The Apple AirPods 2 2019 are practically the same as the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017, with slight differences. We tested the version with the wireless charging case. They have the same, okay sound profile and their design is the same as the older model, but the new case now supports wireless Qi charging, which is nice. Their one-size-fits-all design won’t be ideal for everyone, but if you do manage a good fit, they're very comfortable. They're also open-back earbuds, meaning they won’t block out ambient noise but will be suitable for outdoor sports like jogging to stay aware of your surroundings. However, their fit might not be the most stable for some. Overall, the AirPods 2 aren’t worth the upgrade if you already have the first model.
Passable for mixed usage. The Apple AirPods 2 are well-designed truly wireless headphones. However, they have mediocre sound quality, and their open-back design also means they practically don’t isolate any noise, which won’t be ideal for commuting or to use at the office. On the upside, their portable, breathable, and open design is good for sports, especially if you want to monitor your surroundings when jogging outside. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, some will notice a delay when watching video content or gaming.
Mediocre for neutral listening. Their bass, although punchy, lacks low-end thump and rumble, which make them unsuitable for bass-heads and music that has a lot of sub-bass. Their mid-range is also very good and their treble is decent as well. However, they might sound a bit bright and sharp due to their overemphasized treble. Their delivery is inconsistent across different users. They will be better suited for music that isn't bass-heavy like classical music, 70s rock, and podcasts/audiobooks. Most people won’t notice any difference between the second and first Apple AirPods.
Mediocre for commuting. Their open design means that they don’t isolate well and a lot of noise will seep into your audio. They don’t block any low-end noises like engine rumbles, which won't be ideal for commuting. On the upside, they're comfortable to wear for a long time and their 4-hour battery life will be long enough for most commutes. You might have to take a break to charge them when on a long flight, but they only take 30 minutes to fully charge, which is great and convenient. They're also very easy to carry around.
Good for sports. The Apple AirPods’ one-size-fits-all design is fairly comfortable, but it isn’t the most stable for everyone. Their fit greatly depends on the shape and size of your ear. Their open design will be great for people running outside who want to notice cars around them but won’t be great to block out ambient noise in a crowded gym. They, unfortunately, don’t have a great control scheme and it won’t be easy to control your playlist or volume when working out.
Sub-standard for the office. While they're very lightweight and fit nicely in most ears, the Apple AirPods 2 don’t block any ambient chatter or office environment noises and they're slightly leaky at higher volumes. Their 4-hour battery life isn’t ideal for a whole work day, but you can charge them fully during lunchtime and get another 4 hours for the second half of your day.
Poor for gaming. The AirPods aren't designed as gaming headphones and won’t be a good option for this use. Their latency is too high for playing video games and their microphone doesn’t rival gaming headsets’ boom microphones. They also aren’t as customizable as gaming headsets and don’t have great battery life for long gaming sessions.
Poor for wired gaming. The AirPods aren't designed for wired gaming as they can't be used wired.
Sub-par for phone calls. The AirPods 2's microphone recording quality can make voices sound thin and lacking presence, and if you're taking calls in loud environments like cafes, your voice might struggle to be heard clearly from your background.
The Apple AirPods 2 are identical to the previous model, which might be slightly disappointing for some. They have the same cordless design as the wired Apple EarPods. They’re well-crafted and have the same stalk design that makes them so distinguishable. The buds have a smooth plastic casing and brushed aluminum, which gives them their unique premium look.
The Apple AirPods 2 are as comfortable as the first model since they have the same one-size-fits-all design. This means that comfort and stability will vary for people, depending on the shape and size of your ears. The AirPods 2 are still very lightweight and you can barely feel them in your ears if you can achieve a nice fit. They also don’t enter your ear canal deeply, thanks to their design.
The Apple AirPods 2 have a sub-par control scheme that has limited options. When connected to an iOS device, you can map the touch-sensitive scheme on each bud. You can choose between track backward, forward, play/pause (which also manages calls), and activate Siri. You can also play/pause by taking the earbuds out and placing them back in your ears. You can disable the touch-sensitive surface as well if you don't want to use it. On the newer model, you can also enable 'Hey Siri' on your device, which means you can control everything with only your voice. Unfortunately, you can’t control the volume without Siri or your device, and the button mapping is unavailable on Android and defaults to 'next track' on both earbuds. If you prefer physical buttons that offer good feedback, check out the Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless.
