As AirPods 3 is the latest model of Apple’s wireless earbuds for the mass market, you may want to know how it compares to AirPods Pro (i.e., AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro).
This AirPods guide explains the shared features of AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro (the Force Sensor, Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ, IPX4 rating and wireless charging), advantages and disadvantages (silicon tips, ANC, transparency mode, battery life, and price) of AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro.
The comparison of AirPods 3 to AirPods 2 is discussed in this post.
AirPods 3, which is the successor of AirPods 2, is not a replacement for AirPods Pro. Instead, it targets a different audience with some shared features with AirPods Pro.
Here is the list of shared features of AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro
These features were explained in the Top 10 new features of AirPods Pro, and AirPods 3 vs AirPods 2: Top 8 improvements and new features of AirPods 3.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Advantages of AirPods Pro
You may find the new AirPods 3 lacks the following three features when comparing AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro.
Although AirPods 3 looks closer to AirPods Pro than to AirPods 2 (for example, the shape, the length of the stem/leg), you can easily differ AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro due to lack of chargeable silicon tips.
The small silicon tips actually mark a fundamentally different design.
AirPods 3 adopts the “open” design, as in AirPods 2. This design does not create a “sealed” space for the sound from the wireless earbuds.
On the contrary, the silicon tips and other parts in the AirPods Pro create (at least attempt to) a sealed environment in the canal for the earbuds. Such a sealed environment is usually needed for active noise cancelling (ANC). Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is the only exception combining open design and ANC.
Some users may feel more comfortable with the open design, especially if they need to wear the earbuds for an extended period every day.
But if you prefer a quiet environment, then AirPods Pro is an obvious choice.
One of the flagship features of the AirPods Pro is ANC.
It seems Apple still sees the demand for the traditional earbuds without ANC. It is probably a smart decision.
If you need ANC, then you can go for the AirPods Pro. If you do not feel comfortable with the sealed design, then you can get the updated traditional AirPods (AirPods 3).
As both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro use the same H1 chip (AirPods 2 also used the same chip) and share many components, ANC was not added to AirPods 3 simply to cater for seasoned AirPods users, who do not want the silicon tips stuffed in the canal.
Apparently, missing ANC is not because of the capability of the hardware in AirPods 3. Apple wants to target the AirPods 3 to a different group of users.
With the introduction of AirPods Pro 2, the ANC is a more prominent feature of AirPods Pro.
Because of the open design in AirPods 3, the transparency mode is not very relevant.
Normally, you need the transparency mode to be alerted to the surroundings when you wear a pair of earbuds with a sealed design.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Advantages of AirPods 3
You can imagine AirPods 3 is just AirPods Pro minus ANC and the transparency mode.
So, compared to AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 wins clearly at battery life and price.
AirPods 3 offers a playtime of 6 hours on a single charge (or 5 with spatial audio enabled). The talk time is about four hours.
As a comparison, AirPods Pro can last about 4.5 hours on one charge (or 5 hours with ANC, transparency mode, and spatial audio disabled). The talk time is about 3.5 hours.
The charging case of AirPods 3 can provide about 30 hours of listening time. In comparison, AirPods Pro’s charging case offers about 24 hours of playtime.
The 2nd generation of AirPods Pro (AirPods Pro 2) now offers a similar battery life as AirPods 3 when ANC is turned on.
AirPods 3 is priced at $179, which bumps about $20 from the release price of AirPods 2. Apple still offers AirPods 2, but at a lower price of $129 now.
But it is still significantly cheaper than the $249 price tag of AirPods Pro. Of course, you can get it at a lower price through promotions in most regions.
Clearly, AirPods 3 is a sequential update to AirPods 2 for mainstream users. AirPods Pro is still marketed as the only top-tier wireless earbuds.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Which one should you choose?
As mentioned, AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro are targeted at different users.
You may choose AirPods 3, if
- You do not need noise cancelling.
- You prefer the open design.
- You do not want to spend more than $200 on a pair of wireless earbuds.
- You own an Apple product, including iPhone, or iPad, or Mac.
You may choose AirPods Pro, if
- You like ANC.
- You are OK with the earbuds tips in the ear canal.
- You are willing to pay close to $250 for the earbuds.
- You own an Apple product.
Anyway, it is hard to say AirPods 3 is better or AirPods Pro is better. It depends on whether you need ANC.
Do you know which earbuds are for you, AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro?
If you have any questions on the advantages and disadvantages of AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro, please let us know in the comment box.
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