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Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Nov 22, 2021 at 10:21 am
Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless Picture
6.9
Neutral Sound
5.9
Commute/Travel
7.8
Sports/Fitness
5.7
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
5.1
Wired Gaming
5.3
Phone Calls
Type Earbuds
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) have a slightly different look than previous generations of AirPods and come with a few more features. The earbuds are bigger than the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, which some may find less comfortable, and you control them by squeezing the stems instead of tapping the earbuds. There's an always-on 'Adaptive EQ' that Apple says optimizes their sound delivery to the shape of your ears. If you're using a supported iOS device, they support 'Spatial Audio', a virtual surround sound feature. Like previous AirPods, their open-back design means their sound lacks thump and rumble in the bass range, and the earbuds don't block out ambient sound. Ηowever, they have an improved, 6.8-hour continuous battery life and the same lightweight, sturdy build.

Our Verdict

6.9 Neutral Sound

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) are alright for neutral sound. Their sound lacks thump and rumble because of their open-back design, but the rest of the range is very well-balanced, so instruments and lead vocals are present and detailed. Ηowever, overemphasis in the treble range makes some sounds a little harsh or piercing. They have an 'Adaptive EQ' feature advertised to adjust their sound depending on your ear shape, but you can't turn it off. They don't have features like a graphic EQ or presets that you could use to customize their sound profile either.

Pros
  • Excellent mid and treble accuracy.
Cons
  • Sound profile lacks low-bass.
5.9 Commute/Travel

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) are sub-par for commute and travel. Βy design, they block out virtually no ambient sound. Also, while they're decently comfortable, the buds are bigger than previous generations of AirPods and may put pressure on your ears, especially if you wear them for a long time. On the plus side, they feel sturdy and come with a solid case small enough to fit into most pockets.

Pros
  • Case stores five extra charges.
Cons
  • Βad noise isolation.
  • No volume controls.
7.8 Sports/Fitness

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) are very good for sports and fitness. The earbuds and case are very light, small, and feel sturdy enough to withstand a few accidental drops and bumps. They're also rated IPX4 for resistance against being splashed with water. However, while they have adequate stability and should stay in your ears during a light run, they may fall out with more intense movements. Their stability also depends on the shape of your ears since they have a one-size-fits-all design.

Pros
  • IPX4 rating for water resistance.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • No stability fins or ear tip options.
5.7 Office

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) are disappointing for office use. They have a decently comfortable fit but may put pressure on your ears during long days at work. They block out virtually no ambient noise, so they don't isolate you from distractions like chatting co-workers or traffic outside your window. Also, their 6.8-hour continuous battery life isn't long enough to last through a 9-5 workday without pausing to recharge them. Fortunately, they come with a case that holds about five extra charges, so you can top up the battery when you need to.

Pros
  • Case stores five extra charges.
Cons
  • Βad noise isolation.
  • No multi-device pairing with non-Apple devices.
5.3 Wireless Gaming

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) aren't suitable for wireless gaming. You can use them with Bluetooth-compatible PCs, but their latency is likely too high to be suitable for gaming. They also aren't compatible with Xbox or PlayStation consoles.

5.1 Wired Gaming

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) are truly wireless headphones, and you can't use them wired.

5.3 Phone Calls

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) are inadequate for phone calls when connected to a PC. Their mic makes your voice sound passably clear and natural, but it struggles to separate speech from background noise, even in moderately noisy environments. However, if you're using an iPhone, your voice sounds clearer and the mic does a better job of noise handling. The earbuds also don't isolate you from background sound though, so you may not be able to hear your call.

Pros
  • Mic's recording quality isn't bad.
Cons
  • Βad noise isolation.
  • Mic has sub-par noise handling.
  • 6.9 Neutral Sound
  • 5.9 Commute/Travel
  • 7.8 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.7 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.1 Wired Gaming
  • 5.3 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Apr 28, 2022: We can't find our original unit and have replaced them with a new pair. The replacement unit matches our original results, so there hasn't been a change in our review. You can find a photo of both labels in the 'Variants' box.
  2. Updated Nov 26, 2021: Tested microphone performance with AAC codec.
  3. Updated Nov 22, 2021: Review published.
  4. Updated Nov 10, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

White AirPods (3rd generation)
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Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Apple AirPods 3 have a different shape from the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless and Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless. Like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, the stems are shorter. The buds are also bigger and are more angled downwards. Still, they have the same smooth plastic casing and brushed aluminum accents. They only come in white.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.02 lbs
Clamping Force
N/A

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation are decently comfortable headphones. The buds are bulkier than previous models, which can hurt your inner ear after a while. The stem also sits at more of an angle compared to the 2nd generation. However, since they have a one-size-fits-all design, whether you prefer them to the previous generations of AirPods or not depends on the size and shape of your ears. Online reports from users are mixed about how comfortable they are. Still, they're light and don't enter your ear canal very deeply.

