Thoughts on the AirPods 2

Posted on March 27, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple with 40 Comments

If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably aware I have been waiting for a long time for Apple to release the new versions of its AirPods. The company finally launched those this month, and I was quick to pre-order one. Apple shipped my new AirPods 2 just yesterday, and I have been using it for the last day. Here are some of my thoughts.

I haven’t used the original AirPods at all, but I have been using wireless headphones for a while. Coming to AirPods 2, the wireless experience wasn’t really all that new for me. What was new, however, was the convenience of the AirPods.

Connecting to the AirPods is incredibly quick and easy, especially since I have an iPhone and a Mac. And with the new H1 chip on the AirPods 2, the connectivity seems way faster too. I have compared the connectivity performance of my AirPods 2 with a friend’s original AirPods, and mine was slightly quicker to connect. And that’s not a big deal, but the new H1 makes it so switching between different devices is quicker, and that’s where the notable difference is. That obviously doesn’t really work when you are connecting to a non-Apple device, so when I am switching between my Windows 10 machine and my iPhone, the experience is a bit iffy for sure.

AirPods 2 also brings Hey Siri, and that’s one of the more exciting features in this year’s update. Hey Siri lets you activate Siri with your voice without having to double tap on your AirPods, and it works really well. Siri is quick to detect the hotword and start answering your questions on the AirPods 2, but it is a little confusing at first. There isn’t really any real indication of when Siri is actually listening to you, but that’s a learning curve that you can get over pretty easily.

What is weird, however, is actually talking to Siri in public. When I am listening to music and I can’t really hear my own voice, I was worried I would say “Hey Siri” out loud in public and everyone would look at me like a weirdo. And to be honest, I just tried to get Siri to activate with a quiet voice at first and getting louder slowly to finally get Siri to listen to me. Again, it’s a learning curve that you get used to quickly.

In terms of performance, Siri on the AirPods 2 work just fine, and it’s very quick to respond as well. And the fact that you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket is very convinient, especially if you are in a really packed train, for example.

Wireless Charging is a big part of the AirPods 2, by the way. Apple is actually selling two different variants of the AirPods 2 — one with a regular charging case for $159, and another with a wireless charging case for $199. I went for the wireless charging case one because I may get an AirPower in the future (if that actually makes it out of Apple HQs), but I don’t actually have a wireless charger right now. But here is the thing: one of my friends had a Galaxy S10, and because that phone has the new Wireless PowerShare feature, I was able to charge my AirPods simply by placing it on the S10. And it was…pretty cool. This is Samsung innovating here, just to be clear. Apple will obviously copy PowerShare on the future iPhones, so I am glad I got the $199 AirPods 2 instead of the regular one.

Sound quality wise, the AirPods 2 sounds just fine. It sounds identical to the original AirPods and the sound quality isn’t anything out of this world. It’s not really “great” for $199 headphones, but it does the job. I mean, if you aren’t an audio nerd like me, these things will sound just fine.

I also haven’t had a long enough time with the new AirPods to comment on the battery life, which Apple says has improved with this year’s update. But the fact that I have listened to music nonstop for hours without running out of battery is probably a good indication of the battery life.

And as a new AirPods user, I love some of the classic AirPods features like all the gesture-based controls. Tapping on the AirPods to play/pause playback or play the next track is really cool, and being able to automatically pause playback when you take off one of the AirPods is actually very handy.

But because my previous wireless headphones actually had a wire, the new AirPods felt a bit weird when taking off. I always found myself trying to take it off by pulling the wire, but that obviously doesn’t exist here. I also found the AirPods a little clumsy when taking them out the AirPods case and putting them back in, though these are probably things I will get used to as I use these more.

Either way, I actually really like the new AirPods. I have wanted to get one for a really long time, so I am pretty happy with these. There are some things I would like Apple to improve with a future version though, which obviously includes the sound quality, and improved design (especially for the charging case which I think is a little big).

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Comments (40)

40 responses to “Thoughts on the AirPods 2”

  1. scorpiofist

    I was very disappointed in the first edition of Apple Airpods. If you sweat a lot during exercise. the holes clog up and after while the left one stops working. even after following the instructions to clean them out from various websites.

