What is the difference between Apple’s earbuds?

What is the difference between Apple's earbuds?

Tech Highlights:

  • The new AirPods 3 might sit below the AirPods Pro in Apple’s wireless earbuds line-up, but the newer buds aren’t short of interesting features. So, which AirPods are best for you? Find out as we pit the new AirPods 3 against the AirPods Pro in a no-holds-barred head-to-head…

  • The Apple AirPods 3 are official! After months of speculation Apple has taken the wraps off its next-generation wireless earbuds – but how do they compare to the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro that launched back in 2019?

Which AirPods earbuds should you buy – the newest pair or the one with noise-cancelling?

The new AirPods 3 cost £169 ($179, AU$279), which is considerably less than the AirPods Pro’s £249 ($249, AU$399) and Apple’s first over-ear headphones, the AirPods Max, which cost £549 ($549, AU$899).

Apple AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: price

The Apple AirPods Pro launched in October 2019 for £249/$249/AU$399 but the price fluctuates throughout the year, especially around the time of big sales events such as Black Friday.

You’ll find the current best prices for the AirPod Pro headphones below but if you’re on a budget, the AirPods 3 are almost certainly going to be the cheaper option here.

Apple AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: battery life

There’s no point cutting the cord if the battery of your wireless headphones doesn’t last a decent length of time. The AirPods Pro claim 4.5 hours playback plus another 19 hours from the charging case. You can squeeze even more life out of the battery if you’re prepared to disable noise-cancelling.

The AirPods 3 take advantage of new battery technology to improve on this. They offer 30 hours playback (six from the buds; 24 from the case) but, of course, no noise-cancelling. There was talk of the AirPods 3 would be called the ‘AirPods Pro Lite’, and you can see why. Apple’s newest buds take their cue from the AirPods Pro, with smaller stems, force sensors, and earpieces angled to fire directly into your earholes.

The AirPods Pro are exceptionally comfortable. Apple supplies three pairs of elliptical tips in the box, so you should be able to achieve decent seal. The AirPods 3 don’t use any eartips, so you’ll have to hope that they’re a snug fit right from the off. The newer buds get the same IPX4 rating as the AirPods Pro, meaning they are sweat- and water-resistant. As for weight, the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro are slightly heavier (5.4g per bud vs 4g per bud).

Apple AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: design

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