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.
Okay 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.
Okay 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 is not bass-heavy like classical music, 70s rock, and podcasts/audiobooks. Most people won’t notice any difference between the second and first Apple AirPods.See our Neutral Sound recommendations
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 are 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 are also very easy to carry around.See our Commute/Travel recommendations
Decent 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.See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
Okay for the office. While they are very lightweight and fit nicely in most ears, the Apple AirPods 2 don’t block any ambient chatter or office environment noises and they are slightly leaky at higher volumes too. Their 4-hour battery life isn’t ideal for a whole workday as well, but you can charge them fully during lunchtime and get another 4 hours for the second half of your day.See our Office recommendations
Poor for gaming. The AirPods are not designed as gaming headphones and won’t be a good option for this use case. 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.See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
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. If you prefer physical buttons that offer good feedback, check out the Anker SoundCore Life P2.
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 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 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 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 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. 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 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.
Update 11/12/2019: The AirPods 2 don't have a true power saving feature like an auto-off timer. They seem to enter a standby mode when not in use. The review has been updated. 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 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.
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. If you want more gaming-oriented truly wireless headphones, check out the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless.
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 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 E50 have a very boomy and bass-heavy sound signature. Although the E50 come with various tip sizes, the one-size-fits-all design of the Apple is very comfortable if they fit you. They are also noticeably better-built and feel more durable. The Apple also have a better battery performance and have lower latency, especially with iOS devices.
The Apple AirPods 2 2019 might offer better overall performance when it comes to sound than the Skullcandy Indy. 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 to stay aware of your surroundings. They also only take about 30 minutes to charge fully, which is 4 times quicker than the Indy. On the other hand, if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music and want to drown out ambient noise, then the Skullcandy Indy might be a better option for you.
The Cambridge Audio Melomania Truly Wireless are more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple Airpods 2 2019. Their 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 Melomania can’t do.
The Anker SoundCore Life P2 Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. They 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 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.
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 Momentum True Wireless also have better controls and a more accurate bass. However, the Apple are more comfortable if you can find the right fit and they have a better treble reproduction than the Sennheisers. The Apple also have a noticeably better battery life performance.
The Apple AirPods Pro are much better than the Apple AirPods 2. Their sound reproduction is much better, especially in the bass range, and their in-ear design and ANC provides significantly better noise isolation. They 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 to 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 as 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 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. Their 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 Air.
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 Sony WF-1000XM3 are better true wireless in-ears than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. Their 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. Their 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 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 Sesh 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 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 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 Beats Powerbeats Pro are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. They are more geared towards sports, thanks to their very stable ear-hook design, and their audio quality is better. They have noticeably more bass thanks to their closed-back design. They have more than twice the battery life of the Apple headphones on a single charge, although the Apple case holds more additional charges. The Powerbeats Pro also have a very bulky case that isn’t as portable as the Apple case. However, the Powerbeats have a better and more complete control scheme with volume control.
The Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 are more traditional truly wireless earbud headphones than the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction. While they don't go deep into the ear canal, they still enter the ear more than the Aeropex, which simply sit on your temples. The Aeropex 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 Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 and the Raycon E100 Truly Wireless are very different headphones, and the E100 are a more versatile option. The E100 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, they have a better battery performance and their one-size-fits-all design is very comfortable if it suits you.
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.