5.5
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Great
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Apple AirPods Gen 3 have a limited control scheme, but it's easy to use. Similar to the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, each stem has a 'force sensor,' a small indented surface that you squeeze to register a command. Your audio pauses automatically when you take one earbud out and starts playing again when you put it back in. It also pauses when you take both earbuds out and doesn't start playing again automatically. You can disable 'Ear Detection' in Βluetooth settings if you're using an iOS device.

Every command works on either earbud, and you hear a clicking sound when you press either force sensor. There are also beeps when they connect with a device, but you don't hear any voice prompts, which is usual for Apple products. Unfortunately, they still lack a volume function and only include a way to answer and end calls if you're using an iOS device.

On either stem's force sensor:

  • One press: Plays and pauses audio. If connected to an iOS device, it answers and ends a call.
  • Double press: Skips the track forward. On iOS devices only, reject a call.
  • Triple press: Skips the track backward.
  • Press and hold: Activates Siri (doesn't work for other voice assistants).

9.7
Design
Portability
L 1.2" (3.1 cm)
W 0.8" (2.1 cm)
H 0.6" (1.6 cm)
Volume 0.62 in³ (10.20 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

The Apple AirPods 3 are very portable, like most in-ear headphones. The earbuds and case are small enough to easily slip into most pockets and bags.

8.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.1" (5.4 cm)
W 1.8" (4.6 cm)
H 0.8" (2.1 cm)
Volume 3.28 in³ (53.80 cm³)

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have an excellent case. It's a bit bigger than the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless' case and opens horizontally instead of vertically. It clicks shut securely and feels sturdy enough to protect the earbuds from being dropped or crushed, but isn't rated for water resistance. There's a small battery indicator light on its front side, and it supports wireless charging via MagSafe and Qi charging. It also has a Lightning port for its charging cable.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have a great build quality. The glossy plastic feels sturdy and durable, and they don't have any loose or wiggly parts. They feel like they can withstand a few accidental bumps and drops without sustaining much damage. Like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, they're rated IPX4 for resistance against being splashed with water.

6.5
Design
Stability

The Apple AirPods 3 are adequately stable headphones. They should easily stay in place when you're at your desk or out for a walk, but they may move or fall out of your ears with more exaggerated movements, like during intense workouts. Since they have a one-size-fits-all design, they aren't as stable as earbuds that come with a selection of ear tips or stability fins, like the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless or Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. However, their wireless design means you don't need to worry about a cable snagging on something and yanking them out of your ears.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Apple AirPods 3rd generation headphones
  • Charging case
  • USB-C to Lightning cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-9.08 dB
Treble Amount
-1.2 dB

The Apple AirPods 3 have an Adaptive EQ feature advertised to adjust the earbuds' sound to how they fit in your ears. However, you can't turn this feature off. Βecause of their open-back design, they struggle to reproduce the thump and rumble of low bass. The rest of the range is quite well-balanced and bright, though, with present and detailed voices and lead instruments, although some sounds are a bit harsh or piercing. Their sound is fairly well-suited for content like audiobooks or podcasts, as well as non-bass-heavy types of music like classical, but genres like EDM or hip-hop sound hollow or empty.

Unfortunately, like previous generations, they don't have any sound customization features, like a graphic EQ or presets, that you could use to tweak their sound manually.

Note: Βecause of the Adaptive EQ, which can't be switched off, our usual method for testing with sweeps didn't work. We tried testing using pink noise and with only one earbud at a time, which didn't produce consistent results. In the end, the frequency response was tested with both earbuds at once, by playing music for 30 seconds and the sweeps immediately afterward. The results varied a lot depending on the earbuds' positioning, especially as the 3rd gen also fit differently in our dummy head's ears than the 2nd gen. However, the final results match our subjective experience with the Apple AirPods 3 more closely than our Early Access results.

