So, You Wanna Be a Pro?


Military Grade. Maximum Strength. Ford Tough. These are words and phrases we’ve all seen a million times. They’re used to characterize our gear, our gadgets, the pills we take, and the cars we drive. In many cases, they don’t really mean anything. They’re metaphorical marketing, hyperbolic hype words. They’re meant to convey the quality of a thing without being held to any particular standard. And lately, another one of these questionable qualifiers has popped up: Pro. Look around. Pro is everywhere. It’s in the names of our consumer electronics, our home entertainment, even our cookware. Want people to know your product is good? Just add Pro. Well, no more! This holiday season, we’re taking a more rigorous stance on the word Pro by highlighting the items we think are most deserving of the name. Here is a list of our favorite Pro-worthy products. Enjoy!

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

One of the top reasons why the Mavic 2 Pro deserves to be on our list is because it makes most other drones look amateurish by comparison. When DJI debuted the Mavic 2 Pro, in 2018, it was widely considered to be the best consumer drone on the market. A year later, very little has changed. With its incredible folding design, unrivaled Hasselblad camera system, 31-minute flight time, and all the advanced features DJI packed into its software (ActiveTrack, QuickShots, etc.), the Mavic 2 Pro remains the best overall consumer drone available today.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Beats PowerBeats Pro

The fact that the PowerBeats Pro headphones are a favorite among professional athletes is reason enough to put them on our list. But even without professional endorsements, the Powerbeats Pro are a worthy inclusion in our passel of pros, thanks in part to their excellent sound quality, class-leading 9-hour battery life, unbeatable fit, and true-wireless design. To learn all about the Powerbeats Pro, including its long list of Pro-worthy features, be sure to check out our full hands-on review.

Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro In-Ear Wireless Headphones

Apple iPad Pro

Apple makes a lot of Pro products. The iPhone 11 Pro. The MacBook Pro. The Newton Pro. And frankly, if there’s any company that’s earned the right to label their products Pro, it’s probably Apple. From smart watches to smart speakers, powerful desktops to ultra-portable laptops, Apple makes some of the best gear around. Choosing just one Pro-worthy product for our list wasn’t easy, but we opted for the 2018 iPad Pro. A favorite of ours since its debut, the iPad Pro has a long list of bona fides that includes an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display, powerful A12X Bionic chip, and long-lasting, 10-hour battery life—just to name a few. But the main reason we chose it for our re-Pro-toire is on account of how well it serves working professionals. Thanks to its sophisticated design, hardware architecture, software, the iPad Pro can function as a tablet, laptop, notebook, even a sketch pad. It’s great for working in a coffee shop, cubicle, or commute. And because it’s such a powerful tool for professionals, we wanted to recognize it as a truly Pro-worthy piece of technology. If you’d like to learn more the iPad Pro and its many, many use cases and professional applications, be sure to check out our iPad Pro hub for news, articles, and reviews.

Apple 12.9" iPad Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Never to be outdone, Microsoft also makes it fair share of Pro products. Their Surface Pro series, for example, is easily one of the most important PC developments of the last decade, as it, in many ways, redefined our concept of what a laptop can do. That trend continues with the recently-released Microsoft Surface Pro 7. As versatile and vital as ever, the new Surface Pro 7 got some major upgrades over its predecessor, including an Intel 10th gen CPU and USB Type-C connectivity. Add to that great battery life, an awesome display, the powerful Surface Pen, a robust voice command interface, Microsoft’s sophisticated Edge browser, and so much more, and it's easy to see why the Surface Pro 7 is a worthy inclusion to our list.

Microsoft 12.3" Multi-Touch Surface Pro 7

GoPro HERO8 Black

It’s one thing to stick Pro in the name of your product, but putting it in the name of your company? That’s a whole ’nother level. But that’s exactly what Nick Woodman did when he created GoPro, in 2002. Back then, Woodman was an amateur surfer whose biggest goals were finding a way to shoot quality footage of him and his friends surfing and “going pro.” Twenty years later, GoPro is the undisputed king of action cams—so much so that now any action cameras in general are commonly referred to as GoPros. And for good reason. Since their inception, GoPro cameras have captured and shared some of the most exhilarating footage ever seen. GoPro’s recipe for success is owed, in part, to their ever-evolving lineup of sophisticated cameras and stabilization software. The most recent action cam, the GoPro HERO8 Black, is the crown jewel of that lineup and the most powerful Pro of them all. What makes it so good? Well, for starters, it sports a new cage-free design, which makes mounting it easier than ever and facilitates a brand-new Mod system for customization. The Mods not only make capturing action footage easier than ever, they also open the HERO8 up to new or improved use cases—vlogging, for example. In addition to those upgrades, the HERO8 features the kind of advanced camera specs you’d expect from a GoPro. It shoots up to 4K60 video and 12MP stills. There are modes for time-lapse, slow-motion, live-streaming, and more. And, best of all, HyperSmooth 2.0 is built in, so you get the super smooth, gimbal-like stabilization that has kept GoPro at the forefront of action cam game for the last two decades.

GoPro HERO8 Black

Billingham Hadley Pro

The last item on our list is the Billingham Hadley Pro. This revered line of carriers establishes a new criterion for our definition of Pro: sophistication. Hadley Pro bags are sophisticated. They’re elegant. They’re classy. They look great and, what’s more, they look like they belong in the hands and on the shoulders of professionals. On top of their aesthetic appeal, Hadley Pro bags feature a durable exterior, spacious inner compartment, and removable inserts to hold all your gear. And, because it’s a pro’s pro, the Hadley Pro can accommodate any of the other Pro products on our list—all at the same time, if need be. While it’s true that the Hadley Pro can’t turn into a professional, it’ll definitely make you look like one.

Billingham Hadley Small Pro Shoulder Bag

By our rough count, there are about a gazillion products with the word Pro in them, including light bulbs. Some of those products warrant that modifier, others don’t. We definitely think the products on our list deserve to be considered Pro, but what about you?

Sengled Solo Pro Smart Bulb with JBL Bluetooth Speaker

Are there are Pro products that we missed? While we’re on the subject, what other marketing words do you think we could do without or could use a bit more regulation? Drop us a note in the Comments section!


"While we’re on the subject, what other marketing words do you think we could do without or could use a bit more regulation? "

I'll tell you about one phrase that really makes me cringe, which I see in marketing copy all the time: "Free Gift" as in "Free Gift with $100 Purchase!"

I am sorry, friends, coworkers, countrymen/women, but this a redundancy. The word "gift," itself, implies something that comes without cost. It's already free by virtue of the fact that it is A GIFT.

The definition: 

gift - noun 1. a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.

Free gift? Just more marketing fluff and poppycock.