AirPods Pro: Worth the Upgrade?

Apple recently announced the newly-designed AirPods Pro, the third generation of the original AirPods released three years ago.

November 7, 2019


Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

The design of the newly-released AirPods Pro.

On Oct. 30, there was an unexpected drop of the new AirPods Pro, startling many Apple fans. These new $250 wireless headphones include new features, ranging from noise-cancellation to the “Transparency” mode.


Where did it all start?


On Sept. 7, 2016, Apple announced its very first wireless headphones, known as AirPods. Due to the hefty price tag of $160, people were very skeptical of this new product, and critics from all around the world criticized its design as well as its capabilities. Yet, in a matter of days, AirPods fell off the shelves, and Apple sold 16 million units in just a year. 


Apple followed up with the first update in 2018 with the new wireless-charging case as well as an upgraded chip. Although none of the complaints and requests proposed by the consumers – such as different color options, USB-C charging and longer battery life – were granted, Apple fanatics bought more, ultimately resulting in 35 million sales by 2019. 


At school, on social media, at work – no matter where you were, everyone had a pair of these iconic bean sprouts. It became a new trend. If you didn’t have them, you were missing out.


However, Apple users weren’t getting enough: they wanted better features. These included noise-canceling abilities, ambient sounds and a more seamless design. Therefore, Apple created the completely new AirPods Pro, upgrading all aspects of its precedent.


The two main additional features of the Apple AirPods Pro are noise-cancellation and the new “Transparency” mode. The Transparency mode allows users to have conversations with anyone while listening to music. With a press of a button, the force sensor is activated, allowing outside sound to seamlessly come through. 


A new design has also been implemented where differently-sized silicone tips allow the earphones to fit in various ear shapes. Not only that, but the AirPods are also shorter, creating a more compact overall shape that is more convenient to carry around.


The big question, however, is: should you upgrade to the new AirPods Pro when you have the AirPods?


My answer is no.

The first-generation AirPods with the same Bluetooth connection ability as the new AirPods Pro. (Photo taken by Daniel Kang)

The second generation, or even the first, AirPods still have amazing capabilities. They connect almost immediately when they are taken out of the case, and their battery life is more than sufficient –– five hours of listening to music, streaming and more. The $160 investment is well worth it, and I don’t see a reason as to why it should be upgraded to another, very similar device. 


However, if you are looking for a device that can work effectively in noisy environments, like a café or restaurant, the noise-canceling ability may be your pull factor. But with that new feature also comes a very expensive price tag. If price is not an issue, go for it!


Just like with Apple’s release of the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, Apple consumers are bombarded with so many choices for something that just started out as AirPods. There are four options: buy the first generation off of eBay for less than $100, the second generation for $160, the second generation with a wireless charging case for $199 or the new AirPods Pro for $250. 


What is the best choice?


It really depends on what suits you.


Set your own criteria, and make the decision. If you have been waiting for a new major upgrade of the AirPods since the first release, go purchase the AirPods Pro! But if you already have the previous AirPods and are satisfied with them, I don’t see a reason as to why you would go out of your way to buy them. At the end of the day, it is all up to you.


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