AirPods Pro 2 Hands-On: Crisper Sound, Better Noise Canceling

AirPods Pro 2 Hands-On: Crisper Sound, Better Noise Canceling

This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.

The long-rumored AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are official. Apple unveiled its latest noise-canceling true wireless earphones as part of its iPhone 14 “Far Out” event. They’re available to pre-order now and will ship from September 23 for $249 (£249, AU$399).

The new AirPods Pro follow the original noise-canceling model that debuted in October 2019. They’re powered by Apple’s new H2 chip, which offers more processing power and is more energy efficient, according to Apple. The new chip, combined with new low-distortion drivers, allows for an improved sound that should deliver greater clarity and depth. Noise cancellation has improved, too: Apple says the new AirPods have “twice as much” noise cancellation as the original AirPods Pro.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET

Pre-orders for the 2022 AirPods Pro model start on September 9, and the first sets of the new earphones start shipping on September 23.

My first practical impressions

I got a chance to try out the AirPods Pro 2 for a limited time at the launch event in the noisy demo area, with hundreds of people around me. Noise cancellation seems to have improved, though it was only able to muffle noise in the room so much. I also thought the headphones sounded cleaner and clearer than the original AirPods Pro while listening to some tracks on Apple’s iPhone 14 demo phones. (I couldn’t use the buttons with my own iPhone and the tracks I normally use to test headphones.)

I think it’s really important to get a tight seal for optimal noise cancellation and sound quality. Apple hasn’t changed the design of its ear tips (with the original AirPods, I use full-size tips and I also use third-party foam tips), but will now include an extra-small fourth ear tip for those with smaller ears. .

The second generation AirPods Pro headphones are powered by Apple’s new H2 chip.


Some people were hoping that the new AirPods Pro would be able to stream Apple Lossless tracks wirelessly. Apple didn’t mention anything about it, but some features may be revealed at a later date. With the original AirPods Pro, for example, Apple didn’t introduce Spatial Audio until months after it was released.

On the Spatial Audio front, Apple says that AirPods Pro now have custom Spatial Audio that creates a more personalized listening experience for your ears. Transparency mode has also been improved and adapts to ambient noise it encounters, and there’s a new custom spatial audio feature along with swipe touch controls on the stems to add to the pinch controls.

Battery life is now up to six hours on a single charge (up from five), and the case gives you an additional four charges. Additionally, the case now has a built-in speaker, allowing you to play sounds for use with Apple’s precision Find My feature.

The case for AirPods Pro 2 now has a lanyard option

The new case has a place to attach a lanyard, but Apple doesn’t include one with the new AirPods Pro.

David Carnoy/CNET

While some people may be disappointed that Apple hasn’t done more to update the design of the AirPods Pro 2 (there are some tweaks to the microphone settings and a few other small refinements, including the vents), the second-tier AirPods Pro generation are very much what I expected. they may be: AirPods Pro with better sound, better noise cancellation, better battery life, and a wireless charging case with some improved features.

I’ll have a lot more to say about them in my full review, stay tuned, in which I’ll compare them to some of the best noise-canceling headphones, including The new QuietComfort Earbuds II from Bose which were also released this week.

Key Features of AirPods Pro 2

  • Same design as previous AirPods Pro
  • Powered by the Apple H2 chip
  • Improved sound with new low distortion drivers
  • Improved noise cancellation (Apple says double the amount of ANC)
  • Adaptive transparency mode
  • Custom Spatial Audio
  • The charging case now has a built-in speaker at the bottom that allows you to play a sound using the Precision Find My feature.
  • 6 hours of built-in battery capacity (1 hour longer than original AirPods Pro) with an additional 24 hours in the charging case
  • Added slider touch controls to pinch the controls on the stems
  • Can now be charged with the Apple Watch charger in conjunction with Qi wireless chargers
  • The lanyard can be attached to the case (the lanyard is not included)
  • Price: $249, £249, AU$399
  • Ship date: September 23 (available for pre-orders on September 9)

The second generation AirPods Pro headphones are powered by Apple’s new H2 chip.


read more: The best wireless headphones for 2022

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