AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB C Review

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) USB-C Review – Timely Improvements

Software and hardware improvements

Earlier this year I reviewed the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen, and now felt like a really good time to revisit the review with not only the recent release of the USB-C version, but a slew of new iOS 17 features that enhance the entire experience.

Firstly, talking about the USB-C version that was released alongside the iPhone 15’s shift to USB-C, as far as hardware goes, it’s almost an entirely one-for-one experience, with the only major difference being the shift from lightning to USB-C. The AirPods Pro 2nd Gen have a really good battery life, so I mostly relied on wireless charging, but the move makes sense.

AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB C Review

There are also changes to dust resistance which has been improved and for those that pickup the Apple Vision Pro next year, there’s also going to be lossless audio which will be exclusive to the USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen. Really though, the major updates came with iOS 17 and thankfully, the rest of the improvements are also available in the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen Lightning version as well.

The big talking point is the new Adaptive mode. This seamlessly blends the best parts of the noise cancelling and transparency modes to bring forward an experience that adapts to your listening environment. It feels like a good balance between the two modes, and a much more natural way to listen through AirPods long-term.

AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB C Review

Within this mode, it seems to be blocking out consistent noises, such as an air conditioner, lawn mower or coffee machine, and letting more organic noises such as voices or traffic sounds through. I found myself feeling more present and aware of my surroundings whilst walking with my AirPods or in the office.


My gut says that if you were somewhere like on an airplane, you’d still opt to use active noise cancelling, even though I’m assuming that Adaptive would block out the hum of the cabin, but probably let organic noises such as voices and such slightly through. The good part of this mode is that it is organically shifting the balance, so you don’t have that jarring experience of going from transparency mode to noise cancelling.

AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB C Review

Another big introduction is Conversation Awareness, which has been seen on the likes of Sony noise cancelling headsets for a few years now, but it’s handled a little bit different here. When you speak with this mode enabled, your AirPods Pro will completely lower the audio that you’re listening to, and also turn on the external microphones, so that it feels natural having the conversation without having to remove your AirPods.

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I’m sure people won’t love that it doesn’t pause the audio, but it does make for an experience that is less jarring, as it’ll organically raise the volume once you’ve finished having your conversation. Obviously, if you’re somebody who sings whilst listening to music, you’ll need to turn this mode off, and likewise, it doesn’t really happen if other people speak to you, but it’ll be interesting to see how this is improved and changed with time.

The last new software improvement with iOS 17 is Personalised Volume. With this enabled, Apple will automatically adjust the volume on your AirPods Pro 2nd Gen based on environment and previous listening experience. I don’t know if I’ve been using them long enough to see this in action, but in theory, it should be a welcome change.

Other improvements include reliability and speed of quick switching between devices. If I’m being honest, I never saw a huge issue with this before, but it definitely does seem snappier. Apple has also made it so that you can mute yourself on a call by pressing down on the stem, which seemed to work well and will be great for people that sit on calls frequently.

AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB C Review

The AirPods Pro Gen 2 were already my favourite wireless earbuds, but they’ve gone up a notch through software improvements introduced in iOS 17 and the new USB-C case that unifies that experience for iPhone 15 owners. They’re a no-brainer purchase for those with an Apple product and I’m excited to see how they pair with Apple Vision Pro.

If you’re interested in overall sound quality, battery life, or many of the other features that the Gen 2 AirPods Pro introduced, I’d recommend going and reading my original review here as well, but the long-short of it is that, I already really, really loved these earbuds, and these software and hardware improvements only solidify that.

AirPods Pro 2nd Gen USB C Review
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) USB-C version make the necessary hardware changes to be in-line with the iPhone 15 line-up whilst taking sound and performance to a whole new level thanks to software enhancements introduced by iOS 17.
USB-C Is A Great Addition
New Adaptive Audio And Conversation Awareness Modes Are Fantastic
Still A Great Sound And Battery Life
Didn't Love
Addition Of Lossless Will Sting For Lightning Owners
The Cheapest Price