Apple has the regular AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. Both AirPods and AirPods Pro have generations with different performances.
In this blog, we’ll look deeper at AirPods Gen 3 and see whether they’re worth buying. AirPods Gen 3 was released on October 26, 2021, at $179. However, with AirPods Pro’s 2nd Gen alongside, are AirPods Gen 3 worth it? Let’s talk about everything you need to know about the 3rd generation of AirPods.
AirPods 3: Buyer’s Guide – Are They Worth It?
The Apple AirPods Gen 3 has an all-new design, personalized Spatial Audio, better battery life, and improved Audio. Even since the release of generation 3, they have come down in price and are one of the best Bluetooth earbuds under the $200 price range.
Before generation 3, there were two other options for AirPods: the 1st and 2nd generations. However, AirPods Gen 3 has surpassed its predecessors in nearly every area. The AirPods Gen 3 has Bluetooth 5.0 technology, an AirPods Pro-like design, IPX4 sweat and water resistance, and many unique sensors.
The AirPods Gen 3 is worth buying in 2023 due to their exceptional audio quality, great battery life, and many sensors. However, the outdated thing about AirPods Gen 3 is its H1 chip which was upgraded in AirPods Pro Gen 2.
The chip will make little difference to an average music listener. Still, if you’re an audio guy, the newer chip brings better audio quality, a newer transparency mode, faster connectivity time, and more.
Despite the absence of the H2 chip, AirPods Gen 3 is still miles better than many competitors in a similar price range. Even the design seems similar to AirPods Pro without the ear tip.
So, if you’re wondering what makes the AirPods Gen 3 a good buy, keep reading.
Design – Has Anything Improved?
The AirPods Gen 3 is a mix or a fusion between the AirPods (2019) and AirPods Pro Gen 1. The attempt got successful, and it’s indicated by the fact that people love Gen 3. The earbuds look similar to AirPods Pro without the ear tips, and the case also looks similar to AirPods Pro.
Moreover, the stem of the earbuds is also a bit shorter than the AirPods Pro, making the design stand out. Generation 3 of AirPods is only available in glossy white, a popular color. However, many were sad that there was no black version of AirPods Gen 3.
The charging case of AirPods Gen 3 is also between the AirPods Pro and AirPods 2019. However, the charging case’s design is still small, and the earbuds can magnetically fit into the place with a beautiful sound. Due to its small design, The AirPods Gen 3 is portable and fits in the pocket like a champ.
The AirPods Gen 3 still comes with a one-size-fits-all approach. Even if the design is compact, it will still lead to some users needing comfort issues. A new hardware change in AirPods Gen 3 is the skin-detection sensor which is a step up compared to the older optical sensor technology.
Even though the pause and play mechanism remains the same, your AirPods won’t automatically resume if you remove them from the ear and put them in your pocket. Auto-playback was a huge issue in the earlier AirPods, but with the skin detection technology, it simply does not exist anymore.
The AirPods Gen 3 comes with Spatial Audio support, great sound quality, and a good microphone for calling. Compared to AirPods Gen 2 and the original AirPods, the 3rd generation feels like a huge step up in the audio department. It has powerful bass, a crispier sound, and clean high frequencies.
They come with low-distortion drivers and high dynamic range amplifiers, according to Apple. The bass is a big step in audio performance since the Gen 3 has a much more in-depth Audio experience. Even though it’s not the perfect earphone for Audio heads, it still delivers a new audio listening experience.
- Adaptive EQ
With the 3rd generation of AirPods, Apple also announced Adaptive E.Q, first seen on the AirPods Pro. But what exactly is that? The AirPods Gen 3 tunes the audio according to your ears and is fit for a powerful audio experience. The adaptive E.Q. keeps improving your music experience with time.
- Spatial Audio
Spatial Audio support was also introduced in AirPods Gen 3, playing sound in a 3D sphere. The audio performance feels more immersive and tuned due to Spatial Audio support, and before AirPods Gen 3, this feature was only present in AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max.
