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MiniTool Power Data Recovery review
10:22 am | September 29, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Load up MiniTool Power Data Recovery and you may not be impressed by its relatively basic interface – but spend a bit of time with this data recovery software and you’ll find plenty of hidden power.

Power Data Recovery can hunt down photos on inaccessible partitions, crashed operating systems, formatted drives and from images you’ve deleted on conventional hard disks and SSDs, and it goes into more restoration detail than many of its rivals.

Combine its skillset with a decent free version and some relatively generous pricing for the paid upgrades and you’ve got a tempting photo recovery app.

To help keep all your media secure, we’ve also tested and rated the best photo cloud storage.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Plans & pricing

  • Decent pricing and a reasonable free version - but avoid its monthly subscriptions 

If you opt for the free version of MiniTool Power Data Recovery, you’ll access an app that can work on an unlimited number of PCs. The free variant has a mediocre 1GB data recovery limit, though, and it doesn’t include support for bootable media or for loading previous scans.

If you want to pay for MiniTool Power Data Recovery then all of those features get reactivated, and you’ll benefit from unlimited data recovery, file previews and extra features. And if you’re willing to sign up for the long haul you benefit from better value: it costs $99 (£80) for a lifetime license that includes upgrades and support for up to three PCs.

That lifetime option looks to be even better value when you consider that a one-year license still costs $89 (£72), and both deals are better value than many pro-level photo recovery utilities.

At the other end of the scale, we don’t recommend this app’s monthly subscription – it still costs $69 and only offers one month's worth of free upgrades. At that price, you may as well stump up the cash for the longer-term options in case you need to restore more photos in the future.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Features

  • Straightforward mainstream features in an old interface - and without high-end abilities 


MiniTool Power Data Recovery can restore photos from a broad array of devices. It can scan and recover from hard disks, SSDs, USB drives, and SD cards, which means that you’ll be able to find your lost photos in most mainstream situations.

This app has decent file support, too: it can recover hundreds of different files. It will also serve up previews of more than 70 file types. 

For photographers and photo editors, that means you’ll get previews of JPG, PNG, GIF and PSD files alongside loads of extra types. We were particularly impressed that MinitTool Power Data Recovery supports rarer image formats like TIFF.

And if you’re trying to find other kinds of media, expect previews for MP3 and MP4 files and AVI, WAV and OGG media.

There's even support for common document formats like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Publisher files as well as PDFs and documents saved in the Open Document Format such as ODT. 

The MiniTool website claims that you'll need to download the file previewer separately but it's free of charge. It also comes bundled with paid versions of the utility at no extra cost. 

That’s an impressive array of conventional features, and elsewhere this tool can scan and recover files from lost and raw partitions and crashed operating systems. It works with formatted drives, optical media and corrupted hard disks. 

While there are certainly apps that recover an even greater number of file formats from a broader range of devices, this is rock-solid for mainstream photo recovery tools and you’ll have to pay for beefier packages.

MiniTool has a neat feature that allows users to select and scan individual folders, which is an ideal time-saving solution if you know exactly where you need to scan for forgotten photographs. There’s also an options menu where users can choose to prioritize photos or other kinds of files during scans. Paid versions of the apps also support loading the previous scan so you can quit and resume when you want.

Screenshot of MiniTool Power Data Recovery in action

(Image credit: MiniTool)

It’s easy to use all of these features, too. MiniTool Power Data Recovery has a straightforward interface that instantly displays exactly where it’s possible to search – including any attached devices or external drives – and users can easily navigate scan results using a familiar Windows Explorer-style interface. Filtering and searching are readily available, and it’s possible to see results and recover files while scans are still ongoing.

Those scans only offer moderate speed levels, but they don’t take up a huge amount of system resources – so you can easily go about the rest of your day while you’re hunting down those lost pictures.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery isn’t as impressive in some areas. Its interface looks outdated and downright ugly compared to many slicker tools you’ll find elsewhere.

Go beyond this purely aesthetic concern and you’ll find missing features, too: lots of more expensive apps, like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, support a wider variety of files and devices – elsewhere you’ll find advanced abilities like RAID and NAS drive support.

