Standalone AirPods Pro 2nd-Gen USB-C charging case might not be worth the price

The newest iPhones have finally jumped on the USB-C bandwagon, but there are still a few Apple products that still cling to the older Lightning technology. That includes all iPhone models before the iPhone 15, older iPads, and the majority of charging cases for the AirPods. A few months back, Apple did release a version of the 2nd-gen AirPods Pro with a USB-C charging case, but you’ll have to buy the whole set to enjoy this upgrade, both earbuds and charging case. If you already have a 2nd-gen AirPods Pro that came with a Lightning charging case, however, you can now just buy the USB-C case on its own, but the price tag on this very optional accessory could have you thinking twice why you’d want to buy one in the first place.

Designer: Apple

To be fair, the USB-C charging case does have a few advantages, though the biggest one would be consistency between the most recent Apple devices. You won’t have to carry a separate Lightning cable, presuming you’ve gone all-in on USB-C already. There’s also this convenient reverse charging feature where you can charge the AirPods Pro case from an iPhone 15 using a USB-C to USB-C cable. Handy in an emergency but not exactly a ground-breaking game-changer.

Given the nearly similar features, the $99 price tag on this standalone USB-C charging case for the AirPods Pro 2nd-Gen might seem a little excessive. It also only makes sense if you already have the Lightning version of these AirPods Pro and only want to enjoy the benefits of USB-C mentioned above. Otherwise, it doesn’t offer any charging speed advantages between these two models and both support the same wireless MagSafe capability.

That said, you might want to upgrade from the 2nd generation Lightning AirPod Pro to its USB-C sibling for future-proof durability and features. The USB-C AirPods Pro 2nd-Gen has an IP54 rating, up from last year’s IPX4, which means it’s better protected against dust and small particles, though it’s still only splashproof rather than waterproof. It will, however, support lossless audio when paired with the Apple Vision Pro headset, at least if you can get your hands on one next year.

The USB-C case itself is also IP54 rated, but you won’t get the dust-proofing upgrade for the earbuds just by switching cases. That makes the standalone case less appealing for the majority of AirPods owners. Then again, there will always be someone who wants a complete and consistent set of products or may have had the misfortune of losing their original charging case. Fortunately, now you won’t have to buy a new set just to replace that.