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Earlier this year, Apple’s AirPods 2 was released. These sleek earphones promise to offer you a whole new listening experience, but are they worth swapping for your original AirPods, or something else? I had a chance to spend a few weeks at home and on the road with these earbuds and this is what I found.
Thanks to the new Apple H1 headphone chip complete with optical sensors and motion accelerometers, they can detect when you take them out of your ears to pause your audio automatically and resume the audio once you put them back in. I definitely found this worked amazingly well each time, and it was nice, particularly on an airplane when someone like the flight attendant was talking while I was watching TV.
If you choose to use only one earbud, the AirPods 2 can detect that as well and will readjust the sound to give you the best listening and talking experience using only one earbud.
I will admit I have a love hate relationship with these headphones. I love how easy they are to use, the seamless interface between the phone and the headphones, the automatic connection and even the looks. What I don’t care for one bit, is the fit. I’ve always disliked the fit of Apple headphones, whether it was the wired versions or these wireless ones. Though the earbuds themselves are deliciously smooth I find them quite slippery to pull from the case and to insert. The loose fit, where they just feel like they’re hanging in your ear concha feels so insecure, I often finding myself checking that they’re still there. I’m also always adjusting the angle of the AirPods to get the sound piped more directly into my ear.
Why am I spending so much time talking about the fit and shape? Because of the way these are shaped, their small size, and the fact they lack any kind of ear tips, fins or any other way to create a secure fit and offer some sound isolation, I find them hard to listen to. On a recent airplane trip it was a nightmare. I had two very young girls beside me and their constant chatter bled in around my Apple TV audio. It was so bad I swapped to a noise isolating pair of Sennheisers instead to block them out.
The shape of these leads to a substantial of noise bleed, which makes it difficult to get a true sound picture. Sitting at home or somewhere quiet, yes, they sound truly fantastic. Clear, very well balanced, great bass quality and overall just really, really great. You get a lot of sound detail and subtlety.
But working in my home office with the Roomba vacuum running in the next room? On a loud airplane with chatty seatmetes? Uh uh. Walking home from work in a high traffic area? They need to be cranked.
Now, I’m going to point out that headphones are a very personal preference. What one person loves when it comes to fit and sound quality, is another’s nightmare of discomfort. In most cases, the other great things about these AirPods 2 headphones leads me to choose them over others. But when I need to focus on something I’m listening to or watching, or I need something to isolate outside sounds and teenage girl chatter, I will go to something like Samsung Galaxy Buds or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
With all the bells and whistles built in to this device, you’d expect the call quality to be good, and it is. While other truly wireless headphones can be staticy and hard for others to hear, the AirPods 2 deliver clear, reliable call quality. I’m consistently pleased about how good they sound and how easy it is to pick up a call on the Airpods.
AirPods vs. AirPods 2
Wondering what the main differences are between the original AirPods and the new Airpod 2?
– AirPods 2 have an updated sensor chip for improved stop and starting and one-bud adjustments.
– Increased talk time thanks to improved battery life
– Voice-activated with Siri, rather than touch activated
With regards to the look, sound quality, overall battery life (of both the buds and the charging case), they are identical for both models.
The AirPods 2 have some improvements in technology, integration, and ease of use that was lacking in the original model. The significance of these updates depends on the person who uses them. The most outstanding features include the update to Qi wireless charging and Siri integration.
It is important to note that the AirPods 2 come along at no small price. In the Apple store, the listed price is $269
In short, if you already have the original AirPods, you aren’t missing much if you don’t upgrade. If you are already a fan of Apple’s wired headphone design, you’ll be happy with an upgrade to Airpods 2. If you also love the seamless Apple experience across devices, you’ll love these.
If you’re looking for big leaps in technology and user experience, my advice is to wait.