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Apple AirPods 3 True Wireless Headphones (2021)

MSRP 179 USDNEX score 80%

Product Overview

Apple AirPods 3 are the 3rd-generation of the true wireless earphones that changed the headphone market. They newly support spatial audio and come with a number of improvements, though there is still no noise cancellation (for which one needs to pay for the Pro model).
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking is a feature that Apple introduced with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max last year. In short, it uses sensors in the earbuds to detect movement and adjust the sound digitally to create a virtual 3D sound stage.
Other notable improvements include the inclusion of skin detection, allowing the headphones to stop the music automatically. Battery life is also improved.
The AirPods 3 are facing fierce competition: True wireless earphones have hardly any barrier to entry, and marketing costs significantly outweigh production and logistics costs. Still, with Apple's strong marketing team, we can have confidence of the commercial success of these earbuds that, some would argue, changed the world for the worse.

Product Gallery

Photo 0of Apple AirPods 3 True Wireless Headphones (2021)Photo 1of Apple AirPods 3 True Wireless Headphones (2021)Photo 2of Apple AirPods 3 True Wireless Headphones (2021)

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Ratings

What we found**

Pros
  • Fantastic sound quality
  • Spatial Audio support
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Nothing in particular

What external reviewers found***

NEX score: 80% (not directly comparable across industries)
Pros
  • Good sound quality
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Good battery life
  • Sleek design
Cons
  • Lack of hi-res audio streaming
  • No wireless charging
  • No active noise cancellation or noise isolation
  • No interchangeable silicone ear tips
  • More expensive than the competition
Read More

Price Comparison (incl. referral links)*

Specifications

Variants:
Case

Connectivity

Ports
MagSafe or Lightning
Wireless Connectivity
Bluetooth 5.0

Construction

Drivers
High-excursion Apple driver
Microphone
Dual beamforming microphones

Dimensions

Size | Depth
0.76 inch (19.21 mm)
CaseSize | Depth
0.84 inch (21.38 mm)
Size | Height
1.21 inches (30.79 mm)
CaseSize | Height
1.83 inches (46.40 mm)
Size | Width
0.72 inch (18.26 mm)
CaseSize | Width
2.14 inches (54.40 mm)
Weight
0.15 ounce (4.28 grams)
CaseWeight
1.34 ounces (37.91 grams)

Function

Audio
Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, Adaptive EQ
Fast Charging
5 minutes in the case provides around 1 hour of listening time
Noise Cancellation
No
Processor
H1 headphone chip
Sensor
Skin-detect sensor, Motion-detecting accelerometer, Speech-detecting accelerometer, Force sensor
Weather Resistance
IPX4
Wireless Charging
Qi

Performance

Battery Life
6 h listening, 4 h talk / 30 h listening, 20 h talk with charging case

Production

Debut
2021-10-18

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External Reviews

ndtv[1]

Sentiment Score 78%
Reviewers from ndtv have found the following***:
The Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) make for an engaging listening experience, and is able to tailor itself to the genre and track in play. Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio performance is as good as on the AirPod Pro, with the earphones able to simulate a surround sound experience despite the obvious limitations of two-channel audio. There is also support for a new AAC-ELD codec, which is said to improve voice performance on FaceTime calls. However, the lack of active noise cancellation does hold the experience back a bit.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Good sound quality
  • Adaptive EQ and noise isolation
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • No active noise cancellation or noise isolation

pcmag[2]

Sentiment Score 80%
Reviewers from pcmag have found the following***:
The third-generation AirPods are a notable improvement over the previous two models. Seamless integration with iOS devices, the inclusion of a MagSafe-compatible charging case, and a water-resistant build earn them the highest rating we've ever given to in-ears that don't seal off the ear canal. Despite some neat tricks, we aren't wild about their open earbud design. And the lack of true, user-adjustable EQ is disappointing at this price.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Sleek design
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Water-resistant build
Cons
  • No true, user-adjustable EQ
  • In-ear fit is a bit sculpted

techradar[3]

Sentiment Score 79%
Reviewers from techradar have found the following***:
AirPods 3 are optimized for use with Apple devices, with a one-touch setup that automatically pairs the buds with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or MacBook. Audio Sharing means you can also share the audio stream between two sets of AirPods. You'll also get access to the Notifications feature, which allows you to read time-sensitive updates from apps such as Siri.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Sleek design
  • Spatial Audio support
  • Great sound quality
Cons
  • Lack of hi-res audio streaming
  • No wireless charging case

theverge[4]

Sentiment Score 88%
Reviewers from theverge have found the following***:
The new AirPods are the first big redesign of Apple’s massively popular true wireless earbuds. Apple makes it easy to switch back and forth between spatial audio and regular sound in Control Center. iOS 15 actually lets you “spatialize” sound from apps like Spotify that don’t otherwise offer the feature.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Better battery life than the first-gen AirPods
  • Better sound quality than the previous generation
  • New Find My features
Cons
  • No wireless charging
  • More expensive than the competition

whathifi[5]

Sentiment Score 78%
Reviewers from whathifi have found the following***:
AirPods 3 ditch the ludicrously long, earring-like stems in favour of the shorter stems of their noise-cancelling sibling. The buds are very slightly and imperceptibly smaller in every dimension and a single gram lighter too. With the neater stems come the same touch controls, courtesy of force sensors on the stems that can be gently squeezed to control music playback and calls. We're fans of their neutrality and clarity, and the AirPods sound better than the cheaper crop of ANC-less competition.
Find the original article here.
Pros
  • Better sound than the AirPods 2
  • Better battery life
Cons
  • On-bud volume adjustment still on the wishlist
  • No interchangeable silicone ear tips

User Reviews

References

1. ^ Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) Review: New Design, Familiar Experience. [ndtv]. https://gadgets.ndtv.com/audio/reviews/apple-airpods-3rd-gen-review-price-in-india-2611820. 2021-11-15. Retrieved 2021-11-19.
2. ^ Apple AirPods (3rd Generation) Review. [pcmag]. https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/apple-airpods-3rd-generation. 2021-10-25. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
3. ^ Apple AirPods 3 review. [techradar]. https://www.techradar.com/reviews/apple-airpods-3rd-generation. 2021-10-25. Retrieved 2021-10-25.
4. ^ Apple AirPods (third-gen) review: new design, same appeal. [theverge]. https://www.theverge.com/22744686/apple-airpods-third-gen-review. 2021-10-27. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
5. ^ Apple AirPods 3 review. [whathifi]. https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/apple-airpods-3. 2021-10-25. Retrieved 2021-10-25.

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