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AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: How to Make the Right Choice

AirPods 3 in an open charging case on a textured background.

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AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro: How to Make the Right Choice

The AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro, two of the latest offerings, cater to a broad audience but serve distinct preferences and needs.

This article compares these models in various aspects, including design, comfort, quality, and more, to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Comfort

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3rd Generation sport an open-fit design, making them incredibly user-friendly for those who find traditional in-ear buds uncomfortable.

They sit lightly in the ear, allowing for a more natural listening experience where ambient sounds aren’t completely blocked out.

This design is particularly appreciated by users who want to remain aware of their surroundings without sacrificing audio quality.

The shorter stem compared to previous generations also contributes to a more subtle look, appealing to users seeking a balance between functionality and fashion.

AirPods Pro

In contrast, the AirPods Pro are designed with silicone tips to provide a snug, in-ear fit.

This design not only enhances ambient sound isolation but also improves bass response, creating an immersive listening experience.

The inclusion of three tip sizes ensures that most users can find a comfortable fit. The AirPods Pro are engineered to stay comfortable throughout.

Sound Quality

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3rd Generation delivers crisp, clear audio that adapts to your ear shape thanks to the Adaptive EQ feature.

Music sounds rich and detailed, with balanced highs and lows that cater to a wide range of genres.

The Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking offers a surround sound experience, making movies and games more immersive.

While they lack Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), the quality remains robust for everyday listening.

AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro with dynamic head tracking takes quality to the next level with ANC, blocking out external noise to let you focus on your audio content.

Therefore, the Pro’s ANC feature allows for an uninterrupted listening experience.

The quality is further enhanced by the silicone ear tips fit, which improves bass performance and overall clarity.


AirPods on a digital tablet with colorful abstract wallpaper and stylus pen.

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3 are equipped with features that prioritize efficiency and ease of use.

Instant pairing with Apple devices, seamless switching between multiple devices, and the force sensor for controlling music playback and calls are just a few examples.

The Spatial Audio enabled feature, previously exclusive to the Pro model, is now available in the AirPods 3. It offers an engaging listening experience for movies and music alike.

AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro are packed with professional-grade features that cater to audiophiles and those who use their earbuds in more demanding environments.

In addition to ANC and Transparency mode, the Pro model offers IPX4 water resistance and sweat resistance, making them a reliable companion for workouts and outdoor activities.

The pressure vent system is a subtle yet crucial feature that minimizes the discomfort that can come from wearing in-ear headphones for extended periods.

Connectivity and Compatibility

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3 are equipped with Apple’s H1 chip, which ensures not only a stable and fast Bluetooth connection but also powers features like “Hey Siri” voice activation and audio sharing.

This chip plays a crucial role in the seamless integration of AirPods 3 with the Apple ecosystem.

Users can enjoy effortless connectivity to iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches, Apple Watch Charger, making the Third Generation AirPods with head tracking an ideal choice for those deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem.

One of the standout features enabled by the H1 chip is the ability to automatically switch audio sources between devices.

For instance, if you’re listening to music on your iPhone and start watching a video on your iPad, the Third Generation AirPods can automatically switch the audio output to the iPad.

This feature exemplifies the convenience and intuitive design that Apple users have come to appreciate, eliminating the need for manual disconnection and reconnection when moving between devices.

AirPods Pro

Similarly, the AirPods Pro is powered by the H1 chip and offers the same high level of connectivity and compatibility as the Third Generation AirPods.

The Pro model enhances the listening experience with additional features that are particularly beneficial for users who demand more from their devices.

For example, the AirPods Pro supports “Hey Siri” voice activation, which allows for hands-free control and audio sharing, enabling two sets of AirPods to listen to audio from a single Apple device simultaneously.

The automatic switching feature is especially useful for professionals and multitaskers who frequently alternate between different devices throughout their day.

The AirPods Pro seamlessly integrates into the user’s workflow, providing a frictionless transition from taking a call on an iPhone to participating in a video conference on a MacBook.

Use Cases and Lifestyle Fit

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3 are perfectly suited for casual listeners who value ease of use, comfort, and quality sound for music, podcasts, and calls with a good battery life.

They’re especially fitting for work environments where you might need to hear a colleague or stay aware of your surroundings.

The open-fit design ensures you’re not completely isolated, making them safe for outdoor activities where situational awareness is crucial.

AirPods Pro

For those who lead an active lifestyle or spend hours of listening time, the AirPods Pro’s ANC and IPX4 rating offers a compelling case with good battery life.

Whether you’re looking to block out gym noises or immerse yourself in your favorite tunes on a noisy train, the Pro model provides the features and durability required for these scenarios.

The Transparency mode also offers the flexibility to switch between complete immersion and environmental awareness as needed.

Value for Money

AirPods 3

The AirPods 3 offers a significant portion of the Pro model’s features at a more accessible price point, with good battery life.

For users who prioritize seamless integration with devices, excellent quality, and comfort but can live without ANC, the AirPods 3 presents a compelling value proposition.

AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro’s higher price tag is justified by its advanced features, including ANC, water resistance, and customizable fit with a better battery life.

For users who will utilize these additional features, the investment in the Pro model is worthwhile, offering a premium listening experience tailored to a wider range of environments and use cases.

How to Choose the Right AirPods

AirPods next to a smartphone with security wallpaper on a wooden desk.

When it comes to selecting the right AirPods, the choice boils down to understanding your personal needs, lifestyle, and how you intend to use them.

