Cases And Accessories

Apple AirPods Three Evaluation: Higher Buds in Each Manner

Apple AirPods 3

RRP $ 179.00

“A great upgrade for Apple’s iconic true wireless earbuds.”


  • Very good sound quality

  • MagSafe wireless charging

  • Spatial head tracking audio

  • IPX4 water resistance


  • Not great in noisy surroundings

Now that Apple has released its third generation, $ 179 AirPods, you are probably wondering, are they any good? If I have first or second generation AirPods, should I upgrade? And is it still worth the extra cash on the $ 249 AirPods Pro? I will save you some time.

The answers are yes, yes, and maybe. Would you like to know more? Here is our full review.

In the Goldilocks zone

  • 1.
    Apple AirPods (left), AirPods 3 (center) and AirPods Pro.
  • 2.
    Apple AirPods (left), AirPods 3 (center) and AirPods Pro.

The design of the third generation AirPods – which we now refer to as AirPods 3 – makes them look like the missing link between the original AirPods and the AirPods Pro in every way. That intermediate impression is the story of the AirPods 3 in a nutshell: They take the best parts of each of these other models to strike the perfect middle ground at the same intermediate price. If that was Apple’s goal, I think it has succeeded very well.

Fans of half-open earphones no longer have to accept mediocre sound quality.

The AirPods 3 are stuck in the Goldilocks zone – they improve the second generation AirPods in every way, while paying a lower price than before for the second generation AirPods with wireless charging and significantly less than the regular price AirPods Pro .

Even their charging case is a situation that sticks out of both worlds, with Qi and MagSafe compatible wireless charging and yet with dimensions almost exactly the same size and shape as the original AirPods case.

Bigger, better sound

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The original AirPods won many fans for their wireless convenience, simplicity, and easy integration with iPhone. But most would admit they’re okay at best in terms of sound quality – hardly an improvement over the performance of the wired EarPods Apple ships with its iPhones. And despite the semi-open design, the AirPods 3, just like the original AirPods, sound a lot better.

Head tracking spatial audio is like sitting in a studio session with your favorite band.

In fact, as long as you’re in a quiet place, the AirPods 3 sound just as good as the AirPods Pro. There’s a lot of clarity from the different frequencies and to my great surprise they have a warm and powerful bass response. You can’t compete with closed designs like the Jabra Elite 7 Pro or Sony’s WF-1000XM4, but I put them head-to-head with other semi-open buds like the AirPods, Marshall Minor III, Soundpeats Air 3, Urbanista Lisbon and Earin A3 and the AirPods 3 defeated them all. Fans of half-open earphones no longer have to accept mediocre sound quality.

Get spatial

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Apple has done a lot about spatial audio and Dolby Atmos since adding tracks to Apple Music that use this immersive format. And while pretty much any wired or wireless headphone can enjoy Atmos while listening to select Apple Music songs, the AirPods 3 take it a step further with spatial head-tracking audio.

The function that the new AirPods share with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max takes advantage of the already immersive quality of Dolby Atmos music and adjusts some of the song elements in real time to respond to your head movements. The lead singer (s) are “pinned” in the direction of your head, so if you turn your head one way or the other, that singer’s voice will sound like it’s still coming from the same forward direction. It’s a bit like a studio session with your favorite band.

A more bulbous (but super smooth) shape makes them safer without compromising on comfort.

As with Dolby Atmos music itself, the effect can vary widely from track to track. But when done right, like on Imagine Dragons’ new album Mercury – Act 1, it’s a wild ride. Older material remixed for spatial audio, like the Rolling Stones classic Tattoo You, doesn’t fare as well as newer works (sorry Mick and Keith).

The same head tracking works on movie soundtracks too, and I’d argue that it’s an even better use of the technology as it can simulate what it’s like to be in a full surround sound theater, just with yours Earbuds.

