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Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Fake Clone: A Comprehensive Comparison

Last updated: 2 months ago
11 min read

In this article, I will compare the performance of genuine and fake Apple AirPods Pro 2. Read and listen through our audio samples to see how the two products differ in:

  • Sound, call, and build quality.
  • Active noise cancellation and transparency mode.
  • Comfort, battery life, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 real or fake clones

Fake AirPods Pro 2 are worse, dramatically worse (as expected).

But scammers have ensured that the fake clones behave and have similar features to the originals. Consequently, they might trick an uneducated person into thinking they have original AirPods.

To avoid getting scammed, check our article about the physical differences between genuine and fake AirPods Pro 2 before buying.

Now, if you’re asking yourself, “Are fake AirPods Pro 2 worth getting?” this is the article for you. I compare the two in detail and test them in different categories.

Note, I’m testing actual counterfeit Apple AirPods Pro 2 and not some AirPods lookalikes available in stores.

Furthermore, this article aims to point out the differences between genuine and counterfeit AirPods Pro 2 so that you can decide which ones best suit you (it’s not worth saving money on it, but hey… check the tests below).


  • Apple AirPods Pro 2 sound fuller, more balanced, and more detailed than counterfeit ones, which are predominately boomy, muddy, lack details, and have inaccurate imaging.
  • Both are equally comfortable, but the fakes offer slightly better stability thanks to the different silicone used for ear tips.
  • Real AirPods Pro 2 have an IP54 rating on buds and the case (USB-C), whereas the clones aren’t even glued together (falling apart when trying to pull off the ear tips).
  • Genuine AirPods Pro 2 have 6 hours of battery compared to 4 hours in the fakes.
  • AirPods Pro 2 clones lack features like Adaptive Audio (Personalized Volume, Conversation Awareness, Loud Noise Reduction) and head-tracking Spatial Audio. They’re also terrible at call quality.
  • Both passively reduce a similar amount of noise. In contrast, the original AirPods Pro 2 actively cancel noise more evenly and with greater efficacy. Transparency mode is also far more natural on the originals.
  • Fake and original AirPods Pro 2 have an indoor Bluetooth range of 35 feet (10.6 meters), but only the originals have Apple’s seamless connectivity and better latency during videos.
CONTENTS (show more)


    Original Apple AirPods Pro 2 have a much clearer and more detailed sound, whereas the clones are overly warm and muddy across the frequency spectrum.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 (Real vs. Fake Clones) Sound Comparison – HeadphonesAddict

    If you’ve listened to a good pair of headphones, their terrible sound quality is a clear sign there’s something wrong with the AirPods clones. There’s even a static radio noise in the background when no music is playing.

    However, for casual users that bought the Apple AirPods Pro 2 as their first premium true wireless earbuds, the performance might come across as relatively “acceptable”.

    Bass: Nuanced in originals, muddy in fakes


    Bass feels controlled and punchy at the same time. This means you can listen to pop, hip-hop, and rock music genres and enjoy them all.

    Fake clones

    Bass in fake clones sounds way too boosted and muddy. It often gets distorted, especially on tracks with already loud bass.

    Nevertheless, the excess energy prevents the bass from feeling controlled, so it’s unsuitable for rock or metal (tested on “Lean On” by Major Lazer and “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift).

    That said, bass heads and users who have only listened to cheaper headphones might be okay with this performance (the sound reminds me of Sony MDR-XB300, which were outrageously bassy).

    Real and fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 frequency response

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 Genuine (blue) vs. Fake (red) comparison
    Fake clones (red) have a sound that’s all over the place, with bass completely stealing the show.

    Learn how to read audio charts.

    Midrange: Clear & natural on originals, muddy in fakes


    They have a noticeably fuller midrange performance. The vocals sound brighter, more natural, and with good texture. You can hear the singer’s breaths in more intimate songs.

    Likewise, the instruments have good texture and timbre, albeit they aren’t as in your face, especially electric guitars.

