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Compared: New AirPods Pro versus original AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro second-gen (left) and AirPods Pro first-gen (right)

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Apple's second generation of AirPods Pro are now in customers' hands. Here's how the new model compares to the first generation.

The upgraded product includes a new H2 chip that powers more intelligent noise cancellation and three-dimensional sound. In addition, active Noise Cancellation now cancels twice as much unwanted noise, so nothing interrupts listening.

The updated AirPods Pro runs on an improved H2 chip, powering improved active noise cancellation, better audio, and longer battery life. They also have an improved case with helpful design tweaks and better tracking capabilities.

AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - Specifications

SpecificationsAirPods Pro (Gen 1)AirPods Pro (Gen 2)
Price$249.00
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$249.00
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Dimensions (inches)1.22 x 0.86 x 0.941.22 x 0.86 x 0.94
Weight (ounces)0.190.19
Case Dimensions (inches)1.78 x 2.39 x 0.851.78 x 2.39 x 0.85
Case Weight (ounces)1.611.79
Battery Life (earbuds)4.5 hours with ANC6 hours with ANC
Battery Life (with case)Up to 24 hoursUp to 30 hours
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.3
MicrophonesDual beamforming microphones,
Inward-facing microphone
Dual beamforming microphones,
Inward-facing microphone
SensorsDual optical sensors,
motion-detecting accelerometer,
speech-detecting accelerometer,
Force sensor
Dual optical sensors,
motion-detecting accelerometer,
speech-detecting accelerometer,
Force sensor
Touch control
Sweat and Water ResistanceIPX4IPX4
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Spatial AudioYesYes

AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - Design and Dimensions

Physically, the second-generation AirPods Pro case has not changed much from the first-generation AirPods Pro, other than a slightly heavier case at 1.79 grams, compared to 1.61 grams on Gen 1. This is attributed to the added metal in the lanyard anchor that is now located on the right side.

The case also has a new speaker on the bottom, next to the retained Lightning port. It's used for tracking capabilities as well as new audio cues. When you place AirPods Pro down to charge, a chime will ring out.

Second-gen earbud (left) and first-gen earbud (right)
Second-gen earbud (left) and first-gen earbud (right)

The earbuds themselves look almost indistinguishable from one another. They're the same size and shape with only minor modifications.

Apple has upgraded the skin detection sensor found on the third-generation AirPods that is much more reliable in detecting your ears and not your pockets. This change means that the sensors on the earbuds are smaller, or were relocated.

Both generations' earbuds measure 1.22 inches long, 0.86 inches wide, and 0.94 inches deep. Each case is 1.78 x 2.39 x 0.85 inches.

Apple AirPods Pro 2

Apple AirPods Pro 2


Apple AirPods Pro 2 have a new H2 chip, Adaptive Transparency, and Touch control on the stem.
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AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - Features

AirPods Pro Gen 2 features up to two times more active noise cancellation thanks in part to the H2 chip. In addition, a new driver and improved acoustic algorithms help ANC reduce unwanted noise.

Those new drivers helped the audio quality too. There's richer bass and clearer audio across a wide range of frequencies.

Adaptive Transparency uses the newfound H2 chip to minimize sounds at up to 48,000 times per second and intelligently reduce loud noises. It will allow your surrounding noise to pass through but will decrease the volume when a siren, power tool, or other sudden loud noise is nearby.

Despite changes early in the iOS 16.1 beta process, adaptive Transparency mode requires the H2 chip and will not be coming to the first-generation AirPods Pro.

Both versions of AirPods Pro rely on Force Stems for physical controls. You squeeze them to play and pause music, answer and end calls, or hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Adaptive Transparency.

The second-generation AirPods Pro though has the ability to control volume as well. By sliding your finger up and down the Force Stem, you can adjust the volume independently of your iPhone or Apple Watch.

AirPods Pro in hand
AirPods Pro in hand

Apple also took the opportunity to upgrade in the microphones, providing more clarity during phone calls and recordings. This is due to the new hardware, as well as improved algorithms on the H2 chip.

AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - Battery Life

Battery life has improved in AirPods Pro with up to 6 hours of listening time with a single charge and ANC turned on. That drops slightly to 5.5 hours with Spatial Audio and Head Tracking enabled, though. The first gen could manage up to 4.5 hours of listening time from a single charge.

Additionally, using the case enables up to 30 hours of total listening time while the first-gen could manage up to 24 hours of usage.

In both cases, charging the AirPods Pro in the case results in about an hour's worth of listening from five minutes of charge.

AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - Connectivity and Other Details

AirPods Pro Gen 2 has Bluetooth 5.3 instead of Bluetooth 5.0 on AirPods Pro Gen 1. In addition, the case for AirPods Pro Gen 2 includes the U1 chip with Precision Finding to help identify its location.

Using Precision Finding
Using Precision Finding

Both sets of earbuds can be added to the Find My app and tied to your Apple ID, but only the second-generation models support Precision Finding with the ultra-wideband U1. With this, you can locate your lost-yet-nearby AirPods just as you would an AirTag.

A built-in speaker in the new charging case helps people further zero into the location. It's quite loud and easy to hear, even if buried in a couch cushion.

Both first and second-generation AirPods Pro can be charged via Lightning, Qi, or MagSafe. The new 2022 AirPods Pro add support for Apple Watch chargers as well.

Just setting the charging case on any Apple Watch charging puck works now, which can be exceptionally handy depending on which chargers you have on hand at any given time.

Gen 2 keeps the same sweat and water resistance as Gen 1 at IPX4 so that they can handle some sweat from workouts and light rain, but not submergence.

AirPods Pro Gen 2 includes a new XS silicone ear tip
AirPods Pro Gen 2 includes a new XS silicone ear tip

Apple also includes an extra-small silicone ear tip in the second-generation model, whereas AirPods Pro Gen 1 only had three. The four sizes are XS, S, M, and L.

AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - Pricing

AirPods Pro Gen 2 keeps the same price of $249 that its predecessor had, or $41.50 per month for six months with Apple Card Monthly Installments.

A purchase of AirPods Pro Gen 2 comes with six free months of Apple Music for new subscribers.

AirPods Pro Gen 1 versus AirPods Pro Gen 2 - What to buy

Getting the newest products is always an excellent option for new buyers that don't have to mind about the budget. While AirPods Pro have been on sale recently for as low as $169.

New audio options may also tempt existing AirPods Pro owners. They can adapt to various head shapes and feature more intelligent noise cancellation and superior three-dimensional sound.

And, the new extra small silicone ear tip will be good for small ear canals.

Existing AirPods Pro owners may not necessarily see much new in the second generation to warrant an upgrade. But for those looking at the AirPods Pro as their next personal audio purchase, there's more reason to go for the latest and greatest edition.