AirPods 1, 2 and 3, what has been changing in Apple headphones? — 2022

The evolution of airpods In all these years since its release in 2016, it has left interesting features. Without counting the 'Pro' or 'Max' range, having only the normal range as a reference, we can find three versions with many similarities, but also with differences. In this post we review all of them so that you can know what their key specifications are.

Comparison chart

As in any self-respecting comparison, technical data is relevant. To the point of being decisive? It depends. In the following sections we will analyze in more detail what these specifications imply in practice, but first it is convenient to know them on paper.

AirPods 1, 2 and 3

CharacteristicAirPods (1st gen)AirPods (2nd gen)AirPods (3rd gen)
Release year201620192021
AirPods Dimensions-Height: 4.05cm
- Width: 1.65cm
Thickness: 1.80cm
-Height: 4.05cm
- Width: 1.65cm
Thickness: 1.80cm
-Height: 3.08cm
- Width: 1.83cm
thickness: 1.93cm
Case dimensions-Height: 5.35cm
- Width: 4.43cm
-Thickness: 2.13cm
-Height: 5.35cm
- Width: 4.43cm
-Thickness: 2.13cm
-Height: 4.64cm
- Width: 5.44cm
thickness: 2.14cm
Weight42.2 grams (4 grams AirPods and 38.2 grams case)42.2 grams (4 grams AirPods and 38.2 grams case)42.19 grams (4.28 grams AirPods and 37.91 grams case)
sensors-2 beamforming microphones
-2 optical sensors
-Accelerometer with motion detection
-Accelerometer with voice detection
-2 beamforming microphones
-2 optical sensors
-Accelerometer with motion detection
-Accelerometer with voice detection
-2 beamforming microphones
-1 inward-facing microphone
-2 optical sensors
-Accelerometer with motion detection
-Accelerometer with voice detection
-Skin sensing
-pressure sensor
controlsPause, stop and resume playback, skip to the next track and answer calls-Pause, stop and resume playback, skip to the next track and answer calls
-Voice command 'Hey Siri'
-Pause, stop and resume playback, skip to the next track and answer calls
-Voice command 'Hey Siri'
-Invoke Siri by pressing
special functions---Spatial Audio
AutonomyUp to 5 hours of uninterrupted playbackUp to 5 hours of uninterrupted playbackUp to 6 hours of uninterrupted playback
Case LoadingVia lightning cable-Via Lightning cable
-Wireless charging*
-Via Lightning cable
-Wireless charging (including MagSafe)
Endurance--Sweat and water resistance

*The second generation AirPods have two possible versions, one with charging only via Lightning and another that also allows wireless charging. Currently, Apple only markets the version that allows charging only via Lightning.

Differences at the design level

The design and comfort of these headphones is not trivial. That it is finally a decisive factor in the choice of one or the other is ultimately more personal, but we also believe it is interesting to assess what its differential points are. And it is that, even between the first and second generation AirPods, we can find differences.

Evolution in its form factor

The first and second generation AirPods, referring to hearing aids as such, are a kind of wireless earpods . These were (and are) the classic wired headphones that the company integrated into the box of its iPhone. Therefore they maintain that retro design in a way, giving all the comforts of Bluetooth headphones. There is absolutely no aesthetic difference between them, although we do find that the case of the AirPods 2 has an LED on the front that the AirPods 1 have inside.

earphones airpods

For their part, the third-generation AirPods become similar to AirPods Pro, but without tips . A more typical form factor of in-ear headphones, but which, however, does not require the use of those aforementioned pads and therefore they are better adapted to the types of ears that a priori suffer more with them. The case does not change in essence, although it is made slimmer and taller than its predecessors.

Do they fall out of the ears? Are they for sports?

The morphology of the ears can vary a lot and even the same person can have a different sensation in one than in another. For this reason, there is no general and forceful answer to the first question. And it is that, we can find who did not fit AirPods 1 and 2 and yet feel comfortable with all 3. Others have just the opposite, also having people who feel comfortable with anyone and even with none.

And that is why, in the end, the sporting theme depends on that comfort, since if they fall out of your ears in a normal way, by playing sports you will be causing them to fall out even more due to the jogging that is usually done in practically any activity. physical. It is advisable that try to try them before you buy them or, if you buy them at an Apple Store, You can return them within 14 days.

airpods 3 gestures

Now, even if they fit you well, you should know that the AirPods 3 are the most advisable for sports activities due to its resistance to water and sweat. The AirPods 1 and 2 do not tend to be damaged by these elements, but in the end their durability in this area is not as guaranteed as the others. With AirPods 3 you can even do running under the rain without worrying.

Sound and general performance of AirPods

Changes in sound quality

We start from the basis that They are not high-end headphones. and therefore we are going to find a very high sound fidelity. In the end, the technological limitations of Bluetooth prevent today from being able to have an experience in them just like with a cable. Now, focusing only on wireless headphones of this type, they are three great headphones.

Comparing them to each other, which is the end of what we are dealing with here, to say that in the end all three have a very balanced audio range, without distortions and that they ultimately offer great quality for listening to music or enjoying other content such as podcasts, series , movies or audiobooks. Between the AirPods 1 and 2 there are hardly any differences despite the change of chip from the W1 to the H1. Technically there are, but we assure you that they are practically imperceptible.

AirPods 2

In the AirPods 3 we already find even intelligent equalization , which is not that the previous ones did not carry it out, but in these a system has been implemented that improves it significantly. There is not an exaggerated difference with respect to its predecessors, but the improvement is clear and having a style that fits more inside the ear, makes a much deeper sound feel.

