Anthropic recently launched the Pro version of its already powerful chatbot, Claude 2. The service promises 5 times more interactions, computing priority, and early access to new features.
Anthropic’s new Claude Pro is only available in the US and UK, costing $20 (US) and £18 (UK), putting the AI chatbot in direct competition with OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus service which is more widely available for the same price.
But is the upgrade worth it? In this article, we help you decide whether Claude Pro makes sense for you, or if you would be better off spending those $20 on a burger or something else to make you happy.
More important than knowing what Claude Pro offers is understanding what you, as a user, need. And for that, a quick self-assessment is necessary because sometimes having “the best” does not translate to having the best for you.
First, you need to know: What type of user are you? How often do you find yourself needing to consult Claude to assist you with a task?
If you use Claude constantly, to the point that it has become a vital tool in your work, perhaps it is a good idea to pay those $20. Or, even better: It might be a better idea to ask your boss to pay for a membership if the added value that this chatbot offers will benefit the company.
“If your conversations are relatively short (approximately 200 English sentences, assuming your sentences are around 15-20 words), you can expect to send at least 100 messages every 8 hours, often more depending on Claude’s current capacity,” says Anthropic in the official documentation of Claude Pro. “Over two thirds of all conversations on claude.ai (as of September 2023) have been within this length.”
This means, considering that the average working hours are precisely about 8 hours, the upgrade will make sense if you use the tool more than 100 times a day. That would be about 12.5 times per hour.
Know Your AI Prompts
Of course, the limit of 1.5 hourly conversations every 8 hours is assuming that you are within the average user base of Claude and that your interactions are within the established range.
But there’s more to that. In addition to the number of interactions, it is important to know the type of use you’re looking for in each conversation. Are you a typical user or would you see yourself as a power user? Claude handles 100K context tokens, but if you use very complex prompts in each interaction, this number of conversations will decrease drastically.
“If you upload a copy of The Great Gatsby, you may only be able to send 20 messages in that conversation within 8 hours,” Anthropic says in Claude’s Pro official documentation. Keep in mind that Claude reads the entire conversation with each interaction, so a bit of prompt engineering is important to optimize each of the commands you give.
Therefore, if you are a power user who tends to deal with very long prompts and workflows that require multiple iterations, you will undoubtedly want to upgrade if it is something you need to do constantly. But also consider that if this heavy work is not something you need to do repeatedly throughout the day, perhaps the limit of 8 conversations of the free version may be sufficient for you.
Consider the Unpredictability of Service Availability
There is also the matter of urgency. Do you rely on Claude to deliver immediate results? If so, you have to consider that Claude’s free version, just like ChatGPT 3.5, sometimes will not work during periods of high traffic, as all the bandwidth and computing power available will be reserved for “VIP” users who pay for Claude Pro.
This is unpredictable; it can happen at 5 a.m. or in the middle of an urgent presentation that your boss asked you to modify at the last minute.
So, to tackle this issue, it is necessary to balance the risk/benefit relationship. Is it worth paying $20 for the privilege of having quick responses in difficult times? If not, you might be fine switching to alternative services like ChatGPT, Bard, or Beluga when Claude is experiencing high traffic.
Money and New Features
And finally, you need to consider the matter of your own financial stability. How much does a $20 monthly subscription matter to you?
If you are the type of user who counts every penny and does not have extra money to spend, it is likely that the best option for you is to use the powerful free version of Claude and switch between Claude, ChatGPT, and Google Bard as per your needs.
Now, if you lose $20 and say “oh lol, I just lost 20 bucks,” perhaps a cheap subscription is worth it for the convenience and peace of mind that Anthropic offers—only considering that it is just that: convenience, not functionality.
And what about the early access to new features? Well, this is another perk for Claude Pro users, but it is not something you should consider at this moment because there are actually no new features in Claude Pro at the time of writing.The Pro and Free users have access to the same chatbot, with the same capabilities, with the same quality — unlike ChatGPT Plus and Free users who use different versions of OpenAI’s LLM. Plus users use GPT-4 and Free users use the less powerful GPT-3.5.
So, in the end the decision to upgrade will largely depend on how much you use Claude and not really on how powerful you want it to be. The key factor to ponder is how frequent and heavy your interactions will be. This decision is not about the chatbot, it’s about you.
Claude Pro and Claude 2 are exactly the same model, so it might be a good idea to stick with the free model for a few months and see if the usage limitations imposed by Anthropic negatively impact your work. If so, upgrading to the pro version will undoubtedly be worth it, as there is no other language model on the market that matches Claude’s contextual capacity.