When some new gadget hits shelves, the question I always get is: “Is this Shiny New Thing worth it?” Readers rightfully want to know what the upgrade is, and whether it warrants their hard-earned green.
Reviewers like me rarely get to talk about how devices perform over time, but it is a useful exercise. Batteries degrade. New competitors shed light on shortcomings. More experience offers perspective on where the tech shines—and where it doesn’t.
This week, I’m looking back on my almost-one-year relationship with the AirPods Pro, Apple’s noise-canceling wireless earbuds. But I’m also testing what’s shiny and new about them, updates that came this month via iOS 14: spatial audio for a theater-esque experience, automatic switching between iOS and Mac devices, sound amplification for people who are hard of hearing, and new low-battery notifications.
While Apple is keeping the price steady at $249, I’ve spotted AirPods Pro discounted by as much as $50 this month. And any successors likely won’t show up for another year.
All that means last year’s ’Pods are still relevant today. If you’re considering them, here are the most notable observations about my Pros, which have been sitting in my conchae for close to a dozen moons and lived to tell the tale: