago and have been putting them through the paces.

So what is different about the second generation Pros? Let’s start with the case that they charge in. While it looks almost identical and has the same dimensions as the original case, it has gained quite a few new features. It now supports the Find My network and has a new speaker on the bottom to help you find them if you misplace them. While I haven’t had any trouble keeping track of my Pros, I’m sure this is a welcome addition to the millions of people who have misplaced theirs. The case also supports adding a lanyard to the side. I know many people bought cases for their original AirPod Pro just to do this so it was a smart move for Apple to build it in to the case. Also, the new case supports charging via MagSafe as well as with an Apple Watch charger, both features my originals lacked and both welcome additions.

As for the AirPods themselves, they have gained both improved transparency and improved noice cancellation modes. The transparency mode, which was already great on the originals, is outstanding now. It is so good that it is sounds like you don’t even have the AirPods in your ears anymore. It’s that good. Likewise the noice cancellation mode is also greatly improved. Apple claims up to 2x better noise cancellation which I can’t exactly prove but I did immediately notice a big difference upon trying them. Certain sounds that the original Pros did not fully block out are now fully cancelled out with the new Pros. Other than those improvements, you can now control the volume from the AirPods themselves by swiping up or down on the stems. This has worked great for me without any false positives in my testing. Lastly and most important of all to me is the improved battery life. Apple says that the second gen Pros will get up to 6 hrs. on a charge now which is an improvement of 1 hour compared to the first gen Pros. But for me with my nearly 3 years old first gen pros, I’m getting closer to double the battery life than I am used to. It is so nice not having to constantly recharge them and is by far my favorite thing about this new pair.

In conclusion, while I truly hope that Apple can figure out a way to keep older AirPods from being wasted with some kind of battery replacement program, I never really hesitated on buying a new pair. For me, my AirPods Pro are at or near the top of my most used tech items. I use them all day at work, at home when putting the kids to bed, on walks, and so many other situations. They are truly a magical device and I am very happy to have my new pair. Thanks for reading!

In The Bag: The Fjallraven High Coast Pocket

For the next installment of my In The Bag series, I want to look at one of the smallest bags in my collection: The Fjallraven High Coast Pocket. I picked up this bag on a recent trip to New York City with my wife. We love New York City and I was delighted to see that there were three separate Fjallraven stores there. Fjallraven has become one of my favorite brands over the last 5 years. I have very little access to the brand in my smaller hometown, so it was a real treat to get to visit these stores. While browsing one of their New York locations, I came across this small little bag. I instantly fell in love with it and purchased it right then.

The High Coast Pocket is a very small bag at only .8L. It is designed to carry just the essentials, which is exactly what I was looking for. I’m one of those people who dislikes carrying a bunch of things in my pockets. This little pouch allows me to empty out my pockets and store all of my everyday necessities in here instead. The bag itself is very simple. It has 2 compartments, one larger main zippered compartment as well as a small front zippered compartment. The larger compartment has an inside mesh compartment inside as well for additional organization. The smaller compartment contains a key attachment as well. It has a shoulder strap that be attached to any combination of the 4 loops on the back of the bag, which allows you to wear it either over the shoulder or as a crossbody. Also on the back is a loop that you can use to attach it to a belt if desired. The bag has a fairly thin shoulder strap but it works fine as it is such a small bag. Lastly the bag is made of water resistant material but is not fully waterproof. As for how it does in the real world, It held up well when we were in some rain during our trip but I wouldn’t fully submerge it.

As for what I use this bag for and what I pack inside, this bag is perfect for when you need to carry your essentials and either don’t have the pocket space or if you are like me, prefer not to stuff your pockets with your items. My typical carry includes the following items:

  • Wallet
  • iPhone
  • MagSafe Battery Pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Keys
  • AirPods Pro
  • Lip Balm

The High Cost Pocket handles carrying this stuff with ease. I appreciate how light the bag is even when packed fully and that everything is secure due to each compartment being zippered. This bag came in clutch when we were in New York and doing a lot of walking throughout the city. I also use it when walking to the park with my family, when out shopping, and when going to the gym with workout clothes that have very shallow pockets. If you are on the lookout for a small, functional, and stylish bag, consider taking a look at the Fjallraven High Coast Pocket. Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Things of 2021

It’s been another year & I am back with another favorite things list. I hope everyone who reads this had a great 2021! On to the list.

686 Everywhere Pant (Slim)

On last year’s list I posted about my love for the Denali Travel Pant. I still love and wear these pants to this day. However, for my birthday this year, my wife bought me 2 pairs of the 686 Everywhere pants. While considerably more expensive than the travel pants I had worn up until this point, the Everywhere pants are a massive upgrade in every way. These are the most comfortable pants I have ever worn. I have been wearing them very regularly since getting them and even purchased a 3rd pair later in the year. I cannot recommend these pants enough.

