Apple has just released two new true wireless earbuds: the $199 Beats Fit Pro and the $175 AirPods 3. Both borrow heavily from the $249 AirPods Pro, with the Fit Pro including active noise cancellation and a Transparency mode, and the AirPods 3 adopting the Pro’s overall design and some of its key features. So, one of these less expensive options is best for you?
The Beats Fit Pro and AirPods 3 both perform admirably in a variety of areas, from the former’s secure and workout-friendly design to the latter’s Adaptive EQ and Spatial Audio support. However, following thorough testing, one of these buds emerged as the clear standout for the vast majority of people. Here’s how Apple’s latest earbuds stack up.
You should get the Beats Fit Pro if…
The Beats Fit Pro and AirPods 3 are equally comfortable to wear, but we favor the new Beats buds’ softer, more secure fit. Even while you’re exercising, the Fit Pro’s rubberized wingtip shape and soft silicone ear tips ensure a secure fit (note that both of these buds are IPX4-rated to handle sweat or water).
The Beats Fit Pro comes with three sets of interchangeable ear tips, giving you plenty of options for finding the perfect fit. By comparison, the AirPods 3 has a more open, one-size-fits-all design, and while they’re still quite comfy, we think the Fit Pro is cozier.
You want active noise cancellation and Transparency mode
The Beats Fit Pro is essentially a sportier version of the AirPods Pro, with active noise cancellation to filter out unpleasant sounds and a Transparency mode to magnify external music. Both of these features performed admirably in our testing, and, more importantly, they are not available on the AirPods 3.
If you don’t need those two capabilities, the AirPods 3 and Beats Fit Pro provide many of the same Apple-centric advantages. They’ll both instantly link to your Apple devices, provide Spatial Audio for immersive 360-degree sound, and include an Adaptive EQ for enhancing your music on the move. In terms of sound quality, the AirPods 3 have somewhat more detectable bass, whilst the Beats Fit Pro has a more balanced, larger soundstage. However, if you want to isolate yourself from the outside world while working (or exercising), Beats are the way to go.
You require something compatible with both iPhone and Android smartphones.
The Beats Fit Pro and AirPods 3 are equivalent in the Apple environment, but if you use an Android phone, there is no contest. Because of the Beats app for Android, the Fit Pro has approximately the same set of functionality across all platforms. To locate the proper size tips, Android users may shift between listening modes, configure the settings, and complete an “Ear Tip Fit Test.” Both the AirPods 3 and the Beats Fit Pro are immediately linked with our Google Pixel 5a, but you won’t be able to personalize the former if you’re using Android.
You enjoy colors (and physical controls)
One of our favorite features of the Beats Fit Pro is that they come in a variety of stylish hues, including black, white, sage grey, and a very lovely stone purple. Meanwhile, the newer AirPods are still available in the same ol’ Apple white. Because of their shorter stems, they surely look better than the 2nd-Gen AirPods, but those who prefer a variety of colors should consider the Fit Pro.
The tactile controls on the Beats Fit Pro distinguish them from the AirPods, allowing you to control music playing and switch listening modes with a rapid, gratifying click. The AirPods 3’s pinch controls are OK, but we prefer the immediacy of the Beats Fit Pro’s buttons – especially while we’re keeping active.
- Price: $199.99
- Colors: Black, White, Sage Grey, Stone Purple
- Special features: Active noise cancellation, Transparency Mode, Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio
- Water resistance: IPX4
- Size and weight (case): 2.44 x 2.44 x 1.14 inches, 1.9 ounces
You should get the AirPods 3 if…
Although none of these earbuds are cheap, the $179 AirPods 3 are less costly than the $199 Beats Fit Pro (now $174.99 on Amazon). Both types will most certainly be on sale in the coming months, but for now, going for the new AirPods will save you $20 to $25, which you can use towards accessories or a few months of Apple Music.
You prefer a simpler, more open earbud design
While we adore the Beats Fit Pro’s snug silicone fit and active noise cancellation, we understand that not everyone likes earbuds that snuggle firmly into their ear. The AirPods 3 offer a good open design that fits a little looser, enabling you to hear your music clearly while yet letting in some ambient sound. The simplicity of the AirPods 3 is appealing if you want something that sounds fantastic right out of the box and don’t want to tinker with different listening modes.
You want a more compact case (and wireless charging)
The AirPods 3 charging case is much thinner than the Beats Fit Pro charging case, making it ideal for persons with very small pockets. The case also supports wireless charging, allowing you to charge the buds by placing them on any MagSafe or Qi-compatible charger. With the Beats Fit Pro, this is not possible.
- Price: $179
- Colors: White
- Special features: Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ
- Water resistance: IPX4
- Size and weight (case): 2.14 x 1.83 x 0.84 inches, 1.34 ounces
Beats Fit Pro/ Airpods 3 Bottom line
Both the $199 Beats Fit Pro and the $179 AirPods 3 are excellent earphones, but the newest Beats are superior in nearly every aspect. They’re more secure and pleasant to wear than AirPods, feature active noise cancellation, and work with both iPhones and Android phones. They’re also available in purple.
If you’re trying to save $20, the new AirPods still have a lot to offer. They sound amazing, have all of Apple’s essential features, and come with a smaller casing. While we prefer the Beats Fit Pro’s feel, other people may prefer the AirPods’ more open design. But unless those specific features are calling out to you, we’d recommend that most folks go with the Beats.