Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Review: The Future of Earbudsd

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Apple did not come up with the idea of completely wireless earphones but if you take a look around you will notice that their Apple AirPods have become a symbol of this category. Whether you are on a bus or looking at photos of celebrities out and about you can easily spot those iconic white earbuds. These Apple AirPods have been around for over two years now and it is time for an update. Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Review: The Future of Earbuds.

Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Review

The new 2nd generation AirPods which I tried out come with some improvements. They have better battery life hands free access to Siri and an optional wireless charging case. When it comes to sound quality they are pretty much on par with the previous version which means they sound good but not amazing. However in some areas they lag behind other wireless earphones in the $100 to $200 price range that we have tested recently.

Design and Features:

You have two options for the 2nd generation AirPods or Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Review a model with a wireless charging case or a model with a regular wired charging case. Apple AirPods 2nd Generation. Both versions use the same earphones and feature the new Apple H1 chip. You can also purchase the wireless charging case separately for and it works with both the first and 2nd generation AirPods.

The Apple AirPods Second Generation are only available in Apple signature white color. Each set includes two earpieces and a charging case. Unlike many other wireless earbuds the Apple AirPods Second Generation have a long stem on each earpiece which not only adds a unique style but also makes it easier to place them in their charging case and spot them when you are out and about.

The design of the earpieces remains the same as the original model. The white plastic eartips sit in your ears but they do not create a snug seal inside the ear canal. This can cause some audio problems compared to earbuds with silicone or foam eartips that fit inside the ear canal. The angle of each earpieces nozzle can vary slightly in your ear even if they feel secure leading to different listening experiences between your ears and affecting the balance and bass response.

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One downside is that there are no included ear tips or fins to keep the earpieces securely in place during vigorous activities. If this is a concern you might want to check out ways to prevent AirPods from slipping out of your ears.

I would not recommend using the Apple AirPods 2nd Generation for exercise either as they do not have an official water resistance rating. Many other wireless earphones designed for workouts have IP ratings (IPX5 to IPX7) that allow you to use them during sweaty workouts and even rinse them off. While we did test the AirPods with some moisture without issues the lack of an IP rating means they may not hold up well during extended sweaty workouts or outdoor activities in the rain. It is somewhat disappointing considering Apple focus on health with the Apple Watch.

Controls:

The on ear controls have been updated but they are not significantly improved. The AirPods only support one gesture a double tap. In your phone Bluetooth settings you can assign this gesture to summon Siri (which is the default setting) or control play/pause skip forward skip backward or disable it entirely. When you receive a call or are on a call a double tap answers or ends the call.

You can assign different functions to each earpiece for example play/pause on the left ear and skip forward on the right ear. However each earpiece can only have one function at a time. It would have been better if you could use different tap patterns for various functions like some other earphones allow.

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You can also summon Siri by saying “Hey Siri” using the built in microphone. While Siri occasionally had trouble hearing me it is generally an improvement over the previous model. Keep in mind that enabling this feature means your phone microphone is always listening for the wake words. This concept may be familiar from smart speakers but is relatively new for earphones.

The AirPods also have an ear detection feature which pauses and resumes audio playback when you put them in or take them out of your ears. You can disable this feature if you prefer.

Wireless Charging Case:

The wireless charging case measures 1.8 by 0.9 by 2.1 inches and features an elegant design with a flip top lid and a glossy white finish that matches the earpieces. You can even get the charging case engraved similar to the old iPods.

As promised the case can be wirelessly charged using any Qi based charging pad. I tested it with a Samsung Wireless Charger Duo pad and it worked perfectly. The AirPods box mentions compatibility with Apple AirPower charging pad but its release is uncertain.

When you place the case on a charging pad an orange LED lights up on the front to indicate charging. If you do not have a wireless charger the case can be charged using the included Lightning cable.

Pairing, H1 Chip, and Battery Life:

One area where Apple excels is in pairing with iOS devices. Your iPhone or iPad will recognize the AirPods as soon as you take them out of the case and prompt you to connect them. You can easily switch between Apple devices name your AirPods and customize their settings in the Bluetooth menu.

Internally the AirPods use Apple new H1 headphone chip which allows for faster switching between devices. I was able to switch between an iPhone 8 and a Mac Pro as audio sources quickly and seamlessly. Apple claims the chip also reduces audio latency for gaming by 30 percent.

The battery life has improved although it is not astonishing. The previous AirPods provided around three to five hours of audio playback or approximately two hours of talk time. The new AirPods offer nearly five hours of audio playback or three hours of talk time on a single charge. The case can still provide an additional 24 hours of charge.

Like most battery life estimates these numbers are optimistic and depend on factors like volume level. However quick charging is available so 15 minutes of charging can give you around three hours of playback.

Audio and Microphone Performance:

The original AirPods sounded decent and the same is true for the new model. The main issue is the lack of a snug in ear seal which affects balance and bass response. Since the earpieces do not create a consistent seal they can rest at different angles in each ear leading to different stereo imaging and bass response.

On tracks with deep sub bass like The Knife “Silent Shout” the AirPods can deliver solid bass but only when they are positioned correctly and at higher volumes. The full bass potential is only reached at volumes that may not be safe for extended listening. At moderate volumes (around 50 percent) the bass loses its punch.

