What should you choose for a bigger AirPods family?

What should you choose for a bigger AirPods family?

  • Appearance

  • Wearing and Operation

  • Subjective Listening Experience

  • Other

  • Buying Advice

Since their introduction in 2016, the AirPods series of headphones have been loved by many Apple device users: in-ear detection, automatic switching, voice control, location finding, iCloud syncing ...... The AirPods series is almost the best overall experience of wireless headphones under the Apple ecosystem.

With a new look, strong bass, long battery life, and the best features of AirPods, AirPods 3 is almost like a no noise reduction version of AirPods Pro. What should you choose for a bigger AirPods family? 

 

  1. Appearance

At first glance, AirPods 3 will always have a strange and familiar feeling, with a shorter headphone stem and a larger sound hole. Compared to its predecessor, AirPods 3 is different in almost every way, like - AirPods Pro SE?

AirPods3 is more like AirPods Pro in terms of charging case and headphones: the charging case has been changed from a vertical rectangle to a horizontal rectangle, and the headphone stems have been shortened by 33% to look like AirPods Pro with the earbuds removed. In terms of weight, AirPods 3 is almost 10 grams lighter than AirPods Pro, including the headphones and charging case, which is similar to its predecessor.

Unfortunately, the AirPods 3 charging case still has the signature white glossy design of the series, which can easily leave scratches on the surface. If you mind this, you'll still need to buy a case to wear it. However, given that the new charging case supports MagSafe charging, third-party cases may affect the charging function, so you'll need to choose carefully with your needs in mind before purchasing.

From my personal experience, AirPods3 looks better than the old AirPods and AirPods Pro, including the charging case, and the portability is much better. If I'm just listening to music on the go, I'd rather take AirPods3 with me. 

 

  1. Wearing and Operation

As mentioned earlier, the AirPods3 have a shorter headphone stem and are virtually indistinguishable from the AirPods Pro in terms of size. With the headphones on, it's hard to tell if you're wearing AirPods3 or AirPods Pro at first glance, and the visual effect of wearing them is almost identical. 

Unlike AirPods Pro, AirPods are still non-in-ear headphones, so you don't have to worry about choosing the size of your earbuds, and you don't have the experience of having to wear in-ear earbuds that can be difficult or uncomfortable to wear. Some of my friends around me did not choose to get AirPods Pro because of these problems. 

AirPods3's headphone body shape is slightly narrower towards the ear canal, the overall size is larger than the old model, the narrowing margin is smaller, the intuitive feeling after wearing them is that they fit the ear better, and the wearing will be more stable. The size of the in-ear part of the headphones is larger, and the wearing perception is stronger, but not as pronounced as the AirPods Pro perception. I feel a little "stiffer", but it's not uncomfortable at all and should be easily acceptable for most people. 

Along with the cosmetic upgrade is a "new" way to interact: the strength sensor. Like AirPods Pro, AirPods3 can play/pause and answer calls with one press, switch to the next song with two presses, skip back to the previous song with three presses, and bring up Siri with a long press, while the old AirPods can only be partially operated with two taps, which is less functional and less intuitive.

 

  1. Subjective Listening Experience

In addition to the new design, the most important upgrade of AirPods3 is the "Spatial Audio" and "Adaptive Equalization" features that support dynamic head tracking. 

The AirPods have a built-in directional audio filter that fine-tunes the frequency of sound received by the ear, and with powerful computational audio software algorithms, the AirPods can now track the position of the head rotation in real time, dynamically adjusting the sound field in relation to the position of the ear, giving you an immersive music experience. Simply put, with spatial audio, you may have the illusion of listening to music as if you were actually at a live concert. If you've experienced this feature on AirPods Pro or AirPods Max before, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Next is Adaptive EQ. Some of you may not have noticed this feature before, but it actually made its way to AirPods Pro back in 2019. Now, AirPods finally support Adaptive EQ as well. Adaptive EQ automatically adjusts the sound based on the shape of your ears and the fit you're wearing, which, less accurately, means that the sound you hear in the headphones will be closer to the sound the musicians want you to hear. 

 

  1. Other

In terms of battery life, according to Apple, AirPods3 have up to 6 hours of listening time on a single charge and up to 4 hours of talk time on a single charge, which is 1 hour more than the previous generation, a slight improvement in battery life.

The focus is on the new MagSafe charging case. AirPods3 can now be used with the charging case for up to 30 hours of listening time, a 6-hour improvement over AirPods Pro and the previous generation of AirPods. Charging is also faster than the previous generation, with about an hour of listening time or talk time in just 5 minutes of charging.

AirPods also support the same IPX4 sweat and water resistance as the AirPods Pro. Note, however, that Apple also warns on its website that the IPX4 sweat and water resistance of AirPods and AirPods Pro is only for non-water sports and activities.

Finally, there's the Find feature. Like the AirPods Pro, the AirPods3 support the Find My network feature, so if you leave your current location without your headphones, the Find App on your iPhone will remind you that you forgot your headphones; if you can't find where your headphones are around, you can pinpoint its location with the Find App and find them based on distance and directional cues. 

 

  1. Buying Advice

Overall, AirPods3 is a satisfying upgrade, although it has basically everything that AirPods Pro has. For those who don't like the in-ear experience of AirPods Pro, especially Apple users, the new AirPods, at a lower price point, are definitely a better choice.

If you have sensitive ear canals but want a Pro-level eco experience, AirPods 3 is for you. If you're comfortable with in-ears and have sufficient budget, we recommend going straight to AirPods Pro. The AirPods 2, priced at $99, is the best value for money for entry into Apple's ecosystem. 

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