    Fake clones

    Midrange sounds recessed and muddy due to excess bass. The tuning isn’t too bad and avoids the sibilance. However, there’s no detail and nuances in vocals and instruments.

    Treble: Subtle but textured in originals, undetailed in fakes

    Comparing higher frequencies demands a slightly closer listening. That’s because the treble performance in genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 is more subtle than in fakes.


    Treble is quieter but more textured, with pleasantly shimmery cymbals.

    Fake clones

    Treble is slightly louder and lacks detail. However, it retains a similar shimmer to the originals, so it doesn’t sound too off (tested on “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz).

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 real vs. fake clones iphone
    The biggest issue is that AirPods clones connect to iPhones as if they’re original.

    The soundstage is pretty similar in size due to similar earbud design and treble tuning. However, it feels airier in the originals due to better treble and midrange texture.

    On the flip side, the fake clones have highly inaccurate imaging, whereas genuine AirPods Pro 2 place sounds around your head very accurately.

    My conclusion

    Fake cloned Apple AirPods Pro 2 sound as good as dirt-cheap wireless earbuds for less than $20. Overly bassy and muddy across the board, with practically zero detail retrieval.

    That said, users who have only listened to cheaper earbuds might still be okay with the tuning. However, if you’re one of those users, know that genuine AirPods Pro 2 offer a night/day difference in performance.

    Comfort & Fit

    Due to identical design and shape, both AirPods Pro 2 versions offer the same comfort. However, the fake version provides better stability due to slightly different ear tips.

    Visually, counterfeit and genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 look (almost) identical. There are minor changes, but more in our separate article about visual differences.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds
    Fake (left) vs. genuine (right). Differences are subtle and only apparent when doing side-by-side comparison.

    Consequently, they both fit equally comfortably in your ears, so you can wear them for an entire day without experiencing fatigue.

    However, the proprietary ear tips are different in at least 2 ways. Firstly, original tips are stickier than fake ones (different silicone).

    Secondly, tips come in slightly different sizes. This means that original medium ear tips are wider/bigger than counterfeit medium ear tips.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 ear tips
    Nozzle openings are smaller on the counterfeit ear tips (bottom row).

    The combination of both results in a surprisingly better fit when wearing counterfeit AirPods Pro 2. While vigorously shaking my head, fake AirPods stayed in my ears while genuine ones fell out after a few swings.


    Original Apple AirPods Pro 2 have an IP54 rating (USB-C model) or IPX4 (Lightning model), whereas the fakes probably lack the IP rating entirely.

    Original Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Fake Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Housing materialPlasticPlastic
    Eartip materialSilicone,
    Official water resistanceIPX4 (Lightning)
    IP54 (USB-C)
    Official dust resistanceNone (Lightning)
    IP54 (USB-C)

    As mentioned above, the design between the two products is almost identical. However, fake AirPods Pro 2 have some serious durability and quality control issues.

    • The right counterfeit AirPod lacks the protective nozzle mesh, which exposes the internals to water and dust.
    • The left side is already breaking open when I try to check the ear tips. At least the tips are similarly durable as the originals.
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 fake vs. real nozzle
    The right side of the fake AirPods came without the nozzle mesh, exposing the internals.

    Then there’s also the IP rating. Genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 have either IP54 (latest USB-C) or IPX4 (older with a Lightning cable).

    Due to the fact that fake AirPods lack components and supposedly even glue to hold them together, they probably can’t even survive sweat, let alone dust.

    Charging cases are also incredibly similar, albeit the fake one sounds hollower when knocked on. It also uses weaker magnets to hold the lid and AirPods in place.

    As a result, the counterfeit charging case will probably break sooner than the genuine one.


    Fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 last around 2 hours less than genuine AirPods Pro 2 and have a weird Qi wireless charging (more on that below).