Spatial Audio depends on the built-in accelerometer and gyroscopes, which track your head position and provide sound in a 3D space. Each instrument in the Spatial Audio mode seems like it’s floating in space, providing you with an immersive and an otherworldly
- Codec Support
You get the SBC and AAC codec support limited on AirPods 3. It cannot handle high-resolution audio streaming, which disappointed many fans because Apple Music provides lossless audio. While lossless audio is rare with Bluetooth, Apple’s competitors use technologies like Qualcomm aptX Lossless.
Like most wireless earphones, the performance of AirPods Gen 3’s microphone won’t blow you away. The reality is that it works. Apple has been known to have decent microphone quality since the start, and AirPods Gen 3 is no exception. The audio from its mic is clean, but it could be better.
There’s a good amount of noise suppression, and the background noise is minimized to a good degree. AirPods Gen 3’s microphone quality is decent and great for calling or taking meetings. However, the AirPods Gen 3 won’t be your best pick if you want to record professional audio for personal projects.
The microphone is good in isolated, windy, or street conditions, but the clarity and sound quality could be crisper like many other wireless earbuds.
Battery Life of AirPods Gen 3
The AirPods Gen 3 has an improved battery life compared to the previous version and even the AirPods Pro. It also comes with a 30-hour max battery life if we include the charging from the case. The 2nd Gen could go up to 24-hour battery life. Apple claims that you can get around 6 hours of music playback.
If you turn on the Spatial Audio feature, the battery life comes to around 24 hours of max. What’s interesting about the charging case is that you get an hour of playback with just 5 minutes of charging. If you’re turning on Spatial Audio, you’re not getting an amazing battery life. However, if you don’t use it, you will only benefit from great battery life.
The AirPods Gen 3 features a force sensor that lets users control various options on the AirPods. Before AirPods Gen 3, there was no force sensor, so it’s a big step up. You can play and pause audio, play the next track, play the previous track, answer the call, and activate Siri.
Since the AirPods Gen 3 has skin-sensitive controls, they won’t be activated by every touch except the skin. Hence, whenever you put your AirPods in a pocket or in places where they can get pressed, it won’t hinder your music-listening experience.
Overall, gesture controls on AirPods Gen 3 also improved compared to its predecessors, making the music experience a breeze.
AirPods Gen 3 relies on physical noise cancellation instead of active noise cancellation. Compared to AirPods Pro, the experience will be better. The AirPods Gen 3 has a normal earbuds design and cannot fill in the gap in your ears, and they cannot isolate the user’s ears.
However, Spatial Audio is available on AirPods Gen 3 with Dolby Atmos and dynamic head tracking. The AirPods 3’s noise cancellation mode doesn’t get as good as AirPods Pro, but it just gets done.
If you are not looking for premium noise cancellation, go for AirPods 3. It still blocks a lot of noise while giving you mainly the audio. However, while commuting or being outside, you will understand the limitations of physical noise cancellation instead of active noise cancellation.
Can You Game on AirPods Gen 3?
The Apple AirPods Gen 3 aren’t suitable for gaming due to their latency issue. They aren’t even compatible with consoles like Xbox and Playstation. You can connect them to a P.C. and get a good gaming experience. However, with audio lag, you can’t expect to play competitive titles.
Most wireless Bluetooth earphones have a thing called “audio lag.” Audio lag is the lag between the time you interact with the game to the time when you get the sound. When you play competitive games like CS: GO, Valorant, Overwatch, and more, every millisecond matters.
Hence, even if you get a millisecond lag, it can change the tide of the battle. Moreover, AirPods Gen 3 is unsuitable for advanced audio editing due to their sound quality and lag.
They are ideal for streaming music and video and casual gaming.
What’s Apple’s Adaptive E.Q. in AirPods Gen 3?
