New test reveals key advantage AirPods Pro have over most common wireless headphones

New test reveals key advantage AirPods Pro have over most common wireless headphones
The Apple AirPods are more than a cool gadget: they have transformed wireless audio over the last couple of years and have become a symbol of a new culture.

However, as much as we all enjoy the convenience of AirPods and of all the wireless buds that came after them, there is one aspect about wireless headphones that cannot quite match wired headphones and that's latency.

This delay between the moment a sound is produced on a phone and the moment it arrives to your wireless earbuds is the reason why professional video editors who need to ensure audio and video are in sync don't use wireless headphones. A recent experiment by software developer and composer Stephen Coyle, however, shows that while AirPods are not quite on par with wired headphones in terms of latency, they have improved a great deal since the very first generation launched.

Using two apps to measure latency, the iOS keyboard and his own Tapt application that matches the purpose of the test, Coyle measured the average latency numbers for AirPods 1st gen, 2nd gen, and the newest AirPods Pro and these are the exact numbers:




The great thing is that key taps are now much more in sync with the AirPods Pro, much more so than with the original AirPods. This is the one place where sound might have appeared out of place with the lower latency of the first AirPods, and there are a couple of other places in iOS like that too, but the keyboard is definitely the most noticeable example.

We should also clarify that this latency is not something that should have ever affected audio playback in video, since most video apps should be smart enough to delay playback just enough so they make up for the difference in latency.

It's worth mentioning that the Sony pair of headphones in the chart above was included as a reference point and as an average for most Bluetooth headphones on the market. The author of this experiment also tested an Amazon Echo and a few other speakers that were roughly in line with that performance.

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6 Comments

1. vincelongman

Posts: 5810; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

144ms is pretty good, but nothing special 144ms is almost on par with aptX HD (100-200ms depending on implementation) But aptX LL is around 40ms and aptX Adaptive is around 80ms

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5810; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tests/connectivity/bluetooth rtings tests latency Note they test with an Android phone, which is why the Airpods have 170-230ms, the Airpods only have decent latency when connected to Apple devices

3. cmdacos

Posts: 4388; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

These tests are far more robust then the experiment the source did. Interesting results s that the og airpods performed better.

4. foreverNOOB

Posts: 185; Member since: Jul 07, 2017

That test didn't even bother to include any latest high-end TWS like Master& Dynamic MW07 plus or Sony XM3 or Sennheiser Momentum.

6. d10189951

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 01, 2020

Sennheiser Momentum 3 is 57ms according to rtings test.

5. gigicoaste

Posts: 466; Member since: Feb 21, 2016

latency measurements which human ear cannot differ while, must have, basic functionality, such as showing battery left, it's missing! (facepalm)

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