    Original Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Fake Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Tested battery life (ANC on)6 hours 3 minutes4 hours 4 minutes
    Official battery life (ANC on)6 hours6 hours
    Difference3min (+0.8%)1h 56min (-32%)
    Quick charging1 hour in 5 minutesn/a
    Qi wireless chargingYesYes

    Fake vs. real Apple AirPods Pro 2 battery comparison:

    Fake vs. real Apple AirPods Pro 2 battery comparison
    The comparison of tested battery life (with ANC on).


    Genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 have a battery life of precisely:

    • 6 hours and 3 minutes with ANC enabled and music playing at 50% volume.

    That puts them somewhere in the middle of ANC true wireless earbuds, with TOZO NC7 leading the pack at over 9 hours of battery.

    Nevertheless, you can easily squeeze an entire day of playtime with the original AirPods Pro 2 if you regularly place them in the charging case for a quick charge. That way, you get an hour’s worth of juice in just 5 minutes.

    Fake clones

    Doing the same ANC test with 50% volume on fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 gave the battery life of:

    • 4 hours and 4 minutes on a single charge.

    That’s 2 hours less than in the original AirPods, which puts the fakes near the bottom of our battery life list. Only SoundPEATS Capsule3 Pro are a tad shorter at 3 hours and 58 minutes.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 battery
    Fake AirPods are really slim on battery, probably offering a total of around 8-9 hours with the case, compared to 30 hours you get in the original AirPods.

    Based on observations, there are probably around 5-6 hours inside the charging case (after fully charging the AirPods, there was only 20% charge left in the case).

    Interestingly, the case activates my Qi wireless charging pad, but it creates a strange ticking noise that isn’t present when wirelessly charging the original AirPods.


    Connecting real and fake clones to the iOS device shows similar features, but they all work noticeably worse on the fakes. The latter also lack advanced awareness features available in the latest iOS 16/17 update.

    Scammers ensured that fake AirPods Pro 2 present themselves as original ones in the iOS. Consequently, you can tweak various features inside the Bluetooth settings, like “ear detection” and even “ear fit test”.

    Fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 settings
    Looking at the Bluetooth settings of the AirPods Pro 2 clones, most users won’t notice anything wrong.

    However, fakes don’t allow you to use advanced awareness features like boosting transparency mode when starting to speak or lowering the overly loud noises around you.


    Pressure-sensitive controls are similar to the ones in the genuine AirPods Pro 2. You can play/pause, switch between ANC modes, and even regulate volume using swipes.

    However, there are a few things that are painfully different.

    • Fake AirPods are touch and not pressure-sensitive. That makes the controls very easy to activate accidentally.
    • When you switch between ANC modes, you hear different “BLINK!” tones depending on the mode you activated (ANC, Transparency, Off). Those tones end abruptly in fake AirPods, whereas they slowly fade away in original AirPods.
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 squeeze controls
    Unlike in real AirPods, where controls work on pressure, you simply touch the fake controls.


    Genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 provide sensors like motion and speech-detecting accelerometers and even skin detectors. That’s something that clones lack.

    Instead, they use a simple light-based proximity sensor to ensure the automatic play/pause playback. It works poorly, as in 95% of cases, fake AirPods resume playing music when taking them out of the ears.

    Advanced Features

    Here’s a list of advanced features that counterfeit Apple AirPods Pro 2 lack:

    • Adaptive Audio, which is basically a group of features that upgrade your ANC/Transparency mode experience with the latest Apple AirPods Pro 2:
      • Personalized Volume: It adjusts the loudness of your media based on the loudness of the surrounding noise.
      • Conversation Awareness: It reduces the loudness of your media when you start talking or someone talks back to you.
      • Loud Noise Reduction: While in Transparency mode, no sound is louder than 85dB.
    • Head-tracking, which is used in combination with Spatial Audio. The “Fixed” spatial sound effect works, but fake AirPods can’t track your head movements as they lack the necessary sensors to collect movement data.
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 noise control differences
    In Bluetooth settings, fake AirPods (right) lack the “Adaptive” option.

