Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (2023)

If you're trying to decide between Apple'sAirPods 3and beAirPods Pro 2, there are two important questions to ask yourself: how badly do you want active noise cancellation and are you willing to pay more for it?

Apple has gradually bridged the gap between Pro and RegularAirPodsby bringing a more compact design and water resistance to the latest version of its standard earbuds. But there are still certain benefits that you can only get with the $249 AirPods Pro. The biggest are active noise cancellation and transparency mode. Multiple eartip sizes, the ability to swipe up and down to control music volume, and ultra-wideband support are also exclusive to the Pro model. But noise-cancellation will likely have the biggest impact on day-to-day use, and it's the most important factor to consider.

AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods 3


AirPods Pro 2 AirPods 3
price $249 169 $ (Lightning-Fall)
Price (GB) £249 £179 (Lightning-Fall)
Price (AU) 399 € 279 AU$ (Lightning-Fall)
Weight (earbuds) 0.19 ounces 0.15 ounces
audio features Active noise cancellation, adaptive transparency, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
audio technology Adaptive EQ, custom high excursion Apple driver, custom high dynamic range amplifier, venting system for pressure equalization Adaptive EQ, custom high excursion Apple driver, custom high dynamic range amplifier
durability IPX4 sweat and water resistant IPX4 sweat and water resistant
Laden MagSafe oder Lightning MagSafe or Lightning (additional $10 for MagSafe case)
Multiple earplugs And no
Chip H2-Chip, U1-Chip im Ladekoffer H1-Chip
Battery life (earbuds) 6 hours listening time 6 hours listening time
Battery life (case) 30 hours of listening time 30 hours of listening time
microphones Dual beamforming microphones; inward-facing microphone Dual beamforming microphones; inward-facing microphone
sensors Skin detection sensor, motion detection accelerometer, voice recognition accelerometer, touch control Skin detection sensor, motion detection acceleration sensor, voice detection acceleration sensor, force sensor
The control Hey Siri, touch controls Hey Siri, force sensor

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: design and case

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (1)

The biggest difference in terms of design is that the $169 AirPods don't have interchangeable silicone tips like the AirPods Pro 2, which has four sizes to choose from. The AirPods 3 are also lighter than the AirPods Pro 2 at 0.15 ounces versus 0.19 ounces.

The AirPods 3 and the new AirPods Pro share some similarities in terms of design, although it's very easy to tell them apart. The stems of the AirPods Pro 2, for example, are noticeably shorter than those of the AirPods 3. But both models are sweat- and water-resistant, which could make them more appealing than the regular $129 AirPods for those who want to wear them during a workout. Dollar.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (2)

The AirPods 3 case looks like a cross between the standard AirPods case and the AirPods Pro case. It's much shorter and wider than the entry-level AirPods case, but not as wide as the AirPods Pro holster. You can also charge the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro case using Apple's MagSafe Wireless Charger or by connecting it with a Lightning cable. But you need to pay extra $10 to get MagSafe wireless charging case bundled with AirPods 3. Unlike the AirPods 3 case, the AirPods Pro 2 MagSafe-compatible case also has a lanyard loop.

The second-gen AirPods Pro case has one more feature: ultra-wideband support. This essentially means the case has an integrated AirTag for easier location tracking.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (3)
(Video) AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods Max - Which Should You Choose?

Currently running: Look at that: AirPods Pro 2 Review: Hard to beat for Apple users

10:21

AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: Audio

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (4)

You'll still have to splurge on Apple's top-of-the-line earbuds for active noise-cancellation and transparency mode. Because the second-gen AirPods Pro feature Apple's new H2 chip, they can cancel up to twice as much noise as the previous AirPods Pro, according to Apple's claims. The transparency mode has also received an upgrade for the second generation model. The new chip can reduce loud noises from around you in transparency mode, which should make sounds like a passing vehicle appear less shrill.

This new H2 chip also brings improved audio to the AirPods Pro 2, further distinguishing them from the AirPods 3. As my colleague David Carnoywrote in his review, the processing power of the H2 helps the AirPods Pro to process a wider range of frequencies.

You also get swipe controls to manage the volume on the AirPods Pro 2. The AirPods 3 only have Apple's force sensors, which you can press to skip forward, pause music, or answer calls.

