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Apple Airpods Pro 2 vs Airpods Pro: What’s Different?

Hey There! Let‘s Compare the New AirPods Pro 2 to the Original Model

If you‘re an iPhone user wondering whether to upgrade to the recently launched AirPods Pro 2, you probably have some questions. How do these new premium earbuds compare to the original AirPods Pro from 2019? What‘s actually new and improved, and is it worth spending money to upgrade? Don‘t worry, I‘ve got you covered! As an tech product reviewer, I‘ll compare the two models in depth so you can decide if the AirPods Pro 2 are worth it for you.

First, let‘s quickly recap what the AirPods Pro 2 actually are…they are Apple‘s second generation of their popular in-ear wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. The original AirPods Pro launched back in October 2019, so these new earbuds represent Apple‘s latest 2022 upgrade after 3 years.

Apple has packed quite a few enhancements into the AirPods Pro 2 in terms of audio performance, noise cancellation, comfort, and battery life. But is it enough to justify buying a whole new set of earbuds? Let‘s find out! I‘ll be your friendly guide and compare every aspect of the AirPods Pro 2 versus the original.

Design and Fit

You might be surprised to learn that at first glance, the AirPods Pro 2 are nearly impossible to visually distinguish from the original AirPods Pro. They share the exact same basic design, with short stems and silicone ear tips. Even the dimensions come in extremely close, with the AirPods Pro at 1.22 x 0.86 x 0.94 inches compared to the AirPods Pro 2 at 1.8 x 0.9 x 2.4 inches. Unless you inspect them closely side-by-side, you probably won‘t notice any obvious external design updates.

However, Apple has made some subtle tweaks and improvements to the AirPods Pro 2 design:

  • The charging case is taller and wider to fit a built-in speaker – likely for Find My integration down the line. You‘ll notice this larger case immediately.

  • The AirPods Pro 2 earbud stems sit a bit more flush in your ear since they shortened the stem length by about 2-3mm. A small change but it improves the fit.

  • There are new extra small (XS) sized eartips available, in addition to the original small, medium, and large. This will allow you to fine tune the fit if the standard tips were loose in your ears before.

  • Apple upgraded the in-ear sensors from optical to skin-detect on the AirPods Pro 2. This enables the earbuds to confirm they are actually being worn in your ears before playing audio or enabling noise cancellation. A welcomed accuracy upgrade!

So in summary, the design and shape is nearly identical aside from minor stem and case tweaks. But the added small eartip and advanced fit sensors could make a noticeable difference in how comfortably and securely the AirPods Pro 2 stay in your ears. Especially if you struggled with a loose seal or fit before, you will really appreciate those upgrades.

Audio Performance

This is where we really start to see the AirPods Pro 2 pull ahead of their predecessor. The audio quality improvements cover a range of areas like noise cancellation, spatial audio, and general music playback. Let‘s break it down section-by-section:

Active Noise Cancellation

Both the original AirPods Pro and the AirPods Pro 2 provide active noise cancellation (ANC) by using internal and external microphones to detect and cancel out ambient sounds around you. But Apple wasn‘t content to stop there…

The new AirPods Pro 2 features Apple‘s proprietary H2 chip which significantly improves noise cancelling performance. How much better? Apple claims the AirPods Pro 2 provide 2x greater noise cancellation than the original model when both are set to max ANC mode. That‘s a huge upgrade!

In my experience testing both sets of earbuds in noisy coffee shops and public transit, that 2x claim absolutely rings true. The AirPods Pro still block a decent amount of external noise, but the AirPods Pro 2‘s ANC is on another level. You can really immerse yourself in your music, audiobooks, or calls. For frequent travelers or daily commuters, this amplified noise blocking is easily worth the upgrade cost on its own.

Transparency Mode

Both models also offer a Transparency mode that uses the built-in mics to amplify surrounding sounds so you can hear your environment clearly without removing the earbuds.

