Latest review for the new Apple AirPods 2.
The new AirPods look, well, the same as the old AirPods. The design, fit, and sound quality, almost everything is the same as before, which means that, if you were waiting for Apple to improve the fit or the way that the AirPods sound, or even just looking for a different color, you’re maybe going to be disappointed.
But you’re not here to learn about the old AirPods, so let’s jump into what’s new and different.
The new features of AirPods can be simplified into four bullet points
- Wireless charging
- Faster switching between your devices
- Better battery life for talk time
- The ability to call up Siri without having to tap on the side.
This is possibly the biggest upgrade in your daily use. You can get the new AirPods with a wireless charging case for approx $199, or you can get the same wireless charging case for your existing AirPods for approx $79 and it will work the same way.
If you don’t care about wireless charging, you can buy the new AirPods with the standard case for the same approx $159 price as before. Now, wireless charging uses the Qi standard. It’s the same as the iPhone and countless Android phones on the market. So yes you can use the equal wireless charging pad as your phone to charge you’re AirPods.
Now just put it on the charger and the little charging light on the front of the case will turn orange and you’re charging away. Now one weird thing here is the charging light will turn off after a few seconds, but the case will still be charging. Now charging like this is pretty slow. Apple tells us that the case charges at five watts, which is slower than the iPhone charger and can take up to three and a half hours to fully take up the case wirelessly. Also, if you’re using a stand-style charger for your phone, that probably won’t work for this because the coils just won’t line up.
You want to be using a flat pad charge for the AirPods. This is tested them on the few pads that we have here and we had no problem charging with any of them. If you’re the kind of person that puts your AirPods case inside of another case, wireless charging should still work, but you probably won’t be able to see that little indicator light.
Faster switching between your devices
Now the Apple claims that this new AirPodscan shifting between your devices up-to two times faster than before. So if you use an iPhone and an iPad or a Mac, you can quickly switch between them. Maybe it’s technically faster, but it never feels faster too because switching devices still require doing into the settings menu on the device you wanna shift to another and then selecting the AirPodsand then still waiting for a few beats for them to make a connection.
We have to say it. We love how easy Apple makes it pair AirPodsto your iCloud account and have them set up on every device that you use. But we also just wish they could be connected to more than one device at a time, like a lot of other Bluetooth headphones, like the Bose QC35s or the noise-canceling Sennheisers we have. But pro tip for Mac users, the Tooth Fairy app makes this a one-click process and it’s worth the $3 for it.
The main drive that the AirPods can connect faster now is because of the Apple’s new H1 chip inside them, which also provides up to three hours of talk time on a charge, so now you can use this new AirPods for the uncut of that never-ending call. The battery life for music or just audio listening is still five hours between charges, but that’s still at the top of the range for what you get with wireless earbuds, and frankly, we are pretty happy with it. Now Apple claims that the new chip improves voice quality on calls too, which is nice because we think that the AirPodsare already the best headset for taking calls on and this should make them even better.
But if we being honest, we haven’t noticed much of a difference in my testing. That H1 chip is also what lets you say hey Siri whenever you want to call up Siri, and just like you can do on a new iPhone or the newer Macs, you don’t have to double-tap one of the AirPods to do it anymore. That’s convenient and it works as advertised. And it also lets set the double-tap action to another thing like skip track or play or pause. But we don’t think I’ll be talking to Sirimuch more than we were before because, well, Siri is still Siri. Even with the new chip and the hands-free ability, there’s still a significant delay from when we say hey Siri and get a response and there’s no bell or ding to indicate that the AirPods have heard my command. And Siri is still the only way to adjust the volume on the AirPods themselves, which is, frankly, kind of annoying.
The Sound Quality
Now Apple also says that the H1 chip will cut down on latency when you’re wearing the AirPodsand playing games, but since we never experienced any lag or delay issues with the first genwhile watching video or playing games on my phone, we didn’t notice much of a difference with the new ones.
So aside from those things, the new AirPods are still AirPods, which means that they’re great wireless earbuds if they fit in your ears. Now they work for us and, clearly, a lot of other people based on how many people we see wearing them every single day. But they don’t fit everyone, and the new iteration just doesn’t do anything to change that. They also aren’t great in noisy environments like when you’re on a plane or riding in a subway car or just on a busy street because they don’t have noise cancellation.
AirPods for Android phones?
They work just great also for Android users as well, just like the first generation did. The all-new wireless charging does derive at a better price, but for most people, the AirPods are still hard to beat.
So should you buy them?
Well if you have the first-gen AirPodsand those are still working great, then no, you’re not gaining anything here. If you have wireless charging, or you can buy the case independently without having to drop $200 on a full new set. But if your first-gen AirPodsaren’t holding a charge anymore because you’ve been using them for almost three years, then yeah, it’s probably time to upgrade since it’s impossible to fix these or replace the batteries in them. You’ll be getting the same basic experience with a couple of new conveniences on top. And if you don’t own AirPods at all, well, if they do fit in your ears, then they’re still basically the best truly wireless headphones on the market, with prodigious battery life, dense connectivity, great ease of use, and attractive sound value if you’re not in a loud atmosphere.
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