Of the many new products that Apple announced in recent weeks, none have been as expected as the second-generation AirPods. And yet, the new AirPods are the least product that Apple revealed this month.
The new AirPods look so similar to the first generation version announced almost three years ago that they are virtually indistinguishable. The design, the adjustment and the sound quality are exactly the same as before, like many other features. The use of the new AirPods is nothing more than a flex than the first generation because no one who sees it will be able to tell the difference.
But there are changes here, some notable, some less – that makes the new AirPods even better than before. Apple has not addressed many of the long-standing complaints addressed to AirPods, such as their adjustment and ability to work in noisy environments, but has added some things that enhance the experience, without changing it much.
The biggest change from the start The generation of AirPods is the ability to recharge the case on a wireless pad. Apple is selling second-generation AirPods in two ways: with the new wireless charging case for $ 199 or with the standard case for the same $ 159 as before. If you have first generation AirPods and are interested in purchasing the wireless charging case, you can buy it on demand for $ 79 and it will work exactly the same as with the new AirPods.
The wireless charging case uses the Qi standard, just like the iPhone and the countless Android phones on the market, so you can use the same charging platform as your phone to charge your AirPods case. Place the sleeve on the charger and the small charging light on the front of the case will turn orange and begin charging. The light will turn off after a few seconds, but the case will continue to charge while it is on the mat.
Charging the case wirelessly is slow – Apple tells me that the case is charged at 5 watts, which is slower than the iPhone is able to do, and it can take up to 3.5 hours to charge the case wirelessly, compared to the approximately 2 hours that the Lightning cable takes, which is still an option in the new case. Also, if you are using a carrier-type charger for your phone, it probably will not work because the coils do not line up: you want to use a flat charger for the AirPods. I tested the load of the case on some flat pads that we have in the office and had no problem loading them.
If you're the type of person who puts your AirPods case in another, wireless charging should work. , but you probably can not see the indicator light at all. Finally, if you have the Samsung Galaxy S10 or a recent flagship Huawei phone, you can use your Android phone to charge your AirPod wirelessly, which is never fun. And yes, you can use the new AirPods with an Android phone and they will work just as well as the first generation models. The main thing you will lose are the double-touch gestures and the ability to automatically pause the music when an AirPod is removed from the ear, although it can be added with a third-party application.
In general, wireless charging capacity is a good convenience, but does not drastically change the experience of AirPods. If you are already charging your phone with a wireless pad or have one that can charge multiple devices at the same time (but, unfortunately, it is not the AirPower mousepad not yet available from Apple), it is good to be able to charge your AirPods in the same way.
The other great thing with the AirPods is the new H1 chip that replaces the W1 chip of the first model. Apple says that the H1 chip has been designed specifically for headphones and allows most of the new features of AirPods, such as the Siri access always available for hands-free listening; Faster change between devices; Better call quality in windy environments. lower latency when playing games; and a longer battery life for calls.
Instead of having to play one of the AirPods twice to launch Siri, you can now say "Hey Siri" to activate it, just like you can on a recent iPhone or Mac. This not only provides easier access to Siri, but also allows me to assign the double tap gesture to another action, such as play / pause or skip tracks.
But even with the new chip and the hands-free capability, there's still a significant delay since I say "Hey Siri" to receive an answer in my ear. Unlike the iPhone, there are no ringers or signals to indicate that AirPods really listened to my command, and obviously there is no visual indicator unless my phone is turned off and I am looking at the screen. As a result, I often end up repeating myself because I do not know if Siri heard my command and is being slow to respond or if my command was not heard at all. It's a frustrating experience that could be greatly improved with an audible ring to confirm that Siri heard me.
Apple says that the H1 chip allows AirPods to switch devices up to twice as fast as before, so if you use an iPhone and an iPad or a Mac, you can quickly switch between them. Maybe it's technically faster, but never feels faster in use because the switching devices still need to enter the configuration menu on the device I want to change to, selecting the AirPod and then still waiting for some beats so they can make a connection.
This is an area that I really wish Apple had improved. I love the ease with which Apple facilitates the connection of AirPods to my iCloud account and automatically configures them on every device I use, but I also wish they can connect to more than one device at a time. The Bose QC35s, the Sennheiser HD1 that I have, and many other Bluetooth headsets are already capable of this. With those other headphones, if I want to switch from my iPhone to my iPad, I simply press Play on the device I want to use instead of having to play with the audio source settings. If you're a Mac user, the ToothFairy application makes it a one-click process slightly better with AirPods and worth $ 3.
The new chip supposedly also improves voice quality in calls, but I really have not realized. A lot of a difference in my tests. That's not really a blow: I use the first generation AirPods to receive calls all the time because they are already excellent for that. I also have not noticed a big difference in latency or delay when watching videos or playing games, largely because I never experienced any delay with the first generation. Of all the truly wireless headphones I've used, the first-generation AirPods have the least amount of video synchronization delays or problems and the second generation is just as good.
Finally, the H1 chip also extends the battery life talk time to a claimed three hours, one full hour more than the previous models. The life of the battery for listening to music or audio remains at five hours, which, while not the longest battery that can be obtained with a truly wireless headset, is even better than average and is very good. The charging case extends up to 24 hours; a 15-minute charge will provide 3 hours of listening or 2 hours of call time.
Apart from those things, the new AirPods are still AirPods, which means they are really amazing gorgeous headphones if they fit in your ears. Apple is quick to say that last year, AirPods became the most popular wireless headphones on the market, so they clearly work for many people. But they do not fit everyone and the new iteration does nothing to fix it. Nor are they excellent in noisy environments such as an airplane or a subway car because they do not offer a passive or active noise cancellation.
As I said before, the sound quality of the new AirPods is exactly the same as before, with no material changes. The sound is clear, complete and surprisingly detailed, with no crushing bass or overpowering bass. The lack of sealing or the ability to block noise is frustrating when I'm on the subway, but otherwise it makes the AirPods disappear from my surroundings, as if I was not wearing headphones at all.
So you should buy them? If you have the first-generation AirPods and they still work well, then no, you're not earning anything here. If you must have a wireless charge, you can purchase the case separately without having to deposit $ 200 in a new complete set. But if your first-generation AirPods are no longer charged because you've been using them for years, then buying the new AirPods makes sense, since it's basically impossible to fix or replace the batteries. You are getting the same basic experience, with a couple of new amenities. (Although a product of almost $ 200 has a shelf life of less than three years).
If you have not yet climbed the AirPods train and you know they will fit in your ears (if the wired EarPods that come with each iPhone fit you, the AirPods will also do it), they are still among the best truly wireless headphones on the market, with great battery life, solid connectivity, excellent Ease of use and quite good sound quality. They even work well for Android users, just like the first model. The new convenience of wireless charging has a higher price, but for most people, AirPods are still hard to beat.
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