Almost three years after the first-generation AirPods Pro launched, Apple unveiled the second-generation model alongside the iPhone 14 lineup and several new Apple Watches. Although the second-generation AirPods Pro feature the same design as their predecessor, they improve features such as active noise cancellation, in-ear detection and battery life, while introducing new features such as adaptive transparency, volume adjustment touch controls and precision research.
The first-generation AirPods Pro have now been discontinued by Apple, and prices at third-party retailers are dropping. As such, some customers may wonder whether to buy discounted first-gen AirPods Pro or buy the second-gen version.
Both AirPods Pro generations share the vast majority of their features, so should you consider buying or sticking with the first AirPods Pro generation to save money? This breakdown also serves as a way to see all the differences the new AirPods Pro bring to the table.
AirPods Pro (first generation)
- Active noise cancellation
- High dynamic range amplifier powers a high-excursion, low-distortion speaker driver
- H1 chip
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Optical infrared sensors for in-ear detection
- Force Sensor Controls
- IPX4 sweat and water resistant headphones
- Up to 4.5 hours of listening time with active noise cancellation enabled
- 24 hours of total listening time with active noise cancellation using the MagSafe charging case
- MagSafe charging case with Find My
- MagSafe charging case compatible with MagSafe charger, Qi and Lightning wireless charging pads
- Three silicone tips (S, M, L)
AirPods Pro (second generation)
- Active noise cancellation (2x stronger)
- Transparency and adaptive transparency
- New low-distortion audio driver and custom amplifier for richer bass and clearer sound
- H2 chip
- Bluetooth 5.3
- Skin detection sensors for in-ear detection
- Force sensors and touch controls for volume adjustment
- Sweat and water resistant IPX4 earbuds and charging case
- Up to 6 hours of listening time with active noise cancellation enabled
- 30 hours of total listening time with active noise cancellation using the MagSafe charging case
- MagSafe charging case with built-in speaker for Find My, precision tracking and lanyard loop
- MagSafe charging case compatible with Apple Watch charger, MagSafe charger, Qi and Lightning wireless charging pads
- Four silicone tips (XS, S, M, L)
Overall, the second-generation AirPods Pro offer a modest upgrade over the previous generation with valuable improvements across the board, but there are few must-have new features. Some users who use their AirPods Pro extensively may justify upgrading to the second-gen model due to the wide range of improvements, but that won’t be the case for all existing users.
Many users who recently purchased the AirPods Pro may not be able to justify upgrading to the second-generation AirPods Pro at this time unless they particularly want features such as Adaptive Transparency , touch controls for volume adjustment or Apple Watch charger compatibility. Users who purchased their AirPods Pro in late 2019 or early 2020 may see more reason to upgrade, especially if their existing device’s batteries have degraded significantly. These customers will benefit from the plethora of refinements offered by the second-generation model.
If you’ve been interested in buying the AirPods Pro for a while, now’s also a good time to pick up the first-gen model at a deep discount, but keep in mind that they’re now around three years old. Likewise, it’s worth bearing in mind that the AirPods Pro are among the most commonly discounted Apple products, so waiting a few months to purchase the second-generation model could result in significant savings.
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