As the third-gen Apple AirPods will join Apple’s audio line-up. Here’s a guide to the best pair for your needs.
After serious speculation and a ton of anticipation, Apple finally debuted its third-generation AirPods last week at the Unleashed event, amongst a number of other exciting updates. The new AirPods join a growing family of audio devices by the Cupertino-based tech giant, which is clearly placing a bigger emphasis on audio, and delivering the best sound quality to users to create the ultimate Apple universe. The pair will join Apple’s current line-up in stores today, which also includes the second-generation AirPods, the AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max, so the bigger question now then, is which to get. We break it down for you below.
Third-generation Apple Airpods
The latest AirPods is Apple’s third iteration of the earphones that “inspired” a hundred more, and there are plenty of advancements worth noting here. Integrated within is a H1 chip and an Apple-designed acoustic system, which works together to deliver sound like never before.
We’re talking about features like spatial audio, which will allow you to experience Apple Music, movies, and TV shows with Dolby Atmos in a whole new light. This feature can also be applied to FaceTime calls, which — for better or worse — gives the impression that your fellow callers are right in the room with you.
There is also Adaptive EQ here; the AirPods Pro and Airpods Max use the same technology to measure the sound signal delivered to its user, before adjusting the low and mid-frequencies in real time for a detailed audio experience no matter where you are or what you’re doing. When paired with a custom driver and a high dynamic range amplifier, it produces powerful bass with crisp, clean high frequencies.
The third-gen AirPods are noticeably different from its predecessor; it’s got a shorter stem and sports a new contour design that works with the Adaptive EQ. Its storage case is also wider, so if you already have a protective AirPods case you’ll have to invest in a new one. There’s now also a force sensor on the stem — similar to the AirPods Pro — for media control.
If you’re always on the go, the AirPods will oblige up to six hours of listening time per charge, and the charging case gets you an additional four full charges for up to 30 hours of listening time. Even if you forget to charge them the night before, you only need five minutes of charging time to give you an hour of use. When you finally get home or into the office, simply place the AirPods on your MagSafe charger for extra juice. Can’t find your new AirPods? Find My is now also applicable to the new pairs, just like the Pro and Max models.
Unlike its previous iteration, these are sweat- and water-resistant — perfect if you’re up for a workout or if you get caught in the rain.
The AirPods Pro dropped almost two years ago as an exciting addition to Apple’s revolutionary wireless earphones family, but still remains to be one of the best in its class for both its sound quality and ease of use.
Like the new AirPods, these come with Adaptive EQ, which when paired with the sealed ear tips (which the new ones don’t have) provide an immersive sound experience. What it also has that the new AirPods don’t is Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. The former uses advanced software to continuously adapt to the ears and how the earphones fit, removing any background noise in the process so its user can focus on whatever’s playing on their device.
On the flip side is Transparency mode, which allows users to listen to music while still hearing the environment around them. The two can be toggled via a force sensor on the stem.
The battery life for the H1-powered AirPods Pro clocks in at up to five hours of listening time per charge, with the wireless charging case providing over 24 hours of additional listening time. If you’re an audiophile who can’t deal with traffic noise or incessant chatting when you’re listening to music, this is the one for you.
After redefining the true wireless earbuds category with the AirPods and AirPods Pro, Apple had its sights set on bigger prizes, and so the AirPods Max was born.
Like the AirPods Pro, the brand’s first pair of wireless headphones have Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode features, which works with its sleek over-ear design to produce high-fidelity sound.
And, like the other two here, the AirPods Max is also powered by the H1 chip and advanced software, so Adaptive EQ and spatial audio are also available to make watch movies and listening to your favourite songs an even more exciting experience.
Because design is at the core of all Apple products, these headphones are sleek — almost futuristic-looking — with its smooth aluminium ear cups, each outfitted with a custom-designed mesh textile for breathability all day. The fabric can also be seen on its mesh canopy band, which sits on top of the head without any of the annoying pressure felt with regular plastic or leather ones. The comfort continues with a mechanism that independently pivots and rotates on the ear cups, so you’ll also be comfortable no matter how big or weirdly shaped your head is.
Overall, expect a well-balanced aural experience amongst the highs, mids, and lows. The bass isn’t exceptionally strong here, but it’s enough to be felt in any genre. Choose a Dolby Atmos film or song, and you’ll truly notice the difference with and without spatial audio here.
Battery life for the AirPods Max is around 20 hours with Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio enabled. Keep them in their case, and they’ll slip into a low power mode that will preserve your battery for months.
All images: Courtesy brand
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore