Review: AirPods Pro 2 are also nice if you don’t listen to music | Reviews

Apple’s new AirPods Pro sound better, but stand out especially at times whenyou’re not listening to music.

By Bastiaan Vroegop

The wireless Pro earbuds have been upgraded after three years. It addresses afew obvious issues. New hardware, for example, makes the sound sound better.During our testing, we noticed a difference, especially in the lower basstones. Audio has a little more impact with the new AirPods Pro.

While calling in strong wind with the AirPods Pro, the other person alsoremains very audible. During test phone calls on the bike, we remained clearlyaudible, while the AirPods filtered the wind well.

In our opinion, the overall noise reduction is also slightly better, althoughwe had little to complain about with the original AirPods Pro. Apple now alsosupplies smaller ear tips in addition to the three standard sizes, so that thetips close better if you have small ear holes.

Finally a volume control

In addition, the new caps have a much-requested volume control. That wasmissing on previous AirPods, so you had to change the volume via Siri or youriPhone. Swipe your finger up or down on the stems and you adjust the sound.

Each swipe is one jump up. If you want to go from soft to loud in one go, youhave to move your finger quite a lot, but this prevents you from accidentallyturning the sound very loud in one go. In practice, we also mainly made smallsound adjustments, so this is not a big problem.

Photo: Apple

Easier to find

There are now four small holes on the bottom of the AirPods Pro: three on theright side and one on the left. Behind the holes on the right is a smallspeaker that is used for the Find My app. The hole on the left is an “acoustichole”, according to Apple, which is intended to take pressure off the speaker.

If you have lost the AirPods, you can play a sound to find them. In addition,the AirPods Pro work like recent AirTags, so that on recent iPhones a compassarrow points in the direction where your lost caps are.

Photo: Apple

A volume control for your everyday life

In our opinion, the biggest improvements are in the Transparency mode of theAirPods Pro. Press and hold the stem of your buds and the noise cancellationwill turn off just like on old models, after which microphones ensure that youcan hear your surroundings better.

With the AirPods Pro from 2019, that ambient noise sometimes sounded a bittinny. This is not the case with the new version: other people’s voices comeacross naturally, making it sound like you have no earplugs in your ears atall. That in itself is a remarkable achievement.

In addition, Apple has added a new feature called ‘Adaptive Transparency’.This ensures that very loud sounds (above 85 decibels) are reduced in volume,but can still be heard clearly. It ensures that a jackhammer, highway or aloud concert is less of a burden on your hearing, but can still be heard.

In practice, it feels like a kind of personal sound mixer for your everydaylife. This is of great added value, especially at concerts: your AirPods makethe music clearly audible and provide a tolerable volume, without missing thetones that are missing from old-fashioned earplugs for hearing protection, forexample.


The new AirPods Pro sound better, but we are especially impressed with theimprovements in transparency mode. This can be a gadget that you also like towear when you are not listening to music, simply to make your environment morebearable. Although the question is how your environment reacts to this: afterall, they will think that you are always listening to music.

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