AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Which One Should You Buy?

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When it comes to portability and performance, the AirPods Pro have always been the go-to for most of us Apple users. 

They have the best of both worlds; you can carry them in your pocket like the regular AirPods and enjoy the features and sound quality comparable to the AirPods Max. 

Apple knows this, and that’s why the company finally released the second-generation AirPods Pro in 2022. 

And with the AirPods Pro 2, the original AirPods Pro are already selling for a much lower price if you can find them. 

Since the AirPods Pro still offer great sound quality and decent battery life, should you really pay more to have the newest AirPods Pro? Here’s what you need to take into account. 

AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Price

AirPods Pro
Hadrian / Shutterstock

This is probably the biggest factor for most of us. After all, if both earbuds offer similar specs, why would you want to buy the more expensive AirPods Pro 2?

The AirPods Pro 2 cost $249, which is the same price the first-generation AirPods Pro had at launch. Sure, it may be expensive for some of us, but the price is competitive compared to other wireless earbuds in the market. 

On the other hand, you may find the original AirPods Pro for as lower than $219, but there’s a catch. Unfortunately, Apple discontinued the AirPods Pro 1 in order to focus on the second generation. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t still find a brand new pair of AirPods Pro for a reasonable price, but it might require some extra searching before you find one. If you don’t have the time or energy, going for the AirPods Pro 2 might be the best option.

What’s the Performance Like?

When it comes to performance, the AirPods Pro 2 are the clear winner, but not by much. 

The AirPods Pro 2 feature the newest H2 chip, which, according to Apple, performs significantly better. The H2 chip also improves sound quality and offers better Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).

The original AirPods Pro rock the H1 chip. And while the second-generation AirPods Pro is obviously better, the H1 chip still packs a big enough punch to provide great sound quality, performance, and ANC. 

In short, the H2 chip would be great, but as of right now, most regular users won’t have a problem with the H1 chip.

Which One Has the Better Battery Life?

AirPods Battery Level and Pairing Indicator on iPhone
A. Aleksandravicius / Shutterstock

Unfortunately, compared to other wireless earbuds, the battery life on the AirPods lineup has never been the best, but it’s good enough to get you through the day. 

With Active Noise Cancellation on, the original AirPods Pro offer up to 4.5 hours of total listening time with a single charge. If you turn ANC off, you should get around 5 or 6 hours in a single charge. When using the charging case, the AirPods Pro should last for up to 24 hours.

On the other hand, we’ve got the AirPods Pro 2, which last up to 6 hours with a single charge using ANC and up to 7.5 hours without ANC. Apple also says the charging case gives them up to 30 hours of total play time.

As you can see, the difference isn’t that big, especially if you don’t use Active Noise Cancellation all that often. Whether you go with the first or second generation, you should get more than enough power for a day.

The Design Is Pretty Similar, But…

Second Generation AirPods Pro

At first glance, you couldn’t tell the difference between the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Pro 2. 

Both pairs are almost identical, with a few design changes on the second generation to make it stand out. 

With that said, the second-generation AirPods Pro do come with some extra features on the outside. 

You probably already know that the first-generation AirPods Pro come with force sensor controls. These controls let you play, pause, and switch songs, as well as answer or hang up calls. However, you can’t adjust the volume with them. 

The AirPods Pro 2, on the other hand, come with the same force sensor controls and new touch controls that let you change the volume without using your iPhone. 

While this is a great feature to finally have on the AirPods Pro, if you’ve used AirPods or AirPods Pro before, you’re probably used to using your iPhone or Apple Watch to adjust the volume. 

Still, this feature is a game-changer for many people and might make the AirPods Pro 2 worth more than the first generation. 

Adaptive Transparency and Active Noise Cancellation

As you can already tell, the AirPods Pro 2 have better sound quality than the original AirPods Pro, albeit some people might tell you it’s not by much. 

The truth is, the sound quality of both generations is good enough for most of us casual users. You won’t be able to tell the difference, and you’ll surely enjoy your music on any of these AirPods. 

However, the AirPods Pro 2 really shine in features like Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. 

AirPods Pro ANC Settings iPhone Control Centre
Jesse Hollington

The original AirPods Pro come with a Transparency mode that helps you listen to your surroundings even if you’re listening to music. ANC is also great and will silence all the background noise so that you can focus on yourself and your music. 

The AirPods Pro 2 took both features one step further. Active Noise Cancellation works the same on the AirPods Pro 2, but it’s two times better thanks to the H2 chip. 

Alongside the regular Transparency mode, Apple also introduced a new Adaptive Transparency mode, which lets the AirPods Pro “listen” to your surroundings and actively adjust Transparency mode, so you aren’t exposed to loud sounds. 

For instance, if you’re out and about and you hear a siren, your AirPods Pro will automatically adjust the transparency, so you don’t hear the full blast but can still hear it. 

Apple has been working on ways to protect our hearing since watchOS 6, so this feature makes the AirPods Pro 2 a must-have if you’re trying to keep your hearing healthy (as you should).

AirPods Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2 — Which One Will You Choose?

There’s no doubt that both devices offer many awesome features and benefits, that it’s hard to make a wrong choice.

If you want Apple’s latest and greatest, worry about your hearing health, or just want a better sound with more features, the AirPods Pro 2 are perfect for you.

On the other hand, if you don’t care about all the extra features and don’t want to spend too much money, the original AirPods Pro will offer a better bang for your buck. You’ll still get great features like Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode.

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