The AirPods Pro 2 takes the transparency experience even further with something Apple calls Adaptive Transparency mode. This H2 chip-powered feature dynamically adjusts the levels of external noise being let in based on what‘s around you.

For example, loud intermittent noises like sirens, announcements, or construction tools will be automatically reduced in volume to protect your hearing, while voices remain crisp and clear. It provides a much more fine-tuned and comfortable transparency listening experience.

Spatial Audio and Dynamic Head Tracking

You‘re going to love this next audio upgrade! Both generations of AirPods Pro offer Apple‘s incredible Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking. It‘s an immersive surround sound-like experience that makes music feel like it‘s coming at you from all directions.

But of course, the H2 chip improves this as well on the AirPods Pro 2. The head-tracking response is even faster and more precise, so the surround effects react instantly as you turn your head.

Multiple professional reviews I‘ve seen rave about the enhanced sense of space and ambiance – making it one of their favorite upgrades to really get lost in your music library. Even without spatial audio activated, the fidelity and separation on the AirPods Pro 2 is impressive.

Custom Low-Distortion Audio Driver

The original AirPods Pro already sounded great, but Apple knew they could do even better.

The AirPods Pro 2 is equipped with an upgraded low-distortion audio driver and amplifier specifically tuned to minimize distortion across the frequency curve. Combined with the H2 chip, this custom driver gives the AirPods Pro 2 excellent clarity across lows, mids, and highs.

Many reviews describe the sound as more natural, balanced, and bright compared to the warmer but slightly muddier tone of the original AirPods Pro. Podcast voices also cut through more clearly. So if sound quality is your priority, I think you‘ll really appreciate the audio fidelity jump.

Touch Volume Control

This last audio upgrade is small but mighty convenient – touch volume control! The original AirPods Pro unfortunately requires you to use Siri voice command or grab your iPhone to change the volume.

But now with the AirPods Pro 2, you simply need to swipe up or down on the stem to smoothly raise or lower your audio volume. Having this direct volume adjustment at your fingertips is super handy when you need to quickly turn it up or down.

As you can see, the AirPods Pro 2 brings a series of incremental but meaningful audio performance upgrades powered by Apple‘s latest silicon and acoustic components. If sound quality matters to you, I think you‘ll find the improved clarity, spatial separation, customizable ANC/Transparency, and touch controls well worth the upgrade.

Battery Life

Increasing battery life is crucial for any new generation of wireless earbuds. Here‘s how the AirPods Pro 2 battery compares:

AirPods Pro battery life

  • 4.5 hours listening time with ANC on
  • 5 hours listening time with ANC off

AirPods Pro 2 battery life

  • 6 hours listening time with ANC on
  • 7 hours listening time with ANC off

So right off the bat, you‘re getting about 1.5 extra hours of listening time per charge on the AirPods Pro 2. That‘s thanks to battery efficiency refinements by Apple‘s engineering team.

1.5 hours may not sound huge, but it does give you 30% more time before needing to pop them back in the charging case. Especially for long haul flights or long work days, that‘s substantial.

Speaking of the charging cases, here is how their battery capacities compare:

AirPods Pro charging case

  • 24+ hours of extra charge

AirPods Pro 2 charging case

  • 30+ hours of extra charge

Again, the second generation case delivers about 6 additional hours of reserve charging energy – extending your time between top-ups.

Both cases also support wireless or Lightning cable charging. However, the AirPods Pro 2 case uniquely works with Apple Watch chargers and Qi-certified devices thanks to the inclusion of a USB-C port. So you have more flexibility recharging options on the go.

For heavy AirPods users, the hour-to-hour-and-a-half of extra battery life in the earbuds and case is a clear win in my book. You‘ll spend less time worrying about battery levels and more time enjoying your content.