    I picked up a pair of beats wireless and the sound quality is so far superior to the Airpods. I have already told my clients not to waste their time with Airpods they are over priced, over hyped, and don't last long. after one year apple wants 85.00 dollars to replace one if it goes bad. Rip Off..

  2. wocowboy

    I received my new Airpods yesterday. The sound quality might be improved just a bit, but to me the old model always sounded pretty good. Not as good as with a silicone tip shoved down into my ear, of course, but I like to have access to a little bit of the outside world while doing casual listening, so the lack of total isolation does not bother me at all. For serious listening, I have a set of wired planar earbuds by Audeze, they are fantastic and come with both a 3.5 mm cable and a lightning cable. I do not mind the design of Airpods at all, the little stems get the microphones closer to your mouth for better call quality, something the Samsung Buds suffer greatly from, according to many reviewers. Plus, it makes them easy to grab hold of and remove from my ears. I like them.

  3. roncerr

    Jabra 65t is much better. Rubber ear buds, smaller case, not white.

  4. iantrem

    "...the sound quality isn’t anything out of this world. It’s not really “great” for $199 headphones,"

    All I needed to read right here. Next!

  5. Kranji Loh

    Wireless PowerShare is not Samsung's innovation. Huawei's Mate 20 Pro had it first. It's called Wireless Reverse Charging.

  6. karlinhigh

    Why does it say "go crazy go stupid" on the case?

  7. docpaul

    I can't get over how ugly they are. It looks like something is dripping out of your ear. I find people wearing AirPods repulsive. Similar to if they had a booger hanging out of their nose.

    • jwpear

      In reply to DocPaul:

      I used to think they were ugly too. Just didn''t seem like an elegant Apple product. However, I don't find people wearing them to be repulsive. We all have different tastes in clothes, cars, hair styles, etc. It's what makes us unique.

      The thing that sold me on Airpods was my quest to find the perfect workout earbuds--wireless and won't fall out. I've tried many wireless (albeit connected buds). They all fall out. The wires connecting them seem to be part of the problem--they rub and catch on my neck and that pulls a bud loose.

      In the past six months, I've noticed many folks wearing the first gen Airpods at the gym. I've watched to see if they fall out of anyone's ear while working out. Didn't see that happen. When Apple announced the v2 Airpods, I decided to give them a try. I don't care how they look just as I don't care how I look while working out. I'm there to focus on me and my health.

    • Skolvikings

      In reply to DocPaul:

      Repulsive? Honestly? I get not caring for the look, which is fine, but this sounds over the top. But you do you man.

  8. sott3

    I love my original AirPods. I don't see a reason to upgrade, but these are by far my favorite headphones. If they are somehow able to include noise cancelling in the future, then take my money!

  9. hoomgar

    So the one and only thing I really cared to hear about was how they addressed the most serious issue that the AirPods have.  Alas, Paul, you completely omitted how they fit!  The AirPods fall right out of my Dumbo sized ear holes and therefore I could not use them.  With these, they appear to look the same in that regard.  That means that after 200 dollars they will (on first use) fall out and get run over, stepped on or go down a storm drain since there is no longer a tether and they are heavier.  I am guessing?

    At 200 dollars Apple can do you know what.  I really do hate that company.

  10. ivarh

    After receiving the galaxy buds with my S10 I can say tat they have much more radio problems than the AirPods. It's very seldom my AirPods gets degraded sound unless I move far away from the phone. The galaxy buds seems to break up on average 1-2 times an hour.

    The AirPods are the best wireless earphones overall that I have ever used except for over the ear noise canceling ones like the Bose 35. But the problem with the AirPods is that they either fir your air or they don't. Luckily they are compatible with my ears.

  11. BrianEricFord

    “Hey Siri” works just fine on the 1st gen AirPods. You just have to shout “HEY SIRI!!!” really loudly so your phone picks it up from your pocket or the other room. ;)

    Jokes aside, AirPods are amazing 99% of the time for me. Unless you’re on an airplane. Then they’re barely adequate for listening.

