Video Comparison: AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro
Apple's long-awaited third-generation AirPods launched yesterday alongside new MacBook Pro models, and we picked up a pair to compare them to the AirPods Pro. If you're wondering whether you should choose the AirPods Pro or the AirPods 3 when buying AirPods for the first time or upgrading, this comparison video should help.
There are a couple of key differences between the AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro. The AirPods 3 have no silicone ear tips and they don't offer Active Noise Cancellation, so if you prefer the kind of fit you get with silicone tips or really want ANC, that rules the AirPods 3 out right away.
There's also price to consider. Apple is charging $179 for the AirPods 3 and $250 for the AirPods Pro, so that's a $70 upgrade if you're going for AirPods Pro over AirPods 3. That sounds like a lot, but you can often get discounts on the AirPods Pro on Amazon and other sites, which makes price a bit less of a factor. Right now, AirPods are $220 (or $200 without the new MagSafe case), so if you score a deal, you can pick up AirPods Pro for around $40 more.
Some people will get a better fit with silicone tips, and some will prefer the tipless design of the AirPods 3. Apple introduced a new contoured shape for the AirPods 3 that's meant to better stay in the ears, and we've found that they fit well and provide a good seal for improved sound compared to prior-generation models. Reviewers with smaller ears have found the AirPods 3 to be a bit big, so if that's your situation, you might want to choose the AirPods Pro.
Adaptive EQ customizes sound for each person's ears based on the fit of the AirPods 3, which also boosts sound. There's less difference in sound quality between the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro than there was with the AirPods 2 and the AirPods Pro because of the new fit and the Adaptive EQ, but you're going to get the tightest fit and most noise blocking with the AirPods Pro.
With the exception of the silicone tips and ANC, AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro share the same general feature set. Quick pairing, fast device switching, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, and Hey Siri support are features of both models, and they share the same force sensor for controlling music and MagSafe Charging Case (so long as you get the upgraded AirPods Pro model).
As for battery life, if you're looking for the longest lasting earbuds, pick the AirPods 3. The case and AirPods combined offer up to 30 hours of listening time, while the AirPods Pro offer 24 hours.
The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro have a lot in common, so it comes down to fit and sound preference. For ANC and the best quality sound among Apple's in-ear AirPods, choose the AirPods Pro. For the best battery life and the best price, choose the AirPods.
Make sure to watch the video up above for our full comparison, and if you're still having trouble deciding, we have a more in-depth breakdown in our AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Buyer's Guide.