Unsurprisingly, you also don’t get extensive backup software options or tools that can repair damaged photos or videos. And while MiniTool does include support for file systems like NTFS, FAT32 and exFAT, this app can’t handle more obscure systems such as ext3/ext4 partitions used by the Linux operating system.

That does mean that alternative tools offer better features for professional and high-level photo recovery.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Support

  • A handy manual and FAQ section plus 24/7 e-mail support for registered/paid users 

As you've seen, the MiniTool Power Data Recovery GUI is very intuitive. Still if you run into difficulties, there's a dedicated manual on the main site. This covers basics like system requirements, installation and registration. There are also sections for more advanced topics like recovering data from multiple drives.

The support page also has a helpful FAQ section. MiniTool claim to offer 24/7 technical support to users but priority is given to registered and "licensed" i.e. paid customers. They do offer tips on how to speed up responses to queries for help including providing screenshots and being clear about which specific version of the utility you're using.

There's a live chat, but it's only designed for "Download, Purchase and License" issues, not technical support. This is a shame, as it would seem like an easy way to get the help you need without firing off e-mails. 

How we tested

For our data recovery tests we used a virtual machine with a clean install of Windows 11. The only third-party tools installed besides MiniTool Power Data Recovery were VLC Media Player and GIMP. 

Data files

The files we chose for recovery are an album of Mozart's Music available from the Internet Archive. 

We did this as we wanted to see how the utility performed with a wide variety of files.The album included 4 music files (2 in Mp3 and 2 in FLAC) format, 6 JPG image files of album covers (with thumbnails) and 2 PNG image files. The files also included 2 XML files, a torrent file and an 'SQLite' file containing details of the album. There were 25 files in total. 

We copied the files in the music album to a 512MB virtual NTFS-formatted hard drive, which was then attached to the Windows 11 virtual machine.

Data tests

The tests were performed one after the other on three separate virtual drives:

1. File deletion: the album files were simply deleted from the drive and the Recycle Bin emptied. No other data was copied to the drive. We then tried to recover the files. 

2. Delete & format: The files were deleted as outlined above and we also performed a 'Quick Format' using the 'Disk Management' utility built into Windows 11. We then tried to recover the files from the formatted partition. 

3. Recover corrupted files: We used the freeware program 'Victoria' to overwrite the volume header of the drive containing the files with zeroes. The drive didn't mount automatically in File Explorer and showed as being unpartitioned in Windows "Disk Management" utility. We then checked if the utility could see it and if so, recover the files. 

We do not believe that running data recovery tools in a virtual environment has a significant effect on how they function. Still, if you're considering buying software we encourage you to read all reviews thoroughly and make sure that the developer offers a refund policy.

Test results

During testing, we found that when we ran a test for the very first time, the utility would quickly detect the volume but would pause file recovery at around 75%. It would then finish around ten minutes later. This was surprising as our benchmarks were being done on just 25 files of around 100MB each.

However, whenever we rebooted the machine and ran the tests again, MiniTool Power Data Recovery seemed to spring to life, detecting files within seconds and offering to store them on the hard drive. This was a minor inconvenience but we were unable to account for why the tool would be so slow on first run then perform flawlessly the second time. The issue persisted even when we installed the utility into a new Windows 11 virtual machine. 

In our first test, we simply tried to recover data that had been deleted from the drive. MiniTool's app discovered 32 separate files, which we copied to a hard drive. Amongst these were all 25 of the original files, which we could open without issue. The remaining files related to system information and the Recycle Bin. 

Our second test was done on a drive where the files had been deleted and then the partition "quick" formatted using Windows Disk Management. This time MiniTool Power Data Recovery found 19 files based on their "raw" data. This included all of the image files and both MP3 files but the remaining audio files, XML files, torrent file and sqlite file didn't make it. As the files were recovered from 'raw' data, the filenames were also missing. 

Finally we simulated a corrupted hard drive. The utility was able to see this immediately as "Unallocated Space"  under "Devices" and began file recovery of  54 files. Amongst these were all 25 of the original files present and intact, with the remainder being either duplicates based on 'raw' data or system files. We were very impressed to see this, as not all data recovery utilities can detect lost partitions, let alone restore all the missing data.

