Alongside new MacBook Pro models, the AirPods 3 are set to launch on Tuesday, October 26, and ahead of tomorrow's official release date, reviewers and YouTubers have shared reviews on Apple's latest earbuds.

AirPods 3 Feature Red
We've highlighted video reviews of the ‌AirPods 3‌ in a separate article, and excerpts and details from written reviews can be found below.

Design

Gizmodo reviewer Andrew Liszweski said that the ‌AirPods 3‌ "look and feel almost identical" to the AirPods Pro, just minus the silicone tips. They're a little bit smaller

airpods 3 gizmodo

Image from Gizmodo comparing AirPods 2 (left), ‌AirPods 3‌ (middle), and ‌AirPods Pro‌ without silicone tip (right)

Reviewers also highlighted the Force Touch stems that are already present on the ‌AirPods Pro‌, noting that the Force Touch feature is a nice improvement for control input, but that there's still no physical volume control option.

Fit

The Verge's Chris Welch said that the new AirPods shape works better, and that while ambient sound is still audible, the closer fit cuts out some of the outside noise.

They're staying put so well that I no longer feel the same anxiety about them tumbling onto the ground and down a sewer grate. That worry was always present with the older AirPods. The healthy dose of ambient sound remains, and I'm just someone who prefers earbuds that offer some quiet from the outside world.

Gizmodo's Andrew Liszweski also said that the ‌AirPods 3‌ had a better fit in the ear. The ‌AirPods 3‌ are "ever so slightly heavier" than the original, but the shorter stem and the more streamlined design orients the main speaker "at a better angle feels like it offers better weight distribution."

TechCrunch's Brian Heater said that the ‌AirPods 3‌ are "unquestionably" more comfortable than older AirPods, but the ‌AirPods Pro‌ are still better.

The more contoured third-generation buds are unquestionably more comfortable than their predecessors, but the gulf between them and the Pros feels like night and day. That's likely to be even more the case for people with smaller ears -- having different-sized, removable tips is a lifesaver for some. The seal those tips provide also create passive noise canceling through a physical seal that effectively keeps in more audio frequencies and blocks out ambient noise.

Pocket-lint's Britta O'Boyle found the ‌AirPods 3‌ to be too big for her ears, and said that they do fall out of her ears occasionally.

Sound Quality

Apple told The Verge that it aimed to give the ‌AirPods 3‌ the same sound profile as the ‌AirPods Pro‌. The Verge reviewer Chris Welch said that the ‌AirPods Pro‌ do indeed sound similar to the ‌AirPods 3‌, and compared to the AirPods 2, they're "fuller." There's no "striking difference" between the AirPods 2 and ‌AirPods 3‌, but among other earbuds with a similar design, Welch says the AirPods are "up there with the best."

airpods 3 the verge
Other reviewers expressed similar sentiments about the sound. Gizmodo's Andrew Liszweski said that the ‌AirPods 3‌ don't sound better than the ‌AirPods Pro‌, but they're a definite improvement over the prior-generation AirPods. "I'm legitimately surprised at how good they do sound," he wrote.

The separation between high and low frequencies isn't as pronounced and distinct as it is with the AirPods Pro and other wireless earbuds that use silicone tips--sometimes the highs get a little lost if bass notes are really thumping in a track--but the new AirPods' sound quality is a huge improvement, and because they're so comfortable to wear, I keep choosing them over my AirPods Pro for most of my daily listening.

Engadget's Billy Steele said that the AirPods sound "so much better" than prior models.

I don't want to mince words here: the new AirPods sound so much better than the previous two versions. Like almost night and day better. Apple didn't make any significant changes to sound quality from the first model to the 2019 version. But for gen three, Apple paired a custom driver with a high-dynamic-range amplifier to improve the audio chops. The company says that the duo work together to produce "rich consistent bass" and "crisp, clean" highs. From the moment I fired up the first song, this was all immediately evident. I don't think I've ever audibly said "woah" with the first note from a guitar on any review unit, but given how average older AirPods sound, it was involuntary this time.

Steele highlighted the Adaptive EQ feature of the AirPods, which customize the sound to the individual ear. The feature and other sound quality updates make the AirPods something he "actually wanted to listen to music with" rather than a listening device to choose just because they're more convenient than other earbud options.