These are incredibly breathable headphones. They have no tips and there are barely any points of contact with your ear. Although they're a bit less stable than other truly wireless headphones like the Jaybird Run XT Truly Wireless or the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless, they're slightly more breathable. Most people won’t notice a difference in temperature while wearing them.
The footprint of most truly wireless headphones is very small, and the AirPods 2 are no exception. They're easy to carry around and the buds easily fit in pockets or a bag. They also come with a compact charging case, which is portable and fits well in pockets.
The AirPods 2 have one of the best cases we’ve seen so far. With the same sleek design as its predecessor, it protects the headphones well against minor falls and scratches, but not against water damage. While the case is also the same size, it now comes with Qi wireless charging. However, if you don't need this feature, you can also get them with the same case as the previous generation: this one charges via Lightning instead.
The AirPods 2 have the same build quality as their predecessor. The plastic casing feels high-end and durable and should be solid enough to withstand a few drops without getting damaged. They're well-made, sturdy headphones and feel high-end, although they don't have some of the more premium finishes like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless and the B&O PLAY Beoplay E8 2.0. They're also still susceptible to cracking under enough force or when falling from great distances, and they're not as sweat resistant as the Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless, so keep that in mind when using them while working out.
The AirPods 2 have mediocre stability. Due to their one-size-fits-all design and the lack of other fit options, your experience will vary depending on the shape and size of your ears. If you plan to use these earbuds during light activity such as running, they should stay put as long as you have a good fit.
Despite their inflexible build, their wireless design means that you don't have to worry about snagging a cable on the kitchen corner and ripping the headphones from your ears.
The Apple AirPods 2's sound profile is similar to their predecessor, the Apple AirPods. While passably-balanced for non-bass heavy audio such as classical music or audiobooks, their low-bass fails to deliver thump and rumble, making genres like EDM sound lacking or hollow. On the other side of the spectrum, the over-emphasized treble can sound sharp - cymbals, for example, may sound overly bright or piercing. Users may also experience deviations in sound consistency depending on how well their earbuds fit.
The AirPods 2's frequency response consistency is disappointing. Because of their one-size-fits-all design, sound consistency will depend on how well they fit inside your ear; if you don't have a good fit, then you might not get a consistent response each time you listen to audio. Deviations in the low bass and between the high-mid and low treble will also be noticeable.
The AirPods 2's bass is sub-par. Their low-frequency extension (LFE) is at 66Hz, suggesting that they won't be able to produce low thump and rumbles. This is also shown in their low-bass, which is lacking by more than 12dB. On the upside, the mid and high bass, respectively responsible for the punch of basses and kicks and the warmth of the mix, are quite flat and within 2dB of our neutral target. Since lack of low-bass is especially hard to hear on headphones, the overall bass range will be light on thump and rumble but will be punchy enough to be adequate for music that doesn't have a lot of sub-bass. Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users and is sensitive to the quality of fit and seal. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.
The Apple AirPods 2 mid-range performance is very good. Low-mid and mid-mid are very flat and well-balanced. This results in an accurate representation of vocals and lead instruments. However, there’s a bump in high-mid which will increase intensity and projection of vocals and leads.
The AirPods 2 have a decent treble range. The response is fairly flat and well-balanced, but it's also slightly overhyped. The low and mid-treble have a 4dB overemphasis, which results in an excess in brightness and presence. Also, the 10dB bump around 10kHz could make sibilants (S and T sounds) slightly sharp and piercing, especially on already bright tracks.
The Apple AirPods 2's peaks and dips performance is decent. The dip in the low treble may result in a less rumbling bass while the peak between the high-mid and low treble could make cymbals and sibilants (S and T sounds) sound harsh and piercing. The high peak in the mid-treble can also be piercing, but, likely, it won't be audible to most people.
The Apple AirPods have very good imaging. Their group delay is at 0.28, which is very good, and it doesn't cross the audibility threshold, which is excellent. The spikes in the low-bass shouldn't be audible since they're lower than their LFE, meaning they won't be able to reproduce these frequencies to begin with. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase. This is important for accurate placement and localization of objects, such as footsteps and instruments, in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.
The Apple AirPods 2, like most in-ears, have a poor soundstage. This is mainly due to their lack of interaction with the pinna, which is a key factor in giving the sense of a large and in-front soundstage. However, because of their open design, they tend to have a more open soundstage than closed-back in-ears.
The Apple AirPods 2 don't have a virtual soundstage.
The Apple AirPods 2's weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. All frequencies fall within good limits, which should result in a clear and pure audio reproduction.