    Microphone quality

    Genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 (Above average)

    Call quality is slightly above average. Your voice is clear and understandable and only gets partially muffled when you enter a noisier environment.

    Fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 (Bad)

    Microphone performance is unsurprisingly bad. Your voice is muffled even when speaking someplace quiet and gets even worse when exposed to louder noises.

    Noise Isolation

    Different ear tips might help Apple AirPods Pro 2 clones with stability, but they’re less efficient at passively blocking outside noise than original ear tips.

    Original Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Fake Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Measured average noise isolation13,24 dBA12,22 dBA

    Compared to the original Apple AirPods Pro 2, the fake clones start passively isolating noise from 1kHz and up, whereas the original AirPods isolate from 250Hz and up.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 Passive isolation (fake vs. genuine) comparison

    Of course, that isolation is almost negligible, but the measurements show a clear difference. Original ear tips are also better at midrange and high frequencies.

    The only time that fakes isolate better (around 8dB more) is around 3kHz.

    Here’s a table of fake vs. real Apple AirPods Pro 2’s passive noise isolation effectiveness at blocking specific frequencies:

    FrequencyNoise reduction
    dB SPL
    Noise reduction
    dBA (A-weighted)
    Noise reduction
    dBA (A-weighted)
    (fake AirPods Pro 2)
    100 Hz0 dB-19,1 dBA-17,7 dBA
    200 Hz1,1 dB-9,7 dBA-10,8 dBA
    400 Hz2,6 dB-2,2 dBA-4,8 dBA
    600 Hz3,4 dB1,2 dBA-2,2 dBA
    1 kHz6,3 dB6,3 dBA0 dBA
    2 kHz15,9 dB17,1 dBA13,5 dBA
    4 kHz31,3 dB32,3 dBA35,5 dBA
    6 kHz23,5 dB23,6 dBA19,6 dBA
    10 kHz33,2 dB30,7 dBA29,4 dBA
    15 kHz27,3 dB21,2 dBA24,2 dBA
    Average13,24 dBA12,22 dBA
    A-weighted values from the International standard IEC 61672:2003

    Noise Cancelling

    Original Apple AirPods Pro 2 have a more effective active noise cancellation in every single way. However, not by as much as you might think.

    Original Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Fake Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Measured average noise reduction with ANC on19,24 dBA14,35 dBA
    Cumulative noise reduction of isolation + ANC

    Real vs. fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 active noise cancelling comparison:

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 (Real vs. Fake Clone) ANC Comparison – HeadphonesAddict

    Fake clones

    The measurement shows that fake AirPods Pro 2 display a standard noise cancelling behavior. They do the best job in bass and lower midrange but struggle around 1kHz.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 ANC (fake vs. genuine) comparison
    Active noise cancelling in the fake clones works decently but struggles the most with human speech (area around 1kHz).


    Genuine AirPods Pro 2 consistently outperform the fake clones, especially around 700Hz-1kHz. This frequency region is highly responsible for speech loudness.

    Nevertheless, I’m amazed that scammers decided to put a semi-decent active noise cancelling chip (similar performance to the Edifier TWS1 Pro 2). However, the originals still perform noticeably better.

    Here’s the table with ANC test results from real and fake Apple AirPods Pro 2:

    FrequencyNoise cancelling
    dB SPL
    ANC dBA (A-weighted)ANC dBA (A-weighted)
    (fake AirPods Pro 2)
    100 Hz28,6 dB9,5 dBA-3,1 dBA
    200 Hz29,4 dB18,6 dBA7,9 dBA
    400 Hz30,2 dB25,4 dBA9,7 dBA
    600 Hz26,2 dB24 dBA5,4 dBA
    1 kHz14,1 dB14,1 dBA4,3 dBA
    2 kHz10,6 dB11,8 dBA14,9 dBA
    4 kHz32,8 dB33,8 dBA31,3 dBA
    6 kHz20,5 dB20,6 dBA18 dBA
    10 kHz26,1 dB23,6 dBA28,9 dBA
    15 kHz17 dB11 dBA23,1 dBA
    Average19,24 dBA14,35 dBA
    A-weighted values from the International standard IEC 61672:2003

    Ambient sound mode performance

    Fake clones

    In their Transparency mode, fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 over boost midrange frequencies, making outside noise annoyingly thin, even harsh at some points.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 Transparency (fake vs. genuine) comparison
    Fakes over-boost the midrange, making background sounds unnecessarily loud.


