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AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Which One Is Better for You

by Parth
AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro

After almost two years, Apple announced a new member to the AirPods family – AirPods 3rd generation. Sitting right between AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 aims to deliver Pro features at less price. If you are in a market for Apple’s TWS and getting confused among the trio, this comparison will clear all the doubts and you can make a better purchase decision.

AirPods 2AirPods 3AirPods Pro
Dimensions
(Earbuds H*W*D)
40.5 mm * 16.5 mm * 18.0 mm 30.79 mm * 18.26 mm * 19.21 mm 30.9 mm * 21.8 mm *24.0 mm
Weight (Earbuds)4 grams 4.28 grams 5.4 grams
DesignLong stem Short stemShort stem with a secure fit
SoundStandard sound Custom high-excursion Apple driver
Custom high dynamic range amplifier
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
Active Noise Cancellation
Transparency mode
Custom high-excursion Apple driver
Custom high dynamic range amplifier
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
SensorsDual beam-forming microphones
Dual optical sensors
Motion-detecting accelerometer
Speech-detecting accelerometer
Dual beamforming microphones
Inward-facing microphone
Skin-detect sensor
Motion-detecting accelerometer
Speech-detecting accelerometer
Force sensor
Dual beamforming microphones
Inward-facing microphone
Skin-detect sensor
Motion-detecting accelerometer
Speech-detecting accelerometer
Force sensor
IP RatingNoIPX4IPX4
Battery Life (Earbuds)5 hours 6 hours4.5 hours with ANC on, 5 hours with ANC off
Battery Life (With Case)24 hours30 hours24 hours
ConnectivityH1 chip, Bluetooth 5.0H1 chip, Bluetooth 5.0H1 chip, Bluetooth 5.0
Price$129$179$249

AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro

The comparison is based on multiple factors including design, features, sound, mics, battery, and of course, price. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Design and Ergonomics 

AirPods 2nd generation carried the same design as the original AirPods. Meaning, you are getting the same long stem that sticks outside the ears. It looked fine when it was launched but now with other rivals, the design looks a bit outdated. 

AirPods connectivity

With AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, Apple has tweaked the design and shortened the steam. They look better when tucked in ears. The only difference between the two is that AirPods Pro comes with silicon ear tips that offer better grip and fit in-ears. 

Based on Apple’s track record, you won’t have a hard time keeping AirPods 3 stuck in your ears. They should fit better in-ears but the lack of silicon tips might push some buyers to the Pro. 

AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Sound Quality

Let’s talk about the most important aspect of TWS ⏤ sound quality. After all, what’s the point of having dozens of features when sound quality isn’t up to the mark? Let’s start with AirPods 2. 

The original Apple AirPods and AirPods 2 were never known for their sound quality. The ease-of-use, fast pairing, iOS integration, and the FOMO (fear of missing out) made them popular among the audience. It offers standard audio that’s good enough for an average consumer out there. 

AirPods sound quality

With AirPods 3, Apple is bringing features from AirPods Pro. You get the same Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking that Apple first introduced with AirPods Pro. AirPods 3 also features a custom high-excursion Apple driver and a high dynamic range amplifier for clear and immersive sound quality. 

In terms of the sound department, AirPods 3 is more in line with AirPods Pro than AirPods 2. As for AirPods Pro, you must have guessed more features with the Pro branding. Apart from the Apple driver and amplifier, the AirPods Pro also features Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) with transparency mode.

If you are living in a loud or crowded environment, AirPods Pro should be on your priority list.

Microphone and Sensors

If there is one thing that Apple absolutely gets right with AirPods is mic quality. AirPods 2 features dual beam-forming microphones for clear calls. 

As for AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, they both have dual beam-forming as well as inward-facing microphones for crisp calls. They also come with Skin-detect and Force sensors that help AirPods differentiate between your ear and other skin. That way, AirPods can automatically pause music when you aren’t wearing them.

The addition of a Force sensor offers a notch-above experience to control music compared to inconvenient double-tap gestures on AirPods 2. 

In shorts, AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro are neck-to-neck when it comes to microphones and sensors. 

IP Rating

We will keep this one short. AirPods 2 doesn’t come with any kind of protection against water, sweat, or dust. With AirPod 3 and AirPods Pro, Apple has added an IPX4 rating for sweat and water resistance. 

AirPods IP rating

Battery Life and Charging

Here is where it gets interesting. AirPods 2 offers 5 hours of listening time and up to 3 hours of talk time with a single charge. With the charging case, you can expect up to 24 hours of listening time and 18 hours of talk time. 

AirPods with ANC mode on offers 4.5 hours of listening time with a single charge and 5 hours with ANC mode off. The talk time is rated at 3.5 hours. The included case is good enough for up to 24 hours of listening time and 18 hours of talk time. 

AirPods Magsafe charging

AirPods 3 offers the best battery life of the bunch. Apple claims up to 6 hours of listening time and up to 4 hours of talk time on a single charge. The included case takes the number to 30 hours of listening time and up to 20 hours of talk time. 

AirPods also come with fast charging. For AirPods 2 is good to go with 3 hours of listening time with 15 minutes of charge in the case. 

AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro offer 1 hour of listening or talk time with 5 minutes of charge. Both the high-end AirPods also come with a MagSafe charging case. 

Connectivity

All three AirPods come with an H1 chip for fast pairing and Bluetooth 5.0. AirPods Pro leg up the cheaper AirPods with Find My support. If you accidentally misplace AirPods Pro, you can easily find them using Apple’s Find My app. 

Your iPhone will send you a notification if you left AirPods Pro behind. 

Price

With the addition of AirPods 3, the second generation AirPods 2 now starts at $129 (₹12999). With $50 more at $179 (₹18500), you get to go home with AirPods 3.

If you want the best of Apple in the TWS game, be prepared to shell out $249 (₹24999). 

Wrapping Up: AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro

By now, you must have made your decision. But if you are still confused, let us simplify the situation for you. 

If you are tight on budget but want to stay in the Apple ecosystem, you can go with AirPods 2. Although a bit outdated, it does get the job done with ease of use and above-average sound quality. 

Our pick from the bunch would be AirPods 3. With a $50 increase over AirPods 2 at $179, you get to enjoy a superior sound and mic quality, the longest battery life in the AirPods family, MagSafe support, etc. in a better-looking package. 

Go with AirPods Pro if ANC is high on your priority list and you aren’t comfortable with an open ear design of AirPods 3. 

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