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When AirPods Pro were first released in 2019, it was quite a different world. Thanks to their sleek form factor, respectable noise cancellation, and their seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, they became the go-to pair of earbuds for so many of us. Fast forward to late 2022, and the world of noise-canceling wireless earphones looks very different, meaning the new, second-generation AirPods Pro Apple announced at its “Far Out” event face much higher scrutiny than before.

What do you get with the 2nd Gen AirPods Pro?

Inflation be damned, the new AirPods Pros come in at the same $249 price tag. AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) now features a new H2 chipset that leads to increased battery life (six hours instead of five), and double the intensity of the noise-cancelation system (something that was sorely limited).

Most important of all, you can now control the volume from the AirPods’ stems. You still press the stems to cycle through noise-cancelation and Transparency Mode, but a light swipe lets you raise or lower the volume, a first for Apple’s wireless earbuds.

Other than that, it’s small updates. You can now use the Apple Watch charger to charge the AirPods Pro, and there’s a new XS-sized ear tip in the box, as well. The case even has a speaker now, which makes it easier to locate using the Find My app.

Why you shouldn’t ditch your current AirPods Pro

What’s more interesting is how Apple has chosen not to update the AirPods Pro. From everything that was said in the event, it looks like there’s no major update to the sound system itself. No great new codec support, nor manual EQ.

If you already have a pair of AirPods Pro, you aren’t missing too much, even with the addition of volume controls. Unless improved noise cancellation is incredibly important to you, you can skip this generation of AirPods Pro and keep the $250.

That said, if you’re planning to buy your first pair of AirPods, the AirPods Pro are the best Apple earbuds you can buy. They still have a better fit than either AirPods 2 or AirPods 3, and now have the battery life to match.

And if you’re willing to shop around, take a look at some alternatives, as well. It’s not 2019 anymore, and the market is flooded with amazing wireless earbuds, many of which are cheaper than the AirPods Pro.

If it’s sound quality you’re after, check out the Sony WF-1000XM4. They’re a bit older now, but they sound amazing, complete with Sony bass and a manual equalizer. Even Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer great sound with a comfortable fit. Both Sony and Samsung are doing a stellar job at noise cancellation (Sony being at the forefront of this arena).

   



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