7.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.5 dB

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have good frequency response consistency. Their bass delivery depends on how they fit in your ears and may vary from use to use if you don't get a good fit. Ηowever, their treble delivery is more consistent than that of the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
5.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.4 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
80 Hz
Low-Bass
-14.78 dB
Mid-Bass
-2.24 dB
High-Bass
3.7 dB

The Apple AirPods 3 have poor bass accuracy. Their bass response is similar to that of the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless as they struggle to reproduce a thumpy and rumbly low-bass. Mixes also lack a bit of body and punch. However, the high-bass is overemphasized, which adds extra warmth and boom. These headphones also deliver bass somewhat inconsistently, so you may have a different experience depending on their fit, positioning, and seal in your ears.

8.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.06 dB
Low-Mid
1.47 dB
Mid-Mid
0.18 dB
High-Mid
2.92 dB

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have excellent mid accuracy. The low and mid-mids are very neutral, so vocals and lead instruments are present and accurate. A bump in the high-mid increases the clarity and intensity of these sounds. However, it shouldn't be too harsh.

8.8
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.79 dB
Low-Treble
1.29 dB
Mid-Treble
2.35 dB
High-Treble
-5.8 dB

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have excellent treble accuracy. The response is flat but slightly overemphasized, so instruments and lead vocals are bright and detailed but may sometimes sound slightly harsh. Sibilants like S and T sounds may seem slightly piercing as well.

7.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.1 dB
Dips
1 dB

The Apple AirPods 3 have decent peaks and dips performance. There's a big peak from the mid-bass to low-mid, which adds punch and boom to mixes, but may also make them sound muddy. A dip in the mid-mid can nudge vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix, while a peak in the high-mid makes them sound harsh. There are also peaks in the mid-treble that makes sibilant sounds like cymbals seem piercing.

9.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.25
Weighted Phase Mismatch
1.69
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.24
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.18

The Apple AirPods 3 have a fantastic imaging performance. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold for the entire range, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our model are very well-matched in terms of amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement of objects, like voices and instruments, in the stereo image. However, please note that these results are only valid for our unit and that your experience may vary.

3.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
9.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.4

The Apple AirPods 3 have a bad passive soundstage. Like most in-ear headphones, their sound doesn't interact with your outer ear, so it seems to come from inside your head rather speakers in the room around you. However, their open-back design gives them a more open and spacious soundstage than most closed-back headphones.

2.9
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
On/Off
Virtual Surround
Spatial Audio

The Apple AirPods Gen 3 have a 'Spatial Audio' virtual surround sound feature that can help give your audio a more immersive, 3D feel. However, it's only supported on iOS 15 or later and on certain Apple devices, including iPhone 7 or later. Enabling it also turns on head tracking, which reorients the virtual soundstage when you move your head or device. You can turn Spatial Audio on or off in your iPhone's Bluetooth settings.

7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.405
WHD @ 100
0.127

The Apple AirPods 3 have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. The bump in the high treble shouldn't be audible to most people, and otherwise, all frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
4B61
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz
EQ
Adaptive EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Apple AirPods 3. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
0.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-1.27 dB
Bass
0.06 dB
Mid
1.12 dB
Treble
-4.76 dB

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have a bad noise isolation performance. Because of their open-back design, they block out virtually no sound in the bass or mid ranges, so you aren't isolated from noises like rumbling bus and plane engines or background chatter. They also barely cut down high-pitched noises like humming A/C units. While they aren't ideal for blocking out distractions, you may appreciate this performance if you like to stay aware of your surroundings while wearing headphones.

7.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
39.46 dB

The Apple AirPods 3 have a decent leakage performance. Their open-back design means they leak quite a bit of audio, so if you're listening to music at high volumes somewhere moderately noisy like an office, it may bother people nearby. However, the sound that escapes is mostly in the treble range, so it sounds thin.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

Update 11/26/2021: Due to user interest, we have retested 'Recording Quality' and 'Noise Handling' to see if there's a difference in performance between Bluetooth AAC and SBC codecs. Our testing PC doesn't support AAC, which is the license-free standard for Apple devices. However, we conducted this microphone retest while the headphones were placed on our test head and connected to an iPhone 11, which supports AAC. To retest 'Recording Quality', we played the same 'Recorded Speech' audio clip through our test head. While Bluetooth codecs aren't the sole factor in microphone performance, using the AAC codec, the voice sounds clearer than when connected to our test PC and using SBC codec. You can hear our results here.

