While that is not even a good question, the best way to ask it would have been “which is best for you?” because so many things will have to be taken into consideration before purchasing premium TWS earbuds.
Not so long ago, Apple released the much-awaited AirPods 3rd-generation (I’ll just call it AirPods 3 henceforth) for about US$179 which to some people might be a big price tag but when matched with the company’s premium AirPods Pro, there is an obvious price difference here.
The older AirPods Pro was released as far back as 2019 with a price tag of about US$250 depending on your region.
That price has declined a little bit since then but it’s not less than US$230 if you’re lucky to get it with a discount.
But then we have the new AirPods 3 which sort of took the design signature of the AirPods Pro – that has been copied and reproduced countless times by both big and small brands across the TWS industry.
So it’s not a big deal if the original designer copies its designs to recreate a newer product even though it intentionally stripped away a number of useful features because it’s not a premium earbud.
However, I personally love the design of the AirPods 3 especially the reduction of the stem compared to the previous models (AirPods 1 and 2) both of which have innumerable counterfeits all over the internet.
The new AirPods 3 looks like an AirPods Pro but without the silicone ear tips. That also explains why the device lacks active noise cancellation even though it still retains the spatial audio feature and water resistance compared to the older AirPods.
The pricing, the slight design changes, and the lack of ANC are some of the biggest differences between the AirPods 3 and the AirPods Pro.
But as a third-generation device, it comes with other important features especially with the audio output which is obviously much more superior to the previous generation.
AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro: Specifications
|AirPods 3||AirPods Pro|
|Weight||0.15 ounces (4.25 grams)||0.19 ounces (5.39 grams)|
|Audio features||Spatial audio, adaptive EQ||Spatial audio, adaptive EQ, active noise cancellation, transparency mode|
|Durability||Sweat and water-resistant||Sweat and water-resistant|
|Chip||Apple H1||Apple H1|
|Battery Life (earbuds)||6 hours of listening time||4.5 hours of listening time (with ANC enabled)|
|Battery Life (case)||Up to 30 hours of listening time||More than 24 hours of listening time|
|Microphones||Dual beamforming microphones; inward-facing microphone||Dual beamforming microphones; inward-facing microphone|
|Sensors||Skin-detect sensor, motion-detecting accelerometer, speech-detecting accelerometer, Force sensor||Dual optical sensors, motion-detecting accelerometer, speech-detecting accelerometer, Force sensor|
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Design differences
As mentioned earlier, both devices looked very similar in every sense possible but the newest AirPods 3 lacks the silicone ear tips which help support the earbuds when in use.
The importance of the silicone ear tips is to help support the earbuds while in use as well as help with noise isolation before the system-built ANC kicks in.
But apart from the absence of ear tips on the AirPods 3, the device is quite tough and can be used as a sporting device due to its sweat and water resistance just like other AirPods on the market.
As for the design of the casing, Apple sort of merged the design of the AirPods Pro and the normal 2nd generation AirPods’ casing together to produce the casing of the AirPods 3.
It also has support for wireless charging and can be charged via Apple’s MagSafe charger.
Another design change with the new AirPods 3 is the shorter stems which makes the device sleeker.
It also makes use of the same squeeze control technique implemented on the AirPods Pro for switching between tracks or summoning Siri.
Also, there is a quite significant weight difference between both devices – the AirPods 3 weigh about 0.15 ounces while the AirPods Pro has weighs about 0.19 ounces.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Audio quality
This is like the 2000th time I’ll mention the fact that the AirPods 3 lacks ANC and we’re not amazed.
To get the noise cancellation and transparency mode, you’ll have to up your spending from US$179 to US$249 for the AirPods Pro.
However, the AirPods 3 still comes with features such as spatial audio and adaptive EQ which are both cool to see.
Using virtual reality or if you submerge yourself into Zuckerberg’s Metaverse, you might be able to enjoy the importance of spatial audio.
The feature which was introduced back in 2020 along with the iOS 14 update made the AirPods Pro even more interesting but it’s not only limited to the expensive TWS earbuds now as it’s also available on the cheaper one.
And as for the adaptive EQ, this feature works by tuning the earbuds’ audio output based on the shape of your ear.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Performance and battery
Last but not the least, we have the performance. And according to multiple sources, the AirPods 3 has better battery life.
And one of the reasons for that is the absence of the ANC which often consumes TWS earbuds’ power to some degree.
According to the manufacturer, the device is expected to last for about 6 hours on a single charge but the lifespan would be dwindled by 1 hour if you decide to turn on the spatial audio feature.
Making calls with the earbuds should last you for about four hours but relax, there is a charging case whose battery can last for a whopping 30 hours.
Now compared to the AirPods Pro, battery life is about 4.5 hours when you turn on ANC but it can reach a staggering 5 hours of use when ANC is turned off.
As for talk time, you can expect about 3.5 hours while the charging case can provide about 24 hours of total listening time according to Apple.
Away from the power features, both devices come with Apple’s H1 chipset which translates to a similar performance from both devices.
Depending on what you want, active noise cancellation with a great immersive audio experience or facing constant distraction from your lousy colleague – the choice is yours.
However, both devices are great and both offer high-end premium features as well as further deepening you down the Apple product ecosystem where everything talks to one another.
However, if you’re not an Apple guy but still want good yet affordable TWS earbuds in 2021, we have a list of the best here.