First-Gen AirPods vs AirPods 2: What’s The Difference? And Should You Upgrade?


Apple's second-generation AirPods, aptly named AirPods 2, is finally here. It comes with a handful of improvements over the first iteration — some notable, some not really. Here's a breakdown of the two models, and whether users should upgrade.

AirPods vs AirPods 2: Accessories

The original $159 AirPods came with a charging case, and the new one will sell for the same price and come with the same accessory. But now there's a $199 option that includes a wireless charging case. Alternatively, users can get the standalone wireless charging case for $79, which can also be used with the original AirPods. The case comes with a Lightning port so users can still charge it via cable if they prefer.

AirPods vs AirPods 2: Design

In terms of design, the AirPods 2 is identical to the first generation model, except for a LED indicator on the front of the wireless charging case. The light shows the charging status of the AirPods when it's placed on a Qi-compatible charging pad. On the original charging case, the LED was inside the lid between the AirPods slots.

Other than those, the two models are practically similar.

AirPods vs AirPods 2: Specs

AirPods 2 uses Apple's new H1 chip, whereas the original has a W1 chip. Both these allow the AirPods to pair seamlessly with Apple devices, but Apple claims AirPods 2 can connect up to 1.5 times faster, provide a more stable wireless connection, and switch between active devices up to twice as fast.

Moreover, the new chip boasts 30 percent lower latency, meaning users will experience fewer delays in terms of audio and display synchronization.

AirPods vs AirPods 2: Siri

Perhaps the biggest change in the new AirPods, Siri now works a little bit differently this time. In the old AirPods, users had to tap the earbuds twice to activate Siri. This time around, they can just say, "Hey Siri" to trigger it.

AirPods vs AirPods 2: Battery Life

The new AirPods lasts roughly as long as the old model. Users can squeeze up to five hours on a single charge, though Apple says the H1 chip provides 50 percent more talk time.

AirPods vs AirPods 2: Should You Upgrade?

The quick answer is no. AirPods 2 is practically identical to its predecessor, save for a chip upgrade. Those fine with double-tapping their AirPods to activate Siri shouldn't upgrade, and they can just buy the wireless charging case if they want to be able to juice the AirPods up remotely. In the regard, the AirPods 2 doesn't seem a full-fledged "upgrade" as it is a slight revamp. Get it if you skipped on the first-generation model, don't get it if you already have one.

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