AirPods Pro vs AirPods 3: Compare Apple’s Wireless Headphones

AirPods are Apple’s line of Bluetooth headphones. The latest version of the accessory, known as AirPods 3, was released in 2021 and brought battery improvements and extra features. Besides it, there is also the Pro version on the market, launched in 2019 and which brought new features the active noise cancellation and a new design.

Both models are an option for those who have an iPhone or other iOS device and need a wireless headset that uses Apple’s exclusive features, such as fast pairing and support for the AAC codec. To understand the difference between the two models on sale, check out the following comparison between AirPods Pro and AirPods 3.

Apple AirPods Pro x AirPods 3

AirPods ProAirPods 3
LaunchOctober 2019October 2021
Frequency responseNot disclosedNot disclosed
ImpedanceNot disclosedNot disclosed
DriverNot disclosedNot disclosed
ChipApple H1Apple H1
connectivityBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Batteryup to 5 hoursup to 6 hours
Weight5.4 g4.28 g
Dimensions30.9 mm x 21.8 mm x 24 mm30.79 mm x 18.26 mm x 19.21 mm
Source: Apple


Airpods Pro

The AirPods design is marked by a minimalist style, without any kind of button. The novelty of the latest version is that now all actions such as pause, volume up, or trigger Siri are done by a force sensor on the side of the accessory. Other than that, there are no significant changes from AirPods 3 to previous generations.

In the Pro version, however, the scenario is different. The design has a significant change due to the silicone tips that are fitted inside the ear canal. The advantage of this type of headset is that it isolates external noise better and does not come out of the ear so easily, making it ideal for those who exercise more intensively, for example.

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Apple AirPods (3rd generation)

The AirPods 3, on the other hand, are still earbud-type headphones – in other words, they are “resting” on the ear inlet. Some users may find it more comfortable to wear than the in-ear model, but it hardly blocks out external sound.


Airpods pro

Both headphones feature Spatial Audio technology, which reproduces three-dimensional sound in Dolby Atmos-compatible content. You can even listen to music in this format, which offers greater immersion in Apple Music.

In addition, both models also feature Adaptive Equalization technology, which promises to automatically adjust the sound frequencies according to external noise, ensuring that you do not miss any sound details. Both also feature accelerometer with motion detection, voice detection, force sensor, and protection against sweat and water (IPX4).

Speaking specifically about the AirPods Pro, they have some extra features that justify their higher price. One of them is active noise cancellation, which completely blocks out external noises. This technology uses the microphone to pick up sound and cancel out sound waves that might interfere with hearing.

The Pro version also has an Environment Mode, which does the opposite route: it captures the external sound and reproduces it in the headset. Thus, it is possible to hear what is going on around you without having to take the accessory off. It also has a Conversation Amplification option, which directs the microphones to the person in front of you.

Sound Quality

Unfortunately, Apple does not disclose the technical information of its headphones, such as frequency response or type of drivers used. Therefore, it is difficult to determine the sound quality without this data.

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AirPods Pro vs AirPods 3

What the company does confirm is that both models feature the H1 chip and Bluetooth 5.0. The H1 chip was developed especially for headphones and has better processing power than the old W1 chip used in the first AirPods. This change would theoretically allow sounds to be reproduced with less distortion.

Bluetooth 5.0, on the other hand, allows more bandwidth to be transmitted over the 2.4 GHz frequency, which would allow larger files to be played with better quality. However, both AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro are not capable of playing lossless audio files.


The extra features of the AirPods Pro have a downside: the battery consumption is higher. According to Apple, the premium version of the wireless headset is capable of playing up to five hours of audio – or up to four hours with Space Audio enabled.

Airpods 3

The AirPods 3, on the other hand, has a battery life of up to six hours of audio – or up to five hours with Space Audio activated. Other than that, the charging capacity of the cases has significant differences: up to 30 hours for the AirPods 3, versus 24 hours for the AirPods Pro.

However, in terms of recharging speed, both are tied. According to the company, with only five minutes inside the case, it is possible to use the headphones for up to an hour.

Price and warranty

The AirPods 3 are sold on Apple’s official website for $179, while the AirPods Pro comes out for $249. On Amazon, it is possible to find the headphones at lower prices, from $169.99, as is the case of AirPods 3 on Amazon. The AirPods Pro appears for $149.99.

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About the warranty, Apple offers one year after the date of purchase against manufacturing defects. In addition, it also offers the replacement of lost accessories such as AirPods and cases for a lower price.

Main competitors

For those who have iOS devices and want something more integrated into the operating system, the main competitor to the AirPods is the Beats Studio Buds, which is also manufactured by Apple. The model features active noise cancellation, ambient mode, and Space Audio, as well as up to eight hours of sound and six color options – all for $149.96 on Amazon.

Galaxy Buds pro

For those who don’t care about this or use an Android device, there are more options on the market. One of them is the Galaxy Buds Pro, which also has noise cancellation, 360° audio, and five-hour battery life. Its price is $149.99. Another option is the Amazon Echo Buds, which in addition to active noise cancellation is also compatible with the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant. It costs $119.99.

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