But both the AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods 3 feature dynamic spatial audio and adaptive EQ. The former is essentially virtual surround sound, while the latter tailors the sound to your ears.

AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods 3: Battery Life

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (5)

Battery life is similar across both models, although there are some slight differences. According to Apple, both earphones should offer up to 6 hours of listening time. But you get 5.5 hours of battery life when using spatial audio and head-tracking on the AirPods Pro 2, while the AirPods 3 offer a slightly shorter 5 hours of battery life when that surround sound feature is enabled. Apple also claims that the AirPods Pro 2 offer 4.5 hours of talk time, while the AirPods 3 offer up to 4 hours.

According to Apple, the case for both earphones should offer up to 30 hours of listening time. But when it comes to talk time, you can expect to get 24 hours from the AirPods Pro 2 case and 20 hours from the AirPods 3 case. Each five minutes should add about an hour of listening time or about 1 hour of speaking time.

AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods 3: How to choose

The $249 AirPods Pro 2 are for those who want active noise cancellation, better audio, and a more customizable fit. You also get some other perks, like the ability to track them down more easily if they get lost thanks to the U1 chip. The $169 AirPods 3 are a more appropriate choice if you don't care about noise-cancelling and are shopping on a tighter budget. At the same time, the AirPods 3 still have more to offer than the $129 AirPods, which lack features like water resistance and adaptive EQ.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (6)

David Carnoy/CNET

The new AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are powered by Apple's new H2 chip, which Apple says delivers more processing power while also being more energy efficient. The new chip, combined with new low-distortion drivers, allows for improved sound that offers better clarity and depth. Noise-cancellation has also been improved - Apple says the new AirPods have "twice" the noise-cancellation of the original AirPods Pro. In addition, the new AirPods offer an additional hour of battery life, up from five hours to six hours with noise cancellation enabled. Plus, an in-case speaker that emits a tone to help locate your buds via Find My should they decide to hide from you.

Note that Apple has discontinued this thoughOriginal AirPods Pro, they remain on saleat reduced pricesuntil stocks are exhausted. However, most people should get this newer model if they can afford it. The AirPods Pro 2 continue to get small discounts, dropping to as low as $223 during Amazon's Early Access Prime event in October.

Waterproof:And(Protection class IPX4 - splash-proof).

(Video) Apple AirPods Comparison: Features differences between AirPods, AirPods 3, and AirPods Pro.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro 2 review.

Receiving Price Alerts for Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation, White)

(Video) AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods 3: Real-World Review after 1 Week!
Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods 3: The biggest differences (7)

David Carnoy/CNET

(Video) AirPods Pro 2 vs AirPods 3 - 30 Days Later

Take a look at the new design of theThird generation AirPods($179), and the first thing you'll probably think is, "They look like themAirPods Prowithout earplugs.” You wouldn't be wrong. Despite being more fraternal than identical twins, the AirPods 3 are shaped like the AirPods Pro, with the same shorter stems and the same pinch controls as the Pro. Aside from the design change, which should fit most ears better than the 2nd generation AirPods (though not very small ears), the biggest change is in the sound quality: it's much better. Battery life is also better, and the AirPods 3 are officially waterproof. resistant.

Read our AirPods 3 review.

Receive Price Alerts for Apple AirPods 3 (MagSafe Case)

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FAQs

What are the differences between AirPods Pro 2 and 3? ›

The biggest difference in terms of design is that the $169 AirPods don't have interchangeable silicone tips like the AirPods Pro 2, which include four sizes to choose from. The AirPods 3 are also lighter than the AirPods Pro 2 at 0.15-ounce versus 0.19-ounce.

Is there a big difference between AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro? ›

AirPods 3 gives you up to 6 hours of audio playback from a single charge, while the AirPods Pro battery life gives 4.5 hours of audio playback, that's two hours more battery life and half an hour more talking time. The battery in the AirPods 3 charging case has also been improved compared to the AirPods Pro.

Is AirPods 3 going to be better than the pro? ›

The AirPods 3 are a great option for Apple fans who aren't bothered about active noise cancellation. With better battery life than the AirPods Pro and a cheaper price, the AirPods 3 will surely become Apple's best-selling true wireless earbuds before long.

