The Apple AirPods 3 have arrived, finally replacing the 2019 AirPods 2. The current model earned a place in our best wireless earbuds rankings, but still left room for improvement — which Apple delivers with a near-complete redesign of the AirPods.
Various leaks gave us a hint about what the AirPods 3 would like, but they were unveiled in all their glory at the October 18 Apple event. Here's a guide on how the AirPods 3 are different from the AirPods 2.
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AirPods 3 vs AirPods 2: Price
Apple announced that the AirPods 3 price is $179. The AirPods 2 are sticking around at the new lower price of $129.
The AirPods 3 cost $20 more than the AirPods 2 did when they were new. That's likely due to the new features and hardware upgrades. However, Apple couldn't bump up the cost too much or the AirPods 3 would compete with the AirPods Pro, which has a $249 MSRP. And of course, the AirPods 3 price is much lower than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones (a cool $549).
The AirPods 3 can be ordered now (opens in new tab) and will be available starting the week of October 25.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods 2: Design
The AirPods 3 design keeps the stalks of the AirPods 2, but shortens them to resemble the AirPods Pro. The stalks also feature force sensor controls.
The oblong buds have a new contour design, but don't have in-ear silicone tips — something that was rumored for the AirPods 3. Looks like Apple is keeping in-ear tips solely for the AirPods Pro.
The MagSafe wireless charging case is larger and wider than the AirPods 2 and resembles the case for the AirPods Pro.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods 2: Features and sound quality
Before the AirPods 3 were unveiled, some leaks suggested that they have the active noise cancellation (ANC) of the AirPods Pro.
Those rumors were wrong, however . Like the AirPods 2, the AirPods 3 lack in-ear tips and don't have ANC.
The AirPods 3 are also sweat and water resistant, though it's unclear if their IPX rating is better than the AirPods 2 (rated at IPX4).
AirPods 3 adds support for the Find My network.
We can't say how the AirPods 3 sound right now until we get our hands on them. But we know that they'll have spatial audio, unlike the AirPods 2. The 360-degree sound format recreates a surround effect and was previously only available through AirPods Pro And AirPods Max.
There's also a new low distortion driver for delivering powerful bass along with crystal clear highs. The AirPods 3 also add Adaptive EQ to optimize the audio experience.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods 2: Battery life and charging
The AirPods 3 battery life is six hours at a full charge — a full hour better than the AirPods 2. And with the case, the AirPods 3 have a total of 30 hours of battery life. The AirPods 2 with case have 24 hours of battery life.
The AirPods 3 come with a MagSafe wireless charging case. Apple noted that five minutes of charge time equals one hour of battery usage.
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