Apple AirPods 2 review: even more wirelessFeb 27, 2020
- Here are the new AirPods. They look, well, exactly 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 AirPods sound on the subway, or just looking for a new color, you will probably be disappointed. But you're not here to learn about the old AirPods, so let's dive into what's really new and different. (light music) The new features can be simplified in four ways:
wirelesscharging, faster switching between your devices, better battery life for talk time, and the ability to call up Siri without having to touch the side.
Wireless charging is probably the biggest upgrade in terms of your everyday use. You can get the new AirPods with a
wirelesscharging case for $199, or you can get the same wireless charging case for your existing AirPods for $79 and it will work exactly the same. If you don't mind wireless charging, you can buy the new AirPods with the standard case for the same $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 you can use the same wireless charging pad as your phone to charge your AirPods.
Now just place it on the charger and the little charging light on the front of the case will turn orange and it's charging. Now one weird thing here is that the charging light will go off after a few seconds, but the case will still be charging. Now loading like this is quite slow. Apple tells me that the case charges at five watts, which is slower than what the iPhone charges and can take up to three and a half hours to fully fill the case wirelessly. Also, if you're using a stand style charger for your phone, it probably won't work for this because the coils just won't line up.
You really want to use a flat pad charger for the AirPods. I tried them on the few pads we have here and had no problem charging on any of them. If you're the type of person who puts your AirPods case inside another case, wireless charging should still work, but you probably won't be able to see that little indicator light. Finally, if you have a Galaxy S10, you can use your Android phone to wirelessly charge your AirPods, which is never without fun. (jazz music) Now Apple says the new AirPods can switch between your devices up to twice as fast as 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 to me because switching devices still requires going into the settings menu on the device you want to switch to and then selecting the AirPods and then waiting a few seconds for them to actually make a connection. I have to say it. I love how easy it is to pair AirPods with your iCloud account and set them up on all the devices you use. But I also wish they could connect to
morethan one device at a time, like many other Bluetooth headphones, like the Bose QC35 or Sennheiser noise-canceling headphones I own.
But a pro tip for Mac users, the Tooth Fairy app makes this a one click process and totally worth the $3 for it. The reason AirPods can connect faster now is thanks to Apple's new H1 chip inside, which also provides up to three hours of talk time on a single charge, so you can use them for the entirety of that conference call. endless. Battery life for listening to music or just listening to audio is still a good five hours between charges, but it's still at the top of the range for what you get with wireless headphones, and frankly I'm very happy with that.
Now Apple claims that the new chip also improves voice quality on calls, which is good because I think AirPods are already the best headphones for taking calls and this should make them
evenbetter. But if I'm being honest, I haven't really noticed much of a difference in my tests. That H1 chip is also what lets you say hello to Siri whenever you want to call Siri, and just like you can on a new iPhone or newer Macs, you no longer have to double-tap one of the AirPods to do so. . . That's convenient and it definitely works as advertised.
And it also allows me to set the double tap action to something else, like skip track or play/pause. But I don't think I talk to Siri much
morethan I used to because, well, Siri is still Siri. Even with the new chip and hands-free capability, there's still a significant delay from when I say hello to Siri and get a response and there's no bell or chime to indicate that the AirPods have actually heard my command. And Siri is still the only way to adjust the volume on the AirPods, which, frankly, is a bit of a pain.
Now, Apple also says that the H1 chip will reduce latency when you wear the AirPods and play games, but since I never experienced any lag issues with the first generation while watching videos or playing games on my phone, I really didn't notice much of a difference with the new ones. (electronic music) So, other than that stuff, the new AirPods are still AirPods, which means they're really great wireless headphones, if they fit in your ears. Now they work for me and clearly a lot of other people based on how many people I see using them every day.
But they don't suit everyone, and the new iteration simply doesn't do anything to change that. They're also not great in noisy environments like when you're on a plane or subway car or just on a busy street because they don't seal and don't have noise cancellation. So should you buy them? Well, if you have the first generation AirPods and they still work great, then no, you're not really gaining anything here. If you must have wireless charging, you can buy the case separately without spending $200 on a whole new set. But if your first-generation AirPods aren't charging anymore because you've been using them for almost three years, then yes, it's probably time to upgrade since it's basically impossible to repair or replace the batteries.
You'll get the same basic experience with a couple of new conveniences on top. And if you don't have AirPods at all, well, if they fit in your ears, then they're still basically the best truly wireless earphones on the market, with great battery life, solid connectivity, great ease of use, and pretty good sound quality if you are not in a noisy environment. They
evenwork great for Android users, just like the first generation did. The new wireless charging comes with a higher price tag, but for most people, the AirPods are still hard to beat. Hey, thanks for looking.
If you want to learn more about other wireless headphones, be sure to check out my colleague Becca's video on the GalaxyBuds that debuted yesterday. She has a great rundown of how they work and how they compare to AirPods. And for everything else, be sure to like and subscribe at youtube.com/theverge.
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