The new AirPods Pro 2 delivers better Bluetooth latency than its predecessor. A musician and developer, Stephen Coyle measured the latency of the new headphones as he did for the previous model, and the testing revealed improvement in audio latency on the latest AirPods Pro 2.
In September, Apple unveiled the next generation AirPods Pro 2 powered by the advanced H2 chip to offer features like Adaptive Transparency, improved Active Noise Cancellation, Personalized Spatial Audio, Touch control on AirPods Pro, extended battery life, redesigned charging case with MagSafe and more. Now we know that the H2 chip also delivers a hidden advantage.
AirPods Pro 2 performed 40ms better latency than the previous model
Audio or Bluetooth latency is the time between a sound occurring on a device and then being played through wireless headphones.
To measure the audio latency of the new AirPods Pro 2, Coyle used the same testing methodology he used for the original AirPods Pro. He connected the headphones to an iPad Pro and used an Apple Pencil to tap the screen. Using an audio recorder to capture the sound of the physical taps and the resulting audio, he measured the time between the two sets of sounds.
Coyle also mentioned that he only measured keyboard click latency, unlike the previous test.
Previously, I averaged keyboard click latency with the audio latency in my app, Tapt. However, it’s not been updated in a while, and is now yielding similar-to-worse response times than the stock keyboard, so I’ve decided to omit that measurement.
The test’s results show that AirPods Pro 2 delivered 40ms better performance with 126ms average latency than the previous model with 167ms average latency.
Having said that Coyle concluded that there was still too much latency and there was room for further improvement.
Perhaps a more interesting point to note is that the second-generation AirPods Pro perform only 43ms worse than the built-in speakers (at 83ms). That suggests that up to two-thirds of the time between touching the screen and hearing a noise occurs before Bluetooth data leaves the device. I think there’s still too much latency for audio feedback to feel snappy and responsive over AirPods Pro 2, but maybe at this point there are easier gains to be made by working to reduce the device-side latency.