AirPods 3: not a killer
December 6, 2021
Walking through the halls of HHS, it seems that almost everyone owns or is wearing headphones. Most of the time, the headphones of choice are a form of Apple’s AirPods.
The Apple AirPods have the biggest market share of wireless headphones and few other companies come close. They were also the first company to create effective true wireless (completely cordless) headphones and thus have become the industry standard. Many also consider the AirPods Pro to be the most valuable commercial headphones on the market.
Apple recently released their third generation of their base AirPods line, aptly named the Apple AirPods (3rd generation). Unlike the previous 2 generations, AirPods 3 seems to be a mix of the 2nd generation base AirPods and AirPods Pros.
But, generally speaking, they’re just not good for AirPods (especially considering their price).
Compared with the AirPods Pro, there’s some major differences that should be taken into account, especially for high school students who want/need the best value on their purchases.
Traditionally, reviews don’t compare the pro version of a product to the base version of it because pro models are much more expensive than base models (thus, they have to be better). However, the fact that you can get the AirPods Pro for $15 more than the AirPods 3 on Amazon.
The main difference – and biggest flaw – of the AirPods 3 from the Pro is the design of the eartips. Similar to the previous 2 generations of the AirPods and the wired EarPods, AirPods 3 readapted the typical Apple eartip design rather than the silicone tips of the Pro.
Because of this difference in design, the AirPods 3 lose to the Pro in 2 major ways. For one, they don’t have ANC (active noise cancellation) like the Pros do.
More importantly, for people with even a slightly-abnormal ear shape, the AirPods don’t stay in. This design was actually the reason that I (and many others) never bought AirPods or EarPods before the Pro was released – who would want to buy headphones that don’t fit?
Other than the major flaw, the AirPods 3 do boast a 1.5 hour longer battery life (6 hours total), the case can provide 6 more hours of listening time (30 hours total) and is now water resistant.
It’s also important to note that the AirPods 3, while flawed, are still AirPods and have some of, if not the, best headphone technology packed into them that the industry offers.
Many reviewers with them in-hand say that they actually sound better than all previous AirPods (not including the Max) – which I would be able to test the validity of if they stayed in my ears.
However, even for what it does good, the negative effects of the shortcomings are amplified by the aforementioned price difference. When someone buys AirPods 3, they save $15 but lose ANC, adjustable silicone ear tips, and risk buying headphones that don’t even fit properly.
To me, it sounds like that $15 might have the most valuable price-to-performance ratio of any Apple product right now. If you don’t have that $15 right now, I genuinely recommend saving until you can get the Pro instead of purchasing the AirPods 3.