On tracks with subtle deep bass like Panda Bears “Dolphin” the AirPods can pick up the bass presence but it is not as pronounced as with in ear earphones that provide a snug seal.

Bill Callahans “Drover” which has less deep bass allows us to evaluate the AirPods sound signature better. The drums do not sound overly boomy which is suitable for this track. However the overall mix sounds a bit brighter and lacks in the low end especially at 50 percent volume. At higher volumes you will get more depth in the drums and richness in the vocals.

On Jay Z and Kanye West “No Church in the Wild” the kick drum maintains its punchy attack and background vinyl crackle and hiss are more prominent. However the sub bass synth hits lack the deep bass presence found in earphones with a snug seal. The vocals are clear but occasionally exhibit sibilance.

Orchestral tracks such as the opening scene from John Adams The Gospel According to the Other Mary sound crisp detailed and rich in the lower register. Although they lean towards the brighter side they excel with natural acoustic mixes rather than pop mixes with heavy bass.

Pros and Cons:

ProsCons
Excellent wireless charging case designLimited on-ear controls
Solid mic clarityIn-ear fit and lack of canal seal can feel loose and impact audio
Hands-free Siri accessNo IP rating for water resistance
Crisp, clear audioExpensive
Easy pairing

The AirPods feature a beam forming dual mic array for voice calls providing better than average intelligibility. When using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 8 the recorded audio was clear although a bit fuzzy around the edges which is typical for Bluetooth in ear mics. The microphones effectively block out some ambient background noise but they may still pick up sounds in the environment even when you are not speaking.

Comparisons and Conclusion:

The addition of hands free Siri and improvements to the charging case are welcome but the 2nd generation AirPods do not represent a significant leap forward from the previous model despite their higher price. The on ear controls remain somewhat awkward battery life has not seen a substantial increase and the lack of water resistance and a secure fit is hard to ignore.

Many of the best wireless earphones in this price range are designed for exercise or outdoor activities and offer guaranteed water resistance fitness features and solid audio performance. Options like the JBL UA True Wireless Flash Jaybird Run XT and Jabra Elite Active 65t all provide in canal seals for better balance and bass depth and they are more affordable than the AirPods. Additionally the RHA TrueConnect offers stylish design and excellent audio quality. Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Revuew. Today You Will Get a Apple AirPods Second Generation or Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Review.

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FAQs Frequently Answer Question:

Apple AirPods 2nd Generation Review

What are AirPods?

AirPods are like magical earphones made by Apple. They are super cool because they do not have wires and they can talk to your iPhone iPad or Mac using something called Bluetooth.

What is the difference between AirPods and AirPods Pro?

AirPods Pro are like the fancy version of regular AirPods. They can do things like make loud noises disappear (that is called noise cancellation) and they have special rubbery tips for your ears. Regular AirPods are more basic but still awesome.

Do AirPods work with Android devices?

Yep, AirPods can be friends with Android phones too! But they wo not do all the fun stuff like talking to Siri. Android phones get the basic stuff though.

How do I pair my AirPods with my Apple device?

Making them friends is easy. You just open up the AirPods case near your Apple thingy and they will ask “Hey wanna be friends?” Make sure your Bluetooth is turned on though. Then when you take your AirPods out of their case they will automatically connect.

How long does the battery last on AirPods?

AirPods need a nap after about 5 hours of music or 3 hours of talking. But do not worry! Their case can charge them up a bunch more times so they are always ready to party.

Can I use only one AirPod at a time?

Yes, you totally can! If you just want one ear to have all the fun that is fine. AirPods are smart and will know what you want.

Are AirPods sweat-resistant or waterproof?

Regular AirPods do not like sweat or water much. They are not built for workouts so it is better to leave them at home when you hit the gym. AirPods Pro on the other hand can handle a little sweat and light rain. They are like the sporty cousins of regular AirPods.

How can I access Siri with AirPods?

Talking to Siri is easy-peasy! Just say “Hey Siri” and she will listen. Or you can set up your AirPods to do special stuff when you tap them twice.

Can I use AirPods for phone calls?

Sure thing! AirPods have tiny microphones so you can chat on the phone with them. If you tap them twice you can answer or end a call.

How do I update the firmware on my AirPods?

Your AirPods will get updates automatically when they are connected to your iPhone or iPad. You do not have to do anything. They are pretty smart that way!

Can I track lost AirPods?

Do not worry you can find your lost AirPods with the Find My app on your iPhone. It will show you where they were last seen if they are still in Bluetooth range or connected to your Apple gadget.

Do AirPods support spatial audio?

AirPods Pro and AirPods Max can make you feel like you are in a 3D world when you are watching stuff with special sound. It is like you are right there in the action!

Are there any third party accessories compatible with AirPods?

Yep, there are lots of fun extras you can add to your AirPods. You can get cases to protect them different ear tips for comfort and cool skins to make them look unique.

Can I use AirPods with non Apple devices such as Windows PCs?

Sure thing! AirPods can be pals with non-Apple stuff too like Windows PCs. But some of the fancy features might not work outside of the Apple world.

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