Are the Apple AirPods 2 or 3 better?

AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 compared

Even though Apple introduced the AirPods 3 at the end of 2021, the 2nd generation was still sold. This gives users the opportunity to choose between the two models and, if necessary, to get the cheaper AirPods 2.

Why I would buy the AirPods 3 again

First of all: I use both models and I find the AirPods 3 much better. The operation is more pleasant with the pressure-sensitive areas, the sound is better, I like the look better, they fall out of the ears less quickly and thanks to the IPX4 certification, the AirPods 3 are both sweat and water resistant.

But the AirPods 2 are of course cheaper to get in stores than the 3rd generation, so they may still be an interesting alternative for some people.

To shed some light, I want to show you the technical similarities and differences between the two models here, so you can decide for yourself whether the AirPods 2 or 3 are better.

My conclusion to the AirPods 2nd generation: Definitely not a bad buy - just like the 1st generation.
The AirPods 2 still have the long "stalks" that make the earphones fall out of the ear more easily than the AirPods 3. If you want to do sports, you should definitely use the AirPods 3 (Photo: Sir Apfelot) .

Technical similarities

There are some technical details that both the AirPods 2 and AirPods 3 have in common. I would like to briefly list them here:

  • Accelerometer for motion detection and voice recognition
  • Dual beamforming microphones
  • H1 chip
  • Bluetooth Version 5.0
  • Activate SIri via "Hey Siri"
  • automatic switching between Mac, iPad and iPhone
  • Live listen audio function (as a hearing aid)
  • Individual engraving option
    Apple's listing of specifications shows that the two AirPod models share many similar features. However, there are also significant differences that need to be considered. These include the design, the possibilities for spatial audio and the MagSafe-Charging function.
Here you can see the control panels of the AirPods 3, with which you can do much more than with the typing commands that you can transmit to the AirPods 2 (photo: Sir Apfelot).
Here you can see the control panels of the AirPods 3, with which you can do much more than with the typing commands that you can transmit to the AirPods 2 (photo: Sir Apfelot).


AirPods 2 AirPods 3
Dual optical sensors Apple audio driver
Operation: Double tap for play/stop, next track or answer call Operation: Press once to play/pause or answer a call; press twice for next song; press three times for previous song; press and hold for Siri
5 hours playtime on one charge Up to 6 hours of play time with one battery charge
over 24 hours of play time with charging via charging case over 30 hours of play time with charging via charging case
15 minutes of charging brings up to 3 hours of playtime 5 minutes of charging is enough for one hour of playtime
Skin detection sensors
Adaptive EQ
IPX4 protection class (resistant to water and sweat)
Spatial audio (3D audio) with dynamic head tracking
inward-facing microphones
Apple High Dynamic Range Amplifier
Only available with Lightning case Available with Lightning and MagSafe cases
Price: €159 (Lightning case)
» check here on Amazon
Price: €209 (Lightning Case) | €219 (MagSafe case)
» check here on Amazon

On Amazon, the AirPods 2 are only priced higher than the AirPods 3, so I'm only listing the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2 here.

27,00 EUR
Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) with MagSafe Charging Case (2022)
  • 3D audio with dynamic head tracking. For sound all around you
  • Adaptive EQ that automatically adjusts music to your ears
  • New contoured design
11,10 EUR
Apple AirPods Pro (2st Gen)​​​​​with MagSafe Charging Case (2022)
  • Active noise cancellation is up to 2x better than the previous AirPods Pro generation and reduces...
  • Adaptive Transparency lets you easily hear your surroundings while reducing the intensity of loud noises...
  • Personalized 3D audio surrounds you with sound optimized for you. It works with dynamic head tracking,...


My conclusion

I'm definitely a friend of the AirPods 3 and prefer them to the AirPods Pro as well. If I really need headphones with active noise cancellation, then I pick them up my airpods max back, which are significantly better than the AirPods Pro in terms of ANC.

If you want the cheapest AirPods, you can use the AirPods 2 or the 1st generation. However, if you can splurge on it or find a good deal, then I would recommend the AirPods 50.

And if you want it really cheap, you can here at Amazon the AirPods 1 for only 119 EUR get.


Why are the AirPods so successful?

Apple's AirPods have written an impressive success story since their introduction in 2016. This success can be explained by a combination of innovative design, seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem, high-quality audio performance and clever marketing. Below, we examine the key factors that have made the AirPods one of the most popular wireless earbuds on the market.

Innovative design and ease of use

One of the main reasons for the success of the AirPods is their innovative design. They're small, wireless and incredibly easy to use. Their simple but elegant aesthetic appeals to a wide target group. The AirPods also offer an impressive user experience, with features like automatically pausing audio when you remove an earbud and quickly pairing with Apple devices.

Seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem

The AirPods are seamlessly integrated into the Apple ecosystem. This means they work perfectly with iPhones, iPads, Macs and the Apple Watch. This integration includes features like easily switching between devices and using the “Find My” app to locate lost AirPods. This seamless connection drives customer loyalty and increases the likelihood that iPhone users will choose AirPods over products from other manufacturers.