The Apple AirPods 2's results are only valid for these test settings.
The AirPods 2 have poor noise isolation. This is due to their open-back design, just like the previous Apple AirPods. Therefore, they don't isolate in the bass and mid-ranges, unlike the Jaybird X4 Wireless, Jaybird Tarah Wireless, JBL FreeX Truly Wireless, or the Skullcandy Jib Wireless. In the treble range, they reduce outside noise by only 7dB, which is quite poor and barely noticeable. However, this makes them a very suitable option for situations where you would like to hear your surroundings, like going for a jog and wanting to hear cars passing by. If you don't like the open design and want something to block out ambient noise, check out the Apple AirPods Pro.
Their leakage performance is decent. The significant portion of the leakage is between 3kHz and 10kHz, which is a relatively broad range and mostly concentrated in the treble range and mainly including S and T sounds. This means that leakage will sound quite thin. The overall level of the leakage is too not loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 38dB SPL but peaks at 65dB SPL, which is higher than the noise of an average office. These headphones could be audible to people around you when listening at high volumes in a quiet environment. If you want a pair of earbud-style truly wireless headphones that don't leak as much noise, check out the Microsoft Surface Earbuds Truly Wireless.
The Apple AirPods 2 have an integrated microphone.
The recording quality of the new Apple AirPods 2's microphone is still mediocre. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 265Hz suggests that voice transmitted with the mic will sound thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is also limited at 3.4kHz, resulting in a speech that lacks presence and brilliance. However, this is a limitation of the Bluetooth protocol and doesn't affect speech intelligibility significantly in quiet environments.
The microphone has mediocre noise handling capabilities. In our noise handling test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio value of 14dB. This means that the mic will struggle to transmit clear and noise-free speech even in moderately loud environments like a busy street.
The AirPods 2 have similar battery life to the previous model and provide just over 4 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. The case also gives you five additional charges, which can give up to 24 total hours according to their specs sheet. A nice new addition to this model is the wireless Qi charging case. You can also use only one earbud at a time while the other one is charging in the case, which is convenient. They're also very quick to fully charge, with about 30 minutes of charging time; this is among the lowest for truly wireless headphones.
While the Apple AirPods 2 don't have a dedicated app, they do have a limited built-in interface within iOS that pops up when syncing to your Apple device. You can check the battery life of your earbuds and case as well as remap the touch-sensitive controls. With macOS, you can additionally access information on your battery life and connect to Bluetooth.
Unfortunately, this interface isn't available on Android.
The Apple AirPods 2 don't offer simultaneous multi-device pairing. They also don't have NFC pairing. However, Apple's H1 chip offers seamless pairing with the Apple ecosystem.
As with most Bluetooth earbuds, their latency isn't ideal for watching movies or playing video games. While the Apple AirPods 2's Bluetooth performance is okay, its slightly raised iOS latency can result in lag. However, it should be minimally noticeable.
The Apple AirPods 2 are Bluetooth-only headphones.
These headphones can’t be used wired, as expected.
The Apple AirPods 2 can only be used via Bluetooth on PCs and aren't compatible with the PS4. Due to their high latency, they aren't recommended for gaming.
These Bluetooth-only headphones aren't compatible with the Xbox One.
They come with a great and very small charging case that offers additional charges, but it doesn’t have any inputs. The case also has Apple’s signature lightning port, and now supports wireless Qi charging on a certain model variant.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 are okay truly wireless earbuds that set themselves apart by their looks and build quality. Their overall performance is rather lackluster when compared to other truly wireless headphones and they won’t be as versatile as closed-back models. We suggest taking a look at our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best noise cancelling earbuds, and the best Bluetooth earbuds.
The Raycon E50 Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 are completely different truly wireless headphones. The Apple are open-back so they don't isolate well. It also means they lack bass, while the Raycon have a very boomy and bass-heavy sound signature. Although the Raycon come with various tip sizes, the one-size-fits-all design of the Apple is very comfortable if they fit you. The Apple are also noticeably better-built, feel more durable, and have a better battery performance with lower latency, especially with iOS devices.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 are better headphones than the JBL TUNE 220TWS Truly Wireless. The Apple are much more comfortable, look and feel much more premium, have a more accurate sound profile with a bit more bass, a much better battery life, and some customization options on iOS. On the other hand, the JBL's controls are easier to use and provide better feedback, and they feel much more stable in the ear.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 might offer better overall performance when it comes to sound than the Skullcandy Indy Truly Wireless. The Apple lack sub-bass, but the rest of their frequency response is well-balanced. The open-back design of the Apple results in poor isolation performance, but it also helps you to stay aware of your surroundings. The Apple only take about 30 minutes to charge fully, which is four times quicker than the Skullcandy. On the other hand, if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music and want to drown out ambient noise, then the Skullcandy might be a better option for you.
