Apple announced the second generation of AirPods in March 2019, offering a number of hardware upgrades to the originals.

How do the new AirPods 2 and the old AirPods compare though? Should you upgrade if you have the old AirPods and which should you buy if you're in the market for a pair of Apple's wireless earphones?


Apple AirPods 2 vs AirPods: Price

  • New AirPods: From £159
  • Old AirPods: From £159

The new Apple AirPods start at £159 with a standard case. For the wireless charging case, the price increases to £199. The wireless charging case can also be bought separately for £79.

The old Apple AirPods also cost £159 when they launched originally. Apple no longer sells the old model, but you might find them cheaper elsewhere, especially with the new model now available.

What's the same between the new Apple AirPods and the old AirPods?

There are a couple of similarities between the new Apple AirPods and the old AirPods, predominately their design and the standard features they offer.


  • Same design
  • White only

The new Apple AirPods and the old Apple AirPods share the same design, identical in appearance. They both come in white only, and they both have the same Marmite look that some love and others hate.

Simple setup

  • One-button setup
  • Automatic audio
  • Easy music control

Both the new AirPods and the old AirPods connect to your iPhone or Apple Watch with just one tap, offering super simple setup. Once connected, you'll just need to select AirPods from the device you're using and you'll be ready to go.

There are sensors to automatically control the audio experience, playing sound as soon as the AirPods are in your ears and engaging the microphones for phone calls.

Both the new AirPods and the old AirPods also allow you to double tap to play music or skip forward a track. You can also choose to wear one AirPod or both at anytime. 

What's different between the new Apple AirPods and the old AirPods?

As you would expect, there are also a number of differences between the new AirPods and the old AirPods. They might all be beneath the surface differences, but they are differences nonetheless.


  • New AirPods: H1 chip
  • Old AirPods: W1 chip

The new Apple AirPods run on a new chip called the H1 compared to the W1 chip found in the original AirPods.

The H1 chip is claimed to offer two times faster connection between active devices than the old AirPods, 50 per cent more talk time and 1.5x faster connection for phone calls. It is also said to deliver 30 per cent lower gaming latency.

Siri voice control

  • New AirPods: Siri compatible
  • Old AirPods: Siri through iPhone or Apple Watch

Thanks to the H1 chip, the new Apple AirPods offer "Hey Siri" control, allowing users to make a phone call, play music, change the volume and ask for directions using their voice.

The old Apple AirPods don't support Siri, though users can still use their iPhone or Apple Watch for Siri control.

Wireless charging case

  • New AirPods: Standard case or wireless charging case
  • Old AirPods: Standard case, compatible with wireless charging case

The new Apple AirPods offer the option of a standard charging case like the original Apple AirPods, but they also have the option of a wireless charging case.

The wireless charging case is Qi compatible, allowing you to charge your new AirPods on a Qi charging pad with no wires. The wireless charging case can be bought separately, and it is compatible with the old Apple AirPods, offering wireless charging compatibility to both wireless earphones.


Talk time

  • New AirPods: 3 hours talk time
  • Old AirPods: 2 hours talk time

The new Apple AirPods are said to deliver an extra hour of talk time compared to the old AirPods, again thanks to the H1 chip. The new AirPods are therefore said to offer three hours of talk time, compared to two hours, or five hours of listening time.

The charging case will offer up to two hours of talk time and three hours of listening time with 15 minutes of charge.


Should you upgrade from the old AirPods to the new Airpods? If extra talk time, Hey Siri control and faster and more stable connections are important to you then you should notice a difference with the second generation of AirPods. If not, but you want wireless charging, you could opt to buy just the wireless charging case for your old AirPods.

For those deciding which AirPods to buy, the first generation only make sense if you can find them significantly cheaper than £159. Bear in mind that if you want wireless charging too, you'll also need to buy the case so you'll need to find them for under £100 for them to be worth the downgrade.