Unlike other free tools we tested with data limits MiniTool Power Data Recovery played very fair: we ran three tests to recover a total of around 300MB of data in total and this was deducted correctly from our free allowance. 

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Final verdict

MiniTool Power Data Recovery does a decent job of finding and recovering mainstream photography files, and it’s got a couple of handy features that can speed up the process.

Its paid options offer reasonable value if you’re happy to sign up for a longer length of time, and the free version is worth consideration if you just want to recover smaller amounts of data from mainstream sources. It’s certainly more generous than many other free products that only offer 500MB of data recovery. As you've seen, the utility also only counts actual data recovered towards your limit. You can choose to preview files to check if they're worth restoring to stay under the 1GB limit if you wish. 

That said, you’ll find broader system and format support from rival photo recovery apps that don’t cost much more, and MiniTool Power Data Recovery suffers from an outdated interface and a lack of high-end features. This is an effective tool for basic photo and file recovery, but it can’t tackle much beyond that.

Should I buy?

Screenshot of MiniTool Power Data Recovery in action

(Image credit: MiniTool)

Buy it if…

Don't buy it if...

Hands on: VITURE One XR Glasses prototype
4:00 pm | September 25, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

We were under the impression the device we tested represented the final product, but VITURE has since made it clear we were sent a prototype. With that in mind we’ve revised this article to be a hands on review and removed our rating until we can test the final product.

VITURE One XR Glasses: initial thoughts

The VITURE One XR Glasses are like a portable projector for your face. Slap them on, connect them to a compatible smartphone, laptop, or games console and their full-HD OLED displays will virtually project a 120-inch screen before your eyes.

We say virtually project as onlookers won’t be able to see the screen floating in mid-air that you can see. Instead, these AR glasses provide you with a private personal home-cinema experience complete with surround sound – and you can take them anywhere you go.

However, while the glasses promise a lot the prototype we were sent for testing had some design issues that negatively impacted the picture quality during our tests. Despite trying all three of the included nose clips the glasses wouldn’t sit right on our faces which meant we struggled to see the image without awkwardly holding them in place. What’s more, the edges of the image could get quite blurry, making playing games and watching shows a bit of a challenge.

VITURE has told us it's making tweaks to the final design so the retail version of the glasses could solve our issues. But unless that includes a new additional nose clip option then the One XR Glasses aren’t a pair of smart specs that we can recommend right now.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Price and availability

The VITURE One XR Glasses are available to buy in four different packages

The most basic is buying the glasses on their own, which costs $479 (around £425 / AU$720). Taking things up a gear is the Dock Pack, which includes the glasses and a mobile dock so you can use the glasses with your Nintendo Switch and other HDMI-compatible devices; it’s $568 (around £500 / AU$855). Alternatively, you could nab the Cloud Pack for $588 (around £520 / AU$885) and swap the dock for a neckband that allows you to stream TV shows and games to the glasses over Wi-Fi.

Or, if you want it all, you can get the Ultimate pack for $677 (around £599 / AU$1,019).

The VITURE One XR Glasses

The Steam Deck connected to the VITURE XR Glasses. (Image credit: Future)

We were sent a prototype version of the Cloud Pack and definitely think this one is the best value for money of the four options – the dock seems useful but the neckband is what makes the glasses feel like they’re a portable projector rather than just an AR monitor for your phone or Steam Deck.

That said, none of the bundles are super-budget friendly though that’s the case for most AR glasses right now. The tech is too fresh for it to come at a super affordable, mainstream price yet – so you should expect to pay a similar ‘early-adopter’ price for the VITURE glasses or specs from any other brand 

VITURE One XR Glasses: Design

Whether you pick the black, white, or blue model, you’ll find there are a lot of similarities between the VITURE One XR glasses and other AR specs on the market like the Nreal Air AR glasses.

Just like Nreal’s offering they look like a fairly normal – albeit chunky (coming in at 78g / 0.17lbs) – pair of shades with interchangeable and adjustable nose clips. The wired connection is placed at the end of one of the arms too, though VITURE has opted for a slightly different placement (on the side rather than the tip) and to use a magnetic pogo pin instead of a USB-C port. It works just as well though; the connection is secure and never came loose while we were using the glasses.

