AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro 2 Buyer’s Guide

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AirPods 3 vs.  AirPods Pro 2 Buyer's Guide

Nearly three years after the launch of the first-generation AirPods Pro, Apple is launching a second-generation model alongside the iPhone 14 lineup and several new Apple Watches. Although the second-generation AirPods Pro‌ share the same design as their predecessors, they improve features such as Active Noise Cancellation, in-ear detection, and battery life, while introducing new functionality such as Adaptive Transparency, touch control volume adjustment, and precision discovery.


In late 2021, Apple announced a major update to its standard AirPods, with new earbuds featuring Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ, style sensor control, sweat and water resistance, MagSafe charging, and more.

Should you consider buying the third-generation AirPods for $179, or do you need the high-end AirPods Pro‌, which retail for $249? Our guide helps answer questions about how to decide which set of AirPods is best for you.

Comparing AirPods and AirPods Pro

AirPods and AirPods Pro‌ share many important features such as Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking, sweat and water resistance, and skin detection sensors. However, there are some significant differences between the two that are worth highlighting, including the design and Active Noise Cancellation.

Difference


Third Generation AirPods

  • Semi-in-ear design
  • Forced sensor control
  • H1 chip chips
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Up to 5 hours of listening time with Spatial Audio enabled
  • Up to 4 hours of talk time on a single charge
  • Up to 20 hours of talk time using the MagSafe‌Charging Case
  • MagSafe‌ Charging Case with Find Mine
  • MagSafe‌ Charging Case is compatible with MagSafe chargers, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning

Second Generation AirPods Pro

  • In-ear design with silicone ear tips (four sizes)
  • Ventilation system for equalization of pressure
  • Force sensor and touch control for volume adjustment
  • H2 chips
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Adaptive Transparency and Transparency
  • Conversation Boost
  • Up to 5.5 hours of listening time with Spatial Audio enabled
  • Up to 4.5 hours of talk time on a single charge
  • Up to 24 hours of talk time using the MagSafe‌Charging Case
  • MagSafe‌ Charging Case with built-in speaker for Find My, U1 chip for Precision Tracking and loop lanyard
  • The MagSafe‌ Charging Case is compatible with Apple Watch chargers, MagSafe chargers, Qi wireless charging mats, and Lightning

Final Thoughts

Standard AirPods are now very similar to AirPods Pro‌, offering almost all of the same features for a lower price. As a result, third-generation AirPods should be the default choice for most potential buyers. If you also have AirPods Max, which already offers ANC, and are looking for an extra pair of headphones to use while working out or on the go, the third-generation AirPods are also a good choice.

You should only buy AirPods Pro‌ if you specifically prefer the better fit and sound that in-ear silicone tips can provide, or need Active Noise Cancellation. You’ll also need to buy AirPods Pro‌ if you can make good use of Apple’s Conversation Enhancement accessibility features. Otherwise, the H2 chip upgrade, minor battery life boost, and Adaptive Transparency might not be a worthwhile upgrade over standard AirPods.

AirPods Pro‌ often see heavy discounts on Amazon and other third-party retailers, so upgrading to the Pro version may be worth it if you can take advantage of one of those offers. Standard AirPods also often get heavily discounted, so it’s always a good idea to find the best price using our collection of Offers.

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