AirPods Pro 2 has a number of improvements over the original model, many of which are made possible by the new H2 chip. New tests by musician and software developer Stephen Coyle reveal another hidden benefit of the new AirPods Pro 2, namely significant latency improvements.
Less waiting time for AirPods Pro 2022
One of the downsides of Bluetooth (and wireless technologies in general) has always been latency, in addition to loss of quality due to bandwidth. Latency is the time that elapses between when a sound occurs on a device and when this sound is then emitted by the headphones, here AirPods. This isn’t a problem for things like video playback, where the video may be slightly delayed to ensure the audio is positioned correctly.
But it can become a problem in video games or for “unpredictable” sounds, like notifications, sound effects, keyboard clicks, audio editing, etc.
The original AirPods Pro released in 2019 offered a significant improvement in latency performance over the original AirPods. The latest generation of AirPods Pro 2 goes even further. The test method used by Coyle is as follows:
I kept pretty much the same testing method as before; I connect the AirPods to an iPad Pro and I tap the screen with an Apple Pencil. I use a sound recorder to capture the sound of physical pressure and the resulting sound, and then measure the time between those sounds. One difference from previous tests is that I decided to only measure the keyboard click delay.
Specifically, according to Coyle’s test, the AirPods Pro 2 are about 40ms faster than their predecessors, with an average latency of 126ms compared to 167ms for the original. A gain of 25%, which provides an improved experience.
The developer goes on to explain that the latency is almost as good as that of the built-in speakers:
Perhaps more noteworthy is that the second-generation AirPods Pro are only 43ms slower than the built-in speakers (at 83ms). This suggests that up to two-thirds of the time between touching the screen and hearing a noise occurs before Bluetooth data leaves the device.
Ultimately, Coyle concludes that he still thinks there’s “too much latency for audio feedback to be sharp and responsive” with the AirPods Pro 2.
We will definitely have to wait for the AirPods Pro 3 to have optimal wireless responsiveness.