  12. djross95

    Geez, $199 for Bluetooth headphones? My cell phone (a Nokia 7.1) only cost $299, so I guess I'll stick with wired 'phones, lol. That Apple ecosystem sure gets expensive!

    • steenmachine

      In reply to djross95:

      Uh, Bose SoundSports are $199. Jabra Elites are $150-$200.

      True wireless BT headphones that are of high quality / functionality do cost a bit more, independent of ecosystem.

    • AnOldAmigaUser

      In reply to djross95:

      Because it was sending your info to China?

    • jatinder37

      In reply to djross95: Your comment is quite ignorant. I don't like apple products (I'm using these with an android phone), however these airpods have unique benefits:
      1) They are truly wireless not just a silly cable in the middle
      2) Battery life is very good
      3) Re-charge is quick and efficient
      4) Independent pairing, very handy on calls
      5) Most importantly (for me), they work well on VOIP calls such as Skype For Buisness. Not many of these types of headphones do
      6) The Mic is loud and clear

      Take these all into account and for the price your paying and the convivence of using it is in fact a very good price

  13. saturn

    Great read, Mehedi! As an early adopter of the original AirPods (I’ve hated wires on my earphones since I was a kid and unfortunately the only earphones that are comfortable for me are Apple’s), I’ve been very curious to see how the new ones stack up. The price is very high in my country so I likely won’t be getting the second gen for awhile but after reading this, they’re definetely on my radar. Only sad thing for me is that I’ve used mine so much that they only last about 2.5-3 hours each charge. Anyway, I hope you’ll write a follow-up down the track to see how they last long-term. Looking forward to more content like this from you!

  14. harrymyhre

    There’s always a 50% chance i will insert them in the case the wrong way. It’s not obvious which way they go or maybe I’m lame. ?

    • jim_priestley

      ‘In reply to Harrymyhre:

      If you open the case with the hinge facing away from you, left ear goes on the left side.

      I still have to think about it, but I’m working on making it automatic in my brain.

      Now, if i take both out and have them in the palm of my hand, then all bets are off...

  15. Breaker119

    I have never tried the wireless version of Apple earbuds, but the wired versions have got to be the most ill-fitting, most uncomfortable, likely to fall out earbuds I have ever had the displeasure of using.

  16. dontbe evil

    Apple fans arehappy to be milked

  17. rm

    Way over priced, must be Apple!

  18. jwpear

    I also jumped on these as soon as they were available for pre-order. I passed on the first gen, thinking they looked kind of silly with the white sticks hanging down from the ear. They've grown on me over the past year seeing others wearing them.

    The reviews saying how well they work, and stay in, during workouts is what finally swayed me to pull the trigger. I've gone through a number of cheap wireless earbuds in recent years, trying to find something that worked well for workouts. Virtually all of them fall out multiple times during my gym workout and I've tried a number of different styles. I've only had my Airpods for a day, so I haven't yet tried them during a workout. They do feel very stable in the ear just wearing them for casual listening. Plan to hit the gym tomorrow to see how well they stay in.

    I find the pairing to be pretty quick--definitely faster than the many cheap bluetooth earbuds I've had. I love that my iPhone automatically switches to them as the primary audio device when I put them in my ear and away when I take them out. That's so much better than my other bluetooth earbuds. I guess technically, the Airpods automatically turn on/off depending on whether they're in or out of ear and that facilitates the seamless playback switching. Regardless, this is truly delightful.

    The sound quality is decent, but definitely not what you'd expect from $160 earbuds. I think they sound pretty similar to the $29 Apple Earpods.

    I too find it cumbersome to pull them out of the case. My big fingers have a hard time grabbing them and the door seems to get in the way when trying to do that.  Seems like Apple could have made that a little easier with a release button or something. I find you have to push the ear piece part toward the door and twist to get the magnet to release. They then pop up enough that I can grab with my thumb and index finger.

    I worry that I will lose one since they don't have a wire connecting them. If they always go back in the case, I suppose that will not happen. I may still pick up a strap to attach to them.

    So far, I'm enjoying my Airpods. And I hope they put an end to my search for the perfect workout earbuds.

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