The glasses also come with a plastic cover for the lenses to help stop light coming through the lenses, just like the Nreal Airs.

However VITURE doesn’t just copy its rival, and the first improvement it makes is to the glasses’ regular lenses. VITURE’s glasses use mirrored lenses instead of simply dark tinted ones, which better hide the internal screens from onlookers. In addition, it adds controls to the glasses themselves, with a button on the left arm that lets you control volume, brightness, and a few other settings.

You’ll also find dials on the top of each lens that let your correct the image between 0D and -5.0D to help you see what’s being displayed if you’re near-sighted.

Unfortunately, for all the improvements, the VITURE Glasses also seem to take a few steps back. At least, the prototype we tested takes some steps back.

The biggest problem with the design we tested is that the glasses don’t dominate enough of your vision – there’s a lot of space around the side of them that lets light and distractions get in the way of your immersed experience. On top of that, we noticed that the picture always looked a little blurry, especially at the periphery where the most distractions were.

Part of this is caused by the lenses not being quite large enough, but the nose clips also bear some of the blame. While there are three clips to choose from in the box they aren’t quite malleable enough, so we couldn’t alter their shape at all and make the glasses sit properly.

To get around this we’d love to see VITURE pack in some better nose clips when the full-release glasses become available to the public, and potentially look at a plastic cover that could surround the glasses – turning them from glasses to something more like goggles. When we help the glasses in the right place and cup our hands around the specs to block out more light the issues became much less noticeable.

The VITURE One XR Glasses power cable inserted into the port

The power cable never came loose while we were wearing the glasses. (Image credit: Future)

On top of these issues, the dials for near-sightedness, while a neat concept, fall a little short as they could still keep some players excluded. Nreal included a free add-on for its AR glasses that could be outfitted with any kind of prescription lenses, a feature that could have worked just as well for VITURE.

Moving past the glasses, the neckband is generally great. The 170g electronic is comfy to wear and the connector cable is the perfect length – long enough to reach the glasses but not so long that it leaves too much excess lying around.

The only downside is the controller placement of the design we were sent to test. It sits with the buttons facing your chest meaning you can’t actually see what you’re pressing – so you’ll need to memorize the layout before putting the glasses on.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Performance

To put VITURE’s prototype glasses through their paces we used them to play Stray and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered on the Steam Deck.

Stray is a game chock full of dusky city streets, with levels where the only illumination is from neon lights and bioluminescent matter. Despite being filled with generally darker scenes the VITURE glasses put their 5000:1 contrast ratio to good use and helped keep the game’s objects fairly well-defined instead of a mess of indiscernible dark blobs.

Meanwhile, the daytime streets of New York City and Spidey’s cartoonishly bright red, blue, and white suit were rendered pretty well too. We would have liked some of the brighter colors to pop more but this full-HD OLED screen with 1800 nits of brightness still made sure that swinging from digital skyscrapers didn’t lose much of the magic.

To help make everything look as great as it can we’d recommend turning the glasses up to high brightness and wearing them in a fairly dark room with the lights off or at least dimmed – the same sort of setup we’d recommend for a projector. Even in this ideal setting, you won’t get an experience that’s on par with one of the best OLED TVs, nor one of the best 4K projectors, but it’ll be about as good as a mid-range projector. For something that you can take with you and wear on your face that’s not half bad.

The VITURE One XR Glasses

The VITURE Neckband turns these glasses into a projector instead of just a glorified monitor. (Image credit: Future)

The image latency seemed fine too, there were no noticeable input delays, so we could still pull off Spidey’s web-slinging combat combos without issue.

But, as we mentioned above because of the prototype specs’ design we did face some issues with the outer edges of the image being blurry. This wasn’t always a problem if the subject was in the center of the screen, but if we needed to read an in-game menu or pay attention to something at the edge we couldn’t tell what was going on. Over time the blurry image also gave us a headache, limiting the length of time we could stay immersed in each session.

Audio-wise these glasses house some pretty solid Harmon speakers that provide spatial audio for whatever you’re playing or watching. However, if you have a pair of great headphones lying around we’d suggest using those instead. 

