I once wrote that I am not a fan of earphones. I’ve always preferred the “universal fit” design of the regular AirPods. But while I had a great time using the AirPods 3, I still had to carry the AirPods Max around with me in some situations — especially when I was going on a plane ride. AirPods Pro 2 turned out to be the perfect replacement for the AirPods Max I didn’t know I needed. And here’s why.
First, let’s recap what’s new about the second generation AirPods Pro. They basically have the same design as the first generation, but now with the H2 chip, which according to Apple improves noise cancellation and delivers higher fidelity audio along with a new driver and speaker.
There’s also a new charging case that’s waterproof and basically works like an AirTag thanks to its built-in U1 chip. But how did all this convince me to put the AirPods Max in the drawer?
Something between AirPods 3 and AirPods Max
As I mentioned before, I prefer the regular AirPods fit. But it’s definitely not the best when you’re in noisy environments like a coffee shop or inside an airplane. After all, the AirPods 3 don’t have active noise cancellation.
At the same time, while Apple has done a great job improving the sound quality of the AirPods 3, they clearly don’t have the same level of bass as the AirPods Pro, let alone the AirPods Max. I could throw away the AirPods 3 and use the AirPods Max everywhere, but they’re too big and heavy. That’s why I always keep the AirPods 3 and AirPods Max around.
On my last trip from Brazil to Europe I had to take some really long drives. As usual, I’ve been wearing the AirPods Max — but they feel very uncomfortable when worn for nine hours straight. And in this scenario, the AirPods 3 simply weren’t an option due to the lack of ANC. That’s when I decided to give AirPods Pro 2 a try.
AirPods Pro 2 look like mini versions of AirPods Max
Over the past few months, I’ve been a little disappointed with the AirPods Max. More specifically, active noise cancellation no longer sounds as effective as it used to — and I’m not alone in this. It appears that Apple changed something in the AirPods Max firmware that affected the ANC feature. Some speculate that this happened due to a patent dispute, but we can’t be sure.
At the same time, Apple claims that the AirPods Pro 2’s active noise cancellation has been greatly improved thanks to the new hardware. And when I put the new AirPods Pro in my ear for the first time, it feels like I was wearing the AirPods Max when I bought them.
The work that Apple has done with the ANC feature on the second generation AirPods Pro is impressive. Even in a busy airport, I can hardly hear anything. This was exactly what I was looking for. But since we are talking about headphones, the sound quality is also very important. And the AirPods Pro 2 don’t disappoint in this regard.
Music sounds more immersive, and the bass level is very satisfying. Of course it’s different than what you get when using AirPods Max or other premium headphones, but the quality is still very impressive for earbuds this size. There’s a good balance of high and low frequencies, which is something I appreciate in a headphone.
Comfort is everything
I still have a weird feeling about wearing earbuds. However, the second generation AirPods Pro 2 convinced me to put the AirPods Max down when I was flying from Qatar to Brazil on a 15-hour flight. Unlike when I traveled with the AirPods Max, it hardly felt like I was wearing headphones with the AirPods Pro.
This is when I became convinced that the AirPods Pro 2 were the only AirPods I needed. ANC worked very well the entire trip, and I didn’t have to choose between comfort or sound quality. Even when there was no music, the airplane noise didn’t bother me.
And for those who never liked the fit of the first-generation AirPods Pro, the second-generation earphones now come with a new extra mini tip included in the box.
There are a few other small details that also made me enjoy the experience of using the second generation AirPods. The new enclosure with its built-in U1 chip and amplifier is very useful when I’m missing it at home, which happens more often than I’d like; I can now search for them using the exact search feature, just as I do with AirTag.
The fact that the charging case now works with an Apple Watch charger in addition to MagSafe is also great. This means I can charge my iPhone and AirPods at the same time using MagSafe Duo. I also like the option to raise or lower the volume using gestures on the stem of each AirPod. This gesture isn’t exactly intuitive, but it gets the job done.
Should you buy the AirPods Pro 2?
If you are looking for earphones with good sound quality and impressive noise cancellation, the second generation AirPods Pro are definitely one of the best options you can buy right now. Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t recommend anyone buy AirPods Max unless you really want an Apple headphone with wired connection support for some reason.
Apple sells second-generation AirPods Pro for $249, but you can actually find them for less at stores like Amazon.
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