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AirPods 3rd Gen review – a new design and better sound

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  • Design

Apple's AirPods 3rd Gen have made a good product a lot better with superior audio quality, full sensor controls an even longer battery life. It's no wonder these are the most popular earphones in the world.

Apple’s new 3rd generation AirPods look different and sound different – and in both instances that’s a great thing.

The stems on the new AirPods are 33 per cent shorter and incorporate a force sensor so you can take even more control of your music.

The AirPods are among the most popular wireless earphones in the world and this 3rd generation version makes them even more attractive.

Design wise, apart from the shorter stems, they also have a slightly different shape and are angled to rest inside your ear securely without having to jam them into your ear canal.

For our ears, the new AirPods were a comfortable fit but there were times where they didn’t feel as secure as we’d like.

We used them while walking, jogging and riding and they didn’t go anywhere.

But they were a few occasions where we would touch the side of our head and they would come loose.

Apple knows, like every other earphone and headphone manufacturer, that no two ears are alike and they are almost as unique to an individual as their fingerprints.

Apple says it made thousands of ear scans and measurements and studied acoustics to come up with the design that gently tapers and sits at just the right angle to not only be comfortable but to also direct the audio clearly into your ear.

Naturally, the AirPods are a favourite for people to wear while they are exercising or in the gym.

They can easily meet those needs thanks to an IPX4 rating for sweat and water.

The other nifty addition is the force sensor that allows you to play, pause and answer a call with one press of the stem.

You can skip forward with two presses, skip back with three presses and get Siri’s attention when you press and hold.

One thing everyone will notice is the improvement in audio quality thanks to the new custom driver and high dynamic range amplifier that can produce great sounds at all levels including crisp and clean high frequencies and solid and consistent bass.

The acoustic design also works with the advanced software and takes advantage of computational audio to maximise the quality.

What helps here is the adaptive EQ which changes the music for each user’s ear geometry and fit.

It uses an inward facing microphone to listen to the sound you hear and then, with the assistance of computational audio, adaptive EQ tunes in real time the low and mid frequencies to the shape of your ear to produce a rich and consistent listening experience.

And that audio quality also extends to voice.

Acoustic mesh conceals a microphone that’s in et in each earbud to minimise wind noise when you’re on a call, so you’ll always be heard loud and clear.

The new AirPods also include AAC-ELD – a superior speech codec that offers full HD voice quality to provide clear and natural communication for your calls.

The new AirPods also give users spatial audio with dynamic headtracking so you can be immersed in your sound when you’re listening to music, movies, games and even group FaceTime calls.

Dolby Atmos in Apple Music does provide this immersive experience with dynamic headtracking fixing the soundstage in one point to give you a more immersive sound experience.

It’s like being in the front row seat of your favourite artist’s concert.

The new AirPods also have a new skin detect optical sensor which, when combined with the accelerometer, can determine immediately if the AirPods are in your ears or in your pockets.

This means your music is immediately paused when it’s removed from your ear and immediately resumes when you replace the AirPods in your ear again.

The AirPods 3rd Gen can offer up to six hours of uninterrupted listening on a single charge – that’s an hour longer than the previous generation.

And a quick five-minute charge inside the case can give you about an hour of battery life.

Speaking of the case, the AirPods deliver up to 30 hours of total listing time when you take the case into account.

The case is now also MagSafe compatible so you can charge them wirelessly on a MagSafe accessory or any Qi-certified charger all with a lightning cable.

Another feature that makes the AirPods attractive to iPhone users, is the ease in which they can be paired to your iPhone with one touch.

That not only pairs it to your iPhone or iPad but it makes it available to all the Apple devices you have in your iCloud account so you can connect to those devices also with a single tap.

What you don’t get with the AirPods 3rd Gen is active noise cancellation (ANC).

And without any silicon tips you barely get passive noise cancellation either.

But that doesn’t stand in the way of the audio quality which really punches above its weight for this price point.

There are many competitive models which are around the same price and even cheaper the do offer active noise cancellation and also silicon tips for a more secure fit.

if you want a pair of AirPods with noise cancellation you’ll need to upgrade to the AirPods Pro which are priced at $399.

That’s the only feature that separates the AirPods 3rd Gen and AirPods Pro.

The new AirPods 3rd Gen are available now and are priced at $279.

VERDICT

Apple’s AirPods 3rd Gen have made a good product a lot better with superior audio quality, full sensor controls an even longer battery life. It’s no wonder these are the most popular earphones in the world.