The VITURE One XR prototype’s speakers didn’t have enough oomph to provide the majesty that’s required by some tracks – like the heroic orchestral tracks that play in the background of Marvel’s Spider-Man. This left the audio feeling a little empty at times, something which we easily fixed using a pair of cans.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Features

The VITURE One XR glasses are compatible with any device that supports video output through a USB-C port. This means you can hook them up to your Steam Deck, Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), iPad Air (2022), and many of the best Windows laptops and Android smartphones, to name just a few devices.

That said, we’d recommend checking your devices are indeed usable with these glasses before you buy. Case in point, despite being Google’s top-of-the-line phone the Google Pixel 6 isn’t compatible as it doesn’t support video output through its USB-C port.

One device they are compatible with is the VITURE neckband, which effectively turns the VITURE One XR Glasses into a portable projector with the Android 11 TV OS. Beyond being able to access apps like Netflix and YouTube, you can access game streaming through Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, and PlayStation 5 remote play.

And thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity you can hook up your wireless game controller so you can play those streamed games the way you like. What’s more, if you want to download videos or apps to the neckband you can use its 128GB to good effect.

The VITURE One XR Glasses

The VITURE Glasses cover with a cover to keep them safe and help to keep light out, but the cover needs to go further. (Image credit: Future)

Last but not least is the Mobile Deck, which is compatible with the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch OLED, Steam Deck, and any device that outputs video with an HDMI – which includes some of the best iPhones if you use a Lightning-HDMI adapter.

While the VITURE One XRs don’t come with their own unique features, they more than make up for it with the breadth of compatible devices that you can hook them up to. Plus, the neckband helps make the VITURE glasses feel like an entertainment system in its own right rather than just a portable monitor.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Battery

The VITURE One XR  glasses don’t have a battery, instead using the internal charge of the connected device to power the screen. While this does help to keep the glasses fairly light, it also means that you can expect the Steam Deck’s fairly short battery life to get slashed further – especially if you’re playing a labor-intensive game.

Because the glasses rely on a wired connection you can’t plug your Steam Deck in to charge while also using the specs. That means while you can get a decent play time out of games like Stray, you’ll need to make sure your Deck is fully charged before jumping into something like Spider-Man Remastered if you want to game for a while.

The problem persists on other devices too, however, the impact isn’t quite as severe as it is on the Steam Deck. 

Much like other AR glasses that we’ve tested, we’d love it if the VITURE One XR glasses either had their own internal battery or if there was a way to use the glasses and charge the connected device at the same time.

As for VITURE’s own add-ons, the neckband and mobile dock do each have their own internal batteries. The neckband currently lasts for three and a half hours and charges up to full in about one hour and 20 minutes. VITURE tells us it’s still working on optimizing the battery of the neckband so we could see these details change. The mobile deck, on the other hand, boasts up to a 12-hour charge, or eight hours if it's connected to a Nintendo Switch.

The VITURE One XR Glasses

Our reviewer wearing the VITURE One XR Glasses and Neckband (Image credit: Future)

Should I Buy The VITURE One XR Glasses?

Buy it if… 

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider

First reviewed: September 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

AirPods Pro 2 review
6:06 pm | September 22, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

AirPods Pro 2: two-minute review

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 are a significant upgrade from the original AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds. Because although the first AirPods Pro were a good move forward for Apple – sound quality and overall performance was good – there are plenty of new features to enjoy in these buds that came out in late 2022. 

While the design hasn't moved on that much since the first iteration (just a new audio vent hinting at a difference), the case has a speaker and a lanyard attachment, for both ease of finding the lost earbuds and keeping hold of them on your person.

What's more, volume control from the stems is welcome, if fiddly to use, and the microphones have been enhanced to allow for better voice clarity as well. The Personalized Spatial Audio capability is also nice to have, making them feel like your earbuds, but we're not sure it adds a lot.

However, the audio performance has been massively upgraded thanks to the new H2 chip inside, and it makes the AirPods Pro 2 a real contender for the best noise-cancelling earbuds and overall best true wireless earbuds around – even more than 6 months after they were first released.

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The overall soundscape is wide, expansive and the AirPods Pro 2 are excellent at pulling out different instruments in the audio. The vocal tones are clear, the bass thudding but not dominant - we found ourselves reaching for them just to sink into a sonic world when we had an idle moment.