Is it better to buy AirPods 2 or 3? ›

The AirPods (3rd generation) has better battery life than the second generation. After subjecting each pair of AirPods to a constant 75dB(SPL), we found that the AirPods (2nd generation) lasted 4 hours, 7 minutes, and the AirPods (3rd generation) has a battery life of 6 hours, 21 minutes.

Are AirPod 3 worth it? ›

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.

Why AirPods 3 are the best? ›

The third-generation AirPods add a raft of meaningful features and improvements over its predecessor, including improved design and sound quality, spatial audio, Adaptive EQ, sweat and water resistance, and ‌MagSafe‌ charging. The second-generation model is also now fairly old.

Does AirPods 3 have noise Cancelling? ›

AirPods Pro and AirPods Max Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. AirPods Pro and AirPods Max have three noise-control modes: Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and Off. You can switch between them, depending on how much of your surroundings you want to hear.

Why are AirPods Pro more expensive then AirPods 3? ›

Examining the differences between the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro adds noise cancelation, a transparency mode, and a more customizable fit to the AirPods line. However, the price tag is a bit higher, and it does sacrifice a bit of battery life.

Are the AirPods Pro 2 worth it? ›

With better sound, active noise canceling and battery life than their predecessor, the AirPods Pro 2 deliver exceptionally good performance for their size. Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000.

Is it worth upgrading to AirPods 3? ›

It depends. If you are very demanding in audio quality and want the best possible immersion, the third-generation AirPods 3 may be your choice. They are also sweat and water-resistant, so they can be a good upgrade if you exercise frequently.

Is AirPods 2 still worth it in 2022? ›

The second-generation AirPods are at the bottom of Apple's lineup of truly-wireless earbuds, starting at just $129. However, that price is still too high in 2022. The AirPods 2 feature technology that is three years old, and that'll be noticeable to even the most casual users.

Which AirPods stay in-ear better? ›

The standard AirPods fit some people's ears perfectly (some people have no trouble running with them), but plenty of people can't get a secure fit. If you're in the latter group, I highly recommend you spend the extra money on the AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro design simply fits more ears than the original AirPods.

Why AirPods are better than pro? ›

Both come in one color (white), offer similar battery life and charging speed times, and have the same Bluetooth range (20 to 50 feet). One of the biggest differences between the two sets of earbuds is that the first-generation AirPods Pro offer active noise cancellation (ANC), while the third-generation AirPods don't.

Which AirPods are the best for iPhone? ›

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are the best wireless earbuds for iPhone we've tested. These premium and iconic buds are a good choice for anyone looking for the full Apple experience. Unlike their predecessor, the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, they have an H2 chip instead of an H1 chip.

Do AirPods 3 have touch controls? ›

On iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, you can adjust the button, force sensor, or Touch control settings for your AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (all generations), or AirPods Max to suit your motor needs.

Does AirPods 3 have sensors? ›

AirPods (3rd generation) controls

With the force sensor on the stem of both AirPods (3rd generation), you can do any of the following: Play and pause audio: Press the stem. To resume playback, press it again. Play the next track: Double-press the stem.

Are AirPods Pro worth it? ›

Verdict. The second-generation AirPods Pro are Apple's best earbuds yet. They sound better, have more effective noise cancelling, last longer on a charge and keep what is good about their predecessors. The onboard volume control is very welcome, as is the adaptive transparency feature.

Why AirPods 3 is better than AirPods 2? ›

AirPods 3 have great battery life, offering up to 6 hours on a single charge with just the buds and increasing that to 30 hours with the charging case. The AirPods Pro 2 (2022) match the AirPods 3's battery life, offering up to the same 6 hours with the buds and 30 hours with the charging case.

Is it worth to buy AirPods 2 now? ›

Apple's new AirPods Pro are worth the $249 even if you already own the older version. Apple's new $249 AirPods Pro (second-generation) hit stores Friday. I've been testing them for a few weeks, and I'm never going back to my older ones. The new Pros have a ton of added features I didn't even know I wanted.

Is AirPods 2 outdated? ›

Since then, Apple has released the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, but the AirPods 2 are still a great combination of design, features, and a low price. The AirPods 2 kept what was great about the originals while bringing key updates that keep them fresh, making them a great buy then and a great buy now.

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