Which One is Right for You? 

AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: Which AirPods is Right for You? 

Forget about the competition from the likes of Beats branded wireless earphones and Sony earbuds. The competition between different AirPods models seems to be at its prime. Thanks to the introduction of better equipped AirPods 3 at a killer price point, you are spoilt for choice. If you are spoilt for choice, we’ve pitted the AirPods 2 vs. AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro to help you decide which one is worthy of your money.

So, how have we compared the AirPods? To derive a fair conclusion, we’ve compared AirPods 2, AirPods 3, and AirPods Pro across several important fronts, including design and ergonomics, controls, battery life, price, and more. Hence, it should become a tad more straightforward for you to decide whether it’s worth spending more or, for that matter which AirPods model looks more in line with your preference. 

AirPods 2 vs. AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro: Quick Specs Comparison 

To kickstart the detailed comparison on the right note, let’s first have a glance at the key specs and the differentiating factors:

AirPods 2 AirPods 3 AirPods Pro
Design Dated half in-ear design Impressive in-ear design with a shorter stem Secure in-ear modern-looking design
Sound quality Above average Clear and crisp sound Rich sound quality
Audio technology Audio Sharing

In-ear detection

Adaptive EQ
Custom high-excursion Apple driver
Custom high dynamic range amplifier
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
Active Noise Cancellation
Transparency mode
Adaptive EQ
Custom high-excursion Apple driver
Custom high dynamic range amplifier
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
Vent system for pressure equalization
Sensors Dual optical sensors
Motion-detecting accelerometer
Speech-detecting accelerometer
Skin-detect sensors
Motion-detecting accelerometer
Speech-detecting accelerometer
Force sensor
Dual optical sensors
Motion-detecting accelerometer
Speech-detecting accelerometer
Force sensor
Microphones Dual beamforming microphones Dual beamforming microphones
Inward-facing microphone
Dual beamforming microphones
Inward-facing microphone
Dual beamforming microphones
Inward-facing microphone
Dual beamforming microphones
Inward-facing microphone
Chip H1 H1 H1
Battery Up to 5 hours of listening time with a single charge Up to 6 hours of listening time with a single charge
(up to 5 hours with spatial audio enabled)
Up to 4.5 hours of listening time with a single charge
(up to 5 hours with Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode turned off)
AirPods with charging case (battery) More than 24 hours of listening time
Up to 18 hours of talk time
15 minutes in the case provides up to 3 hours of listening time
up to 2 hours of talk time
Up to 30 hours of listening time
Up to 20 hours of talk time
5 minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time
or around 1 hour of talk time
More than 24 hours of listening time
More than 18 hours of talk time
5 minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time
or around 1 hour of talk time
Sweat and water resistance Sweat and water-resistant (IPX4) Sweat and water-resistant (IPX4)
Charging case Standard charging case MagSafe charging case MagSafe charging case
Compatibility iPhone 5s and later iPhone SE 1 and later iPhone SE 1 and later
Price $129 $179 $249

Design and Ergonomics 

While AirPods 2 continue to sport the classic design, both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro flaunt a modern-looking profile. The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro look quite similar with the in-ear contoured design and shorter stem. Though the AirPods 3 do not feature the silicone ear tips like the AirPods Pro, they are still more comfortable to wear. So, I don’t think they could be dealbreakers – right from the word go.

With the old-fashioned half in-ear design, AirPods 2 not only looks outdated but also feels less comfortable to wear. If enhanced ergonomics and comfort are on top of your priorities, AirPods 2 is not for you. Without overlooking the cult status that the classic design of the AirPods has managed to establish, it can’t overwrite the fact that the original design is baffling both in terms of look and ergonomics.

AirPods 2 design

Of course, it’s an altogether different matter if you are fond of the vintage profile of the classic AirPods and wish to be a part of the evergreen pop culture at the cost of the much-needed in-ear design.

Apart from looking in sync with the trend, both AirPods 3 and AirPod Pro are designed to meet various demands. For instance, you can wear them not just during work hours but also during extensive workouts. These earphones are readied to remain securely in the ear. Thus, you won’t have to worry about accidental fumbling while running or exercising in the gym.

AirPods 3 design

Not that the AirPods 2 easily fall from the ears, they don’t stay perfectly in the ears either. At times, when you are aiming to go all out in the gym or stay calm during hectic travel, the more secure in-ear design will come in handy.

The lack of essential silicone tips for AirPods 3 shouldn’t bother you much as you can buy pretty good alternatives at a reasonable price in the market. So, if the Pro model sits right on top of the ladder in the comfort department, AirPods 3 doesn’t seem to be too far behind either.

AirPods Pro Design

Sound Quality 

Though the audiophile in me is yet to get overwhelmed by the sound quality of AirPods, the latest models have vastly improved in this regard. So, even if you have a rich taste, chances are you would be pleased with the clear and balanced sound quality.

Unlike the first-generation AirPods, the AirPods 2 is endowed with the much-improved bass boost. However, they tend to go louder and sound more composed. To be more precise, the sound quality is neutral, with the low-level dynamic shifts tuned in neatly. 

As for the AirPods 3, the earphones are able to deliver extra clarity thanks to the addition of the low distortion driver. The added fullness and more defined bass have played a vital role in enhancing the overall sound quality. 

The AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro support spatial audio with dynamic head tracking that delivers theater-like sound. Hence, the sound will seem like it’s coming from all around you when watching movies or videos. Not just that, they are also equipped with Adaptive EQ, which is designed to adjust sound frequencies to the shape of your ear.

With the high dynamic range amplifier and high-excursion driver, AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 provide crisp, rich sound with reduced background noise. Dual beam-forming microphones and the inward-facing microphone further enable the earphones to offer a clearer sound when ANC is enabled and during calls. 

