AirPods Pro 2 Outcase
Source: James Falconer

I've never been an AirPod guy (or an earbud guy). I have big, weird ears and they never fit. They fall out of my round head-holes with ease. However, when Apple announced the AirPods Pro 2 in September, I was intrigued. The list of enhancements was many, including active noise cancellation, improved spatial audio, extended battery life, and a custom fitting process. I was impressed ... but not enough to put down the money.

My thinking changed when travel started to ramp up again. I quickly realized I needed a high-end earbud to replace my now-aging Bose QuietComfort over-ear headphones. The Bose have treated me very well (I still love them), but it was time for a change. They aren't wireless. I experience fatigue when I wear them for long periods, and they take up too much room in my backpack (or carry-on).

Using a small footprint, a comfortable in-ear fit, and killer noise cancellation as key criteria, I made the decision to purchase the AirPods Pro 2. I'm glad I did. For me, they "just work," and they work well for many reasons.


Finally a fit my big weird ears love

AirPods Pro 2 Earbuds
Source: James Falconer

After unboxing the AirPods, you open the case with the AirPods inside and hold it next to your iPhone (or iPad). From there, onscreen instructions step you through the set up. It's super simple. It's so effortless that even I can do it, and if I can do it, so can you.

There's also an "ear tip fit test" you can run through on your iPhone or iPad. I love this, as most earbuds don't fit properly in funky ears; I've found it impossible to get the proper fit required for top performance. The AirPods Pro 2 come with four sets of ear tips, and combined with the ear fit tip test, you'll get a custom fit that creates the seal you need for the best fit, noise cancellation, and better-than-expected bass. I tried all available tips with the fit test and settled on the medium tips.

Sound quality is really, really good

AirPods Pro 2 Buds
Source: James Falconer

I'm no audiophile but the AirPods Pro 2 sound good. Really good. Almost-wow good. You can vaguely feel the base in the seat of your pants, and the spatial audio makes it seem (at times) that you're in the same room as your favorite band. To set up Spatial Audio, you just open Control Center on your iPhone or iPad and tap and hold the volume control. From there tap Spatial Audio at the lower right. It's a cool thing to experience.

Active Noise Cancellation will make you smile earbud to earbud

AirPods Pro 2 Case
Source: James Falconer

No, seriously. The first time you try it I dare you to not smile or laugh. It's that good. The same effect hit me the first time I tried the Bose. Flick the switch and whoa, it was almost like I entered an alternate reality of quietude. A "cone of silence," if you will. In fact, the AirPods Pro 2 are my very own personal Cone of Silence (version 2.0), and I love it.

Battery life is so good you won't think about it

AirPods Pro 2 vs Bose
Source: James Falconer

I haven't done any battery testing on these bad boys, and let's be honest, I never will. There's no need to. I drop them on a wireless charger at night, and they always seem to be at 75 percent or above when I do so. I suspect for typical use that'll be the case. Apple says the battery on the second-gen pros is 15 percent larger than the previous version, resulting in up to six hours of listening time on every charge. If you listen to music constantly or have a need for continual active noise cancellation, have a lightning cable or wireless charger available when you need it.

Finally, an earbud I gladly recommend

AirPods Pro 2 Top
Source: James Falconer

Are AirPod Pro 2's for everyone? Absolutely not. If you're a true audiophile, prefer an over-ear headphone, or are on a tight budget, there are better options. However, if the price tag doesn't scare you and you're up for a battery-sipping, bass-thumping pair of comfortable earbuds you'll use on the daily, I highly recommend you give them a try.

Your big weird ears will thank you. (Even if you have perfect angels's ears — I hate you —you'll find a friend in the AirPods 2.)

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