Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) Review: New Design, Familiar Experience

Apple’s AirPods have had an enormous position to play within the private audio phase, each technologically and culturally. Whereas true wi-fi earphones did exist earlier than the launch of the first-generation AirPods in late 2016, Apple’s product undeniably popularised the shape issue the world over. The success of Airpods impressed many manufacturers to dive into the fledgling product phase and even draw concepts from its iconic design. At the moment, whereas there are many true wi-fi choices from many manufacturers, the AirPods proceed to face out for his or her recognisable design and styling.

Apple not too long ago launched the AirPods (3rd Gen), priced at Rs. 18,500 in India. Though this headset is the successor to the AirPods (2nd Gen), it encompasses a fully reworked design that’s similar to that of the Rs. 24,900 AirPods Pro. Nonetheless, it lacks a number of the options that set the corporate’s flagship headset aside. Is the Apple AirPods (third Gen) the perfect true wi-fi headset you should purchase underneath Rs. 20,000, and simply how nicely does it work? Discover out on this evaluation.

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Like the remainder of Apple’s true wi-fi vary, the AirPods (third Gen) is accessible in only a single color – white

MagSafe charging case for the Apple AirPods (third Gen)

With the third era, Apple has adopted a brand new design for the AirPods, taking inspiration from the AirPods Pro. The stems of the earpieces are shorter, and there’s now a force-touch button on every earpiece for controls, much like that of the Professional headset. Nonetheless, not like the Professional which has silicone ear suggestions for a safer and noise isolating match, the AirPods (third Gen) have the identical outer-ear match as the unique AirPods.

The AirPods (third Gen)’s earpieces are additionally greater than these of the non-Professional AirPods, and have wider grilles. Consequently, the match is safer than that of the AirPods (2nd Gen), however not as safe and noise isolating as that of the AirPods Professional.

I might hear loads of ambient sound when sporting the brand new AirPods, and that is by design, to make them appropriate for outside use. As has change into the norm for true wi-fi earphones from Apple, the AirPods (third Gen) is accessible solely in white. The earpieces and charging case are IPX4 rated for water resistance, and can be capable to deal with gentle sprinkles of water and sweat.

An enormous change is the addition of force-touch controls on the Apple AirPods (third Gen). In contrast to the much less exact contact controls on the first- and second-gen AirPods, force-touch requires a really deliberate gesture much like urgent a button, and suggestions from the headset additionally makes you are feeling as if these are mechanical buttons, regardless that they don’t seem to be.

The controls assist you to play and pause music, skip to the following or earlier observe, and reply calls, in addition to invoke Siri with out utilizing your smartphone. Though you possibly can’t management quantity instantly from the headset, you should utilize Siri voice instructions to regulate it.

The charging case of the Apple AirPods (third Gen) is shorter and wider than that of the 2nd Gen variant, to accommodate the form of the brand new earpieces. The Lightning port for charging is on the backside, the pairing button is on the again, and the indicator gentle is on the entrance. The case helps Qi wi-fi charging with MagSafe compatibility for supported equipment.

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The Apple AirPods (third Gen) has an outer-ear match; there aren’t any silicone ear suggestions as on the AirPods Professional

Apple continues to make use of Bluetooth 5 and the AAC Bluetooth codec because the default choice when paired with Apple supply gadgets, though there’s additionally SBC codec help. The AirPods (third Gen) makes use of Apple’s in-house H1 chip, which permits for quick pairing and makes connectivity work nicely with different Apple gadgets. There’s additionally a pores and skin detection sensor, which lets the headset know when it is in your ears to manage the automated playback and pause capabilities. There is no lively noise cancellation on the AirPods (third Gen), and the gross sales bundle contains solely a USB Sort-C to Lightning charging cable.

Battery life on the Apple AirPods (third Gen) is best than on the 2nd Gen or Professional fashions; I used to be in a position to get slightly over 5 hours of utilization time on the earpieces with each music and calls. The charging case holds sufficient energy to cost the earpieces 4 instances over, giving me a complete battery lifetime of round 25-26 hours per cost cycle. That is fairly good given the characteristic set of the AirPods (third Gen).

Spatial Audio and full-fledged Siri on the AirPods (third Gen)

Apple launched Spatial Audio with Apple TV, and rolled it out for Apple Music in mid-2021. The AirPods (third Gen), just like the AirPods Professional and AirPods Max, helps Spatial Audio, together with head-tracking for supported providers.

The Siri voice assistant can be supported on the AirPods (third Gen), with the choice to allow the hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ wake phrase. This works simply as it will on an iPhone or HomePod, though the headset does want the paired with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to be linked to the Web. Siri can learn out incoming notifications, modify quantity and management playback, fetch particular content material, name contacts, and extra, instantly from the headset with out a lot as touching the supply system, and all of this labored as anticipated for me.

Different key options embody Apple’s fast pairing and setup, which detects the AirPods (third Gen) and hyperlinks it to your Apple ID, so you possibly can routinely pair and shortly swap between your different Apple gadgets. This additionally permits for enhanced performance with the Discover My app on iOS. The Discover My performance contains native monitoring and notifications when the headset is left behind – much like what you get with an Apple AirTag.

You may, in fact, pair the AirPods (third Gen) with different gadgets comparable to Android telephones utilizing normal Bluetooth. Nonetheless, the improved options that you just get when utilizing the headset with Apple gadgets will not be out there.

