During Apple’s October event, the Cupertino company presented new 3rd generation AirPods, among other things. In our comparison, we show where the differences between AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro lie. You can also find out which model is suitable for you and whether a change is worthwhile.
Fans of the standard AirPods had to wait a long time for an updated version of the AirPods. With the AirPods 3, Apple has finally completely revised the true wireless earbuds released in 2019. Not only has something changed in the design, but some new features have also been added that reduce the difference to the Pro model. Can the AirPods 3 vs. Airpods Pro hold their own?
AirPods 3 Vs. AirPods Pro: There Are Hardly Any Differences In Design
Anyone looking at the new AirPods (3rd generation) will probably immediately think of the Pro model. In terms of design, Apple has based its AirPods 3 on the AirPods Pro. The individual earbuds no longer have the old EarPods look. They are broadly similar in shape to the Pro version but appear a bit more massive.
There is one crucial difference: You have to do without silicone attachments like the AirPods Pro offers. On the other hand, the MagSafe-compatible charging case is somewhat more compact in comparison. With the Pro-Earbuds, you only get MagSafe support for the small case if you buy it now. At the time of the original release, the feature did not yet exist. Apple almost secretly upgraded. The point is not available separately for first-time buyers.
Another advantage of the adapted design is the battery life. The AirPods 3 are ahead of the pack here: According to Apple, you can listen to one charge for up to 6 hours at a time and up to 30 hours in total, thanks to the battery in the charging case. The Pro version lasts for a maximum of 5 hours (without ANC) and approx. Twenty-four hours with a charging point. The 2nd generation of normal AirPods couldn’t keep up here. Both headphones offer protection against water and sweat.
AirPods (3rd Gen) Vs. AirPods Pro: Equipment Comparison
In terms of features, the 3rd generation of the standard model can catch up a lot thanks to the revision and significantly shorten the gap to the top model in the in-ear category. This is because Apple wants to focus more on its 3D audio offering. That is why both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro support 3D audio with dynamic head tracking (spatial audio), which creates a surround sound feeling with compatible media and makes films, for example, even more immersive.
AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro can also hold their general sound: an “adaptive EQ” that automatically optimizes the sound for the user, and new woofers and amplifiers deliver an allegedly improved sound. Apple will very likely have taken over hardware from the AirPods Pro here. The excellent advantage of the Pro version should therefore be significantly lower. Anyone familiar with second-generation headphones can count on more bass and more excellent dynamics in the sound.
However, the AirPods Pro can differentiate themselves in comparison and live up to their name. The active noise suppression (ANC) and the transparency mode (almost no or apparent ambient noise) remain unique selling points of the more expensive earbuds. A test has yet to show whether the AirPods 3 perform worse in the perceived sound quality.
A new feature that only 3rd generation AirPods can boast is the skin recognition sensor. It should detect more reliably whether the plugs are actually in the ear or just in a jeans pocket (or similar) to resume or pause playback accordingly. The operation has also been standardized: Both headphones can execute the same variety of commands such as pause, forwards and backward, skip, and Siri via long press or voice command.
The full range of options is only available to you if, for example, you are already using an iPhone or an iPad. Android fans can also use Bluetooth earbuds, but they have to forego fast pairing, updates, comprehensive software control on the smartphone or 3D sound, among other things. Transparency and noise-canceling mode can at least be changed using the gestures on the trunk. However, the feature can then no longer be switched off completely.
Apple AirPods Pro Or AirPods 3: For Whom Is It Worth Buying Or Switching?
If you look at the RRP of both headphones, there is a difference of 80 euros. For the AirPods (3rd Gen), you pay 199 euros. The AirPods Pro costs 279 euros at Apple directly. Individual offers in other shops or bundles with a cell phone are often a bit cheaper here. In general, it can be said: If you want to save some money and can do without noise-canceling, the new AirPods 3 is a good alternative that offers almost all the features and more battery life.
For owners of the Pro model, switching to the new standard model is not worthwhile in most cases, as you will lose a significant feature. Only the unique shape or the missing silicone attachments could be an argument, which leads us to a fundamental point: If possible, try out the headphones beforehand and check that they fit in the ear. Some users prefer silicone attachments; others hate the feeling.
The tight fit affects not only the sound but also the possible uses. If the AirPods fall out of the ear while jogging, part of the flexibility is lost with them, and frustration increases. Which plug ultimately lasts well depends on your ears