Choosing between the 3rd generation AirPods and AirPods Pro can be a bit confusing, because of just how much these Apple headphones share. So how do you workout which one to get? We are here to you help decide which of these wireless earbuds is right for you. Your decision is going to come down to one of these factors; How they fit in your ears, the sound, whether or not you want noise-cancelling and pricing.
How much do they cost?
In this head-to-head, we will kick things off with pricing. Let’s start with the AirPods Pro, these earbuds are priced at around $250 while the AirPods 3 is around the $180 price point. But you can get the Pro for less than $200 at certain times of the year thanks to deals and specials.
You can always click the links below to get the current pricing of both earbuds.
Durability on both earbuds is similar, they both are both well made and offer an IPX4 rating which means they are both splash and water-resistant. The one difference in the overall durability between these Apple devices is that the AirPods 3 case also comes with IPX4 water protection while the Pro doesn’t.
Fit & Comfort
Finding the right fit on earbuds is a highly personal thing so it will come down to your preference, especially for wireless earbuds. But I will give you a little guidance to point you in the right direction.
The main difference between each earbud is that the AirPods Pro sports interchangeable eartips. You get 3 different silicon sizes that come in the box that you can swap in and out between small, medium and large depending on the size of your ear canals to get the most comfortable and secure fit. And if none of those eartips fit you the way you want, you can simply switch them out with other eartips that you might have laying around. Getting a secure fit is important when it comes to getting the best sound experience and passive noise cancellation because the tips help to physically block out sound from the outside world to give you more isolation.
If you don’t like earbuds with eartips because of how they feel in your ears, the Pros aren’t for you, go for the AirPods instead. The AirPods 3 sports an open design as seen in the picture above, so you simply just rest them in your ear rather than inserting them in your ear canals.
Which sounds better?
For me, the most important part of any earbud is the sound quality. And when it comes to these earbuds you won’t be surprised at how similar they sounded. The being said, I’m leaning a little toward the Pros, the sound quality just a bit richer and clearer in quality.
The AirPods 3 sounds really good but the sound just isn’t as well defined when you compare both earbuds. Don’t get me wrong the Airpods 3 is still able to deliver a great audio experience with just as good thumping bass as the more premium AirPods Pro despite the lack of seal.
Both earbuds also have adaptive equalizers that will automatically change the sound profile and properties based on things like how they fit in your ears. Having this feature on the AirPods 3 is important because the audio quality can normally start to escape due to the open design on the earbuds.
The AirPods Pro basically has 2 layers of noise-cancelling. The first is the seal that’s provided through the eartips with passive noise cancellation to block out some external sounds. Layer 2 is the active noise cancelling feature which you can use to block out outside noise. This is great for those who commute daily, travel a lot on plains bus transport or for the those who want some peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, the AirPods 3 does not have any noise-cancelling technology like the Pro so if you find yourself in a noisy situation you the audio experience won’t be as enjoyable as on the AirPods Pro.
Another feature that the AirPods Pro has that the AirPods 3 doesn’t have is Transparency Mode. This feature pipes in sounds from the outside world to give you more awareness of your surroundings.
Features that you get on both
These earbuds share a few features so you won’t lose out on most of the bells and whistles if you choose the AirPods 3 over the Pro.
Even though both sets of earbuds have buttons to control your audio, Apple still included hands-free controls. You simply say ” Hey Siri” and give your command to send a message, play and pause music or even adjust the volume. You can also get your messages read aloud in your ear and reply with your voice.
This is a feature that gives you a surround sound experience when listening to supported music, movies, and TV shows in certain apps. Even though both earbuds share this feature the more premium AirPods Pro just sounds a bit more true to life.
Dynamic tracking is another layer of Spatial Audio that opens up a world of being able to have the music change properties when you move your head around.
With Apple’s Find My at your disposal you are able to keep track of your earbuds by seeing their last location, mark them as lost, get separation alerts, and also do nearby location tracking. They also both pause music when you take an earbud out of your ear.
Skin Detect Sensor
This is a feature that you can only find on the AirPods 3, it basically measures the refraction of light to know if the earbuds are in your ears up against your skin as opposed to laying on a table or in your pocket to preserve battery life.
The AirPods 3 will get you around 6 hours of total listening time at moderate volume, while the AirPods Pro will get you closer to 5 hours with transparency mode active or 4½ hours with noise cancelling.
The charging case of the Pro provides 24 hours of total charge while the AirPods 3 gives you 30 hours. Both cases can charge wirelessly on any Qi wireless charging pad.
Which should you choose?
Hopefully, I have given you all the info you need to figure out which pair of true wireless earbuds is right for you. As for me, I prefer the AirPods Pro because it’s an overall better package and better value.