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!