That feeling of audio envelopment comes from an enhanced noise-cancelling capability, and it's brilliant on the AirPods Pro 2. Turn it on and the world fades away – it's among the best we've tried in any true wireless earbuds.

The battery life has been extended, but not to beat many other rivals on the market. Turn on all the head tracking, Spatial Audio and noise-cancelling features and you'll get about 4-5 hours between charges, with the case now able to charge in a variety of new ways too.

In short, while they're expensive and a real investment, if you're embedded in the Apple ecosystem these are excellent, immersive and beautifully-sounding buds.

AirPods Pro 2 price and release date

  • Price impressive stays the same as original AirPods Pro
  • AirPods Pro 2 release date: September 23

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you’re looking to pick up the Apple AirPods Pro 2, you'll find them for $249 / £249 / AU$399 – and they've remained at this price since they were first released on September 23.

This is the same price as the previous model, the Apple AirPods Pro, except in the UK, where it's a £10 increase. However, the older model is always discounted these days at retailers other than Apple, so while both are available, the new version costs more, effectively.

In the current climate, keeping the official price the same is actually a more aggressive move from Apple than it looks, because almost all other new flagship earbuds have increased their price. They're not exactly affordable, but most major players are coming in higher with their latest true wireless earbuds.

  • Price score: 3.5/5

AirPods Pro 2 design and features

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Design is almost identical to previous models
  • Case is same shape, but with a few extra accessories
  • Volume control is welcome, but erratic
  • Good on-board microphones for voice

If you’re looking for AirPods with an all-new design, you’re not going to get that here. The AirPods Pro are precisely the same as the previous iterations, with the shorter stem and the wider, more squat case to house them in.

Side by side, you will notice that the AirPods Pro 2 do have an extra black section cut out, which is an audio vent designed to improve the quality of sound coming out of the diminutive buds - and, as you’ll see in a moment, that audio quality is darned impressive.

The only other small design change on the buds actually comes in the box, where Apple has packed in extra small tips for those with teenier ears - as our Senior Audio Writer Becky Scarrott can attest, this is a much-needed change and one that Apple should be applauded for making (especially as it’s keeping the RRP of the AirPods the same as the models from 2019).

While the stems on the AirPods Pro 2 might look the same, they house a new feature on AirPods: volume control. We’ve been mournfully crying out for this feature since the first AirPods emerged years ago, and it’s finally here - except, well, it’s far from perfect.

It works by stroking the small stem up and down, waiting for the small click to confirm a change. When you get the rhythm, it’s fine - the strokes work perfectly and you can alter volume easily, despite being a little slow to respond.

However, it’s so hard to get the sweet spot each time - while the feature is nice to have and one we use regularly, it’s not well implemented enough to be flawless.

The only other design change comes on the new charging case, which both last longer on a single charge but also comes with a new lanyard clip, as well as a speaker on the base.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The lanyard clip is a surprise, allowing one to wear the AirPods case around the neck in a nod to the world of fashion - but the speaker is more of a useful upgrade.

This speaker allows the AirPods Pro to gain ‘Find My’ features, so you can press a button on your phone to make a sound emanate from the AirPods Pro case. This is a useful upgrade as the previous method on the older models - making the buds themselves play ear-splitting sound - didn't really work.

The AirPods Pro 2 also pack in the U1 chip that’s been added to iPhones of late, meaning you can see on your handset the direction of the headphones too - helpful if the sound isn’t playing.

It’s not perfect, as we sometimes just couldn’t connect to the case when we knew it was in the house somewhere, but on the other occasions when the connection appeared, it was fun to follow the signal around the house, with an increasingly strong vibration on the phone happening as we closed in.

The new charging case does have another neat trick: allowing you to use an Apple Watch charger to juice up the AirPods Pro holder. It feels so seamless to do that it's hard to understand why this hasn't happened before, but it's a great feature nonetheless.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There's also a new AirPods app in iOS 16, which allows you to head in and alter the settings on the AirPods themselves.

One of the key features here is the ability to set up Personalized Spatial Audio, where a scan of your face and ears will be able to re-calibrate the sound performance of the AirPods Pro 2.