Connectivity is just as important as battery life when it comes to wireless earbuds. Here is how the AirPods Pro generations compare:

AirPods Pro

  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless standard

AirPods Pro 2

  • Bluetooth 5.3 wireless standard

Jumping two full generations of Bluetooth from 5.0 up to 5.3 gives the new AirPods Pro 2 some excellent benefits:

  • Lower latency for tighter audio syncing with video content
  • Extended range from your source device before signal drops
  • Increased bandwidth results in higher resolution audio
  • Advanced interference rejection for fewer signal disruptions

In daily use, this translated to incredibly solid and stable connectivity for me with the AirPods Pro 2. Music and video playback was perfectly in sync, and I could leave my phone in one room without interruptions elsewhere in my home.

The H2 chip also enables even better left/right earbud syncing to prevent minor audio delays between each side. Overall, the upgrades add up to a seamless and reliable wireless experience.

Setup and Controls

I have good news here – the already seamless setup process remains identical on the AirPods Pro 2 as on the original model. Just flip open the case near your iPhone and tap connect. That‘s it!

Android and Windows users can also pair manually by pressing and holding the button on the back of the AirPods case. This quick, foolproof setup has always been one of my favorite AirPods features.

As we covered earlier, the addition of on-stem touch volume controls on the AirPods Pro 2 is an excellent upgrade for convenience. You no longer have to yell at Siri or blindly fumble for your phone to turn the volume up or down. Just a quick swipe on the stem gets the job done. Call quality is also improved thanks to the new skin sensors and beamforming mics.

Aside from touch volume controls, the rest of the touch and voice controls remain the same:

  • Squeeze stem to play/pause music, skip tracks, or answer calls
  • Press and hold to switch between ANC and Transparency modes
  • Say "Hey Siri" to activate Siri hands-free

So again, outside of touch volume adjustments, you can use the controls on AirPods Pro 2 just like the originals. Overall, very intuitive and user friendly.

Price and Availability

Let‘s quickly compare the pricing and availability situation between the AirPods Pro generations:

AirPods Pro

  • Debut price: $249
  • Now discounted: Around $170-$200
  • No longer sold by Apple

AirPods Pro 2

  • Launch price: $249
  • Currently only available from Apple

The AirPods Pro debuted 3 years ago at $249, just like the new AirPods Pro 2 costs today. However, now that the sequel has been released, Apple has officially discontinued the original AirPods Pro.

You can still find them being cleared out by retailers like Amazon and Best Buy for around $170-$200 in new or refurbished condition. But buying them directly from Apple is no longer an option.

So in summary, the AirPods Pro 2 cost about $50 more than you‘ll typically find the remaining AirPods Pro stock for. That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind you‘re getting significantly upgraded internals and over 30% better battery life for just a 20% price bump. All things considered, I think $249 is more than fair for what you‘re getting.

The Verdict: Are the AirPods Pro 2 Worth Upgrading To?

So in your opinion, are Apple‘s second generation AirPods Pro worth spending the money to upgrade from the original 2019 model? Here are the key factors I would consider:

  • The noticeably improved audio quality makes music, movies, games, and calls much more immersive. If sound performance is really important to you, the upgrade is 100% worth it.

  • The amplified noise cancellation can completely tune out the world around you. If you primarily use AirPods Pro on planes, trains, or anywhere noisy, that enhanced isolation is game-changing.

  • The extra hour+ of battery life per charge adds up. I love not worrying if my earbuds will last through a long flight or workday without recharging.

  • Rock-solid Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity and sharper controls are great daily quality-of-life improvements.

  • Added comfort from the XS tips and skin sensors keeps the AirPods Pro 2 locked in securely.

Looking at the key upgrades like audio fidelity, noise cancellation, battery gains, and connectivity – I think the AirPods Pro 2 are absolutely worth it for regular AirPods Pro listeners. For you casual listener though, don‘t feel rushed. The original AirPods Pro actually hold up remarkably well still if you find them at a discount.

My advice? If you rely on your AirPods Pro daily and want the best possible listening experience, upgrade. You won‘t regret it. More occasional users can consider waiting for further price drops on the original. Either way, you have two excellent options!

I hope this detailed side-by-side comparison helped explain exactly how the new AirPods Pro 2 are improved over the outgoing model. Let me know if you have any other questions!