AirPods 3 vs AirPods 2: What’s the Difference?

Image: Apple

During the ‘Unleashed’ special event today, Apple unveiled new third-generation AirPods with a revamped AirPods Pro-like design, spatial audio, longer battery life, and more.

The new base AirPods will be sold alongside the 2nd generation AirPods. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between Apple’s 3rd generation AirPods, and their predecessor:


Apple has launched the 3rd generation AirPods for $239 CAD, whereas the AirPods 2 with regular charging case saw a price drop to $179 CAD.

Canadian pricing for the AirPods 3 is $239 CAD, and they’re already available to order from and the Apple Store app. Deliveries are slated to go out next week, and in-store availability begins Tuesday, October 26.


Both the third-generation AirPods and their predecessor come with Apple’s H1 headphone chip under the hood, but a new Apple-designed acoustic system in the AirPods 3 takes the H1 chip’s performance to the next level.

Audio Technology

The AirPods 3 offer Adaptive EQ for a more tailored listening experience, a feature they’ve borrowed from the AirPods Pro. The new earbuds also have spatial audio (featuring Dolby Atmos), along with dynamic head tracking.

The new AirPods are fitted with a new custom-built high-excursion audio driver, as well as a new high dynamic range amplifier.


Both pairs of earbuds are equipped with a motion-detecting accelerometer and a speech-detecting accelerometer, but the AirPods 3 also have a skin-detect sensor for in-ear detection and smart playback pausing, as well as a force sensor for better, more intuitive controls.


Like the AirPods 2, the AirPods 3 have two beam-forming microphones, but the new AirPods also bring an inward-facing microphone into the fray.

Charging Case

The charging case for the AirPods 3 adopts a more rectangular design (reminiscent of the AirPods Pro case) as opposed to the more squared-off case we saw with the previous generation. The difference in weight between the two cases is negligible.

The AirPods 3 charging case also adds MagSafe capability, allowing for wireless charging in addition to wired charging-over-Lightning.


The AirPods 3 are IPX4 sweat and water resistant, and that goes for both the earbuds and the charging case. The AirPods 2, on the other hand, feature no degree of certified water resistance.


The AirPods 3 bring anywhere between a 20-30% gain in battery life. Where the AirPods 2 provide up to 5 hours of listening time or up to 3 hours of talk time on a single charge, the new AirPods offer up to 6 hours of listening time (up to 5 hours with spatial audio enabled) or up to 4 hours of talk time on a single charge.

The new MagSafe charging case is good for an extra four full charges, bringing the third-generation AirPods’ total to up to 30 hours of listening time or up to 20 hours of talk time with the charging case included.

The new MagSafe charging case is now also included in AirPods Pro, free of charge says the company.

Again, Apple is making customers make a decision on which AirPods to buy. If you don’t care about ANC that come with pricier AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 seem like a good choice to get with its new design and audio upgrades.

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