AirPods 3 feature Adaptive EQ, custom high-excursion Apple drivers, custom high dynamic range amplifiers, and personalized Spatial Audio support with dynamic head tracking.
AirPods Pro 2 adds to these features with Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency mode, and a vent system for pressure equalization.
In case you're wondering...
● Personalized Spatial Audio plays three-dimensional sound tuned for your specific ear shape.
● Active Noise Cancellation uses outward-facing microphones to detect external sounds, which AirPods Pro then counters with anti-noise, canceling the external sounds before you hear them. An inward-facing microphone listens inside your ear for unwanted internal sounds, which your AirPods Pro also counters with anti-noise.
● Transparency mode lets outside sound in, so you can hear what's going on around you.
AirPods 3 feature skin-detect sensors, motion-detecting accelerometers, speech-detecting accelerometers, and force sensors.
AirPods 2 Pro introduces Touch Control, letting you swipe up or down on the stem of your earbud to control volume.
Both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro feature dual beamforming microphones, and inward-facing microphones.
AirPods 3 use Apple's H1 headphone chip; whereas, AirPods Pro 2 use the company's new H2 chip. Additionally, the MagSafe charging case for AirPods Pro 2 contains a U1 chip for accurate locating using Find My.
AirPods 3 are available with a Lightning charging case or a MagSafe charging case. The MagSafe case offers wireless charging capabilities.
AirPods Pro 2 come with a MagSafe charging case that has been enhanced with a speaker, a U1 chip for accurate location detection, and a lanyard loop.
Comfort and Fit
AirPods 3 are a one-size fits all style earbud with a contoured plastic design. While comfortable for most users, they don't compare to the AirPods Pro 2 which feature exchangeable silicone ear tips in four sizes: XS, S, M, L.
AirPods 3 are controlled using only presses (force sensor) and voice. Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call. Press twice to skip forward. Press three times to skip back. Press and hold for Siri or say 'Hey, Siri' to activate the voice assistant.
AirPods Pro 2 feature press and touch control. Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call. Press twice to skip forward. Press three times to skip back. Press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive Transparency. Swipe up or down to adjust volume. Say 'Hey, Siri' to activate the voice assistant.
Size and Weight
● Height: 1.21 inches (30.79 mm)
● Width: 0.72 inch (18.26 mm)
● Depth: 0.76 inch (19.21 mm)
● Weight: 0.15 ounce (4.28 grams)
● Case Height: 1.83 inches (46.40 mm)
● Case Width: 2.14 inches (54.40 mm)
● Case Depth: 0.84 inch (21.38 mm)
● Case Weight: 1.34 ounces (37.91 grams)
AirPods Pro 2:
● Height: 1.22 inches (30.9 mm)
● Width: 0.86 inch (21.8 mm)
● Depth: 0.94 inch (24.0 mm)
● Weight: 0.19 ounce (5.3 grams)
● Case Height: 1.78 inches (45.2 mm)
● Case Width: 2.39 inches (60.6 mm)
● Case Depth: 0.85 inch (21.7 mm)
● Case Weight: 1.79 ounces (50.8 grams)
AirPods 3 offer up to 6 hours of listening time with a single charge (up to 5 hours with Spatial Audio enabled) and up to 4 hours of talk time with a single charge. With the charging case you get up to 30 hours of listening time and up to 20 hours of talk time. Five minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time or around 1 hour of talk time.
AirPods Pro 2 offer up to 6 hours of listening time with a single charge (up to 5.5 hours with Spatial Audio and Head Tracking enabled) and up to 4.5 hours of talk time with a single charge. With the charging case you get up to 30 hours of listening time and up to 24 hours of talk time. Five minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time or around 1 hour of talk time. Note that AirPods Pro (2nd generation) charging case also works with the Apple Watch charger.
Sweat and Water Resistance
Both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 feature IPX4 sweat and water resistant (IPX4).
AirPods 3 use Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity versus AirPods Pro 2 that use Bluetooth 5.3.
Both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 offer accessibility settings for Live Listen audio, Headphone levels, and Headphone Accommodations; however, the AirPods Pro 2 add a Conversation Boost feature.
AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 are compatible with numerous Apple devices including the iPhone 6s and newer, iPad 5 and newer, iPad Air 2 and newer, iPad mini 4 and newer, and Apple Watch Series 1 and newer.
AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro 2 Summary
AirPods Pro 2 clearly outperform AirPods 3 in every way. They deliver superior sound quality, more comfort, better battery life, and offer additional features such as Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency mode, Conversation Boost, faster pairing, a case speaker, lanyard loop, and more. That's not to say you'll be disappointed with the audio quality of AirPods 3; however, the 'Pro' model clearly sits unchallenged at the top of Apple's lineup of AirPods models.
Your decision of AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro 2 may come down to price. AirPods Pro 2 retail for $249 versus AirPods 3 at $169 with Lightning case or $179 with MagSafe charging case. To save a little, we'd consider purchasing at Amazon which often has discounts on various AirPods models. Currently, AirPods 3 with MagSafe charging case are on sale for $149.99, that's nearly $30 off. AirPods Pro 2 have just been released but you can order now or download the iClarified app or follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and RSS for pricing updates.