This is full hands on Powerbeats 3 vs. Airpods comparison.
The AirPods pro, Apple’s latest in ear headphones. They offer up a few new features as well as a new design and of course, a higher price point. The question we’ve been receiving a lot lately is how well do they stack up against something like the Powerbeats 3? Well, in this article, I hope to answer that exact question.
Airpods Features You Don’t Get With Powerbeats 3
The first two main differences are ANC and transparency. ANC, which stands for Active Noise Cancellation. Active Noise Cancellation is a feature designed to block out as much of the outside world as possible so that you can really focus in on what you’re listening to. Noise cancelling headphones traditionally come in ear style.
And this is actually the first in ear headphone that I’ve tested to offer up noise cancellation and early testing has me very happy that Apple has included these in the latest AirPods.
I’m not sure if they’re going to be my go to for cutting out all of the noise and really loud environments, or like on an airplane, but they’re pretty good at cutting out just about everything else.
For example, I have a riding lawnmower that I use for my lawn, and sometimes I use my Powerbeats 3 to listen to music while cutting the grass and the interior style headphones, coupled with a pretty high level of volume offers up a pretty good listen to the experience, to where I can drown out most of the environment, including the loud sound of the lawnmower.
This past weekend, I tried out AirPods pro and the ANC feature combined with the snug in your fit, took things to another level. Now I was not only able to hear my music, but I was able to keep the volume at a much more respectable level and try not to damage my ears.
It’s not as good as some over ear noise cancelling headphones might be, but it definitely gets the job done. Transparency is also new and only found in AirPods pro. And what it does is adapt ANC to your environment, as well as use one of the built in microphones to amplify sounds near you so that you can carry on a conversation or hear announcements without having to pause your music or take your headphones out.
This can be done by a long squeeze on the STEM of the AirPods pro. You can also toggle ANC and transparency on or off inside of the AirPods pro settings or by long pressing the volume indicator on your iPhone or iPad in control center.
As far as the charging cases go, the Airpods pro cases are not only a lot smaller than the power beats 3 case but it also offers wireless charging so that you don’t have to use an extra lightening cable wherever you might charge your devices.
You can instead just put it on a wireless charger. Both cases offer up to 24 hours of additional use for your headphones, but here’s one of the main positives for the Powerbeats 3 and really the only main difference between these two pairs of headphones is the battery. While listening on a single charge can get you around nine hours use whereas the AirPods can reach about five hours.
If you don’t use ANC or the transparency feature with those features on Apple claims only four and a half hours of use on a single charge. So those are the main differences in terms of features.
And aside from battery life, they’re clearly in favor of the AirPods pro everything else feature-wise is exactly the same between each pair of headphones. You’ll get the same age, one chip that allows for quick pairing and continuity throughout all of your Apple devices as well as functionality.
Both headphones are IPX4 rated for sweat and water resistance. So both of these headphones should be highly considered for the gym. If that’s what you plan to use them.
Design: Powerbeats 3 vs. Airpods
The design of these two headphones will obviously be subjective and based on your own personal preferences and how well the headphones fit in your ear. The AirPods pro and power beats pro are in ear headphones. They require different size tips in order to get the right fit for your ears. You can choose anywhere from small, medium, or large, but one thing that’s pretty cool with the AirPods pro is that you can actually go into settings and run an ear tip fit test in order to figure out if you really do have the right size tips on or not.
Also the Powerbeats 3 have a very traditional STEM that the tip attaches to. Therefore, that’s kind of the part that’s shoved inside of your ear. It’s a hard plastic tip while you might get a bit more clarity in sound with these tips jammed right into your ear canal. It does lend some pretty serious ear fatigue.
Meaning after a few hours, my ears actually hurt a lot. It’s happened quite a bit. Anytime I’m on a long flight and I use my Powerbeats 3 and my ears hurt when I take them off. Well, I’ve only really had one long listening session over the last few days while doing some yard work. I didn’t notice my ears being particularly in any pain afterwards when using the AirPods pro.
That’s because if you actually remove the ear tip, you’ll see there isn’t actually a plastic STEM at all. These ear tips are custom designed in order to deliver high quality sound without a piece of plastic being jammed in your ear. That’s a huge bonus in my opinion. So that means the rest of the design is based on look and whether or not you want to deal with ear hooks or you don’t.
I personally don’t like the ear hooks, but you might, and that’s totally fine. I do wish the AirPods pro had better playback controls. However, and this is something I would say the Powerbeats 3 have an advantage on, or at least in my opinion, they do mostly volume control in order to control the volume on the AirPods pro you have to either use your phone, or if you have an Apple watch, you can use that, which is a lot easier.
Or you have to ask Siri, none of these are ideal, but that’s how you have to do it. The Powerbeats 3 have physical volume buttons on both headphones and the B logo also acts as a physical play pause, skip track button. For the air pods, these controls can be done by lightly squeezing the STEM.
So one squeeze for play and pause, two for skipping a track and three times for a previous track, its way better than the tapping of the STEM on standard AirPods.
But I do prefer the physical buttons on the Powerbeads 3.
Sound Quality: Powerbeats 3 vs. Airpods
Finally, the last thing I want to touch on is sound quality. And this section is going to be brief because to me, I don’t think there’s an incredible difference in sound quality between these two headphones, Powerbeats 3 have a warmer and more bass heavy sound profile to them whereas I think the AirPods pro offer up a slightly more neutral experience.
They don’t really have a ton of bass, but for me, it’s more than enough. They allow for the rest of the instruments to be more at the forefront rather than being drowned out by a lot of low end. Again, these differences aren’t super drastic, which is why I don’t think anyone would be upset with sound quality, regardless of which headphones they choose.
I like the AirPods pro a little bit more, but they are both really good. So which one should you buy? I would go with the AirPods pro however, you can find the Powerbeats 3, $50 cheaper on other third party websites with that said the ANC and transparency features alone are worthy of an extra $50.
So as I said, I would go with the AirPods pro I also just think they are a better overall product. But if you don’t care about ANC or transparency and $50 is a lot of money, then go ahead and get the power Powerbeats 3 and save yourself that money. Because I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed, regardless, at least in terms of sound quality and you still get all of those other features that isn’t ANC or transparency.