There’s no doubt that the second-generation AirPods Pro are superior to the original model. They cost the same, and look the same, but three years of technology advancements have found their way into Apple’s top-tier wireless earbuds. They sound a lot better, have better noise cancellation, and a superior transparency mode. Oh, and the battery lasts longer.
But are they good enough to warrant a re-purchase? If you’ve already got AirPods Pro, should you run out and get the updated model? We’ll help you come to a decision that makes sense.
Why you shouldn’t upgrade from the 1st-gen AirPods Pro
Fundamentally, the 2nd-gen AirPods Pro don’t do anything the originals didn’t, they just sound better and last longer. Find My works on the case level, so you can find it even if there are no buds in there, and a speaker can play a sound to help you locate it. Sound quality is better. Noise cancelling is better. Transparency mode is better. Battery life is longer.
If you just spent around $200 to buy AirPods Pro on sale recently, rushing out to spend another $250 or so just to have what you already have, only better, isn’t really the wisest way to spend your money.
At the very least, if you feel like you’re really missing out, you should hold off until it’s easy to find AirPods Pro at a discount. For the last couple years it has been pretty easy to find AirPods Pro (the first-gen model) for as much as 20 percent off. The 2nd-gen version is still new enough not to be discounted everywhere, but it won’t be long before they start dropping in price.
Without a major new must-have feature, there’s little reason to ditch your old AirPods Pro for the new ones. Maybe next year Apple will add some big new capability to AirPods Pro that requires Bluetooth 5.3 or the H2 chip, making more of a clear distinction between the original and new model.
Why you should upgrade from the 1st-gen AirPods Pro
Maybe you’ve had your AirPods Pro for a couple years, and use them nearly every day. You rely on their comfort and quick connection, and the effortless way they move from playing music from your iPhone during your commute to connecting to your Mac at work. But two years of constant use and recharging has put a toll on the battery, which now barely lasts for three hours. And as much as you love the noise cancellation feature, you really wish it worked better–like some of those newer earbuds.
This is the perfect candidate for updating your old AirPods Pro the new model. You’ve gotten good value out of your existing pair and already know this is something you’ll use every day. Just remember: Since the first-gen model has been retired, some retailers will still be selling old stock, so make sure you don’t get the old model—they look the same!)
Why you should upgrade from regular AirPods
Of course, lots of users with regular AirPods are thinking about upgrading to AirPods Pro. If you have a relatively new pair of 3rd-gen AirPods, you’re paying a whole lot for what is essentially just noise cancellation. If you find yourself in noisy environments a lot, maybe it’s worth it, but that’s a big price to pay.
However, those with 2nd-gen or even 1st-gen AirPods will find the new AirPods Pro to be on a whole other level. You’re not just getting a bunch of features (noise cancelling, transparency, spatial audio with head tracking, Find My, splash resistance), you’re going to notice a huge bump up in sound quality. AirPods Pro aren’t cheap, but if you use your AirPods a lot, they’re worth it for the hearing protection alone.