Should You Upgrade? AirPods 2 vs AirPods 3 Buyer’s Guide

Apple released a substantial update for its basic AirPods earlier this month, with the new earphones including spatial audio, Adaptive EQ, force sensors, sweat and water resistance, MagSafe charging, and other features.

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Apple is still selling the second-generation AirPods, which were released in March 2019, for $129 instead of $199.

Should You Upgrade? AirPods 2 vs. AirPods 3 Buyer's Guide

Do you need the newest AirPods, which cost $179, or should you get the second-generation AirPods for $129? You may, on the other hand, already own the second-generation AirPods and are debating whether or not to update. Our guide will assist you in determining which set of AirPods is ideal for you.

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Comparing the Second-Generation AirPods and Third-Generation AirPods

The H1 microprocessor and beamforming microphones are shared by the second-generation and third-generation AirPods. The two devices have the following characteristics in common, according to Apple:


  • Motion-detecting accelerometers
  • Speech-detecting accelerometers
  • Dual beamforming microphones
  • H1 chip
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Hey Siri
  • Automatic device switching
  • Live Listen audio
  • Headphone levels
  • Personalized engraving option

The two sets of AirPods share a lot of crucial characteristics, according to Apple’s analysis. Even yet, there are several notable distinctions between them, such as design, spatial audio, and MagSafe charging, that are worth noting.

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Second-Generation AirPods

  • Dual optical sensors
  • Double-tap to play, skip forward, or answer a phone call
  • Charging Case
  • Up to 5 hours of listening time with a single charge
  • More than 24 hours of listening time with charging case
  • 15 minutes in the case provides up to three hours listening time
  • $129

Third-Generation AirPods

  • Custom high-excursion Apple driver
  • Custom high dynamic range amplifier
  • Inward-facing microphone
  • Skin-detect sensors
  • Force sensor
  • Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call, press twice to skip forward, press three times to skip back, and press and hold for ‌Siri‌
  • Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking
  • Adaptive EQ
  • IPX4 Sweat and water resistance
  • ‌MagSafe‌ Charging Case with Qi wireless charging
  • Up to 6 hours of listening time with a single charge (up to 5 hours with spatial audio)
  • Up to 30 hours of listening time with charging case
  • Five minutes in the case provides around one hour of listening time
  • $179

Other AirPods Alternatives

If you want AirPods but want Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) or an in-ear design, the AirPods Pro, which start at $249, are a good option. These AirPods have all of the same capabilities as the third-generation AirPods, but with silicone tips that fit within the ear canal and enable ANC, as well as a Transparency mode that lets outside sounds in.

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If you have trouble keeping regular earbuds in your ears or simply prefer an in-ear design, the AirPods Pro are a better option if you can afford them. Similarly, owing to ANC, the AirPods Pro will be better ideal for usage in loud areas. If you want to use Apple’s Conversation Boost accessibility function, AirPods Pro is a fantastic investment.

The AirPods Max, which retail for $549, provide a higher-fidelity audio experience. These are over-ear headphones that improve the listening experience by providing greater sound quality, better Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and up to 20 hours of listening time on a single charge.

Last Thoughts

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If you can afford the extra $50, purchasing the third-generation AirPods over the second-generation model will be beneficial. Improved design and sound quality, spatial audio, adaptive EQ, sweat and water resistance, and MagSafe charging are just a few of the new features and enhancements in the third-generation AirPods.

The third-generation AirPods are a far better choice if you want AirPods that are suited for workouts or usage in the weather, a more immersive music and movie experience, compatibility with an existing MagSafe charger, or simply a more unobtrusive design. If you currently own the second-generation AirPods, upgrading to the third-generation model may be worthwhile if you’re interested in any of the new capabilities or want a variety of overall improvements.

With easy connection, automated device switching, and Hey Siri, the second-generation AirPods are still a wonderful introduction to the AirPods experience, but the third-generation model offers a significant amount of upgrades. Because AirPods are sometimes discounted on Amazon and other third-party retailers, upgrading to the third-generation model may be more worthwhile if you can take advantage of one of these offers.

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