If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I've been waiting a long time for Apple to release the new versions of its AirPods. The company finally launched this month and I could quickly preorder one. Apple just delivered my new AirPods 2 yesterday, and I used it the last day. Here are some of my thoughts:
I did not use the original AirPods at all, but I have been using wireless headsets for some time. With AirPods 2, the wireless experience was not really new to me. New was the comfort of the AirPods.
Connecting to the AirPods is incredibly fast and easy, especially since I have an iPhone and a Mac. And with the new H1 chip of the AirPods 2, the connectivity also seems to be much faster. I compared the connection performance of my AirPods 2 with a friend's original AirPods, and my connection was a little faster. And that's not a big deal, but the new H1 makes it so much easier to switch between different devices, and that's the big difference. Of course, this does not really work if you connect to a non-Apple device. So when I switch between my Windows 10 computer and my iPhone, the experience is certainly questionable.
AirPods 2 also brings Hey Siri and that's one of the most exciting features of this year's update. With Hey Siri, you can activate Siri with your voice without double-tapping the AirPods, and it works really well. Siri quickly detects the hotword and begins to answer your questions about the AirPods 2, but it's a bit confusing at first. There's really no real indication of when Siri actually listens to you, but that's a learning curve that you can easily overcome.
What's strange is the conversation with Siri in public. When I listen to music and can not really hear my own voice, I was worried that I would say "Hey Siri" aloud in public and everyone would think of me as a nutcase. And to be honest, I just tried to get Siri to activate first with a quiet voice and grow louder, finally making Siri listen to me. Again, it's a learning curve that you get used to quickly.
In terms of performance, Siri works flawlessly on the AirPods 2 and also responds very quickly. The fact that you do not have to take your phone out of your pocket is very convenient, especially if you are in a packed train.
Wireless charging is a big part of the AirPods 2 by the way. Apple actually sells two different versions of the AirPod 2 – one with a regular charging case for $ 159 and another with a wireless charging case for $ 199. I opted for the case of wireless charging because I will get an AirPower in the future (if that actually comes from the Apple HQs), but I do not currently have a wireless charger. But here's the thing: One of my friends had a Galaxy S10, and since this phone has the new Wireless PowerShare feature, I could simply charge my AirPods by placing them on the S10. And it was … pretty cool. This is Samsung, which is innovative here, just to be clear. Apple will obviously copy PowerShare to the future iPhones, so I'm glad I got the $ 199 AirPods 2 instead of the regular
The AirPods 2 sounds good in terms of sound quality. It sounds identical to the original AirPods and the sound quality is nothing out of the world. It's not really "great" for $ 199 headphones, but it does the job. I mean, if you're not an audio nerd like me, those things will sound good.
I also did not have time to comment on battery life with the new AirPods, which Apple says has improved with this year's update. But the fact that I listened to music for hours without interruption without leaving the battery is probably a good indication of battery life.
And as a new AirPods user I love some of the classic AirPods features like all gesture-based controls. Taping the AirPods to play / pause or play the next track is really cool, and automatically pausing playback when you remove one of the AirPods is actually very handy. The new AirPods felt a little strange at startup , I've always tried to take it off by pulling the wire, but obviously that's not the case here. I also found the AirPods awkward if I took them out of the AirPods case and replaced them, though I'll probably get used to using them more.
In any case, I really like the new AirPods. I've wanted to get one for a long time, so I'm pretty happy with them. There are a few things I would like to improve with a future release of Apple, which obviously includes sound quality and improved design (especially for the charging case, which I think is a bit big).
Tagged AirPods 2, Apple AirPods