Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) Review: New Design, Familiar Experience – NDTV
Apple’s AirPods have had a huge role to play in the personal audio segment, both technologically and culturally. While true wireless earphones did exist before the launch of the first-generation AirPods in late 2016, Apple’s product undeniably popularised the form factor the world over. The success of Airpods inspired many brands to dive into the fledgling product segment and even draw ideas from its iconic design. Today, while there are plenty of true wireless options from many brands, the AirPods continue to stand out for their recognisable design and styling.
Apple recently launched the AirPods (3rd Gen), priced at Rs. 18,500 in India. Although this headset is the successor to the AirPods (2nd Gen), it features a completely reworked design that is very similar to that of the Rs. 24,900 AirPods Pro. However, it lacks some of the features that set the company’s flagship headset apart. Is the Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) the best true wireless headset you can buy under Rs. 20,000, and just how well does it work? Find out in this review.
MagSafe charging case for the Apple AirPods (3rd Gen)
With the third generation, Apple has adopted a new design for the AirPods, taking inspiration from the AirPods Pro. The stems of the earpieces are shorter, and there is now a force-touch button on each earpiece for controls, similar to that of the Pro headset. However, unlike the Pro which has silicone ear tips for a more secure and noise isolating fit, the AirPods (3rd Gen) have the same outer-ear fit as the original AirPods.
The AirPods (3rd Gen)’s earpieces are also bigger than those of the non-Pro AirPods, and have wider grilles. As a result, the fit is more secure than that of the AirPods (2nd Gen), but not as secure and noise isolating as that of the AirPods Pro.
I could hear plenty of ambient sound when wearing the new AirPods, and this is by design, to make them suitable for outdoor use. As has become the norm for true wireless earphones from Apple, the AirPods (3rd Gen) is available only in white. The earpieces and charging case are IPX4 rated for water resistance, and will be able to handle light sprinkles of water and sweat.
A big change is the addition of force-touch controls on the Apple AirPods (3rd Gen). Unlike the less precise touch controls on the first- and second-gen AirPods, force-touch requires a very deliberate gesture similar to pressing a button, and feedback from the headset also makes you feel as though these are mechanical buttons, even though they aren’t.
The controls allow you to play and pause music, skip to the next or previous track, and answer calls, as well as invoke Siri without using your smartphone. Although you can’t control volume directly from the headset, you can use Siri voice commands to adjust it.
The charging case of the Apple AirPods (3rd Gen) is shorter and wider than that of the 2nd Gen variant, to accommodate the shape of the new earpieces. The Lightning port for charging is at the bottom, the pairing button is at the back, and the indicator light is on the front. The case supports Qi wireless charging with MagSafe compatibility for supported accessories.