The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are much better than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Pro's sound reproduction is much better, especially in the bass range, and their in-ear design and ANC provides significantly better noise isolation. The Pro have an easier-to-use control scheme and feel much more stable in the ear. On the other hand, the non-intrusive fit of the AirPods 2 may be more comfortable for some people, and they charge much quicker.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 are better truly wireless headphones than the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless because they're more comfortable, feel more premium, and have a better-balanced sound profile. On the other hand, the Razer have a more consistent listening experience among users, feel much more stable in the ear, and have much lower latency on non-iOS devices with 'Gaming Mode' enabled.
The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Truly Wireless are more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Cambridge closed-back design isolates against more ambient noise, making them a suitable option for commuting. It also means that they pack a bit more punch in the bass than the Apple. On the other hand, the Apple are better-built and their one-size-fits-all design is very comfortable if you can find the right fit. While they take less time to charge, the Apple have less battery life than the Melomania, but they also have less latency when watching video content, especially if you can take advantage of the H1 chip. A certain variant of the Apple also supports wireless charging for the case, which the Cambridge can’t do.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better and more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Samsung are closed-back earbuds, and their fit blocks more noise than the open-back Apple. The Samsung are slightly less comfortable if the design of the Apple suits you. Sound-wise, the Samsung sound more neutral and have more bass than the open-back Apple. They also have a long single-charge battery life, which is nice. On the other hand, the Apple feel slightly better made and have a smaller and more portable charging case. The Apple also have noticeably less latency than the Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless are better truly wireless earbuds than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 for most people unless you have an iPhone and prefer something with a more open sound. The Samsung have a better-balanced sound profile, longer battery life, and they isolate a lot more noise. Some people prefer how the Apple headphones let in ambient sounds, though, as well as their seamless pairing with Apple devices.
The Skullcandy Sesh Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Skullcandy don't feel as well-built as the Apple, which have a very premium, lightweight feel, and they don't connect to Apple devices as seamlessly. Their battery life is also worse as their case is rated for only two additional charges as opposed to Apple's five. On the upside, the Skullcandy have a much better-balanced sound profile with significantly greater bass performance, and a much more comprehensive control scheme. Their in-ear fit also gives them a more consistent sound profile among various users.
The Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Anker have a much better-balanced sound profile, better controls, significantly better noise isolation, and a longer single-charge battery life. On the other hand, the Apple have a more comfortable fit as they don't go into the ear canal, feel much more premium, and utilize the H1 chip for seamless pairing to your Apple devices.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless are better true wireless in-ears than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Sony closed-back design, mixed with their ANC feature, makes them better at isolating against ambient noise, which is useful when commuting or at the office. The Sony audio reproduction is also noticeably better, on top of having a better touch-sensitive control scheme. On the other hand, the Apple have one of the most comfortable fits for in-ears if their one-size-fits-all design suits you. They also take less than an hour to fully charge, and you might see improved performance if your mobile device can take advantage of the H1 chip.
The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless are better true wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. Although the Apple feel better made, the Anker have a noticeably more neutral sound profile, and they pack a lot more accurate bass thanks to their closed-back design. That also means that the Anker block out more ambient noise thanks to their typical in-ear fit. On the other hand, if the Apple fit your ears, they're very comfortable. However, the Anker come with a lot of tip options to help you find the most comfortable fit.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and the first model, the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017, are practically the same headphones. There are very few differences between the two models. The 2019 model now uses the H1 chip, has better wireless range, and should have less latency, although we measured the opposite. They pretty much have the same sound profile, but the biggest difference is that you can now get a model variance that has a wireless Qi charging case.
The Creative Outlier Air Truly Wireless are slightly better mixed-usage earbuds than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 because of their closed-back design. The Creative Outlier sound profile is better and packs more bass, on top of offering volume control, although it's hard to use. On the other hand, the Apple are very comfortable if their one-size-fits-all design fits you well, and they are very well-built, on top of offering a great total battery life thanks to their great case. However, you’ll get more continuous playback time with a single charge of the Creative Outlier.
