AirPods 2 Review - Still Great! But Not As Magical Anymore

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After a lot of anticipation and rumors… the AirPods 2 are finally here. And if you’re an iPhone user looking for truly wireless earbuds, then the AirPods 2 are still the best ones you can get period. But even though the new AirPods 2 bring new features like wireless charging if you decide to get the $200 version and always listening Siri, I think Apple could of and should have done more given that other truly wireless earbuds are starting to catch up and surpass the AirPods 2. 

Now one of the biggest rumors that was going around about the AirPods 2 was that the charging case was going to be slightly larger than the original AirPods case to accommodate the new wireless charging coils. But to everybody’s surprise, especially mine… the Airpods 2 charging case with wireless charging is the exact same size as the original AirPods case. And you know what, I gotta give credit where credit is due… I think that’s very impressive. And over all to the untrained eye the AirPods 2 look identical to the original AirPods. The only physical difference between the new AirPods and the old AirPods is all in the case… the battery indicator light is now on the outside, the hinge isn’t chromed out anymore, the bluetooth pairing button has been moved up a bit, and the case with wireless charging is now 2 grams heavier than before… which you’re not even going to notice. 

Now wireless charging on the AirPods 2 is pretty neat. And its going to work with any wireless charger that supports the Qi standard. So if you already have a wireless charger for your iPhone, then its also going to work with your AirPods. But if you don’t already have a wireless charger then you’re going to have to charge them the old fashioned way. But I found that due to slow charging rates and constant over heating, it took my AirPods 5 hours to go from 0% to 100% battery while on the wireless charger. Where as when charged with a cable my AirPods went from 0 to 100 in just one hour. So from my experience if you need to quickly charge your AirPods from a dead battery then you’re better off just using the cable. 

But still, even tough wireless charging on the AirPods 2 is cool and all I don’t think its a much have feature right now. The reason why wireless charging on the Galaxy Buds is so awesome is because if im ever caught out in public with completely dead earbuds… and it happens a lot, I can just turn on wireless power share on my Galaxy S10 and charge my galaxy buds from there. But unfortunately with the iPhone you just cant do this. So until theres an iPhone that supports power sharing or until the Airpower comes out if it ever does especially since apple just canceled it or if you already have a wireless charger... I think you should just pick up the standard $160 non wireless charging airpods 2... You're not missing out on much. 

Now when it comes to tech specs the airpods 2 have the same battery life as the original airpods. And that's not a bad thing. They have a combined battery life of 25 plus hours where the buds themselves can go for 5 straight hours and the case can supply an additional 4 or 5 charges. They even have the same fast charging where if your airpods die if you drop them into their case for 15 minutes they'll get you 3 hours of playback time. The only difference is the airpods 2 get you 3 hours of talk time where as the original airpods are only good for 2 hours of talk time. 

But this is where we get back to when I said I wish apple had done a few things differently. The airpods 2 are using the exact same batteries as the ones found in the original Airpods. Now airpods in general have spectacular battery performance. But that performance is short lived due to battery degradation. When my airpods were brand new I could go about 5 days in between charging them. Then after about a year and a half I could only go about 3 days in-between charging them. And now that my original AirPods are over 2 years old I have to charge them every other night. Thats why I got these new AirPods. 

And since the AirPods 2 have the same exact batteries as the original AirPods I think we can expect similar battery degradation unless Apple’s new H1 chip is taking a significantly different approach to power management. But I doubt it cause I think if apple can make you buy a new pair of AirPods every 16 months or so, they’re gonna wanna keep doing that. 

But Apple’s new H1 chip found in their new AirPods bring a new and in my opinion more useful feature than wireless charging and thats always listening Siri. With the original AirPods, if you wanted to talk to Siri you would first have to double tap on one of the AirPods, wait a second, and then tell it what to do. But now if you have always listening Siri turned on, you can simply just say Hey Siri and tell it what to do all with out having to tap anything. Like this…

And the most crucial thing here is that when you say “Hey Siri” you don’t have to wait for a beep or something, you can just give it your command right away which just feels much more natural and intuitive. Cause for comparison the Surface headphones also have always listening Cortana, but before you can give Cortana a command you first have to wait until she’s ready for you like this. 

And for me having to wait in between saying the hot word and my command feels very janky given that I’ve gotten so used to not having to pause when talking to my smart speakers. But another thing Always on Siri gets right on the AirPods 2 is that it only responds to your voice. So you don’t have to worry about someone running up to you and say Hey Siri call my FBI agent and just running away just cause they wanna troll you. 

And having always on Siri on the AirPods 2 means that you can change what double tapping on each AirPods does giving you more physical control over your music. Personally I like having Play and Pause on one AirPod and Skip forward on the other AirPod. But still, even with always listening Siri, touch controls on the AirPods are still very limited compared to the robust touch controls found on the galaxy buds which essentially give you full control over your music thanks to their on board touch pads.  I just want AirPods to support triple tapping. 

Now when it actually comes to listening to music with the AirPods 2, if you didn’t like how the original AirPods sounded then you’re not going to like how these new ones sound cause they sound exactly the same. Now im not saying AirPods sound horrible, but I feel AirPods do put an emphasis on the bass to make up for the fact they have very weak mids and instrument separation. But at least they don’t sound tinny, so I say AirPods sound good enough. But just keep in mind, I rarely use AirPods to listen to music… I mainly use them to watch videos, listen to podcasts cause theres no latency, and to take phone calls. When ever I’m actually going to listen to music I use headphones. 

But for those of you that plan on taking lots of phone calls with AirPods like I do, rest assured that these have one of the best microphones in the game. And unlike a lot of other truly wireless earbuds out there, phone calls do come in through both ears. Which is good. 

But finally, I wanna talk about a feature that I'm just dumbfounded that apple just didn’t include on their new AirPods 2. And thats the inclusion of an ambient mode. A lot of new truly wireless ear buds like the Galaxy Buds have an ambient mode where you can set them to pump in the sound around you so you can still be aware of your surroundings while you’re listening to what ever you're listening to. Having an ambient mode is extremely useful if you’re walking around in the city, or waiting for your name to be called while you’re sitting in a waiting room. And I just don’t understand why apple just doesn’t include an ambient mode on their AirPods when their AirPods already have the necessary built in microphones. I mean apple already came out with live listen mode, so I don’t get why they just wont push out a software update for an ambient mode on their AirPods. It's a feature thats becoming increasingly common on all other earbuds and headphones. 

But over all, like I said at the beginning of this video… if you’re an iPhone user looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds then the AirPods 2 are still the best ones you can get. I just personally recommend your save yourself some money and get the non wireless charging version unless you already have a wireless charger. Personally I think wireless charging on the AirPods 2 will only actually matter once theres an iPhone that supports power sharing, if that day ever comes. And I think always listening Siri is a bigger deal than wireless charging on the AirPods 2. I feel that if you already have a pair of airpods that are less than a year old who’s batteries are performing just well, then theres no need to rush out and upgrade. But if this is your first time buying a pair of AirPods just keep in mind they’re probably going to last you for 2 years.