Good sound, however poor noise isolation on the Apple AirPods (third Gen)

This generational change for the AirPods goes far past simply design; the AirPods (third Gen) have some key options from the AirPods Professional that set it other than the 2nd Gen mannequin. These embody Adaptive EQ, the corporate’s customized high-excursion drivers and excessive dynamic vary amplifier, and Spatial Audio help. All of those give the brand new AirPods a sound that’s nearer to that of the dearer AirPods Professional, albeit with out lively noise cancellation.

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To unlock the complete characteristic set of the AirPods (third Gen), you may want an iOS system

The dearth of ANC is each a profit and a downside on the AirPods (third Gen); the precise audio sign is ‘unadulterated’, so to talk, however on the similar time, you are listening to loads of ambient sound together with music which might hamper the listening expertise. That stated, the earphones are loud and clear sufficient to make for a good listening expertise even in considerably noisy environments.

Apple’s Adaptive EQ characteristic – additionally seen on the dearer AirPods Professional and AirPods Max – is current on the AirPods (third Gen), aided by microphones on the insides of the earpieces that enable for computerized equaliser adjustment based on the form of the consumer’s ears. Certainly, I discovered the sound to be extra much like that of the AirPods Professional than the second-generation AirPods; the sonic signature appeared to have the ability to modify itself to varied genres and tracks on the fly.

Beginning with Snitch by Netsky and Aloe Blacc, the Apple AirPods (third Gen) made for a sound that was instantly partaking and nicely calibrated for the observe, giving each a part of the frequency vary its due consideration. The beginning of the observe was detailed, with Aloe Blacc’s vocals sounding sharp and clear. This punchy, synthesised digital observe sounded spectacular, with the AirPods (third Gen) flowing by means of it virtually intuitively.

Extra aggressive and sooner tracks comparable to Holdin’ On (Skrillex and Nero Remix) by Monsta sounded cohesive and attacking, with the AirPods (third Gen) managing to maintain up with the fixed change in tempo within the observe, switching between the gentler vocals and aggressive bass. With the slower and extra refined Reality by Kamasi Washington, the earphones managed to convey out the element within the jazz devices, whereas slowly and calculatingly adjusting to the refined modifications in tempo and tone.

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Adaptive EQ and good tuning make the AirPods (third Gen) sound good, however the lack of noise isolation does maintain the expertise again a bit

Efficiency was additionally fairly good with the speech-only audio of audiobooks, though I did want to show the amount as much as virtually the utmost degree when outdoor to overpower ambient sounds. On the entire, the Apple AirPods (third Gen) makes for an interesting listening expertise, and is ready to tailor itself to the style and observe in play. The sound is nearly pretty much as good as on the AirPods Professional, however clearly barely totally different due to the shortage of lively noise cancellation and the flexibility to listen to a good quantity of what is going on on within the background.

Though Spatial Audio with help for Dolby Atmos and head monitoring is not new to even the AirPods vary, it is change into far more related because it got here to Apple Music in mid-2021. The AirPods (third Gen) helps all of those options of Apple TV and Apple Music when used with a appropriate supply system.

Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio efficiency is pretty much as good as on the AirPods Professional, with the earphones in a position to simulate a encompass sound expertise regardless of the plain limitations of two-channel audio. Head monitoring is spectacular as nicely; turning my head when listening to sure tracks resulted within the music “staying in place” because it had been; the vocals in Dolby Atmos-enabled tracks often gave the impression of they had been originating from the route of the supply system, even when my head was dealing with a special route.

Apple has its personal means of lowering wind and different ambient sounds when on calls, utilizing an acoustic mesh across the microphones. Though it is laborious to inform simply how a lot of a distinction that is making to the general expertise, I did have good experiences with calls on the AirPods (third Gen) each indoors and outdoor. Nonetheless, the shortage of lively noise cancellation and noise isolation did considerably have an effect on my potential to focus on calls if I wasn’t in a quiet area.

There’s additionally help for a brand new AAC-ELD codec, which is alleged to enhance voice efficiency on FaceTime calls. I did not notably discover any distinction from earlier than, although.


Priced at Rs. 18,500 in India, the Apple AirPods (third Gen) is an costly pair of true wi-fi earphones, on condition that there is no lively noise cancellation. Nonetheless, in all different methods, it is a good pair of earphones. It really works very nicely with Apple gadgets and equipment, sounds good, and affords an all-round utilization expertise that’s tailor-made round iOS, Siri, and Apple Music. Though naturally not fairly pretty much as good because the AirPods Professional, that is the following best choice, notably when you’ve got a price range of lower than Rs. 20,000.

A number of competing choices at round this worth and even decrease supply higher passive noise isolation (until you like an outer-ear match) and lively noise cancellation, however the AirPods (third Gen) is designed to work nicely inside the Apple ecosystem. If in case you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you may need to take into account the AirPods (third Gen) over choices from competing manufacturers, purely for the way nicely they work collectively. That stated, with the AirPods Pro discounted closely when on sale, you would possibly be capable to purchase that at only a barely larger worth than that of the AirPods (third Gen).

This week on Orbital, the Devices 360 podcast, we focus on iPhone 13, new iPad and iPad mini, and Apple Watch Sequence 7 — and what they imply to the Indian market. Orbital is accessible on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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