For 'Noise Handling', we played the 'Speech + Pink Noise' and 'Speech + Subway Noise' audio clips. Using the AAC codec, there's a noticeable improvement when it comes to blocking out pink noise from speech. The mic is also able to block more loud noise in the subway recording when connected to an iPhone versus a PC.

We have updated our review, but there hasn't been a change in the scoring of our microphone tests. To ensure comparability between different reviews, we test the mic of Bluetooth headphones using SBC codec as it's almost universally used by these devices.

6.0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
67.27 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.25 dB
HFE
1,659.96 Hz
Weighted THD
3.887
Gain
18.34 dB

The Apple AirPod 3's mic's recording quality is passable. Recorded speech is clear and full-bodied but lacks brightness and sounds closed-off. It sounds less distorted than the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, though.

5.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
12.16 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
5.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The microphone has a sub-par noise handling performance. In moderately noisy environments, background noise is much more present and distracting than with the previous generation. With very loud background noise like a train in a subway station, your voice is barely audible but not understandable.

They're advertised to have an acoustic mesh over the mic on each earbud to help reduce wind noise during calls. We tried testing it by standing near a fan and found that it blocks out most of the wind sound, but it's still audible when someone's talking. Someone talking nearby is also still audible over the wind sound.

Active Features
7.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
6.8 hrs
Additional Charges
5.0
Total Battery Life
40.8 hrs
Charge Time
0.8 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port Lightning

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have a decent battery performance. They provide nearly seven hours of continuous use from a single charge, which is better than the previous generation and longer than the advertised six hours. However, battery performance can vary with real-life use, so your experience may vary. Also, our tests were performed without Spatial Audio enabled. Apple says they only last for five hours if you're playing Spatial Audio content.

The case stores about five additional charges. The earbuds take less than an hour to charge fully, which is quick, and Apple says a five-minute charge in the case gives them enough power for 30 minutes of playback. Like previous generations, they don't have an auto-off timer, but your audio pauses automatically when you take them out of your ears, which can help preserve battery life. You can also use one earbud while the other charges in the case.

5.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name iOS Interface
iOS Yes
Android No
macOS Yes
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
Yes

The Apple AirPods 3 don't have a dedicated app, but if you're using an iOS device you can access some settings in the Bluetooth menu. You can toggle ear detection and Spatial Audio on and off, choose which earbud's mic to use, and optimize battery charging. You can also enable battery optimization and turn on 'Find My Network', which offers features for finding your headphones if you misplace them. Some features, like your AirPods playing a sound when they're inside their case or marking them as lost so others can't use them, are only available for this generation when using this specific feature.

There are also some settings in the Accessibility tab on iOS devices. You can choose to 'boost' certain sounds, like vocal frequencies, to make voices over the phone or dialogue in a movie easier to understand. This feature is also supported by the 2nd generation and the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, though. You can also change how quickly you need to press the earbud stems to register a double or triple tap, as well as adjust how long you need to hold the sensor down for a long press. Ηowever, we don't consider these 'Accessibility' settings part of the app.

Connectivity
6.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0+H1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
205.05 ft (62.50 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
187 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
112 ms
Android Latency
116 ms

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation have adequate Bluetooth connectivity. They have an H1 chip for very easy pairing with Apple products, and they can connect with two Apple devices at once. However, they don't have multi-device pairing with other types of devices. They also have somewhat high latency with PCs, making them less than ideal for streaming video or gaming on your computer. Fortunately, it's lower with iOS and Android devices. Also, some apps seem to compensate differently for latency, meaning you may have a different experience.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation are wireless-only headphones, and you can't use them wired. They come with a USB-C to Lightning cable for charging the case.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are fully compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs. However, they can't connect any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
Lightning

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation come with a very small charging case that holds about five additional charges. It doesn't have any inputs other than a Lightning port for charging. It also supports wireless charging via Qi or MagSafe.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation only come in white. You can see the label for the unit we tested here. This review currently reflects the performance of our original model, which we don't have anymore. That said, we've purchased a second model, which matches the performance of our first unit. If there's a difference in performance during future retests, we will update the review accordingly. You can see our new unit's label here

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Apple AirPods 3 follow the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless but come with more features like Spatial Audio surround sound for Apple users and wireless MagSafe charging for the case. Like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, they have shorter stems than the 1st and 2nd gen AirPods. They still have a one-size-fits-all design instead of silicone tips, though. Βecause of their open-back design, they isolate you from virtually no ambient sound, which can be helpful for activities like running outside. Ηowever, they aren't as stable as some open or semi-open earbuds meant for sports, like the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless or the Bose Sport Open Earbuds Truly Wireless.

