Apple announce new AirPods, how do they compare?

This morning Apple held a global virtual event to announce a series of products, including the AirPods 3. The new Apple AirPods 3 replace the long stemmed design we saw from the original AirPods. They now have a similar design to the AirPods Pro but don’t have all of its features.

The AirPods 3 have spatial audio (or 360 audio) capabilities to create an almost virtual surround sound experience. Rather than adding noise cancellation technology from the AirPods Pro, this model uses adaptive EQ to hear your surroundings and adjusts your audio experience around it. It won’t block ambient noise, it’ll try and fight it. Other new features include wireless and MagSafe charging, six hours of battery life and up to 30 hours of total battery with the case. An IPX4 rating means it is also sweat and water resistant.

The AirPods 3 will sell for AU $279 and be available from the 26th of October. The existing AirPods Pro remain in the fleet for $299 and the now dated AirPods 2 remain on sale for $219, likely while stocks last.

How does it compare to the competition?

When it comes to wireless earbuds we are officially spoiled for choice, which makes this market extremely competitive. The AirPods 3 face a strong field of opponents and here are three notable options you should consider which will still work with your Apple devices.

Google Pixel Buds A-Series

These small white buds from Google don’t have a stem like the AirPods and also don’t feature noise cancellation. Instead they also use adaptive audio features to adjust the volume to suit noise or quiet environments without you needing to do anything. The Pixel Buds use small gels to ensure a comfortable fit which also won’t fall out during workouts. They’re also sweat and water resistant and potentially the most similar to the new AirPods in features. The main difference however is the price, these buds will set you back $159 in Australia, quite a big saving.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung offer a variety of earbuds and the Buds Pro is a great competitor to the AirPods. The Buds Pro feature active noise cancelling technology to block out ambient noise and allow you to listen at lower volumes without the competing external sounds. The buds carry 2-way speakers tuned by AKG and support 360 Audio for that virtual surround experience. Available in violet, black, silver and white, Samsung actually offer a choice beyond just white. These are really a better alternative for the AirPods Pro but at $299 RRP they are only a small increase on the new AirPods 3 and worth a look.

Jabra Elite 7 Pro

Jabra is a company that specialises in audio. Their bread and butter is communication and they’ve been doing it for longer than any other brand in this article. Their latest buds, the Elite 7 Pro are their most advanced pair yet. Active Noise Cancellation is standard and the experience is as good as over ear headphones. Their biggest strength above all the others though is in their microphones. If you take calls on your buds the four microphones and a voice pick up sensor ensure only your voice is heard, even in a noisy environment. You can use the buds for up to 8 hours without a pause and up to 30 hours with the case. Like the Galaxy Buds Pro, these retail for $299 and would be my pick of the bunch, sorry Apple.

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