The Apple AirPods 2 2019 are practically the same as the previous Apple AirPods model, with slight differences. We tested the version with the wireless charging case. They have the same, okay sound profile and their design is exactly the same as the previous Apple AirPods, 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 are very comfortable. They are 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 AirPods.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 are designed the same way the previous Apple AirPods were, which may be slightly disappointing for some. There is no way to distinguish the different models. They have the same one-size-fits-all design, which means comfort and stability will greatly depend on your ear shape and size. They are very portable headphones and come with a similar charging case, though it now supports wireless Qi charging, which is nice. However, since the earbuds are practically the same, you can purchase the case separately for your 1rst gen AirPods.
The Apple AirPods 2 are identical to the previous model, which might be slightly disappointing for some. They have the same cordless design of 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 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.
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 or the Samsung Galaxy Buds, 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 are easy to carry around and the buds easily fit in pockets or a bag. They also come with a compact charging case which is also portable and fits well in pockets, too.
The AirPods 2 case is one of the best cases we’ve had so far. It has the same size and sleek design as the previous model, but it now supports Qi wireless charging. The case doesn’t add too much bulk to the design and protects the headphones well against minor falls and scratches, but not against water damage. You can also get a model variant without the wireless charging if you don't need that feature.
The AirPods 2 have the same build quality of their predecessor. The plastic casing feels high-end and durable and should be solid enough to withstand a few drops without getting damaged. They are well-made, sturdy headphones and feel high-end, although they do not have some of the more premium finishes of 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, so keep that in mind when using them while working out.
The AirPods 2 are not the most stable truly wireless headphones because of their one-size-fits-all design. Your experience may vary depending on the size and shape of your ears. Thankfully, their wireless design means you don’t have to worry about a cable getting hooked on something and yanking the headphones out of your ears. On the upside, we tested the fit with multiple people in our office, and we conclude that if the fit works for you, then they should stable enough to run with.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 are mediocre-sounding open-back in-ears and basically sound the same as the first Apple AirPods model. Their bass, although punchy, lacks low-end thump and rumble, which makes them poorly suited for fans of bass and music that has a lot of sub-bass. Their mid-range is very good, and their treble is decent as well. However, they might sound a bit bright and sharp due to their overemphasized treble, and their delivery is inconsistent across different users. They will be better suited for music that is not bass-heavy like classical music, 70s rock, and podcasts/audiobooks.
The bass of the AirPods 2 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 result in an increase of 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 is 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 frequency response consistency of the AirPods 2 is sub-par. Their sound will depend on their fit inside your ear. At 60Hz, the maximum deviation we measured was about 5dB, which will be noticeable. Also, the treble maximum deviation was around 6dB across multiple reseats, which will also be noticeable. Note that we tried to replicate a real-life experience in this test with more position variances to show a more accurate user-experience. While the consistency score is worse than the first model, we expect these headphones to perform the same as their predecessor in this test.
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 are 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 total harmonic distortion of the Apple AirPods 2 2019 is very good. While the graph shows very high THD in the low-bass range, these headphones' LFE is at 66Hz, meaning they probably won’t even be able to reproduce these frequencies. Like the first model, the overall THD is within very good limits, but there is a big jump in the bass range at higher volumes. This suggests that they will struggle to produce bass at very high volumes and won't be very responsive to EQ for increasing their bass.
The open-back design of the Apple AirPods 2 means they don’t isolate you from ambient noise. This makes them good headphones for runners or bikers that want to monitor their surroundings, but also means that they won't be the ideal headphones to use in loud, noisy settings. They will let the noise of public transit or a lively office seep into your audio. On the upside, they don't leak too much. They will be slightly audible at really high volumes, especially in the higher frequency range, but in most cases they shouldn't be too distracting to those around you.
The AirPods 2 have poor noise isolation. This is due to their open-back design, just like the previous Apple AirPods. Therefore, they do not isolate in the bass and mid ranges, unlike the Jaybird X4, Jaybird Tarah, JBL Free X, or the Skullcandy Jib. 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.
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 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.
