AirPods vs. AirPods Pro: Which is right for your ears?
Macworld|December 2021
Don't know whether to buy the AirPods (2nd gen), AirPods (3rd gen), or AirPods Pro? Here's how they stack up.
JASON CROSS

Over the last two years, Apple has gone from selling one AirPods model to selling four.

You can currently buy three different earbuds—the 2nd-gen AirPods (fave.co/3nTOFUV), 3rd-gen AirPods (fave.co/3BIDtOm), and AirPods Pro (fave.co/3BGniRe)-or the AirPods Max overthe-ear headphones (fave.co/3pfOAUR).

Let's set that last option aside for a moment. If you're willing to spend $500 or more on a pair of cans, you're making a whole different buying decision than if you want true wireless earbuds.

But that still leaves three relatively similar-seeming earbuds to choose from. So which is right for you?

FEATURES AT A GLANCE

Maybe the best way to make a buying decision is to see how the three current AirPods stack up side by side (see above).

DESIGN

The most obvious difference between the three models is their design. The 2nd-generation AirPods has the design you've known since 2016, with long white stems and earbuds resembling the earpods that used to come with iPhones, but without a wire.

The new 3rd-generation AirPods have shorter stems and a more bulbous, rounded earpiece. Despite the shorter stems, they're very similar in weight to the older AirPods (just slightly heavier). The charging case looks identical to that of the AirPods Pro-shorter and wider. The AirPods Pro take the short-stem design and add rubberized eartips to the earbuds, to create more of a seal that blocks out noise and increases bass response.

No matter which AirPods you choose, you can only get them in white.

NOISE CANCELING

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