AirPods 3 in the test: quickly unnoticed in the ear

In the third generation, Apple’s AirPods have received a complete redesign for the first time. Shorter stems, new form and a print control. With this, Apple aligns the normal AirPods in the Pro version. The sound has also been massively improved.

New design – new fit

Even in the new design, Apple continues to rely on earbuds made of solid plastic and dispenses with silicone tips. As a result, the fit is not so variable. However, when they happen, they quickly lie in your ears unnoticed. Since they don’t exert any pressure, unlike in-ears, you can wear the headphones for hours and hardly even notice they’re there.

AirPods Pro 2 (left) vs AirPods 3 (right)
AirPods Pro 2 (left) vs AirPods 3 (right)

However, the fit has changed with the new design. The AirPods 1 & 2 stay in your ear with perfect, even while cycling, running or climbing. The AirPods 3 have fallen since they died, but they’re still in good shape.

Set up magically

Setting up the AirPods 3 couldn’t be easier. As soon as you open the AirPods near your iPhone for the first time, a splash screen will appear automatically. With a tap on “Connect”, the AirPods will automatically connect to the iPhone and all other devices in your Apple ID. However, there is also a button on the back of the case if you want to use the headphones with an Android or Windows device.

Since the AirPods are linked to the Apple ID, they automatically connect to the device that is currently playing audio. That works pretty well for the most part. The technology can only reach its limits if you listen to music on the computer and use your mobile phone at the same time. However, the automatic switching can also be switched off.

Louder and more bass

After the sound of the first and second generation was almost uniform, the AirPods 3 go a step further. Especially when it comes to bass, the new headphones go one step further without exaggerating. Highs and lows are reproduced clearly and spoken content also sounds excellent. I want to know that other non-silicone headphones are tested using sound.

An adaptive equalizer depending on the position in the ear and spatial audio complete the sound experience. The volume can be finely adjusted and goes very high. In the next year environment, 40 Prosent volumes are perfectly adequate. In extremely noisy environments, however, the headphones can reach their limits.


Due to the design, active noise suppression is not available. Visit our website to see the Huawei Freebuds 4 and the latest technology behind earbuds that have been tested, but the NC effect is limited. The AirPods 3 also don’t need a transparency mode, since you can see everything from your surroundings thanks to the open design. This is very pleasant in traffic or when making phone calls. Less hinges on buses and trains.


We set the AirPods Pro 2 (for testing) to Apple’s regular AirPods 3 from Pressure Control. Instead of responding to the headphones as before, you can trigger actions by squeezing the stems. As a result, incorrect inputs no longer occur when touching the headphones. A list of Pro models is missing from AirPods 3 new. You can’t swipe the pressure sensor to change the volume. To do this, you have to reach Siri or grab your iPhone or Apple Watch.

The skin contact sensor built into both headphones is practical. This lets you hear the headphones when you take them out of your ear and pause playback. Older AirPods and the competition use a proximity sensor for this. However, this cannot distinguish whether the headphones are in the ear or in the trouser pocket.

Unnecessary differences in loading

Once taken out of the case, you can listen to music with the AirPods 3 for 6 hours according to Apple. In our everyday test of a mix of music and podcasts at medium volume and a phone call, we even got a runtime of just over 9 hours. The headphones last much longer than the more expensive Pro version.

When it comes to charging, Apple makes it unnecessarily complicated for its customers. For 209 euros you get a standard case with a Lightning connector and without cable charging technology. For only 10 euros more – which is actually an irrelevant difference in this price range – the case also supports wireless charging via the QI standard and MagSafe. Charging with the Apple Watch charger, on the other hand, is reserved for the Pro version. USB-C is not available on any model. Apple will probably launch a revised case with a USB-C connection later this year.

These are the best earbuds out there

Apple AirPods 3 test seal with 80 Prosent test rating

With improved sound and easy handling, Apple’s AirPods 3 are probably the best earbuds on the market. But the competition is low, since most manufacturers in the high-end sector rely on in-ears and do not offer headphones with an open design. I’m on the verge of the AirPods Pro 2 (to test) and it’s true that AirTag feature is the case. In addition, the volume cannot be changed with a swipe gesture. However, this is probably due to the fact that the AirPods came onto the market half a year before the Pro model. At 209 or 219 euros depending on the case, the AirPods 3 are not exactly cheap, but they are a choice for fans of the design.

However, since the software is highly optimized for Apple devices and there are restrictions on Android, we would only recommend buying it for Apple users. You cannot use the Google Assistant or load software updates for the headphones on Android. The Nothing Ear Stick (for testing) is a suitable alternative here. They’re also a good alternative if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your headphones. The Freebuds 4 from Huawei (for testing) are also comparable, but lag behind the AirPods in terms of sound. So these have been on the market for two years and a successor should appear shortly.


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, AirPods 3 in the test: quickly unnoticed in the ear

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