He also tested call quality, and he said that FaceTime calls are "crisp and clear." Phone calls are better, but not to the same degree as ‌FaceTime‌ calls.

Charging Case

Apple added a MagSafe Charging Case to the ‌AirPods 3‌, and according to reviewers, the case works identically to ‌MagSafe‌ iPhones, attaching with the same alignment to magnetic chargers. There's no reverse wireless charging, though, and Apple told The Verge that the ‌MagSafe‌ Case was intentionally designed so that it can't magnetically latch to iPhones to avoid confusing people.

airpods 3 magsafe

Battery Life

Pocket-lint's Britta O'Doyle said that in her testing, the battery life of the AirPods listed by Apple was "conservative." Apple says that the AirPods will last for up to six hours, but she got "more listening than promised." The ‌AirPods Pro‌ lasted for 4.5 hours of talk time (Apple says 4), and 5.5 hours with Spatial Audio enabled (Apple says 5).

Wrap-Up

Overall, reviews of the ‌AirPods 3‌ were highly positive. Reviewers like the new design, which is more comfortable and offers a tighter and more secure fit in the ears, and the improved fit also makes the sound quality better than before.

All of the great AirPods features like quick pairing and easy device switching are present, plus Apple has added Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ to boost them even further. Reviews lauded the new IPX4 water and sweat resistance rating, and were satisfied with the battery life.

On the downside, some reviewers still missed the silicone tips and the Active Noise Cancellation feature available in the ‌AirPods Pro‌, but it's clear that these new AirPods are worth checking out, especially at the $179 price point.

Related Roundup: AirPods 3
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
35 months ago
I just wish it was offered in more colors, Apple.

Matte black? Sierra blue? Product red?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dz5b609 Avatar
35 months ago
Weird how the lack of (passive) noise cancellation is considered a negative, for me it's the feature why I'm getting these to replace the 1st gen airpods besides my Airpods pro. A lot of passive noise cancellation would totally defeat the purpose for me. It's also the differentiator between the Pro's and the normal ones, you want noise cancellation, get the pros.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lyngo Avatar
35 months ago
I, for one, am looking forward to getting my new AirPods tomorrow. I’m looking forward to better comfort within my ears.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smarch Avatar
35 months ago
I’ll be stocking up on AirPod 2s I think. I love that they are small and light and sit in the ear and feel like they are not even there and don’t cut ambient sound. I never had one problem with them falling out.

Don’t like the pros and suspect I won’t like these. I’m hoping for an airpod SE already.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smarch Avatar
35 months ago
I’m not looking for airpods that are “good headphones”. Airpods are in a different category.. they put your phone in your head. The comfort of the originals is key. I don’t want to feel like I have cotton balls stuck in my ears. I want to feel like my phone is just in my head magically. Original airpods did this so well.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dz5b609 Avatar
35 months ago

Thanks for the reviews. What about the microphone? This is arguably not the best side of the AirPods lineup. I own the AirPods Pro but when I have to make a phone call, especially if I'm outside, I tend to plug my usual earphones, as I get too many complaints from the people I talk to. I hope this gets improved in a future generation.
??
Airpods are considered the gold standard when it comes to earphone microphones, I would look and see if the grates aren't very dirty or something, blocking the microphones.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
Apple Pay Later feature 1

Apple Discontinuing Apple Pay Later

Monday June 17, 2024 11:44 am PDT by
Apple is discontinuing Apple Pay Later, the buy now, pay later feature that it just launched last October. Apple Pay Later is being discontinued as of today, but people who have existing Apple Pay Later loans will be able to continue to pay them off and manage them through the Wallet app. Apple announced plans to end the feature in a statement provided to 9to5Mac, which also notes that...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...
iPod Nano vs iPod Pro Ad Feature 1

Apple Developing Thinner MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone

Monday June 17, 2024 2:22 am PDT by
Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company's new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. When the M4 iPad Pro was unveiled last month, Apple touted it as the company's thinnest product ever, and even compared it to the 2012 iPod nano to emphasize its slim dimensions. Writing in the latest ...