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Apple's long-awaited third-generation AirPods launched yesterday alongside new MacBook Pro models, and we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Pro. If you're wondering whether you should choose the AirPods Pro or the AirPods 3 when buying AirPods for the first time or upgrading, this comparison video should help.


There are a couple of key differences between the AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro. The AirPods 3 have no silicone ear tips and they don't offer Active Noise Cancellation, so if you prefer the kind of fit you get with silicone tips or really want ANC, that rules the AirPods 3 out right away.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-1.jpg

There's also price to consider. Apple is charging $179 for the AirPods 3 and $250 for the AirPods Pro, so that's a $70 upgrade if you're going for AirPods Pro over AirPods 3. That sounds like a lot, but you can often get discounts on the AirPods Pro on Amazon and other sites, which makes price a bit less of a factor. Right now, AirPods are $220 (or $200 without the new MagSafe case), so if you score a deal, you can pick up AirPods Pro for around $40 more.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-2.jpg

Some people will get a better fit with silicone tips, and some will prefer the tipless design of the AirPods 3. Apple introduced a new contoured shape for the AirPods 3 that's meant to better stay in the ears, and we've found that they fit well and provide a good seal for improved sound compared to prior-generation models. Reviewers with smaller ears have found the AirPods 3 to be a bit big, so if that's your situation, you might want to choose the AirPods Pro.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-3.jpg

Adaptive EQ customizes sound for each person's ears based on the fit of the AirPods 3, which also boosts sound. There's less difference in sound quality between the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro than there was with the AirPods 2 and the AirPods Pro because of the new fit and the Adaptive EQ, but you're going to get the tightest fit and most noise blocking with the AirPods Pro.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-4.jpg

With the exception of the silicone tips and ANC, AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro share the same general feature set. Quick pairing, fast device switching, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, and Hey Siri support are features of both models, and they share the same force sensor for controlling music and MagSafe Charging Case (so long as you get the upgraded AirPods Pro model).

As for battery life, if you're looking for the longest lasting earbuds, pick the AirPods 3. The case and AirPods combined offer up to 30 hours of listening time, while the AirPods Pro offer 24 hours.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-5.jpg

The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro have a lot in common, so it comes down to fit and sound preference. For ANC and the best quality sound among Apple's in-ear AirPods, choose the AirPods Pro. For the best battery life and the best price, choose the AirPods.

airpods-3-vs-airpods-pro-6.jpg

Make sure to watch the video up above for our full comparison, and if you're still having trouble deciding, we have a more in-depth breakdown in our AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Buyer's Guide.

Article Link: Video Comparison: AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro
 
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MrPropreVEVO

macrumors newbie
Oct 27, 2021
1
0
Hi, I'm sorry I really don't know where to post this but I have a strange buzzing sound in my right airpod 3 (that I just received this afternoon). Do anyone know how I can fix it or if I need to directly contact Apple?
 

SantaFeNM

macrumors member
Oct 13, 2012
86
99
Santa Fe, NM
Upgraded from my gen 1 AirPods, which my right one was lasting a half-hour or so. These fit and feel better and the sound improvement is very noticeable to me. It probably helps there is the smart EQ happening in each ear. I have a bit of odd shaped ears, and the stems on AirPods do not sit flush with my face, but stick out and forward more. The additional bass is so appreciated! As I watch YouTube videos and turn my head, the spatial audio making the sound continue to come from my MacBook Air's direction is very noticeable and welcome.
 

skipper63

macrumors member
Oct 29, 2010
46
80
I got my Airpods 3 yesterday and they sound far better than my Airpods 1 and have a much better volume level. I can play musiv at 50% now and it is loud enogh. With model 1 it had to be at around 70-80%.

First they felt much bigger in my ears, but they are more comfortable and not as easy to lose.

Getting them out of the case though is quite a bit harder than with the 1st generation.

I am happy with my purchase.

PS: I had mine engraved and I think that the type face is way to fat. I thing that neither Johnny Ive nor Steve Jobs would have ever let that be released like that.
 