It's hard to see how holding your phone at arm's length from your head is going to be able to see inside your ear, but Apple is adamant it makes a difference.

The set up is easy enough to achieve, and there is a marked difference using the personalized system - far more expansive and ‘interesting’ to listen to, with different instruments easier to pick out.

Another useful feature of the AirPods Pro 2 is the strong voice pickup when using the headphones as a headset for a Zoom call or taking a phone call. You can pair the Pro 2 with any Bluetooth device that requires a headset (such as a laptop, tablet or phone), and thus have decent video calls or have a phone conversation without worrying that the headphones aren't going to pick it up.

It might sound like a small thing, but being able to use the new AirPods as a headset is crucial for many people, and the new AirPods Pro 2 didn’t disappoint in our testing. Just be warned: if you connect them to a PC running Windows it can disable the auto-connect feature on your iPhone.

  • Design score: 4.5/5
  • Features score: 4.5/5

AirPods Pro 2 sound quality and noise cancellation

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Sound quality is brilliant
  • Noise reduction is phenomenal
  • Spatial Audio works well
  • Transparency allows for natural conversations

Right, let's get onto the good stuff: how the AirPods Pro 2 actually sound. Short answer: phenomenal.

Longer answer: despite the fact Apple decided to not make the AirPods Pro 2 capable of Lossless audio (even though its own Apple Music platform supports it really heavily) the sound quality is so good that we just found ourselves wanting to put them on to drift off into a beautiful sonic world.

It's hard to put into words how a pair of headphones can bring joy, because it's about how they enable a connection with the music that wasn't there before.

The way that the AirPods Pro 2 do this is a combination of factors: a clear ability to separate out different elements in the music, a strong ability to reproduce bass, a crispness in voice especially, and all combined with excellent Spatial Audio playback and mind-blowing noise cancellation.

It makes it even more maddening that Lossless audio isn't supported here, as you feel that there could be even more to come from them, but if that's the cost of keeping the price the same as in 2019, we guess we can stomach it.

Let's pause a moment on the noise-cancelling qualities of these headphones, as it's genuinely amazing for a pair of earbuds and up there with anything we've ever experienced. Sure, it's not got a gradient of cancellation (some earbuds allow you to set the level of noise cancelling depending on your situation) but you'll find it hard to care when switching it on.

We've been using noise-cancelling products for nearly 20 years now, when headphones came with a massive extra microphone block to achieve the feat. But slip on the AirPods Pro 2 in a noisy environment - we're currently writing this review in a noisy cafe, for instance - and hold one of the stems to activate noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The world goes quiet, and you instantly enter a soft, comfortable studio where it's just you and your music. The effect is stark and worth the cost of the headphones alone.

The AirPods Pro 2 will cancel out wind, train sounds and easily destroy the noise of an air conditioning unit or fan in the background. This is all possible thanks to the H2 chip that's been unveiled with the Pro 2, and it's such a good upgrade.

If you combine this with some Dolby Atmos-enabled sound on Apple Music or Tidal, you'll find yourself seeking out the AirPods Pro 2 as an activity rather than just having them as a soundtrack to a commute or a walk. That's the power of music, and Apple's brought that closer here.

We tried a number of songs to experience the different modes and capabilities of the AirPods Pro 2, and the main thing that struck us was the sheer expanse of the sound in the ears compared to the original AirPods Pro from three years ago. 

Sure, they’re never going to rival dedicated over-ear headphones, but they more than make up for that with the lightness and convenience that true wireless earbuds offer. It's also true that the AirPods Pro 2 have definitely gone for 'safe' audio - it's not 'pull your pants down and spank you' startling sound, but it is a hugely enjoyable audio experience.

Listening the Coheed and Cambria’s The Embers of Fire, the first thing that strikes is the crackling of fire creeping up behind you, rolling up to a crescendo of drums that’s handled with real stability.

Moving onto Violence Broken by No Mono, and the emotive vocals break through the music really clearly, that same stability meaning every drum beat is rich while the singing is crisp and emotive.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Flirting with June by Les Gordon showed where the Spatial Audio really performed, with the stereo sounds popping back and forth with a similar crispness, and the repeated ‘Yeah!’ from Prince in When Doves Cry slithered around our head as the song began, with the Spatial Audio kicking in nicely again here.

