Apple AirPods 3 vs Beats Fit Pro

Apple recently dropped two new genuine wireless earphones: $ 199 Beats Fit Pro and $ 179 AirPods 3. Both borrow from $ 249 AirPods Pro quite a bit, with Fit Pro with active noise reduction and a transparency mode, and AirPods 3 borrows the Pro’s overall look and some of its key features. So which of these more affordable alternatives are for you?

Beats Fit Pro and AirPods 3 both do many things well, ranging from the former’s safe and workout-friendly design to the latter’s Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio support. But after extensive testing, one of these buds proved to be the clear standout for most people. Here’s how Apple’s latest earphones stack up.

Sporty knobs with amazing premium features

Beats Fit Pro is a great choice if you want all the features of the AirPods Pro in a sporty, more colorful design.

Great sound and features for the price

AirPods 3 are the cheapest of Apple’s new earphones and deliver strong sound quality and features for the price.

You want a more secure fit with more ear tips

Mike Andronico / CNN

Beats Fit Pro and AirPods 3 both feel pretty good to wear, but we prefer the softer and more secure fit that the latest Beats Bud offers. Fit Pro’s rubberized wingtip design and soft silicone ear tips provide a fit that feels tight even when exercising (note that both of these knobs are IPX4 rated to handle sweat or water).

Beats Fit Pro also includes three sets of replaceable earbuds in the box, giving you some options for finding the right fit. AirPods 3 has a more open, one-size-fits-all design for comparison, and while still quite comfortable, we think the Fit Pro is cozier.

You want active noise reduction and transparency mode
Beats Fit Pro is basically a sporty version of AirPods Pro, which means you get active noise reduction to block unwanted sounds as well as a Transparency mode to amplify external sound. Both of these features worked well in our tests, and more importantly, you will not find them on AirPods 3.

If you can live without these two features, the AirPods 3 and Beats Fit Pro have most of the same Apple-centric benefits. They will both pair with your Apple devices instantly, offer Spatial Audio for immersive 360-degree sound and have an Adaptive EQ to optimize your music on the go. They’re also impressive when it comes to sound quality, with the AirPods 3 offering slightly more prominent bass and the Beats Fit Pro delivering a more balanced, wider soundstage. But if you want to drown out the outside world while working (or training), you should go with Beats.

Related: Beats Fit Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Which Earphones Are Best?

You want something that works well with both iPhone and Android
Beats Fit Pro and AirPods 3 both work equally well for them in Apple’s ecosystem, but if you have an Android phone, there really is no competition. Thanks to the Beats app for Android, Fit Pro offers almost the same feature set across all platforms. Android users can switch listening modes, customize the controls, and perform an “Ear Tip Fit Test” to find the right size tips. AirPods 3 and Beats Fit Pro were both paired with our Google Pixel 5a pretty quickly, but you will not be able to customize the former if you are on Android.

You like colors (and physical controls)

Mike Andronico / CNN

One of our favorite things about Beats Fit Pro is that they come in a range of chic colors, including black, white, sage gray and a particularly beautiful stone purple. Meanwhile, the latest AirPods continue to come in the same old Apple white. They certainly look better than 2nd generation AirPods thanks to their shorter stems, but those who want a color choice should check out the Fit Pro.

Beats Fit Pro also stands out from the AirPods with their physical controls, which allow you to control music playback and change listening modes with a quick, satisfying click. The pinch buttons on the AirPods 3 work fine, but we prefer the immediacy of the Beats Fit Pro buttons – especially when we stay active.

Key specifications:

  • Price: 199 USD
  • Colors: Black, White, Sage Gray, Stone Purple
  • Special features: Active Noise Reduction, Transparency Mode, Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio
  • Water repellent: IPX4
  • Size and weight (case): 2.44 x 2.44 x 1.14 inches, 1.9 ounces

You want to save a few bucks

Jacob Krol / CNN

None of these earphones are cheap, but the $ 179 AirPods 3 are a little more affordable than the $ 199 Beats Fit Pro (and currently. $ 174 on Amazon). We’ll probably see both models go on sale in the coming months, but right now you’ll save $ 20 to $ 25 by using the new AirPods – that’s a decent part of the change you can spend on accessories or a couple of months of Apple Music.

You prefer a simpler, more open earphone design
While we love the Beats Fit Pro’s snug-fitting silicone fit and active noise reduction, we also know that not everyone wants a pair of earplugs that fit snugly in your ear. AirPods 3 has a nice open design that sits a little looser, so you can hear your music well while still letting in some ambient sound. If you want something that sounds good out of the box and does not feel like fiddling with. with different listening modes, there is something to be said for the simplicity of the AirPods 3.

You want a more compact case (and wireless charging)

Mike Andronico / CNN

The AirPods 3 charging case is much slimmer than the somewhat thick one that holds the Beats Fit Pro, making it more ideal for those with particularly slim pockets. The case also has the benefit of wireless charging support, which means you can put it down on your standard MagSafe or Qi charger to get the knobs up. That’s something you can not do on Beats Fit Pro.

Key specifications:

  • Price: $ 179
  • Colors: white
  • Special features: Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ
  • Water repellent: IPX4
  • Size and weight (case): 2.14 x 1.83 x 0.84 inches, 1.34 ounces

Mike Andronico / CNN

$ 199 Beats Fit Pro and $ 179 AirPods 3 are both some of Apple’s best earphones to date, but the latest Beats are the clear standout in almost every way. They have a more secure and comfortable fit than AirPods, offer active noise reduction and work really well with both iPhones and Android devices. In addition, they come in purple.

If you want to save $ 20, there’s still plenty to like about the latest AirPods. They sound great, have all the useful Apple smarts and include a more compact case. And while we prefer how the Beats Fit Pro feels, the more open design of the AirPods may be more appealing to some. However, unless these specific features call for you, we would recommend that most go with Beats.

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