High quality audio performance and innovative technology

Despite their small size, the AirPods offer high-quality audio performance. Apple has invested in developing its audio technology to ensure AirPods deliver clear, high-quality sound. The launch of AirPods Pro and AirPods Max introduced additional features such as active noise cancellation and spatial audio, further enhancing the listening experience.

Smart marketing

Apple is known for its effective marketing, and the AirPods are no exception. Through targeted advertising campaigns and the use of influencers, Apple has positioned the AirPods as a must-have accessory. These marketing strategies have helped to build a strong brand image and increase demand for the products.

The combination of innovative design, seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem, high-quality audio performance and effective marketing has made the AirPods a standout success. They are not only a technological product but also a fashion statement that has changed the way people use and perceive wireless headphones. This success reflects Apple's ability to create products that are both functionally compelling and emotionally engaging.

40,00 EURBestseller no. 1
Apple AirPods with wired charging case (2nd generation)
  • Automatic switching on and connecting
  • Easy setup for all your Apple devices
  • Quick access to Siri simply by saying "Hey Siri"
27,00 EURBestseller no. 2
Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) with MagSafe Charging Case (2022)
  • 3D audio with dynamic head tracking. For sound all around you
  • Adaptive EQ that automatically adjusts music to your ears
  • New contoured design
40,00 EURBestseller no. 3
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with MagSafe Case (USB-C)​​​​​
  • The Apple-developed H2 chip provides the power for the AirPods Pro and makes their advanced audio...
  • The low distortion and specially designed drivers and amplifiers deliver brilliant highs and deep, rich...
  • Adaptive Audio dynamically mixes Transparency mode and Active Noise Cancellation for the best...
77,00 EURBestseller no. 4
xinwld Bluetooth headphones, wireless Bluetooth 5.3 in-ear headphones with 4 ENC noise...
  • Advanced Bluetooth 5.3 technology: A97 Bluetooth headphones have a stable and low latency...
  • Excellent sound quality and ENC noise cancellation: A97 wireless headphones with 13mm...
  • Comfortable to wear: The ergonomic design ensures a secure fit and long-lasting comfort, no...
50,00 EURBestseller no. 5
Bluetooth headphones, wireless headphones Bluetooth 5.3 in-ear headphones with 4 microphones, wireless...
  • Captivating sound and automatic pairing: The A90 Pro wireless headphones have a unique...
  • Crystal clear calls: The bluetooth headphones in ear have 4 microphones and technology to suppress...
  • Advanced Bluetooth 5.3 chip:Wireless headphones with the advanced Bluetooth 5.3 chip and the ...

Which AirPods models have noise canceling?

Among the various models of AirPods from Apple, the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max offer the function of active noise cancellation. This technology is designed to minimize ambient noise so the user can enjoy a more immersive audio experience. Here is a quick overview of these models:

AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro were introduced in late October 2019 and are the first AirPods with active noise cancellation. They are in-ear headphones that come with soft, tapered silicone tips that are available in three sizes for a custom fit. The AirPods Pro not only offer noise canceling, but also a transparency mode that allows users to hear their surroundings without having to remove the headphones. This flexibility makes the AirPods Pro a versatile choice for different listening situations.

AirPods Max

The AirPods Max are Apple's first over-ear headphone model and were introduced in December 2020. They offer outstanding active noise cancellation, supported by the larger earcups and high-quality materials. Like the AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max also have a transparency mode. Additionally, they offer high-quality audio features such as spatial audio for an even more immersive experience. The AirPods Max are in the upper price segment due to their design, materials and technology.

Both models use Apple's advanced technology to provide effective noise cancellation that automatically adapts to the user's acoustic environment. They are ideal for users who work or travel in noisy environments, or simply want to enjoy music without annoying background noise.

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5 Responses to "Are the Apple AirPods 2 or 3 better?"

  1. Michael Gleissner

    I absolutely agree.
    The AirPods 3 sound so good and feel so comfortable (to my ears at least).
    The open system also sounds better than the Pro's
    With my AirPods pro, I always have the feeling that someone is sticking a wet finger in my ear. At some point they start to itch.
    I actually only wear them to mow the lawn or when I'm driving in the car with a lot of driving noise.

    1. "Wet finger in the ear" - that's exactly the right image for in-ear headphones. I also do not like that. But ANC headphones while mowing lawn is the best thing ever. Finally you can fill the time meaningfully with podcasts. 😊

  2. Hi, thanks for the nice confirmation. My hearing doesn't "stand" the pros either. Due to the transparency mode, I often had earaches or headaches. The Series 3, on the other hand, is the non plus ultra.

  3. Interesting, but that shows once again the variety in the product adaptation: the AirPods 3 regularly fall out of my ears (and therefore need a silicone cover) - the AirPods Pro one AND two (preferred because of battery life and sound), on the other hand here enjoyable in continuous use at work - and also in the evening when watching films with surround sound :)

    1. Yes, the preferences are just like the ears: different. 😊 But there are also many fans of the AirPods Pro... I think rightly so.

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