Apple’s put out a lot of AirPods in recent years, and while AirPods Pro has been the go-to item, it’s possible (but unlikely) that won’t be the case anymore. New features and a different shape come with Apple AirPods (3rd generation). What does it have in common with Apple’s only wireless earbuds seal the ear canal?
Does the AirPods Pro fit better than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation)?
There were obvious benefits over the AirPods (2nd generation) when the Apple AirPods Pro came out. Yes, both products look good, are well-made and have good touch controls. They’re also magnetic to keep the charging connection safe. The AirPods Pro’s superior audio performance makes it the clear winner once the sheen of Apple’s industrial design wears off. The same is true with Apple AirPods (3rd generation).
What are the differences between Apple AirPods (3rd generation) and Apple AirPods Pro?
With iOS 15.1, Apple updated the spatial audio feature on the AirPods (3rd generation), marking the company’s next audio product to feature the technology. It works pretty well trying to specialize audio that isn’t Dolby Atmos-mixed. Even though specialized audio isn’t as good as everything mixed by an engineer for surround sound, it’s a cool new way to listen to music that was only ever mixed in mono. The spatial audio feature debuted on the AirPods Pro, and since the new version works with iOS updates, it will also work on Apple’s noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds.
Apple AirPods (3rd generation) and Apple AirPods Pro have nearly identical software.
AirPods (3rd generation) and AirPods Pro have settings in the iOS and iPadOS Settings apps. Spatial Audio, hands-free Siri, and firmware updates are only available to Apple users. The AirPods (3rd generation) and AirPods Pro are the same if you have an Apple device. When you hit the “i” next to your Bluetooth device, you’ll be able to rename your AirPods, customize what happens when you press on the stems, and toggle automatic ear detection, which pauses playback when you remove the earbuds. You can choose which earbud is the default microphone if you only want to wear one earbud.
AirPods Pro also have transparency mode and noise cancelling. Only two options can be selected at once, so you have to decide whether you want to switch between regular listening and ANC or Transparency or just ANC and Transparency.
How does Apple AirPods (3rd generation) compare to Apple AirPods Pro?
SoundGuys don’t bring up isolation more consistently than any other point than that good sound requires isolation. People might increase the volume to unsafe levels if they have a bad seal, which means a poor bass response.
The AirPods Pro produce very accurate sound across the frequency spectrum, though the highs are slightly underemphasized compared to our target curve. The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) sound pretty underwhelming in comparison, but they could be a lot worse. There will be some bass leakage with an unsealed ear, but it’s mainly sub-bass sounds that leak. There aren’t that many sounds below 50Hz in music, so you probably won’t notice it much.
In both cases, though, the conditions were perfect. Even though the AirPods Pro have significant isolation and ANC, you can’t say the same for the AirPods (3rd generation). When you walk down the street, and a car horn goes off, all that goes out the window, no matter how good Apple’s earbuds sound. Turning up the volume will only help with auditory masking if the earbuds don’t seal your ear, and no song is worth hearing loss caused by noise.