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Reviewed on Apr 12, 2019 , Jake Thauvette, Marc Henney, Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.3
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
6.5
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.1
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.4
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.3
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.6
TV
Score components:
5.1
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Earbuds
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : Truly Wireless
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Fast charging time.
  • Unique and distinguishable design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Limited control scheme.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users.

Test Results
Design 8.0
Sound 6.1
Isolation 3.4
Microphone 6.2
Active Features 7.0
Connectivity 3.2

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8.0

Design

Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Design Picture

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.

Style
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Design Picture 2

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.

8.0 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.0 lbs

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.

4.7 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Controls Picture
Ease of use : Subpar
Feedback : Subpar
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
What it is: A transparency feature that uses the mics of the headphones to let you hear what is doing on around you without removing them.
When it matters: If you want to be aware of what is going on around you without removing your headphones or while still listening to your audio. This is typically a feature for the noise canceling headphones and passively isolating in-ears that block a lot of noise.
Good value: Yes or adjustable.
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

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.

9.2 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.8 C

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.

9.5 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Portability Picture
L : 1.7 "
W : 1.0 "
H : 0.6 "
Volume : 1.0 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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.

9.0 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 2.1 "
W : 1.7 "
H : 0.7 "
Volume : 2.5 Cu. Inches

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.

8.0 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Build Quality Picture

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.

6.5 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Stability Picture

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.

Cable
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Cable Picture
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

The Apple AirPods 2 come with an Apple Lightning-to-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
6.1

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Frequency Response

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.

5.6 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
5.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
66.31 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-12.17 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.11 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.71 dB

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.

7.9 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.75 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.84 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.75 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.48 dB

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.

7.0 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
4.35 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
4.77 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
4.05 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.37 dB

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.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
5.6 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Consistency L Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.13 dB

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.

8.5 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Group Delay Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.28
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.37
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.28
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
2.29

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.

2.7 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
N/A
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
9.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.1
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

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.

7.9 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
2.075
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.632

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.

3.4

Isolation

Score components:

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.

1.4 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-1.95 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.32 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.98 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-6.94 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
21.46 dB

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.

7.3 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people to hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
38.25 dB

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.

6.2

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

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.

6.3 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
265.23 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.39 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
3368.2 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
27.162
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
38.23 dB

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.

6.1 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
13.93 dB

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.

7.0

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

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.

7.1 Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
4.1 hrs
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
0.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
Yes
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when you're relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
Yes
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
No

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.

5.5 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 App Picture
App Name : N/A
iOS : Yes
Android : No
Mac OS : Yes
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
No
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
No
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
No
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
No
Button Mapping : Yes
Surround Sound : N/A

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.

3.2

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:

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.

6.0 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC Pairing
Bluetooth Version
What it is: The version of Bluetooth that the headphones support.
When it matters: Newer versions of Bluetooth, when paired with devices that support the same version, may have improved latency and wireless range performance.
:
5.0+H1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
NFC Pairing
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
No

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.

0 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
OS Compatibility
What it is: Testing the headphones' cable to see which operating system it works with.
When it matters: Some wired headphones don't support all operating systems so this allows you to check if the headphones will work with your device.
:
N/A
Analog Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play analog media using a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack. Includes using a 1/4" or 1/16" TRS with a 1/8" TRS adapter.
When it matters: For listening to music with devices that have a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack, like an MP3 player, tablet, smartphone or PC.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play digital media using a standard USB connector.
When it matters: For listening to music on a PC. A digital USB adapter can offer some advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC or added software support.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 1/8" TRS or TRRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4 controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 1/8" TRS or TRRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 1/8" TRS or TRRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

These headphones can’t be used wired, as expected.

2.1 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a specific frequency range or wired headphones that have a proprietary amp.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and personal computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Type
What it is: The type of base/dock the headphones use, whether a USB dongle, charging case or docking station. Wired or wireless.
When it matters: Larger docking stations tend to have more controls and sometimes even customization options while smaller USB dongles are more portable. Charging cases allow you to keep your earbuds charged on-the-go.
:
Charging Case
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
No
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
No
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source for the base/dock/transmitter.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
Lightning
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes

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.

8.6 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. We test our obstructed range with a Moto E4 Plus. Results may vary depending on your phone model or Bluetooth source.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
46 ft
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
149 ft

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.

1.9 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
204 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

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.

In the box

Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 In the box Picture

  • Apple AirPods 2 headphones
  • Charging Case
  • USB-to-lightning cable
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019 Compare Picture

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.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless

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.

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless

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.

Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017

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.

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless

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.   

Anker Zolo Liberty+ Truly Wireless

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.

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Conclusion
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6.3Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
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.
6.5Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Okay for critical 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.
6.1Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
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.
7.4Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
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.
6.3Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
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.
5.6TV
Score components:
Sub-par for watching TV. While their great wireless range would let you watch TV from your couch, their latency might be too high for this use case. You might notice a delay when watching video content, but some apps and devices offer some sort of compensation, so you may not notice it as much.
5.1Gaming
Score components:
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.

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