After almost two years, Apple launched a refreshed iteration of the AirPods in 2021. With the new features on the new Apple AirPods, it seems to one-up the 2nd generation of the AirPods in just about every way possible.
While neither set of AirPods have the in-ear silicone tips of the AirPods Pro, the 3rd generation display a very similar design to the high-end version of the earbuds. The 3rd generation provides the shorter stem and the larger in-ear portion we were able to see on the Pros, which may be more suitable to users. A brilliant feature that Apple has brought into the 3rd generation are the IPX4 water and sweat resistant aspect which the Pros also carry. This would come in handy during heavy workout sessions and colder weather situations. Apple has also introduced an improved charging case which is also shorter and wider. The overall look of the 3rd generation is more modern and definitely stands out from the rest.
The quality of the audio is also very similar to the AirPods Pros. They feature a custom high-excursion driver and high-dynamic range amplifier which result in outstanding sound quality. This also means the 3rd generation promises a more immersive sound experience than the 2nd generation. With the benefits of Adaptive EQ, the earbuds use an inward-facing microphone and audio that automatically tune the low and mid-frequencies to account for what might have been lost due to fit differences to the ear. As the 2nd generation AirPods leave less internal space for audio, without features like Adaptive EQ, the quality of sound would not be as significant as the 3rd generation.
The AirPods 3 offers up to six hours of battery life at full charge. One full hour than the AirPods 2 and 30 minutes more than the AirPods Pro. The improved battery life between the two generations extend over to the charging cases too with the 3rd generation have a total of 30 hours of battery life when connected back into the charging case.
Overall, even though there are noticeable differences and improvements in the 3rd generation, the 2nd generation still offers the core experiences that made the wireless earbuds a hit. As for generational differences, users are usually left to expect major improvements. Apple usually does introduce new and larger improvements to devices like iPhones and MacBooks but the AirPods operate differently. Some users may not be able to notice large notable changes to the 2nd and 3rd generations but there are still features worth caring about. Attributes such as spatial audio, battery life and the overall design are becoming bigger as Apple supports the idea of change for the users' benefit. Users who already own the 2nd generation might not recognise the minor changes that the 3rd generation can offer but if you are looking to own a pair of AirPods for the first time, you can’t go wrong with the new and improved AirPods 3. The sound quality alone should convince you but the modern contemporary design and long-lasting battery life is something you can’t turn down. Check out all Apple audio devices here, or shop all headphones and earphones at PB Tech!