Wokis

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2012
423
197
Stockholm, Sweden
Have had my Airpods 3 since Tuesday.

I don't really appreciate the bigger size, however I did test and compare w Airpods Gen 1 and came to the conclusion that they stay in my ears with apprx the same force required for them to fall off.

The battery life is by far my favourite change. Even when new, the Airpods gen 1 couldn't hold a candle compared to these. They also seem to sip far less power "in idle" compared to gen 1. So no more stress thinking about putting them back into the case when not listening to something.

Getting the auto switch between devices is also a welcome change however I know gen 2 already had that. But yikes what a quality of life change for me who switch between ipad, mac and iphone pretty often.
 

WWPD

macrumors 6502
Aug 21, 2015
394
1,129
Ten Forward
Hi, I'm sorry I really don't know where to post this but I have a strange buzzing sound in my right airpod 3 (that I just received this afternoon). Do anyone know how I can fix it or if I need to directly contact Apple?
There could be a bee stuck inside the AirPod, I have heard that this is a common issue. Bees stowing away in AirPods to get out of China.
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,857
5,104
Twin Cities Minnesota
For $179, there are quite a few competitive options that come in for less $$$ and include ANC that is on par with the AirPod Pros. That said, they won't have the seamless (sometimes) switching between your Apple devices, may have fitment issues, and may just be an ugly design to some.

If Apple's hand-off is not a big issue for you, it may be worth exploring options outside of these.
 

Pentium

macrumors 6502
Sep 2, 2015
342
301
Los Angeles
I never bought AirPods before, I have been using Bose (still using the QC Earbuds) but I preordered those, I am impressed so far, only tried them in 1 workout and for some calls. I think I am a keeper.
 

sagarpurswani

macrumors newbie
Oct 9, 2021
1
2
Beats Studio Buds are $150 and a great option with a lot of features like:
  1. ANC/Transparency mode
  2. Soft eartips
  3. 8 hours listening time (24h with case)
  4. Sweat and water resistant
  5. 3 Color options
  6. USB-C charging
  7. Apple and Android compatible
No, they’re not AirPods and lack some features like spatial audio, wireless charging case and more, but still a good option to consider.
 

nikhsub1

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2007
2,286
1,615
mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
I'm probably not a good reference but here is my story. I have had every iteration of the airpods. They are AWESOME for phone calls, which for work, i'm on the phone a lot. The biggest issue with them and the phone is they will disconnect for no reason, as if the earbud thinks it is out of your ear. Very annoying and really my only gripe. The Airpods PRO are awesome for walks and the gym as the noise cancellation is pretty darn good. I HATE the Pros for phone use though, to uncomfortable for me and I hate the rubber tips for long phone use.

tl;dr = for phone use, the regular airpods are better. For gym and walks or airplanes the pro's are better. Sadly I need both.
 
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Techwatcher

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2013
757
1,779
NYC
Beats Studio Buds are $150 and a great option with a lot of features like:
  1. ANC/Transparency mode
  2. Soft eartips
  3. 8 hours listening time (24h with case)
  4. Sweat and water resistant
  5. 3 Color options
  6. USB-C charging
  7. Apple and Android compatible
No, they’re not AirPods and lack some features like spatial audio, wireless charging case and more, but still a good option to consider.
No. Head Tracking Spatial too crucial.
 

ctdonath

macrumors 68000
Mar 11, 2009
1,568
567
Interesting the article overlooked Transparency. Seems the 3 doesn't have it.

I don't want the silicone inserts, as most such rapidly get annoying.
I do want Transparency, as the buds do inhibit sound and - wearing them for work several hours daily - I'd like to hear clearly without removing them. (Some may dis this. My $, my job, my ears.)
 

jbc25

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2007
23
32
Interesting the article overlooked Transparency. Seems the 3 doesn't have it.

I don't want the silicone inserts, as most such rapidly get annoying.
I do want Transparency, as the buds do inhibit sound and - wearing them for work several hours daily - I'd like to hear clearly without removing them. (Some may dis this. My $, my job, my ears.)
Transparency is an unnecessary feature on this model because it doesn't seal up your ears like the pros do.
 
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