The microphone is weak in all three

Here we do find a substantial difference between the AirPods 1, 2, and 3. In the first generation, the sound pickup is very poor, with excess distortions and even cuts. In the following it has been improved in this aspect, although they still do not shine.

You can't ask much of a Bluetooth microphone either, and even more so when it's away from your mouth, but we can tell you that in the end it's enough to make calls and that they listen to you closely. Now if you wait record audio for podcast or something similar , we already assure you that they are not even remotely a recommended option.

AirPods gestures

Does it have any noise cancellation?

To get to the point, no, none have this functionality that remains exclusive to AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Now, what is the reason they don't have? Well, first of all, a factor that, despite being unpopular, makes perfect sense from a business point of view. And it is that Apple is compensated to add this as a differential factor between its range of headphones.

On the other hand, to guarantee good active noise cancellation, a specific design is required that works in its favor and the AirPods 1 and 2 do not have it. The AirPods 3, being more in-ear, do have a certain passive cancellation , but not enough or at the level of the 'Pro'. Not having pads makes this even more difficult.

Other important features

The autonomy of these AirPods, their additional functions and compatibility with devices are other key elements to highlight about them and that we analyze in these next sections.

How long does the battery last?

The autonomy that these headphones promise, both them and their own case, is marked by the following data:

    Autonomy with uninterrupted playback:
    • AirPods (1st gen): 5 hours
    • AirPods (2nd gen): 5 hours
    • AirPods (3rd gen): 6 hours
    Total autonomy with charges from the case:
    • AirPods (1st gen): more than 24 hours
    • AirPods (2nd gen): more than 24 hours
    • AirPods (3rd gen): more than 24 hours
    15 minutes of charging is equivalent to:
    • AirPods (1st gen): 3 more hours of playback
    • AirPods (2nd gen): 3 more hours of playback
    • AirPods (3rd gen): 4 more hours of playback

According to the autonomy of the case , it must be said that it does not consume excessive battery by itself, only when it has to recharge the hearing aids. With a daily use of between 2 and 4 hours of the AirPods, the case should be recharged once a week and even once every week and a half in the case of the AirPods 3, being an element to not worry about in all of them.

Now, there is something to note about the battery deterioration in AirPods 1 and it is that, unfortunately, these tend to wear out very quickly. In a year of intensive use, autonomy can be greatly reduced to the point of being reduced to almost half of the data specified above. In the next two generations there is also deterioration, something always logical, but it is far from reaching that level and they are able to endure much longer at full capacity, fulfilling what was promised.

Additional features

In extra features, AirPods 3 win the street . These, unlike the previous ones, have Spatial Audio support , that 360º surround sound system that the company introduces for its Apple Music and Apple TV + content, which is available on more and more platforms such as Netflix.

also owns adaptive equalization and a transducer and amplified to measure to improve the sound quality, as we have commented in a previous point. It also has a haptic button which is used to control playback, something that in this case the AirPods 1 and 2 do have, although these through touches that are not entirely intuitive.

airpods 2

One function that AirPods 1 do not have, but that their two successors do have, is compatibility with the voice command Hey Siri . And yes, in the previous ones the assistant can also be used if it is invoked in other ways, but being able to do it only by voice without touching anything is an interesting plus for the other two.

Device Compatibility

In this regard, you should know that, like all AirPods, they are more designed for the apple device ecosystem , having in them special animations and immediate connectivity. Now they also work with Android and Windows devices , acting in the same way as other Bluetooth headsets.

Returning to connectivity with Apple equipment, these are the devices you must have in order to use any of these three generations:

    • iPhone 5s and later
    • iPad (5th gen) and later
    • iPad mini 2 and later
    • iPad Air 2 and later
    • iPad Pro (all models)
    • iPod touch (6th gen.) and later
    Apple TV:
    • Apple TV HD and later
    Apple Watch:
    • Apple Watch (all models)
    • MacBook from 2015 and later
    • MacBook Air mid 2012 and newer
    • MacBook Pro Late 2012 and later
    • iMac from late 2012 and newer
    • 2017 iMac Pro
    • Mac mini from late 2012 and newer
    • Mac Pro from late 2013 and later

Price and purchase recommendations

As you may have already seen in the initial table, the original AirPods are discontinued . Yes, you can still find them on the second hand market and even hopefully in a store that still has some stock, but it is rare. The others are still for sale and in the case of the AirPods 2 It should be noted that what is most marketed is the version with only cable charging, the one that allows wireless charging having been discontinued. In any case, there is still stock in many stores.

AirPods 3 in the bank

The AirPods 3, for their part, have a single version for sale in dozens of stores, including Apple itself. The difference of 50 euros in the price with respect to the '2' may or may not be decisive. And it is that in the end it will depend a lot on which ones you feel more comfortable with and if the additional functions added in this third generation really compensate you.

Obviously, if you expect us to tell you which ones are better , It is clear that the AirPods 3. Functionally they are the most complete, with an improved battery and significantly better sound quality than their predecessors. However, we cannot ignore what has already been said about comfort and if you are not very demanding either, the AirPods 2 are still more than valid headphones and that is why Apple continues to sell them.

What we do not advise you is to buy some first generation AirPods, unless it is a new unit at a very good price. And it is that in the end the matter of your battery health can be a problem and taking into account the improvement in the second generation, they end up being much more profitable despite the few differences in aesthetics and sound. If you already have one and you are happy, we do not consider the change necessary, but if you do, it is advisable to make the leap to the third generation model.