The performance of the Apple AirPods 2's integrated mic is mediocre. Speech recorded or transmitted with the microphone will sound thin and lacking in brightness and air. However, it will be easily intelligible in quiet environments. In louder environments, though, the microphone struggles to separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud situations like a busy street.
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 Apple AirPods 2 2019 have very similar battery life to the previous model. However, the main difference is that you can now charge the case with a wireless Qi charger if you get that model variant. You get a great total battery life of about 24 hours and a single charge gives you over 4 hours of listening time. They won’t be ideal for average usage throughout a work day, but will suit people who only listen to music from time to time, like while commuting. Unfortunately, they don’t really have a companion app like the Jaybird or Jabra headphones, instead they have a sleek interface on iOS devices, but it lacks features and customization options.
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 5 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 are also very quick to fully charge, with about 30 minutes of charging time; this is among the lowest for truly wireless headphones.
The Apple AirPods 2 don’t have an app per se, but iOS has a built-in interface for the AirPods. It displays the battery status of the buds and the case, and isn’t available on Android. This interface will pop up when synching the AirPods to an Apple device. You can also remap the touch-sensitive control scheme by going into the settings of the connected AirPods. On MacOS, you can also see the battery life information and connect via Bluetooth, but that’s about it.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 are straightforward Bluetooth truly wireless earbuds. They have a charging case that can now be charged wirelessly, and they have pretty good wireless range. They were advertised to have less latency than the previous Apple AirPods, but our tests didn’t seem to take advantage of the new H1 chip, which resulted in higher latency than the first model. However, your experience could vary and you most likely won't notice any significant delay when using an iOS device.
The Apple AirPods 2 are Bluetooth-compatible truly wireless headphones. They also use the new H1 chip, which is supposed to be better for connection strength and latency. However, our testing dongle doesn’t support Bluetooth 5.0 and doesn’t interact with the H1 chip, which we think might offer better performance on Apple devices.
These headphones can’t be used wired, as expected.
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 wireless range of the Apple AirPods 2 is slightly better than the previous model, but not by much. With 46ft of obstructed range, you should be able to walk around a small office without too many problems. However, wireless range is dependent on your device signal’s strength and many other factors, so your experience may vary.
We measured more latency on the Apple AirPods 2 than on the first Apple AirPods. This is surprising, since they were advertised to have less latency thanks to the new chip. However, our testing rig doesn’t seem to take advantage of it, which means your experience may vary, especially on an iOS device. On the other hand, since they are Bluetooth headphones and don’t support lower-latency codec, some people may notice a delay when watching video content, regardless of the chip.
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 Samsung Galaxy Buds are better and more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 2019. They are closed-back earbuds and their fit blocks more noise than the open-back AirPods. The Galaxy Buds are slightly less comfortable if the design of the AirPods suits you. Sound-wise, the Galaxy Buds sound more neutral and have more bass than the open-back AirPods. They also have a long single-charge battery life, which is nice. On the other hand, the AirPods feel slightly better made and have a smaller and more portable charging case. They also have noticeably less latency than the Galaxy Buds.
The Bose SoundSport Free are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 2019. Their semi-open design doesn’t isolate any noise like the AirPods, but their sound quality is superior and more accurate. You also get a better control scheme with volume control. However, they 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 AirPods’. On the other hand, the SoundSport Free are more stable for sports and will also let you monitor your surroundings.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 and the first model, the Apple AirPods, 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 Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 2019. Their closed-back design will isolate more ambient noise than the open AirPods, although the fit of the Powerbeats3 doesn’t isolate very well. However, they 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 their in-line remote, which the AirPods don’t have. On the other hand, the Apple AirPods 2 have a great charging case and feel slightly better made than the Powerbeats3. While you get more battery life with the Beats, you can’t charge them anywhere like you can with the AirPods’ case.
The Anker Zolo Liberty+ are more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 2019 because of their closed-back design that isolates more ambient noise. This makes them better suited for the office and for commuting. However, the AirPods are more comfortable and feel slightly better-built than the Liberty+. They 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 AirPods. On the other hand, the Zolos have a better sound quality and have noticeably more bass than the AirPods.