Additionally, AirPods Pro boasts high-quality bass. The songs that have deep bass sound a lot crisper and sharper on the Pro model. Each layer of the track seems to be neatly organized and sounds more defined as well as isolated.

However, what separates the AirPods Pro from these cheaper models is the top-notch Active Noise Cancellation which works by using microphones to pick up low-frequency and then efficiently neutralizes it before it reaches your ear. Another feature that puts AirPods Pro in an elite league is the Transparency Mode which lets you hear what’s going on around you.

So, while the AirPods 3 has managed to bridge the gap to a good extent, AirPods Pro remains at the pole position by some distance as far as sound quality is concerned.

AirPods Pro sound quality

Controls 

Smooth sailing controls play a pivotal role in boosting the overall music listening experience. After all, you don’t want to find yourself fiddling with the less reliable controls, especially when you are on the move. 

In this regard, AirPods 2’s double-tap gesture doesn’t make the cut for many. Even though “Hey Siri” is always there to get the job done for you, it’s not always the best option. 

On the other hand, AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro feature more comfortable and nifty controls due mainly to the presence of the force sensor. You can just press once to play, pause, and answer calls. And with the handy press-twice gesture, you can skip forward and back with utmost ease. On AirPods Pro, you can press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode with the desired convenience. Thus, if the much-needed smooth controls are what you are after, you should avoid AirPods 2. 

Battery Life 

While AirPods 2 is able to provide up to 5 hours of listening time on one charge, AirPods 3 can offer up to 6 hours of listening time on one charge (up to 5 hours with spatial audio enabled). With the charging case, the second-generation AirPods can deliver more than 24 hours of listening time, while the AirPods 3 can provide up to 30 hours of listening time with the charging case. 

With AirPods Pro, you can get up to 4.5 hours of listening time (up to 5 hours with Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode turned off). And its charging case can provide up to 24 hours of playtime. What’s more, both AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 come with a MagSafe charging case, which is yet another big plus if hassle-free wireless charging is your preferred choice.

After 15 minutes in the case, AirPods 2 can offer up to 3 hours of listening time or up to 2 hours of talk time. Both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro can provide up to 1 hour of listening time or up to 1 hour of talk time with just 5 minutes in the case, according to Apple. On paper, the charging speed may seem to be on the same level. However, in reality, the latest version of the AirPods and the Pro model charge a little faster with the case.

You can follow our guide to fix any battery drain issues that you may be facing with your AirPods.

Sweat and Water Resistance 

Sweat and water resistance have become the need of the hour when you want to wear your earphones during rigorous workouts. Unfortunately, the AirPods 2 lacks sweat and water resistance certification. Whether you are a fitness freak or like to catch up with your favorite tracks during a workout, the second-gen AirPods are not for you. 

In this department, both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro are up to the mark courtesy of the IPX4 sweat and water resistance. 

Chip 

All three AirPods models come with a powerful H1 chip. Thus, it doesn’t matter which one you choose, you will get a seamless pairing and syncing experience across Apple devices. That’s not all, the H1 chip also enables “Hey Siri” to let you invoke the personal assistant without having to press the button. 

H1 chip on AirPods

AirPods 2 vs. AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro: Price and Compatibility

As for price, AirPods 2 is available for $129, while the AirPods 3 retails at $179, and the AirPods Pro is priced at $249. However, all three models are almost always discounted heavily on Amazon.

So, if you are willing to get into the AirPods family at a comparatively low price point, AirPods 2 is the one you should check out. If you want to have premium true wireless earphones without having to pay the premium price, AirPods 3 would be a better option. Should you wish for nothing less than the best wireless earphones, AirPods Pro with the top-tier features is the one you should go for. 

On the compatibility front, the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro support iPhone 6s/iPhone SE 1 and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5 and later,  iPad mini 4 and later, iPod 7 and Apple Watch Series 1 and later. On the other hand, AirPods 2 is compatible with even older devices like iPhone 5s, iPod Touch 6, iPad Air, iPad mini 2, unlike the AirPods Pro and AirPods 3.

In terms of price and compatibility, AirPods 2 has the edge over the more capable models.

So, Which AirPods is More Suitable for Your Taste? 

Coming back to the business end, it’s crystal clear that the AirPods 2 looks more geared to impress the budget-centric customers, while the AirPods 3 offers a pretty compelling proposition to the folks who are hunting for the best of both worlds – solid specs and comparatively affordable price point. The AirPods Pro is for the ones who prefer premium features, including the top-notch ANC and Transparency Mode.

If you do get the Pro earbuds, check out some of the best AirPods Pro tips and tricks to get the most out of them.

Without undermining the essential features like the more secure in-ear design, more convenient controls, Adaptive EQ, and MagSafe charging, AirPods 2 appears to be a great deal at $129. After all, the budget AirPods come with the same brain as the other two pricier models and offer more than decent sound quality.

However, if you are willing to shell out $50 more, AirPods 3 seems to be the better value for the money when you look at the features you get in return. The trendy design, Adaptive EQ, more reliable controls thanks to the force sensor, much-improved sound quality, and the modern charging technology (MagSafe) make the $179 price tag quite reasonable.

Read: AirPods 3 Tips and Tricks

At $249, AirPods Pro seems to be overpriced especially when compared with AirPods 3. Of course, you do get the high-quality ANC along with the very useful Transparency Mode, but the $70 price difference is too big a gap to fill for many. However, the earbuds are frequently discounted to under $200 on Amazon, so that might tilt the favor in the Pro model’s favor.

➤ Buy: AirPods 2 | AirPods 3 | AirPods Pro


What’s your take on these AirPods? And more importantly, which one have you chosen for your specific needs? Is it the Pro model or the budget variant? Make sure to share your thoughts below.



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