If you want to see more headphones, check out our lists of the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the best wireless earbuds for iPhone, and the best AirPods alternatives.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Pro have a much more neutral sound profile and a great ANC feature. They come with differently-sized ear tips and are much more comfortable and stable once you find a good fit. They also have less latency with iOS and Android devices. On the other hand, the 3 have longer continuous battery life and their mic has a better recording quality. They also block out very little ambient sound, which you may prefer if you want to hear your surroundings.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Apple have a better build quality, a longer continuous battery life, and a better overall mic performance. However, the Βeats have a more comfortable, stable fit and block out much more noise, although their ANC feature doesn’t perform very well overall.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Sony have a longer continuous battery life, onboard call and music controls, and a great ANC feature. They're also much more comfortable. Their default sound profile delivers much more bass, which some may prefer, and it can be customized in the companion app with a graphic EQ and presets, unlike the Apple headphones. On the other hand, some may prefer that the Apple headphones' open design lets you hear your surroundings. They also have features that only work with Apple devices, like an Η1 chip for easy pairing and Spatial Audio, a virtual surround sound feature, which iOS users may appreciate.

Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods (2nd generation) Truly Wireless have different strengths, so you may prefer either depending on what you're looking for. The 3rd generation have longer continuous battery life and button-like controls that are easier to use than the 2nd generation's touch-sensitive surfaces. With iOS devices, they support Spatial Audio and head tracking for virtual surround sound, and their 'Adaptive EQ' adjusts the sound profile depending on how they fit you. Their bulkier design may put pressure on the inside of your ears, but both versions have a one-size-fits-all design, meaning you may prefer either, depending on the shape of your ears. On the other hand, the 2nd generation have lower latency with iOS devices and better overall mic performance.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Samsung are closed-back earbuds with ANC, so they block out more noise and leak less audio. They’re more comfortable, stable, and also deliver a more bass-rich sound, which some may prefer. Their app has sound customization features, but it only works on Android devices. Meanwhile, the Apple have a better overall battery performance.

Apple EarPods

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple EarPods. The AirPods are truly wireless earbuds with better build quality, a more stable fit, and an IPX4 rating for water resistance. They also come with a more compact, sturdier case and have more extra features for Apple users, like virtual surround sound and head tracking. However, some may prefer the EarPods’ wired design. They have volume controls, unlike the AirPods, and their mic has a much better overall performance.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless are better for most uses than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless, although you may prefer either if you’re an iPhone user or like open-back headphones. The Samsung are more comfortable and stable, have a better overall mic performance, block out more noise, and last longer off of a single charge. They also have a more neutral sound profile, which some may prefer. On the other hand, the Apple have a virtual surround sound feature with supported iOS devices, and they don’t block out ambient sound, so you can hear what’s going on around you.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless are better than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless for most purposes. The Samsung have a more comfortable, stable fit and a higher IPX7 rating for water resistance. They also have ANC and block out much more ambient sound. On the other hand, the Apple’s open design allows you to hear your surroundings and they offer a better overall battery performance. Also, both headphones have some OS-specific features, so you may prefer either depending on what device you use. The Samsung’s virtual surround sound feature only works on Android, while the Apple’s only works on iOS.

Beats Fit Pro True Wireless

The Beats Fit Pro True Wireless are better in-ears than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Beats have a more stable in-ear fit, have an ANC system that helps block more ambient noise around you, and their mic offers a somewhat better performance. However, the Apple are more comfortable and better-built. They also have a better battery performance.

Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless have different strengths. The Anker are closed-back earbuds with a great ANC feature. Their sound is much more bass-rich, which some may prefer. They also have a more comfortable fit and a better overall mic performance. On the other hand, some may prefer the Apple’s open design, which lets you hear ambient sound. They have a better battery performance and features for Apple users like virtual surround sound and an Η1 chip for easier pairing.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are better than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless for most purposes. The Bose have a longer continuous battery life and much better noise isolation, thanks to their ANC feature. Their mic has a better recording quality and they also have a more neutral sound profile that some may prefer.  However, you may prefer the Apple’s open design, which lets you hear your surroundings. Apple users may also prefer them, because they have a few iOS-only features, like an Η1 chip for easier pairing.

Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless. The 3 have a longer continuous battery life, a better control scheme, and an IPX4 rating for water resistance. They support Spatial Audio and head tracking for virtual surround sound, and also come with a case that supports wireless charging. They may also be less comfortable since they have a bulkier design that can put pressure on the inside of your ears. Ηowever, both versions have a one-size-fits-all design, so it depends on the size and shape of your ears.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless are better than the  Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Sony have ANC and a much better noise isolation performance, a better overall mic performance, a more stable fit, and a more neutral default sound profile, which some may prefer. Their app also has sound customization features. On the other hand, the Apple come with a better case that holds more extra charges and supports wireless charging. Some may also prefer their open design, which lets you hear ambient sound.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

You may prefer either the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless or the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless depending on what type of headphones you’re looking for. The Sony are over-ear headphones with ANC and have a much better noise isolation performance. Their sound profile is more bass-heavy, which some may prefer, and their app has sound customization features. They also have longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Apple are much more compact earbuds. Their case can fit in most pockets, and they have an open design that lets you hear your surroundings.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. They have a much better noise isolation performance, a longer continuous battery life, and a more stable fit. You can also customize their sound profile with a graphic EQ and presets in their companion app. Ηowever, the Apple’s case is smaller and holds more extra charges. The earbuds have a higher IPX4 rating for water resistance and an open design that some may prefer. In addition, both have some iOS-specific features, including a lower-latency Gaming Mode that works on Android for the Samsung, and virtual surround sound features on iOS devices for the Apple.

Apple AirPods Max Wireless

The Apple AirPods Max Wireless and the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either. The Max are over-ear headphones with ANC. Their noise isolation performance is much better, they have a longer continuous battery life, and they have a more neutral bass response that some may prefer. On the other hand, the 3 are earbuds with a much more portable design. They come with a charging case and have an IPX4 rating for water resistance.

Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless

The Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Jabra have a more comfortable, stable fit and a more neutral default sound profile, which some may prefer. Their app has sound customization features and they support multi-device pairing. They also have ANC and isolate you from much more noise. However, the Apple come with a more compact case that holds a greater number of charges. They also don’t isolate you from ambient sound, so you can hear your surroundings.

Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless

The Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless are better earbuds than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless for most purposes. The Jabra have a more comfortable fit, better onboard controls, significantly better noise isolation, and better overall mic performance. Their app also includes a graphic EQ for sound customization. On the other hand, the Apple have an open design that some may prefer. Their case also holds more extra charges, and you can use one earbud at once.

Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless. The Apple headphones are much more comfortable for most people, better built, and have a more neutral sound profile, which some may prefer. Their case also holds a greater number of extra charges. The Sony headphones have a better overall mic performance. While it can be hard to get a good fit, they come with several silicone sleeves in different sizes, while the Apple are one-size-fits-all.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless and the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are very different, and you may prefer either depending on what you’re looking for. The Beats are on-ear headphones with a longer continuous battery life and a more accurate bass response, which some may prefer. They also have a significantly better noise isolation performance. On the other hand, the Apple are much more portable earbuds. Their design lets you hear ambient sound and their total battery life is longer, thanks to their charging case.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either depending on what you’re looking for. The Anker have ANC and a much better noise isolation performance. They also have a more stable fit, and you can customize their sound profile with a graphic EQ and presets in their companion app. On the other hand, the Apple’s open design lets you hear ambient sound, which some may prefer. Their battery performance is also much better overall.

TOZO T6 Truly Wireless

The TOZO T6 Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless have different strengths. The Apple headphones have a much better build quality and a longer continuous battery life. They have an Η1 chip for easier pairing with Apple devices and Spatial Audio for virtual surround sound on supported iOS devices. Ηowever, they have an open design, so they block out virtually no ambient noise. Their sound also lacks bass. On the other hand, the TOZO have a slightly bass-rich sound profile and an ANC feature that blocks out a good amount of noise.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 and the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are very different headphones, and which are better depends on what you're looking for. The Βose are over-ears with a superb ANC feature, a much more neutral sound profile, and a longer continuous battery life. They're also much more comfortable. On the other hand, the Apple are smaller, more portable earbuds. They also have significantly better build quality, an IPX4 rating for water resistance, and longer total battery life, thanks to their compact charging case.

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