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Testing shows significant improvement in Apple AirPods Pro 2 Bluetooth latency

AirPods Pro 2 has many improvements over the previous generation, many of which are realized by the new H2 chip inside. New tests by musician and software developer Stephen Coyle reveal another hidden benefit of the new AirPods Pro 2 and H2 chips: a noticeable improvement in latency.

One of the downsides of Bluetooth (and wireless technology in general) has always been latency, which is the time difference between when a sound appears on your device and when it plays through your AirPods. For video playback, this is not a problem, because the video picture can be delayed slightly to ensure that the sound and picture are in sync.

However, with some “unpredictable” sounds like notifications, sound effects, keyboard clicks, audio editing, etc., the delay becomes an issue.

Compared with the original AirPods, the original AirPods Pro has made great improvements in latency performance, and the latest generation of AirPods Pro 2 has gone further in this regard.

The test method used by Coyle involves the following: connect the AirPods to the iPad Pro and tap the screen with the Apple Pencil. Use a voice recorder to capture the sound of the physical tap, and the sound produced by the AirPods, and measure the time difference between those sounds. Unlike previous tests, this time only the sound delay of keystrokes was measured.

In the chart above, you can see the progress Apple has made in improving AirPods latency over the past few years. According to Coyle, the AirPods Pro 2 “performed about 40 milliseconds better than their predecessors, with an average latency of 126 milliseconds compared to the previous generation’s 167 milliseconds.”

Even more notable, Coyle said, is that the latency of the second-generation AirPods Pro is only 43ms worse than the built-in speaker (83ms). This suggests that as much as two-thirds of the time between touching the screen and hearing the sound occurs before the Bluetooth data leaves the device.

Ultimately Coyle concluded that he still thinks the AirPods Pro 2 sound has too much lag, but having said that, it’s possible that further improvements could be made on the device side rather than on the AirPods themselves.

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