Nike SB Zoom Blazer Low Pro GT Skate

I picked up my first pair of Blazers this year and I couldn’t be more happy with them. I have never been into the Air Force 1s or Dunks but the Blazers has always been appealing to me. I love how these look and also how they feel on foot. I have some similar shoes in the Vans Old Skools as well as the Adidas Sambas that are not close to these in comfort. Very happy with this pair of shoes.

Blundstone #585 in Rustic Brown

I purchased my first pair of boots in over 10 years this year. I picked up some Blundstones on a trip to Austin this year and have been very happy with them. These boots are tough, comfortable, and I love the way they look. I plan on having these around for the next 10 years.

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Hip Pack

I purchased this fanny pack back in April and it has proven to be a very handy bag to take with me on the go. First off, it packs into it’s own front pocket and becomes very small, so you can easily bring it anywhere. It’s also made of a very durable ripstop material and is extremely lightweight. I hate carrying a bunch of items in my pocket when I am walking around the city and this little bag is perfect to put all of my small items in. I can carry my iPhone, wallet, keys, chapstick, sunglasses, and a spare battery pack all in this little pack. You can wear it around your waist like it’s the 80s again or, you can wear it crossbody which is what I prefer.

iPad mini 6

I have already wrote an entire post about my love for this little tablet. I still love it and use it everyday. It is extremely portable and is a pleasure to use. Long live the mini!

Nintendo Switch OLED Model

I am a huge fan of the Nintendo Switch and was very happy to upgrade to the new OLED model when it was released this fall. It is a very nice upgrade over the regular switch in several key ways. Obviously the new OLED screen is the star of the show, being both larger in size as well as much more vibrant. Throw in a massively improved kickstand, better speakers, and those sweet, sweet white Joy-Cons and you have yourself a pretty solid upgrade.

Apple Fitness +

I love Apple Fitness + but of course I would right? It seems like it was made for people just like me. I am very fitness oriented and, as a huge Apple fan, I have all of the required gear already. While not for everybody, I love that I can do classes from my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV wherever I am and the Apple Watch integration is so, so good. I love working out outside more than anything but when the weather is not cooperating, I am pumped to open up Apple Fitness and close my rings for the day!

The Hydro Flask Trail Series

I wanted to write about my experience with the Hydro Flask Trail Series water bottles. I have purchased two of these and have been using them for a few months now.

First off, you should know that I drink a lot of water. I was addicted to soda for most of my life and rarely drank water at all. A little over two years ago I stopped, completely. I now exclusively drink two drinks: water, & sparkling water. That’s it, that’s the whole list. I also should tell you, I hate drinking any drink that is not ice cold. I cannot stand hot drinks or even cool drinks. I need what I’m drinking to be as cold as possible. So I feel qualified to recommend the Hydro Flask Trail Series water bottles if you are similarly fussy about the temperature of your water.

I bought my first Hydro Flask several years ago at this point, a 20oz black bottle. I fell in love with this water bottle and used it all of the time. It was my entry point into the Hydro Flask world. I have tried water bottles from other companies: S’well, RTIC, Yeti, & Klean Kanteen to name a few, but I have always preferred the look & functionality of the Hydro Flask.

As time went on, the one Hydro Flask grew to many more of all shapes and sizes. I had an addiction and it could only be satisfied by more Hydro Flasks. At some point, it started to get a bit out of hand so I had to stop. I had every possible variation one could ever want, right? That is, until I heard about Hydro Flask’s new Trail Series of bottles.

As I previously said, I love the regular Hydro Flask bottles. They are tough, keep your drinks ice cold all day, & are available in so many different colors. If I had one complaint, it would be that they are a bit heavy, especially as you get into the bigger sized bottles like the 32oz & 40oz. This is where the Trail Series comes in.

The Trail Series bottles are available in 3 sizes (21oz, 24oz, & 32oz.) and in 3 colors (Obsidian, Slate, & Topaz). The finish on the bottles is different too, with a more brushed aluminum look that I am very into. The key features of these bottles are their weight. Each bottle is 25% lighter than the same size regular Hydro Flask. This makes for a very noticeable difference in the hand, especially for the 32oz. model, which is the one I originally picked up.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I have had my bottles for a few months now and they have held up extremely well and seem to keep my water just as cold and for just as long as my regular Hydro Flasks. They fixed the one gripe I had with the regular bottles without any compromises that I can tell. That is a win-win. I picked up the 32oz bottle in the obsidian color first, and then a few weeks later, I picked up the 24oz bottle in the slate color.

These two water bottles are without a doubt my favorite water bottles ever. If you are in the market for a water bottle and especially if you are looking at buying a Hydro Flask, I highly recommend you look at the Trail Series. They are well worth the extra premium in my opinion.