The Adaptive E.Q. is a built-in feature on Apple, Android, and Windows devices. Apple has described Adaptive E.Q. as a smart system that delivers a new audio experience. The E.Q. measures how sound is delivered in your ear and adjusts it accordingly.
Adaptive E.Q. measures the sound and adjusts the low and midrange frequencies to provide the best music experience. Adaptive E.Q. is a form of A.I. for audio.
Aside from AirPods Gen 3, the feature is also present in other models like AirPods Pro Gen 2 and AirPods Max.
AirPods Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 – Which One Should You Buy?
The AirPods Gen 3 seems to outshine Gen 2 in every comparison area. AirPods Gen 3 has an IPX4 rating, Spatial Audio, Adaptive E.Q., and better sound quality. However, the unsealed fit remains the same, which was the biggest complaint in previous AirPods.
Despite the main downside, if you’re wondering which generation of AirPods to buy, you should go for the 3rd generation since it does everything better than the predecessor. So here’s a complete comparison for you to judge the devices from.
Ear Fit Comparison
Apple has slightly changed the AirPods design in the 3rd generation. While the fit is still unsealed, the stem does look shorter, and the overall design looks similar to AirPods Pro. The 2nd generation was longer and looked more unappealing to many users. However, AirPods Gen 3 has a better fit.
You get a better external ear fit but a bad fit when the AirPods enter the ear canal. You also get a lot of features, including the IPX4, so bringing them to the gym and sports won’t cause any issues.
The AirPods Gen 2 have a longer stem which, in many cases, becomes the main issue of them falling out of one’s ears. Fit-wise, AirPods Gen 3 takes the cake for being more natural and better.
The AirPods Gen 3rd’s case resembles a fusion between the regular AirPods and AirPods Pro. It’s a smaller version of AirPods Pro. You can also use the MagSafe charger compatible with iPhone 13 or 14. Design-wise, AirPods Gen 3 looks more appealing and advanced to the eyes.
On the other hand, AirPods Gen 2 has a longer design and doesn’t come with a MagSafe charger. Overall, AirPods Gen 3 looks more advanced and updated regarding the design.
Battery Life Comparison
The AirPods Gen 3 have significantly better battery life compared to Gen 2. While the battery life of Gen 2 would vary from 4 hours to 5 hours, Generation 3 provides a solid 6 hours of pure music listening experience. However, the 6 hours is with spatial audio turned off.
Regarding the battery, the AirPods Gen 3 has a better battery performance due to the updated components. Moreover, even the Gen 3 can hold more charge, providing a total battery life of 30 hours.
The Apple AirPods Gen 2 and Gen 3 have poor noise isolation because they don’t have an ear-filled design. AirPods Gen 3 and Gen 2 have physical noise cancellations which don’t work, like Active Noise Cancellation. ANC can be found in other Apple devices like the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
AirPods enthusiasts don’t like the unsealed air canal for a couple of reasons:
- They poorly fit in the ear and can drop out during a lot of movement.
- The sound quality suffers since much outside noise can come in.
- The AirPods also suffer from poor noise cancellation because of the unsealed air canal.
In other words, the AirPods Gen 2 and 3 have sub-par noise cancellation, which evens out the points.
Should you buy the Apple AirPods (3rd generation)?
AirPods Gen 3 are worth buying if you have 1st or 2nd generation—Apple’s huge step towards providing its users the best audio experience. The price is affordable, and the AirPods sound better than many competitors. Despite some cons of lacking ANC, it is still worth buying today.
Lastly, you shouldn’t buy Apple AirPods if you own AirPods Pro Gen 1 or 2. This is because the audio quality still needs to be on par with sealed earbuds, lacking depth and bass to a recognizable degree.
I’ve always been passionate about tech (specifically audio). Even as a kid, I’ve been tinkering around with different techs like mobile phones, audio devices, gaming devices, and much more. I started listening to Rap, Rock, and Metal music at 12, which developed my love for headphones, speakers, and more.