The latest generation AirPods Pro 2 (our review here) introduces a series of improvements over the previous model, many of which are made possible by New H2 chip inside. The new test now reveals another hidden benefit related to improved latency.
The new discovery was made by Stephen Quillon, a musician and software developer, who points out that one of the downsides to Bluetooth (and wireless technologies in general) has always been latency, i.e. the time between when a sound appears on the device and when it occurs. This audio is played through your AirPods.
This may not be an issue in normal video playback, but Cowell notes that latency can be an issue when it comes to “unexpected” sounds, such as notifications, sound effects, keyboard clicks, games, audio editing, and more.
The original AirPods Pro delivered a significant improvement in latency performance over the original AirPods. Now, it turns out that the latest generation AirPods Pro 2 takes the improvements to another level. The testing methodology used by Cowell was as follows:
I have maintained the same testing methodology as before; I connect my AirPods to my iPad Pro and tap on the screen with my Apple Pencil. I use an audio recorder to capture the sound of physical clicks and the resulting sound, and then I measure the time between these sounds. One difference from previous tests is that I decided to measure only keyboard click latency
In the chart above, you can see the progress Apple has made in improving AirPods latency in recent years. According to Coyle, the AirPods Pro 2 perform “about 40ms better than their predecessors, with an average latency of 126ms compared to the original’s 167ms”.
Perhaps the most interesting point to note is that the second generation AirPods Pro perform only 43ms worse than the built-in speakers (at 83ms). This indicates that up to two-thirds of the time between touching the screen and hearing a noise occurs before the Bluetooth data leaves the device
Ultimately, Cowell concluded that he still thinks there’s “a very long response time for the audio feedback to feel fast and responsive” with the AirPods Pro 2. However, more improvements are possible on the hardware side, rather than the AirPods. themselves.
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