Hands-On With Apple's New Second-Generation AirPods

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Apple's second-generation AirPods, announced last week, started showing up on people's doorsteps this morning and also became available for purchase in Apple retail stores. We picked up a set of AirPods 2 to see how they compare to the original AirPods.



Second-generation AirPods actually come in two configurations: with a new Wireless Charging Case and with a Lightning-only charging case, with the former priced at $199 and the latter priced at $159. We purchased the version with the Wireless Charging Case, as the new case is one of the major changes.

Design wise, you're not going to be able to tell the new AirPods from the original AirPods. They're still only available in white and they continue to feature the exact same design - white plastic buds with a stem at the bottom.

All of the changes to the AirPods are actually internal. There's a new H1 chip that replaces the W1 chip and brings quite a few improvements. In our experience, AirPods 2 connect to your devices much more quickly than the original AirPods, and swapping between devices is faster.

Latency has been cut down, and because the AirPods 2 support Bluetooth 5.0, you may see some range and quality improvements. We think the AirPods 2 seem to sound a bit better, especially at higher volumes.

There's a new "Hey Siri" feature that lets you activate Siri hands-free without the need to tap on the AirPods, and when talking on the phone, battery life is now three hours instead of two.

A major difference between AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 is the aforementioned Wireless Charging Case, which comes with AirPods 2 and can be purchased on a standalone basis for AirPods 1 for $79. The Wireless Charging Case lets you use any Qi-based wireless charger to charge up your AirPods, and it will let the AirPods work with the AirPower if Apple ever releases it.

If you try to use an original AirPod with a second-generation AirPod in the AirPods Charging Case, it will flash red to let you know they're incompatible, but the same warning also appears if you try to use AirPods from different sets of the same generation.

There's no real way to visually tell the two versions apart, but if you connect them to your iPhone, you can see which version you have by opening up the Settings app, choosing General, and scrolling down to the AirPods section. You can tell the Charging Case from the standard case because the LED light that indicates charging is on the outside of the case rather on the inside.

The second-generation AirPods shipped without features many were hoping for such as a new color and health tracking capabilities, but still mark a solid upgrade over the original version. What do you think of Apple's new AirPods? Let us know in the comments.

Article Link: Hands-On With Apple's New Second-Generation AirPods
 

RWil85

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2010
557
125
Anyone know if with the new airpods you can now link two sets of airpods to say a phone or new Ipad to stream and watch something? I thought bluetooth 5.0 allowed this.
Needs software to allow the BT 5.0 to take advantage of dual audio - stream output to two devices.
 
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djcerla

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2015
1,657
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They’re fast at connecting, have a longer range compared to my girlfriend’s Gen 1 and sound very good to me.

The sound “inflates” beautifully as the volume goes up rather than distorting/thinning. A major improvement over my Powerbeats.

Problems:

1) I had to reboot the case and reconnect as the right earbud was quickly draining its battery while the left one reached 100% in no time. After that, all OK.

2) Hey Siri had a very long lag before activating (seconds), but I only tried a few times, will investigate further.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
4,778
2,799
FWIW, when I replaced my AirPods 1 with a new set of AirPods 1 they sounded better. I think the weak battery was affecting sound quality-- and certainly affecting volume. It's possible that new AP2s sound better than old AP1s for the same reason.
 

Geardo_Ranger

macrumors member
May 16, 2018
54
121
North Carolina
Dan,

The blinking red light doesn’t mean they aren’t compatible. It means two different pods from different sets are in the case. You can make the blinking go away if you hold the back button down for more than 10 seconds.

The same thing happened to me when I had Apple mail me replacement airpods and they sent each AirPod seperately.
 

eagleglen

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2009
1,075
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Phoenix, AZ
Why didn’t you review switching the AirPods between devices? That occurs much more often then the time to connect them, which only needs to be done once. And what does using the Hey Siri feature have to do with proximity to your iPhone. This was not a very good video review.
 
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deebinem

macrumors regular
May 7, 2017
183
372
AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 are not interchangeable -- if you try to use an original AirPod with a second-generation AirPod in the AirPods Charging Case, it will flash red to let you know about the incompatibility.
Not surprising but still a big BOOOOOOO from me. Seriously, you money grubbing... *sigh*

EDIT: Wait, just reread that... no interchanging pods but still can use gen 1 pods in a gen 2 case?
 

Geardo_Ranger

macrumors member
May 16, 2018
54
121
North Carolina
Not surprising but still a big BOOOOOOO from me. Seriously, you money grubbing... *sigh*

EDIT: Wait, just reread that... no interchanging pods but still can use gen 1 pods in a gen 2 case?
The blinking red light doesn’t mean they aren’t compatible. It means two different pods from different sets are in the case. You can make the blinking go away if you hold the back button down for more than 10 seconds.

The same thing happened to me when I had Apple mail me replacement airpods and they sent each AirPod seperately.
 

Braderunner

macrumors 6502a
Oct 2, 2015
888
1,684
Tralfamadore
Nice review! Thanks, Dan. I REALLY appreciate the honesty about the sound quality. It is extremely subjective...and, the tiniest thing...like Apple claiming it is better...can influence your opinion.
Sometimes, it's hard to tell what you would think without any pre-conceived notions.
 

abrantes09

macrumors member
Feb 6, 2019
90
77
Man, I ordered mine as soon as they went on sale and they don’t get here until tomorrow. Sad. I can’t wait to try them out and write about them on my site though.
Damn, thats rough. Its crazy to see these things are so popular they push back after just a few hours of release. Crazy.
 
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Commodore 64

macrumors member
Mar 12, 2009
49
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I see in some other threads that the new AirPods can´t connect to Apple Watch until the watch is on WatchOs 5.2. Is this correct?
 

Greatness617

macrumors newbie
Jan 25, 2017
7
9
I had the gen. 1 for about 2 weeks before returning them in Jan 2019 because I heard these were coming soon. I have been using these gen 2 for the past few hours with the tv on playing sound. pods sounds great around 70% volume it connected to my 2018 MacBook Pro very easy. I remember that I would have to disconnect from one source to another to get them to work probably so far no issues. I plan on keeping them and getting the 10% military discount made it even better $0.02.
 
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citysnaps

macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2011
5,127
7,767
San Francisco
And anyone who thinks that these things have good sound quality need to put an actual quality headphone in their ears.
All of this “they sound so much better” and “are faster” is nothing more than people trying to justify spending another $200 on a piece of crap product.

How long have you owned your new AirPods? And how do you feel spending $200 on a piece of crap product in order to make that hands-on assessment?
 
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