New tests show that AirPods Pro offer a significant improvement in Bluetooth latency
The AirPods Pro offer considerable improvements over previous AirPods, such as noise cancellation and the Transparency mode . Another, somewhat overlooked, advantage is improved latency . A new blog post by musician and software developer Stephen Coyle explores this improvement.
One thing to note, as Coyle does, is that latency isn’t a problem for video playback. This is because video playback may be slightly delayed to ensure that the audio is properly aligned . Latency is a problem for ” unp
To measure latency, Coyle did two different types of tests:
I use two software to reproduce the audio that I am measuring. First, the default iOS keyboard, the best app for testing latency, as it is probably the most common place where people encounter this problem. Secondly, a game that I developed called Tapt. This is a good reference point because I wrote the game with a specific need for low audio latency and I am familiar with its technical bases.
The difference between his game and the iOS keyboard is that the former starts and continuously maintains an ” audio session “, while the latter does not. With his app and keyboard, Coyle played a series of sounds:
With each combination of device and software, I trigger 10 sounds in a row, using a metronome set at 90 bpm to keep things consistent. For keyboard execution, I discard the first tap for the reasons mentioned above (in a context where latency really matters, developers can easily do what I did with Tapt). Finally, the average of these 19 measurements provides the latency figures, which I quote below.
Test results show that first generation AirPods , which use Apple’s W1 chip, measure latency of 274 ms . Second generation AirPods , released earlier this year and powered by Apple’s newest H1 chip, reduce latency to 178 ms , while AirPods Pro , which uses the same H1 chip, further reduce latency to 144 ms .
The 130 ms improvement from first generation AirPods to AirPods Pro may not seem much on paper, Coyle acknowledges, but these results make ” the perceptual difference of AirPods Pro incredibly close to a seamless audio listening result “.
What is also notable is the improvement between the second generation AirPods and AirPods Pro, even if they use the same H1 chip for connectivity. This means that Apple has found new ways to improve latency with the same chip .