AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) with USB-C features: Type: In-ear | Chip: H2 | Battery life: 6 hours | Water-resistant: Yes
The AirPods Pro 2 are the most easily recommendable of the four current models of AirPods. That's because they fit almost every type of ear, they are very comfortable to wear, and they include all of the best and latest features that Apple has to offer in headphones. Plus, they get a bonus set of new features as part of the iOS 17 update, which won't come to any of the other AirPods.
The AirPods Pro 2 use silicon tips to fit into your ears (with four sizes to choose from), similar to the ones you're probably familiar with in most of the earbuds you've used. Comparatively, the standard AirPods have hard plastic tips like the traditional Apple EarPods that used to come in the box with most iPhones -- which many people found fell out of their ears easily, or weren't very comfortable to wear.
The AirPods Pro 2 were the first to get Apple's latest H2 chip for improved sound. That includes active noise cancellation, which roughly doubles the noise cancellation of the first-gen AirPods Pro and works impressively in loud environments like airplanes and city streets. It also includes adaptive transparency mode, which lets you hear the world around you when you have your earbuds in, while also automatically reducing loud sounds such as sirens.
One of the best features of the AirPods Pro 2 is the fact that the case can charge wirelessly on an iPhone MagSafe charger, an Apple Watch charger, or a standard Qi-compatible charging mat used by lots of non-Apple products. The one disappointing feature of the AirPods Pro 2 is that the volume control gesture -- where you swipe up on the stem with your index finger -- can be frustrating to use and simply doesn't work very well. So don't count on being able to use that -- you'll still be relying on the volume rocker on your iPhone most of the time.
In 2023, Apple slightly revised this model as the "AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) with USB-C," swapping out Apple's Lightening connect with the more universal USB-C that has also come to iPhone 15. But it also added Lossless Audio with ultra-low latency for the Apple Vision Pro headset that will launch in early 2024.
If you're someone who uses headphones more than a couple hours every day, then your wireless headphones might be your most important device next to your smartphone and your laptop -- and they can enhance the experience of using both of those devices. If you use headphones that much, then spending $250 on the best and most versatile wireless earbuds Apple has to offer will likely be a worthy investment to raise the quality of your daily life.