Apple announced the new AirPods Pro 2 early in September. While BGR had the chance to review these wireless earbuds a few weeks after they were released, I could only experience this product recently when I bought them while on vacation.
I’m an AirPods enthusiast. Having owned every model since the originals were introduced, I’ve been seeing – and listening to – Apple’s improvements with each new generation. While I have enjoyed using almost every AirPods model, there’s one that makes me regret spending so much money: The AirPods Max.
While most Apple products get new features over the months after their release, the AirPods Max went backward – they started losing features. Several publications wrote that Apple’s premium headphones’ active noise cancellation (ANC) got worse after each firmware update, and in my personal experience, I could say the same.
Even the premium Apple Music Dolby Atmos catalog started to sound worse on the company’s most expensive headphones. Having bought them a year ago, I have since completely lost the urge to put on these headphones and listen to music.
And I understand some of this is, in fact, Apple’s fault. For example, I was trying to listen to side B of Abbey Road, and even with the songs stored locally, I had to wait up to two seconds for Apple Music to transition from Polythene Pam to She Came In Through The Bathroom Window. While this album was made to be listened to sequentially, Apple couldn’t make the iPhone 14 Pro and the AirPods Max render an album stored offline. Why?
Add that to AirPods Max constantly disconnecting from my iPhone or the ANC clearly sounding less effective. It makes me regret purchasing these headphones.
On the other hand, ever since I got my hands on the AirPods Pro 2, they’re turning out to be everything I wanted from the AirPods Max in the first place.
AirPods Pro 2: Pocketable AirPods Max that bring even more to the table
In a recent interview with What Hi-Fi?, Apple engineer Esge Andersen shared this detail about the AirPods Pro 2: “We wanted to give everybody an AirPods Max in their pocket. And at the end of the day, there is somewhat of a compromise, because you can’t make it perfect for everybody yet.”
While, at first, I thought it was a pretty bold statement, having experienced the AirPods Pro 2 on a long flight, working out, and even just working from home, I now understand what he means.
Thanks to the H2 chip — which makes ANC twice as good — the slightly redesigned earbud, and iOS 16’s Personalized Spatial Audio, I have really enjoyed these wireless earbuds so far. They sound clear, and the bass is strong while letting me listen to the nuances that Dolby Atmos songs can offer.
With the new XS ear tips, even my girlfriend, whose ears only fit the original AirPods model, got to experience the AirPods Pro 2 sound without the buds falling out of her ears.
While carrying AirPods Max around is a bit much – it’s big, everybody knows it’s expensive, and mine is clearly breaking – having the AirPods Pro 2 with me makes the experience of listening to songs while being able to isolate myself from everything else pleasant again.
In addition, the AirPods Pro 2 also feature a new, helpful MagSafe Charging Case, better battery life than the previous model, and, of course, they fit in my pocket, ready for whenever I need them.
While I hope Apple still adds more features to the AirPods Pro 2, such as a higher song stream quality with the unused LC3 codec, I’m also excited for Apple to make the AirPods Max a great product again.
If such pocketable wireless earbuds can deliver such fantastic sound quality, why can’t the AirPods Max compete?