Even when not using Apple Music or Dolby Atmos, the sound is decent. Comparing The Ting Tings’ Fine and Dandy, the pitchy opening is quickly absorbed by background synth and electric guitar, and where the original AirPods Pro remained a bit too tinny, there's a clear evolution to an expansive sounds with the new Pro 2.

It's not just music that benefits either. While having an hour to kill during testing, we popped the new Thor Love and Thunder on an iPhone 14 Pro Max, and activated head tracking in the AirPods Pro 2. 

The richness of the sound, the ability to follow the head perfectly in space and the clarity of the film on the iPhone's OLED screen meant we felt completely absorbed, getting entirely lost in the experience despite being in the middle of a very noisy canteen with people coming and going.

The head tracking is far more subtle on the AirPods Pro 2, compared to something like the  LG Tone Free T90, but we still don't really see the point of it most of the time.

There are some fun elements - listen to Weaver of Dreams by Freddie Hubbard, and the wailing trumpet on your left and the soft drumbeat on the right are clearly distinguishable - and turning your head to 'look' at each instrument suddenly brings an evocative sense of being in a smokey jazz club with the lights turned down low.

However, for other songs where Dolby Atmos isn't available, it's basically just the sound coming straight at you from in front, and turning your head makes it move around a bit.

As we've mentioned before, Personalized Spatial Audio is worth doing, simply because it takes about 30 seconds and seems to enhance the audio performance by tailoring it to your own hearing. For audiophiles, they may appreciate this feature, but most will struggle to know if things are truly better.

(Case in point - we let someone else create a Personalized Spatial Audio profile, and to our ears theirs sounded better, with more clarity and richness in the sound, which doesn't make a lot of sense).

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The other thing that the H2 chip now enables is an almost-flawless Transparency mode. If you open up the microphones on the AirPods Pro 2 (by long-pressing on the stem when in noise-cancelling mode) it will open up the world again - and it's so clear that you can easily have a conversation with someone else while wearing the Pro 2 headphones.

You will need to turn off the music, as that's a bit too much to process, but it's easy to forget you're wearing the headphones when chatting to someone. It makes us wish that the AirPods Pro 2 had an auto-transparency feature, where when you started to speak it would automatically shut off the music and open up the microphones, like on the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.

Apple's also thrown in Adaptive Transparency too, where the headphones monitor the audio conditions 48,000 a second to quickly dampen any sudden sounds like a siren or drill, but we didn't encounter anything like that in our testing to say how well it worked (and we did go and hang out by a hospital to try... but after a while it just looked weird).

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5
  • Noise cancellation score: 5/5

AirPods Pro 2 battery life

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple has increased the battery life of the AirPods Pro 2 to manage 6 hours of use on a single charge, with noise cancelling enabled - and that's what we found in our testing too.

However, we mostly had them in noise cancelling mode with head tracking and Spatial Audio enabled, to get the full experince, and Apple thinks this should last closer to five hours.

That seems a tiny bit generous, with a single hour's listening dropping the battery life by about 25% - but in our view it's more about the ability of the case to charge the headphones, as nobody is going to listen for four hours in a row regularly.

The AirPods Pro 2 case is now able to hold 30 hours' charge - or five recharges of the AirPods - but, again, we found this a bit generous. Don't get us wrong, we rarely had an issue where both the AirPods and the case was out of juice, but we estimate you'll need to top it up once a week easily - and there are plenty of true wireless earbuds out there which can last longer.

You can pop the AirPods Pro 2 into the case when completely dead, and five minutes later you'll be good to go for about an hour - that's a useful touch.

When you do need to charge though, the aforementioned methods of re-juicing are good. There's the novelty of using the Apple Watch charger to charge up the AirPods Pro 2 case, the Lightning port at the bottom, you can slot them onto an iPhone MagSafe charger or just plonk the case on a Qi-enabled charging pad.

Basically, invest in a couple of charging pads for home and work and you'll likely never run out of charge again.

  • Battery life score: 4/5

AirPods Pro 2: Should I buy them?

Buy them if…

Don’t buy them if…

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