    Original AirPods Pro 2 more naturally boost the ambiance to match the actual ambient noise. There’s a small boost around 2kHz, but it isn’t distracting.


    Bluetooth outdoor and indoor range is similar in original and fake Apple AirPods Pro 2, with a maximum of 35 feet. They also share the same audio delay. However, the fakes lack Apple’s seamless connectivity with Apple products.

    Original Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Fake Apple
    AirPods Pro 2
    Bluetooth version5.3n/a
    Bluetooth range
    (no obstructions)
    Bluetooth range
    through a wall
    35ft (10.6m)35ft (10.6m)
    MultipointOnly with other
    Apple devices
    Audio latency
    (audio delay)

    While genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 use Bluetooth 5.3, it is unclear which version clones use. That said, they both have the same indoor Bluetooth performance:

    • Both AirPods Pro 2 models cut their audio right after passing the second brick wall or at 35 feet (10.6 meters).

    On the other hand, the counterfeit model cannot seamlessly connect to other iOS devices (Apple’s Bluetooth multipoint) using the same Apple account.

    Furthermore, when activating pairing mode, the genuine charging case plays a tone, whereas the fake case stays silent.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 fake vs real on a rock
    Bluetooth performance is similar between the two AirPods.

    Is there any audio lag?


    Visible audio lag on genuine Apple AirPods Pro 2 only starts showing after trying to play mobile games. Otherwise, you don’t see it when watching videos.

    Fake clones

    In contrast, you can already see a tiny bit of lag in videos when using fake AirPods. Interestingly, the gaming latency is the same as in the originals (230ms). Consequently, they both make games unplayable.


    As I established in my full Apple AirPods Pro 2 review, I recommend buying them despite their premium price. You’re getting excellent sound and features that you don’t get elsewhere.

    It is an entirely different story when discussing the fake clones of the Apple AirPods Pro 2. Their performance barely matches true wireless earbuds around $20.

    The only “decent” part is their active noise cancellation and slightly better stability. However, fakes like these sell for $150. Add $50, and you get the real ones.

    In conclusion, avoid buying fake AirPods at all costs.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    How can you tell if AirPod Pros 2 are fake?

    After testing real and fake AirPods Pro 2, you can spot the fakes by having a muddy, overly bass sound, very thin transparency mode, touch instead of pressure-sensitive controls, and a static radio noise when you don’t play music.

    Do fake AirPod Pros sound the same?

    Fake AirPods Pros 2 don’t sound the same as the original ones. Fakes have a muddy bass and midrange that lacks all detail. In contrast, the original AirPod Pros 2 have a nuanced bass, natural midrange, and subtle but textured treble.


    Hopefully, my overview of the performance differences between the fake cloned and real Apple AirPods Pro 2 steered you away from ever buying a clone. To recap, fake AirPods have a:

    • Muddier, undetailed sound with inaccurate imaging.
    • Constant faint static noise in the background.
    • Cheaper build quality.
    • Terrible call quality.
    • Harshly thin transparency mode.
    • Mediocre active noise cancelling.
    • Overall similar comfort to the original but slightly better stability.
    • Similar Bluetooth stability but worse audio lag.

    In the end, it’s better to add a few more dollars and buy the real thing from a retailer. You can check our reviews to see which Apple AirPods best suit your needs:

    If you meet the seller in person, use our extensive comparison of the visual differences between genuine and cloned Apple AirPods Pro 2 to expose them before you buy it.

    How did you like my comparison? If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments.

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