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The difference between AirPods and AirPods Pro

This comprehensive guide has been meticulously put together with the goal of explaining the key differences between Apple’s line of AirPods and the advanced AirPods Pro. As of now, Apple has diversified its product line by offering four different types of AirPods, each with its own unique features and benefits.

To break it down, there are three iterations of the original AirPods that maintain relatively similar design and function, albeit with subtle upgrades in each new generation. These are the AirPods (2nd generation), and the newer AirPods (3rd generation). The fourth model, which differs significantly from the original design, is the over-ear AirPods Max that offer high-fidelity sound and superior comfort.

The first of these is the AirPods Max, which are premium over-ear headphones designed for those who crave an immersive sound experience. Apple changed gears from the classic AirPods design, entering the realm of noise-canceling headphones with the AirPods Max.

In addition to the AirPods Max, Apple has continued to build on the success of the original AirPods. AirPods (2nd generation) and AirPods (3rd generation) continue the brand’s commitment to offering first-class wireless earphones that provide a balance of comfort, convenience, and sound quality. Then there are the AirPods Pro, which elevate the listening experience with advanced features like Active Noise Cancellation and Adaptive EQ.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricate details of each of these three models, comparing their unique features and potential advantages and disadvantages. By highlighting the differences between the trio, we aim to provide you with the insights needed to decide which model best matches your personal needs, preferences, and budget.

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AirPods (2nd generation)

The second-generation AirPods are the most affordable model in Apple’s AirPods lineup, and these headphones retail for $129. It is powered by the Apple H1 chip and comes with a battery that gives you up to 5 hours of listening time on a single charge. AirPods also come with a charging case that extends the listening time to 24 hours.

AirPods (2nd generation)

AirPods (2nd generation) come with a Lightning charging case and feature double-tap controls for skipping and rewinding tracks that come with Apple’s Hey Siri feature, which will let you use Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with voice commands. These headphones share a similar design to the third generation AirPods.

AirPods (3rd generation)

The third generation AirPods have a slightly updated design compared to the second generation model, and this includes a new charging case similar to the one on the AirPods Pro. The headphones are powered by the same chip as the H1 and the second generation model.

The latest Apple AirPods come with a force sensor to control music and come with dedicated spatial sound and dynamic head tracking.

AirPods (3rd generation)

These headphones are designed to be sweat and water resistant as is the charging case and you can choose between two types of charging cases. Lightning will allow you to charge your headphones with a Lightning and MagSafe cable, and you can charge your headphones wirelessly with a MagSafe charger.

Third-generation AirPods come with up to 6 hours of listening time on a single charge and up to 30 hours of listening time with the charging case.

There are two different price points for the third generation AirPods, the $169 Lightning model and the $179 MagSafe model.

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AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

The second generation AirPods Pro come with a host of features that the other two models don’t have, including active noise cancellation, adaptive transparency, and touch controls to control your music.

The headphones also come with the custom Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking found in the third generation AirPods.

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

The latest AirPods Pro model features the Apple H2 chip which is the latest model available and also comes with Apple’s Hey Siri feature.

Because the charging case is similar to AirPods 3rd generation, you can listen for up to 6 hours on a single charge and up to 30 hours of listening time with the charging case. AirPods Pro with MagSafe Charging Case have a speakerphone that can be used with Apple’s Find My to locate the headphones.

The headphones and case are also designed to be sweat and water resistant. AirPods Pro 2nd generation retail for $249,

AirPods Max

The AirPods Max are the most expensive AirPods in the range, these headphones are over-the-ear headphones and they retail for $549.

Apple released AirPods Max in 2020, so they come with the same H1 chip as the AirPods and not the newer H2 chip like the AirPods Pro.

AirPods Max

These headphones also come with Hey Siri and you can enjoy up to 20 hours of listening time on a single charge. It comes with an array of sensors including optical sensors, position sensors, accelerometer, and state detectors.

There are a total of nine different microphones, eight of which have active noise cancellation, and there are three microphones for voice pickup.

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AirPods Max comes with a Digital Crown that can be used to control volume as well as music, phone calls, etc.


As we can see that there are a number of differences between AirPods and AirPods Pro, we also included AirPods Max in the guide as some people might be interested in this model.

Which model you choose all depends on what you want out of headphones, if you need active noise cancellation you should take a look at the AirPods Pro. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly AirPods, the AirPods 2nd generation might be the one. Of course, there is also a wide range of headphones from other manufacturers that are worth a look.

We hope you find this guide useful, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let us know in the comments section below. You can find out more details about all AirPods models on the Apple website.

Image credit: Daniel Romero

Filed Under: Apple, Gadgets News, Guides

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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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