You can’t use spatial head-tracking audio often (and you can turn it off completely if you don’t like the sound), but it’s a cool feature that helps justify buying the AirPods 3, even if there are so many are great real wireless earbuds out there.

Comfortable curves

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Another common complaint about the first few AirPods is that while very comfortable, they don’t feel very safe in your ears. This, along with the lack of official water or sweat protection, has deterred some people from using them for running or other high-impact activities.

The AirPods 3 (mostly) manage to dispel both concerns. With a more bulbous (but super smooth) shape, they have much better contact with the skin of the outer ear and that, along with their shorter stem, makes them safer without sacrificing comfort. If you like the fit of the AirPods 2, you should be pretty happy with the AirPods 3. They’re not as safe as the AirPods Pro, which means you may need to adjust them regularly, especially if you use the force sensor controls a lot – squeezing the stems to activate them can accidentally move the earbuds, especially when To run.

But they have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, so go ahead and sweat as much as you want.

Find a nice, quiet place

While the sound quality of the AirPods 3 is really remarkable given their semi-open design with no silicone earbuds, they can’t seal much and a lot of external noise seeps into your ears along with your music. Even in moderately noisy environments, you’ll need to turn up the volume to hear your podcasts or phone calls.

This is where the AirPods Pro have a big advantage. Thanks to these silicone earbuds, not only do they offer better passive noise isolation, but they also have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), which can attenuate all but the most intrusive outside noise.

However, with the AirPods 3 letting through so much sound, there’s almost no need to remove them to have a conversation, and so the lack of transparency mode isn’t a big deal. If you want to be more aware of your surroundings, just pause the music.

Competent calling

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Call quality on the original AirPods was never perfect, but it was always perfectly adequate. This also applies to the AirPods 3. You shouldn’t have any problems being heard, even in moderately noisy environments. Clarity isn’t quite as good as the AirPods Pro, but it’s good enough for most situations.

A slightly larger battery

We hired Apple to handle the battery life of the AirPods and AirPods Pro because so many other true wireless earbuds offer longer playtime on a single charge, as well as longer overall battery life. It’s nice to see that Apple has managed to get a little more out of the AirPods 3’s battery: six hours per charge and 30 hours total time if you include the charging case.

That’s still shy of some of the more durable earbuds, but it’s still the best we’ve seen in a range of AirPods. Given that they still support Siri’s hands-free calling (one of the biggest advantages in terms of battery life), this is a pretty big feat.

The quick charge feature gives you about an hour more listening time when you charge the headphones for five minutes.

Our opinion

With much better sound, a bigger battery, a more secure fit, wireless charging, and spatial head-tracking audio, the AirPods 3 are a huge step up from the second generation AirPods and an upgrade that all AirPod owners should consider.

Is there a better alternative?

The only half-open earbuds that sound as good as the AirPods 3 are the Oddict branches. However, they lack wireless charging, spatial head-tracking audio, hands-free Siri, and their three-hour battery life is some of the lowest we’ve seen.

The first generation is a better alternative Apple AirPods Pro, which you can still routinely find on sale for $ 180 to $ 200 (the upgraded version with MagSafe top-up can cost a few dollars more). With ANC and transparency mode, a more secure fit, and better sound, they’re the logical next step on the AirPods 3. But a lot of people don’t like the feel of silicone earbuds, which brings us back to the AirPod 3.

How long will they last?

With IPX4 water protection and very solid build quality, I am sure that the hardware itself will last for many years. But Apple has had problems in the past with the fact that the batteries in its AirPods lost a lot of capacity in the first two years. I can’t say if Apple’s new streamlined battery charging feature will significantly reduce this problem. So if you’re concerned, it might be worth buying Apple Care to upgrade your warranty from one year to two years.

Should you buy it?

If you are an Apple device user, definitely. the AirPods 3 are a worthy upgrade of the first AirPods. Android owners won’t be able to use features like spatial head tracking audio or hands-free Siri, which makes them less attractive to these people.

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