First Impressions: Apple AirPods Pro 2

Posted on 22nd September, 2023

First Impressions: Apple AirPods Pro 2

Cheryl Tan says there’s more than just USB-C to get excited about on Apple’s latest premium in-ear monitors…


AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)

£229 RRP

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Review

It came as no surprise when Apple recently announced its new AirPods Pro 2 with a USB-C charging case – after all, industry watchers had been speculating about it for months. The old Lightning model has now been phased out on the company’s website, so the new USB-C version is the only one available directly from Apple. 

What we didn’t expect, however, was a raft of new features and upgraded specifications. StereoNET has already covered what you need to know about the new AirPods Pro 2 USB-C version supporting Lossless Audio when paired with the upcoming Vision Pro headset. So, let’s talk about the other features Apple has introduced with the latest iOS 17 update…

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Review

We’ll start with the most exciting feature, Conversation Awareness. This isn’t quite new in the industry, with other brands like Sony having implemented a Speak-To-Chat function in their earbuds that pauses the music and starts transparency mode once the wearer starts talking. What Apple has done here is quite similar but definitely more elegant and refined. 

Transparency mode kicks in immediately once the AirPods Pro 2 picks up speech from the wearer, but it is smart enough to filter out sighs, coughs, and the like so as not to accidentally activate the feature. The music also drops to a comfortable level – soft, but still audible in the background – so you can converse with whoever you want.

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Review

The earbuds remain in Conversation Awareness mode for as long as the wearer talks to someone. Once that is done, it’s time to figure out how to turn this off, and there are two ways to do this. You can either turn away from the person you’re talking to, and the earbuds will detect it and slowly turn the music back up while turning off Transparency mode, or you can simply swipe on the stem of the earbuds to turn it off. 

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Review

Both methods are relatively reliable and consistent. If you don’t turn Conversation Awareness mode off, however, the earbuds do it automatically after a period of time. This seems to depend on the length of the conversation, so if it was just a short exchange while buying coffee, it will turn off quite quickly after the wearer stops speaking.

Next, we have Adaptive Audio, which is basically adjustable noise cancellation levels. If you’re in a really noisy environment, the AirPods Pro 2 can boost the ANC all the way up, but if you’re in a quieter environment, maybe a cafe, then the earbuds will adjust the intensity of the noise cancellation to account for the lowered environmental noise. 

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Review

There’s also a Personalised Volume feature, which uses machine learning to figure out a user’s volume preferences and adjusts the volume of the earbuds accordingly when environmental noise changes. However, there is a maximum volume limit here of 80dB, so there’s no need to worry about accidentally blowing out your eardrums! 

Other smaller additions include a new press-to-mute mic feature when you’re on calls. Apple has also improved Automatic Switching, which can transfer the connection between source devices like Mac computers, iPads and iPhones. The AirPods Pro 2 earbuds and new case both have an upgraded IP54 dust and water resistance rating, too. 

AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Review

Sound quality remains unchanged, meaning this is still one of the best mainstream true wireless earbud offerings. Don’t forget that Matthew Jens gave the AirPods Pro 2 (Lightning model) a coveted StereoNET Applause Award when it was released back in 2022. 

      Cheryl Tan's avatar

      Cheryl Tan

      After diving down the custom IEMs rabbit hole since she was 18, Cheryl has embarked on a long journey trying out as many audio products as possible ever since. She’s still waiting for the day a company can create a pair of true wireless earbuds that sound just as good as wired earphones.

      Posted in:Headphones Headphones In Ear Monitors Noise Cancelling Bluetooth / Wireless
      Tags: apple 


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