The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Beats closed-back design will isolate more ambient noise than the open Apple, although the fit of the Beats doesn’t isolate very well. However, the Beats are noticeably more stable due to their ear-hook design, which is great for sports. They also have a very good audio reproduction and perform more consistently across different users. You also get volume controls on the Beat's in-line remote, which the Apple don’t have. On the other hand, the Apple have a great charging case and feel slightly better made than the Beats. While you get more battery life with the Beats, you can’t charge them anywhere like you can with the Apple's case.
The Skullcandy Indy Evo True Wireless and Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 have different advantages. The Apple are better-built and are preferable if you want a more spacious, opening listening experience, courtesy of their open-back design. However, that also means they barely block out any background noise. The Skullcandy provide a more consistent listening experience and have a far more intuitive control scheme, but don't last nearly as long on a single charge.
The Bose SoundSport Free are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Bose semi-open design doesn’t isolate any noise, like the Apple, but their sound quality is superior and more accurate. You also get a better control scheme with volume control. However, the Bose take a lot of time to charge for truly wireless earbuds, and they have a fairly short wireless range. Their case is also very bulky and doesn’t support wireless charging like the Apple. On the other hand, the Bose are more stable for sports and will also let you monitor your surroundings.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and the Monster Clarity 101 AirLinks Truly Wireless are quite differently designed, so they each have their own pros and cons. The Monster earphones have a more traditional in-ear design, that's not always the most comfortable, but provides good bass and isolates quite a bit of noise. The Apple, however, have an open-back earbud design that struggles to produce much bass and lets a lot of ambient noise in but is more comfortable to many people.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 are the more traditional truly wireless earbud headphones compared to the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. While the Apple don't go deep into the ear canal, they still enter the ear more than the AfterShokz, which simply sit on your temples. The AfterShokz have much better controls, a much longer single battery charge, and an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The Apple, on the other hand, are much more portable thanks to their truly wireless design and charging case.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Beats are more geared towards sports, thanks to their very stable ear-hook design, and their audio quality is better. The Beats have noticeably more bass because of their closed-back design and have more than twice the battery life of the Apple headphones on a single charge, although the Apple case holds more additional charges. The Beats also have a very bulky case that isn’t as portable as the Apple case. However, the Beats have a better and more complete control scheme with volume control.
The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 may look similar but perform quite differently. The open-back Apple lack bass and don't isolate any noise, but have a more bright, spacious sound. However, the noise-isolating in-ear Anker have a bass-rich yet balanced overall sound but are less comfortable.
Due to their closed-back design, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are more versatile than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, which are open and let noise seep into your audio. The Sennheiser also have better controls and a better-balanced bass. However, the Apple are more comfortable if you can find the right fit, and they have a more neutral treble reproduction than the Sennheiser. The Apple also have a noticeably better battery life performance.
The Anker Zolo Liberty+ Truly Wireless are more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 because of their closed-back design that isolates more ambient noise. This makes the Anker better suited for the office and for commuting. However, the Apple are more comfortable and feel slightly better-built than the Anker. The Apple are also more portable, thanks to their great case. If you use them with an iOS device that can take advantage of the H1 chip, we expect noticeably lower latency on the Apple. On the other hand, the Anker have better sound quality and have noticeably more bass.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and the Raycon E100 Truly Wireless are very different headphones, and the Raycon are a more versatile option. The Raycon are closed-back and have great isolation performance, on top of having an exciting sound profile. On the other hand, the Apple are open-back, meaning they won’t block out ambient noise. They also lack quite a bit of sub-bass. On the other hand, the Apple have a better battery performance and their one-size-fits-all design is very comfortable if it suits you.
The Skullcandy Indy Fuel Truly Wireless are better suited for mixed usage than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Skullcandy have a more consistent listening experience with more accurate bass, leak much less audio, feel more secure in the ear, and block out substantially more ambient noise. However, the open-back Apple are better-built, generate a more spacious listening experience with better-reproduced treble, feel more comfortable to wear for extended periods, and have a better-integrated mic.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 are better truly wireless headphones than the Microsoft Surface Earbuds Truly Wireless. The Apple look and feel more premium and better-built, have a better-balanced sound profile, and a better microphone. On the other hand, while both headphones lack a lot of bass, the Microsoft have a graphic EQ in their companion app, so you can customize the way they sound. They also last longer off a single charge, though their case doesn't hold nearly as many full charges.