It’s impossible to ignore the poor quality of noise cancelling and the short battery life. Your money is better spent elsewhere, despite the design winning.
Price: from PS169 from Amazon
Spatial audio support; excellent design and build; fine mics; surprising good bass; IPX4
Even compared to other Apple-made products, it is overpriced.
Value for money. It’s an important factor in reviewing any product. Yes, it’s not as alluring as evaluating sleek design or new abilities, but it’s key nonetheless. In a world where reviewers on the whole don’t pay for the products they are evaluating, the bearing of this vital aspect can occasionally be, not forgotten, but diluted.
Readers often ask me how high-end phones can cost half of the average PS2,647 monthly salary. My answer is that phones are more than just phones. They are also our music player, camera, TV, and mobile computer. The Motorola 3200 brick phone, a massive Motorola, from the 1980s, would have cost us a staggeringly familiar sum of PS1,651 adjusted to inflation. But it was a phone. It could not even play Snake.
However, headphones are still only headphones. Yes, the wires are. Yes, mics were added. Yes, they are equipped with tech advancements such as wireless charging and noise cancelling. They still serve the same purpose. The cost of these tech advancements has dropped. Even in budget buds, noise cancelling is commonplace. Wireless charging is the same.
This has led to Apple’s success AirPods looking increasingly outdated compared with a growing number of superior competition. The original AirPods have remained largely unchanged for five long years. AirPods 3 are finally here to bring these beloved buds up-to-date. They cost significantly more than the competition. Is it possible for the company to justify the “Apple tax”, which is perhaps the most obvious yet. It’s not. Here’s why.
Who is it for?
Apple is the most famous stan. There are many of them. It is certain that millions of these earbuds will be sold by the company. It is a different matter if they are entitled to.
AirPods 3 are for people who love to be immersed in Apple’s ecosystem. They can use Siri as much as they like, and also have an Apple Watch. This allows them to rejoice every time logins and docs seamlessly sync between iMac, MacBook, and iPhone. They are all in, so they won’t have to pay a lot for earphones. However, these punters should own AirPods Pros.
AirPods were not for everyone when they first appeared in 2016. AirPods were able to last for five hours on a single charge, and they delivered what they promised. This is no longer true.
The design is one of the biggest benefits of the new AirPods. The new design draws heavily on the AirPods Pro. It features a contoured earbud and shorter stems that have the AirPods Pro force sensor. As a result, they look premium. They are water and sweat resistant with an IPX4 rating. The battery life can be extended from just one hour to six hours per charge, plus four additional full charges.
The inside has also been updated. The new driver and high-dynamic range amplifier have been custom-built to deliver more powerful bass, as well as sharp high frequencies. Each earbud has an inset microphone that reduces wind noise. The Lightning cable is still used for connection.
Living with it
This new design has two sides. You will feel as though you are about to experience an audio experience similar to the Pros. But, of course, you won’t. There is no noise cancellation here because there are no silicone tips. If you’re used to ANC, it will be a surprise to hear the bleed of noise from the new AirPods. If you listen to podcasts, traffic noise can ruin your listening experience. Music lovers will sometimes want more volume to drown out background noise or Tube clatter.
Fit issues are also addressed by the new design. Flexible silicone can always outperform hard plastic, so the quality and fit of these new AirPods will depend on your lugholes. They fit well and don’t fall out even while running. This won’t necessarily be true for everyone. A single size will not work for everyone.
The new AirPods now have adaptive EQ to try and reduce this fact. Apple claims that the tech adjusts the low and middle frequencies in real-time “to account for variances in fit”. To give credit where credit is due, this works in some ways but not all. AirPods 3’s low frequencies are impressively rendered, but not the midrange. Although the audio experience is a vast improvement over the basic AirPods 2, only so much computational wizardry can be achieved.
Apple is promoting dynamic head tracking and spatial audio in its new buds. Wearers of spatial audio can enjoy 3D sound powered with Dolby Atmos on compatible music, video, and group FaceTime calls. This will depend on your interest in positional tricksery. While it can be very immersive when watching movies, I find it distracting when watching TV programs. The problem is that very little music was recorded using this technology, so the experience you get is not what the artist intended.
The best thing about the new AirPods? They can pair with Apple devices. This allows for auto switching between iPhones, iPads, and Macs. For example, if you receive a call, the audio automatically routes over to your iPhone so that you can pick it up. Siri integration is available, with always-on commands. Audio sharing can be temporarily enabled with iPads and iPhones. You can track lost pairs through Find My.
Apple also addressed a problem with AirPods. The automatic pause when you take them out was not working if the buds were in your pocket. New AirPods have a skin sensor and an accelerometer that can detect if they are in your ears. This is a battery-saving feature. I tried to fool the sensor but was unsuccessful.
Why, oh why…
Here we come to the inevitable problem of price or value for money. The AirPods 3 will cost you PS169. These earphones are outrageously expensive when you consider that the competition offers a lot more, including noise cancellation, such as the Everything Ear 1 (PS99).. But, amazingly, they don’t even compare to other earphones Apple makes.
The Beats studio Buds (PS129-) offer the same sweat resistance rating, two hours longer battery life, active noise cancellation, and a lower price of PS40 at PS129. The Beats Fit Pro ($200), which has the same spatial audio technology and H1 chip as the AirPods Pro, can be seen as an upgraded AirPods Pro. They are priced at $200 and have a data-offer URL=”https://amzn.to/2YaULFO” href=”https://amzn.to/2YaULFO”>Beats Studio Buds (PS129) for PS40 less than the original. You can get new AirPods Pros for PS200.
Should I buy it?
You would be better off buying any of these options than the AirPods 3 for the same price. It doesn’t really matter how expensive Apple gear is, you can conclude that these headphones are not worth the money. These earphones look great and sound great (mostly), but you should look elsewhere – even within Apple.