A First Look at Apple's Latest Apple AirPods 3
The commercial landscape of earbuds has been extremely competitive the last few years. Casting our minds half a decade back, Apple was just drawing flak for their choice to remove the headphone jack from their flagship iPhones. Many viewed the initial release of the first AirPods as a quick cash grab, citing it as a sloppy fix to a problem Apple initially caused. Yet in more recent times, the AirPods have become a mainstay in the overall tech ecosystem and have ascended to the point of luxury accessory status.
Cue the AirPods 3, the third generation of Apple’s wireless earbuds. Highly anticipated due to a rumoured external redesign, the AirPods 3 were overhauled to have shorter stems on each module similar to the AirPods Pro launched just one year before. However the design similarities end there, as the AirPods 3 trades out the silicon-based tips that the Pros have for better comfort and form. This was to the joy of many who wanted the same functionality of the AirPods Pro without having to suffer through the poor fit and feel of in-ear tips. Speaking of similar functions, the latest AirPods also carry on the legacy of haptic force touch control like the Pro.
Features of The AirPods 3
Of course, the perks of the AirPods 3 don’t just end there. In fact, Apple has introduced a whole suite of technical upgrades and quality of life (QoL) improvements to ensure that the 2021 AirPods stays competitive in the market.
First off, the AirPods 3 has a built in dynamic driver designed by Apple. Powered by a custom amplifier, it renders music in exceptionally detailed quality with a better bass to accompany its already impressive treble. Building onto the notion of sound quality, Apple understood that it had to find a way to finetune how sound waves were delivered in the AirPods 3 without the in-ear plastic tips. Adaptive EQ is Apple’s solution to that - by utilising internally-facing microphones to pick up on audio cues, the AirPods 3 then adjusts low and mid-range frequencies to deliver the best combination of details in every song, adjusted in real time.
Apart from these hardware upgrades, Apple also made some huge QoL changes. Understanding that the AirPods were meant to be an everyday tool, Apple upgraded the voice quality of the 2021 AirPods with new AAC-ELD speech codecs for Facetime and calls. These chime in at HD and make for a very comfortable end-to-end experience. In addition, the haptic controls on the force sensors give users even more control over the earbuds. The AirPods 3 can now be pressed to play, pause, and skip through songs and even answer or end calls. This is a huge boon compared to the older AirPods which required a very harsh tap to use, often causing inadvertent spikes on the listener’s eardrums. Lastly, the AirPods 3 sport MagSafe charging cases which give up to 30 hours of total listening time when fully juiced up. Apple also says that the AirPods last up to 6 hours per charge, which is an outstanding improvement of around 40-50%.
Why Get The AirPods 3?
With Christmas just around the corner, many might be tempted to upgrade to the AirPods 3. This begs the question, is it a worthwhile buy? Just comparing via price alone, it is already one-third cheaper than its previous iteration, the 2019 AirPods Pro. Although it does cost a little more than the 2nd generation AirPods, the difference in build quality and sound quality does justify the increase in price. Given all the spec bumps it has got, the AirPods 3 may be considered a steal when coupled with some holiday discounts at your local tech outlet. All in all, it appears to be a buy that’s 100% worth the money.