Here are key considerations to help guide your decision:

Consider Your Primary Use

  • For Active Lifestyles and Fitness Enthusiasts: If you frequently engage in physical activities or outdoor adventures, the AirPods Pro, with their IPX4 water resistance and sweat resistance and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), make an ideal companion.
  • For Office Workers and Casual Listeners: The AirPods 3 offer a comfortable fit for extended wear, making them perfect for long workdays or leisurely listening. Their open-fit design allows you to stay aware of your surroundings, which is beneficial in an office environment.

Sound Quality Preferences

  • If You Value Immersive Sound: Opt for the AirPods Pro. The ANC feature allows for a focused listening experience by blocking out external noise, and the in-ear design enhances bass performance.
  • If You Prefer Natural Sound: The AirPods 3 might be your best bet. The lack of ANC means you’ll hear more of your environment, but many users appreciate the more natural listening experience this provides.

Comfort and Fit

  • For a Customizable Fit: The AirPods Pro come with three sizes of silicone tips to secure the best fit, making them suitable for a wider range of silicone ear tips shapes and sizes.
  • For Ease and Simplicity: The AirPods 3 have a one-size-fits-all design that many find comfortable without the need for adjustable tips. They’re designed to fit securely in the ear without the feeling of something being deeply inserted into the ear canal.

Budget Considerations

  • Looking for Value: The AirPods 3 provide many of the signature features expected from Apple’s AirPods line but at a lower price point than the Pro model.
  • Willing to Invest for Premium Features: The AirPods Pro are priced higher but justify their cost with advanced features like ANC, Transparency mode, and a water-resistant design.

Device Compatibility and Usage

  • Apple Ecosystem Users: Both AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro seamlessly integrate with devices, enhancing the user experience with features like automatic device switching and “Hey Siri” support.
  • Using Non-Apple Devices: While some features may be limited, both Apple AirPods models still perform well with non-devices, offering great quality and basic functionality.


When choosing between the Apple AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro, consider your primary use cases, budget, and the features.

Both AirPods models offer the exceptional quality and seamless Apple ecosystem integration expected from Apple products.

The AirPods 3 are an excellent choice for casual listeners and those who prefer an open-fit design.

However, the AirPods Pro are ideal for users seeking active noise cancellation, a customizable fit, and water resistance.

Ultimately, your personal preferences and lifestyle will dictate the best model for you, ensuring a listening experience that meets your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro connect to devices outside the Apple ecosystem, such as Android phones or Windows PCs?

Yes, both AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro can connect to non-devices that support Bluetooth connectivity.

This means you can pair them with Android smartphones, Windows PCs, and even Bluetooth-enabled TVs.

However, it’s important to note that while the basic functionality remains intact, some specific features are exclusive to Apple.

For instance, spatial audio, automatic device switching, and the “Hey Siri” voice command may not be available or work differently on non-devices.

Pairing AirPods with a non-Apple device is straightforward and follows the standard Bluetooth pairing process.

Does the AirPods 3 or AirPods Pro offer any customization options for sound preferences?

While both the AirPods automatically adjust certain sound parameters is not natively provided within the AirPods themselves.

However, users can adjust the EQ settings through their connected Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad.

By going into the Settings app, choosing Music, and then EQ, users can select from a list of preset EQ options that can alter the sound profile to better suit their preferences or the genre of music they’re listening to.

For AirPods Pro users, the ANC and Transparency modes provide an additional layer of auditory environment control, though this is more about managing external active noise cancellation than adjusting the sound’s EQ.

How do the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro perform in windy conditions?

The AirPods Pro, with its in-ear design and active noise cancellation features, generally provides a better listening experience.

Additionally, the AirPods Pro has a feature called Conversation Boost, which can help focus the microphone on the voice.

Conversely, the AirPods 3 are more susceptible to wind noise interference since they do not seal the ear canal.

However, both models are designed with advanced microphone filtering technologies that aim to minimize background noise.

Users may still experience some wind noise with either model, but the AirPods Pro are better equipped to mitigate its impact.

Can you use one AirPod (left or right) independently while the other charges, and does this affect functionality?

Yes, both AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro allow you to use one AirPod independently while the other charges in the Magsafe charging case.

This feature can be particularly useful for extended phone calls or listening to audio, enabling you to switch between AirPods without experiencing downtime.

Using a single AirPod doesn’t significantly affect the basic functionalities like listening to music, making phone calls, or invoking Siri.

However, when using just one AirPod Pro, you’ll lose the stereo sound and spatial audio features, and active noise cancellation will be disabled since it requires both AirPods to be in use.

The same goes for the AirPods 3rd generation, where spatial audio requires both earbuds.

This approach offers a convenient way to extend the hours of listening time of your AirPods between charges without sacrificing too much on the overall user experience.

What is the expected lifespan of the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro, and how can users maximize it?

The lifespan of AirPods 3 vs AirPods Pro can vary depending on usage patterns, care, and Magsafe charging case.

With regular use, users can expect their AirPods to maintain optimal battery life for about two to three years on average.

The lithium-ion batteries in AirPods degrade over time after hours of listening time, and their capacity to hold a charge diminishes after numerous wireless charging cycles.

Dimitar Srbinoski

Dimitar Srbinoski

Dimitar Srbinoski is the founder of WeCon Digital and an Upwork Top Rated Plus freelancer specializing in content writing and SEO. A tech enthusiast with a particular passion for Apple products, Dimitar combines his expertise in digital marketing with cutting-edge technology to help businesses thrive online.

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