Differences between Apple AirPods 2, 3 and Pro

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Today, companies produce a lot of headphones, which differ in the type of design, signal transmission method, and acoustic design. But it is wireless models that are most popular. In the first half of 2022, they occupied 70% of the Russian headphone market, according to retailers. Apple is back in the top three most popular brands. Today we will talk about the wireless headphones AirPods 2, 3, Pro (1st generation) and the differences between these models.

Headphones are a popular gadget and a beautiful accessory. Photo: livegadgetbd.com

Features of Apple AirPods 2, 3, Pro

Feature/Model 2 generation 3rd generation Pro
Active noise cancellation Yes
transparent mode Yes
Communication mode Yes
Spatial Audio Yes Yes
Moisture protection Yes (IPX4) Yes (IPX4)
Chip H1 H1 H1
Operating time in audio mode (hours) 5 6 4.5
Motion detection sensor Yes Yes Yes
«Hey Siri» feature Yes Yes Yes
Headphone size (mm) 40.5×16.5×18 30.79×18.26×19.21 30.9×21.8×24
Case size (mm) 53.5×44.3×21.3 46.40×54.40×21.38 45.2×60.6×21.7

Design

Apple strives to make smart gadgets in a minimalist design. And the brand does it very well. All generations have a common style. All of them are made of glossy plastic and packed in a shiny case.

Case differences. The 3rd generation and Pro versions have the same shape, the second generation case is narrower and elongated. There is also a slight difference in weight:

  • AirPods 2 — 38 g;
  • 3rd generation — 37 g;
  • Pro — 45 g.

Important addition: AirPods 2 have a regular case, while the other two models come with wireless charging.

The design of the gadgets themselves is slightly different. AirPods 2nd and 3rd generation can’t adjust to the pinna. They have a completely plastic headphone case. And the Pro has 3 types of interchangeable ear pads in different sizes (S, M, L). You can choose the right option for your ear.

A snug fit of the ear pads is possible only in this model. And it provides better isolation from extraneous sounds and clear sound without additional noise.

The weight of all headphones is 4 g. But the 2nd generation model has the most elongated shape (40 mm in length), and the largest is the Pro version.

The design of the 2nd generation version is very different from the Pro and 3rd generation models. Photo: drnaeemslab.com

Sound and features

Above, we have already begun to talk about the fact that in the original Apple AirPods Pro headphones, the ear cushions fit snugly to the ear. This functional feature allowed the introduction of technology active noise cancellation.

What is Active Noise Cancellation? This is an opportunity to muffle the sounds from the outside world. It’s not just raising the volume of the music. An external microphone built into the earpiece picks up noise and analyzes it and emits inverted waves. They «extinguish» the surrounding sounds, and you do not hear them.

Next mode «Transparency» also available on the Pro version of the headphones. It allows you to hear sounds from outside. But the mode still does not skip absolutely everything. Hardware background noise (hum of cars, wind) is muffled more strongly. But voices, birdsong and other sounds sound distinct. And if you need to make the speech of the interlocutor as clear and loud as possible, just turn on the “Communication” mode.

Another useful option is spatial audio. It is available for versions of Apple AirPods 3 and Pro wireless headphones. Allows you to create surround sound with the effect of presence.

There are no special, unique options in the second generation of AirPods. The sound is powerful and clear, but there are no additional improvements.

Apple AirPods are compact headphones with a recognizable design and great sound. Photo: nypost.com

Hardware and management

All three versions have an H1 chip. It provides a stable connection with other gadgets, Siri activation by voice. Now (compared to 1st generation AirPods and W1 chip), you can switch between devices 2 times faster, and the sound delay in games has been reduced by 30%.

Apple headphones can be controlled with gestures and voice. Let’s talk about each version in detail.

Controls in AirPods 2:

  • the phrase «Hey Siri» to turn on / off the melody, dial a number;
  • double tap on the earpiece: play, next track, answer the call.

Controls in AirPods 3:

  • the phrase «Hey Siri» to turn on / off the melody, dial a number;
  • one touch — turn on / off the music, answer the call;
  • double tap — next melody;
  • triple tap — previous melody;
  • long touch — call Siri.

Controls in AirPods Pro:

  • the phrase «Hey Siri» to turn on / off the melody, dial a number;
  • one touch — turn on / off the music, answer the call;
  • double tap — next melody;
  • triple tap — previous melody;
  • long touch — turn on noise reduction or transparency mode.

Additional features

Wireless headphones have one important disadvantage — they discharge over time. But Apple is improving its technology so that it can last as long as possible on a single charge. The operating time in the music listening mode (without recharging) is different for all models:

  • Pro — 4.5 hours;
  • 2 generation — 5 hours;
  • 3rd generation AirPods — 6 hours.

In talk mode without recharging:

  • Pro — 3.5 hours;
  • 2nd generation — 3 hours;
  • 3rd generation AirPods — 4 hours.

This time is enough for the trip to work and back, training and even part of the working day.

Visual difference between the 2nd generation and the Pro version. Photo: arstechnica.com

The 3rd generation and Pro version have an important advantage — IPX4 moisture protection. This does not mean that they can swim. But they will withstand drops of sweat and water on the surface. These versions of AirPods can be used during:

  • doing sports;
  • light rain or snow.

You don’t have to shower in them. Since gadgets are not protected from a direct jet of water. AirPods 2 generations do not have moisture protection at all.

Results

AirPods 2 the simplest model, if you evaluate the number of useful options and audio technology. This version has the basic high-quality sound that all Apple headphones have, minimal gesture control. But this model is the most budgetary. Therefore, if you want inexpensive and original Apple AirPods, then the classic version of the 2nd generation is a great choice.

To the 3rd generation built-in adaptive equalizer and amplifier with a wide dynamic range. This improves the quality of the sound, its purity, evens it out. Also, this model has advanced gesture control, there is protection against water drops on the surface. But they lack noise cancellation and the all-plastic shape may not be comfortable for everyone. Especially if you wear the device for a long time.

If you spend most of the day wearing headphones, then Pro version — the best solution. Soft ear cushions do not put pressure on the ears, but fit snugly. There are modes that allow you to close from the sounds of the outside world and vice versa, to communicate with headphones. Of the three models described, this one has the most useful options.

Bonus — Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation

Finally, a few words about the new model from Apple. What to expect from the novelty of autumn 2022? Apple has improved the Pro version of the headphones. Here are the changes:

  • now there are 4 types of liners instead of 3: XS (there weren’t in the first generation), S, M, L;
  • improved search function. Especially for those who often lose small accessories. The search works on the principle of «cold» (if far from the subject) — «hot» (if near). The case may beep. Then it’s easy to find;
  • Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation now has a touch sensor on the headband. And you can adjust the volume simply by swiping (easy to swipe);
  • the sound has changed a bit. Basses have become deeper (vibrations, claps are felt brighter), and high sounds have become clearer (especially heard on vocal parts);
  • new H2 chip. Works 2 times better than the previous generation chip. It reacts faster to ambient noise, adjusting the noise reduction and correcting the sound of music depending on the situation.

We hope that this material will help you choose the best headphones among the popular versions from Apple.

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