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When Apple took the wraps off its second-gen AirPods, the distinctive white Bluetooth earbuds that have become cultural touchstones, I was disappointed. I wanted a pair of water- and sweat-resistant AirPods that could withstand workouts and unexpected rainstorms. We eventually got that with the AirPods Pro, but in the meantime the Powerbeats Pro showed up to put Apple's great audio tech into a true pair of workout headphones.
The Powerbeats Pro combines water- and sweat resistance, a low-profile design and signature Apple-y integration, making them a no-brainer for workout buffs with iPhones. They're pretty pricey, but they're worth it. So much so, they've made several of our top pick lists including Best headphones, Best wireless headphones and Best wireless earbuds.
Powerbeats Pro price and availability
The $ Powerbeats Pro is available to buy now through Apple or Best Buy. At launch, the earbuds came only in black, with ivory, moss and navy options releasing later.
Powerbeats Pro review: Setup
If you've used a pair of Bluetooth earbuds not made by Apple or Beats, you know the usual setup drill: Power on the 'buds, put them in pairing mode, open your Bluetooth settings and tap on the device name to connect them to your phone. Some wireless earbuds, like Jabra's Elite Active 65t and Jaybird's Run XT, have apps that give you deeper controls after pairing, but that initial power-on/pair process doesn't change.
That's where Apple has perfected the Bluetooth-headphone setup. I unlocked my iPhone XS and opened the Powerbeats Pro case, and my phone instantly displayed the Powerbeats animation. I tapped Connect, and that's all there was to it. I'll never have to power on the earbuds; they automatically know when I put them in my ears.
You can turn off Automatic Ear Detection in your Bluetooth settings by tapping on the name of your Powerbeats and toggling that setting off. That will prevent audio from automatically playing when you put your earbuds in.
Powerbeats Pro review: Design and comfort
The Powerbeats Pro sticks with the Powerbeats lineup's signature around-the-ear hook, which offers stability while you're working out. That's key now that the Powerbeats buds are completely wire-free, without a cord behind the neck to anchor them.
I noticed that the hook is less flexible than the Powerbeats3's version, which makes it more difficult to slide it around your ear. I had to use both hands to insert each earbud every time I put them in, to make sure the tip was nestled securely in my ear and the hook wasn't tangled in my hair. Otherwise, the hook was perfectly comfortable, even when I wore my glasses.
The Powerbeats Pro earbuds come with a medium-size set of silicone tips attached, and three additional options in small, medium and large sizes.
It took some trial and error to figure out which tips fit best. On a subway ride, the smallest tips let in too much ambient noise (chattering tourists, screeching trains). But on a run, the medium tips stuck out of my ears too much, making for an insecure fit. I eventually settled on the smallest of the four options, which created a better seal than the others, but it still wasn't perfect. Your mileage will vary, of course; earbud fit is incredibly personal.
Powerbeats Pro review: Controls
Each earbud has identical controls, so you can listen with one earbud in and still pause and play songs, take and reject calls, trigger Siri and control the volume. If you take an earbud out, the music will pause, but you can resume it.
The controls are incredibly easy to find, even without being able to see them. This is crucial for working out. Just run your fingers over the earbud, and feel for the B logo. Press once to pause or resume playback, twice to skip a track and three times to reverse, and long-press to activate Siri. The volume rocker is located on top of each bud.
Like the second-gen AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro uses Apple's new H1 chip, which allows both earbuds to connect to your phone. Because neither earbud takes priority, each is paired constantly, and you can charge one while using the other. The Powerbeats Pro connected to my iPhone almost instantaneously; I could hear the distinctive "bloop" of the pairing noise even before the first earbud was securely in my ear canal. My first-gen AirPods, with Apple's older W1 chip, take a few seconds to connect to my phone, and that's after both buds are in my ear.
Powerbeats Pro review: Fitness performance
I haven't had any issues running with hook-free wireless earbuds, but the Powerbeats Pro's hook did make them feel more stable, particularly when I ran outside on windy days; they didn't budge at all.
They also survived a collision. A quick-walking pedestrian rounded a corner and walked smack-dab into me as I sprinted down a sidewalk. The left earbud dislodged; but the hook remained around my ear, so I could quickly regroup and keep running (after we exchanged apologies, of course). I'm not sure if other earbuds, like Jabra's Elite Active 65t or Apple's AirPods, would have stayed put.
I also wore the Powerbeats Pro to run while wearing my glasses. I didn't experience any discomfort, but I felt the arms of my glasses push the ear tip outward a tiny bit — enough to lessen the bass impact.
I also liked the addition of hands-free Siri, which meant I could have Siri call up playlists while I ran (though my command tumbled out breathlessly). I didn't have to wait for Siri to recognize my voice before continuing my command; when I followed "Hey, Siri" immediately with "play today's hits," Apple's virtual assistant understood and carried out my command quickly.
Powerbeats Pro review: Audio performance
One common complaint about Beats' headphones has been that the audio is too bass-heavy. That's less of a concern with the Powerbeats Pro, which produces well-balanced audio.
Other Bluetooth earbuds, including Jabra's Elite Active 65t and Jaybird's Run XT, let you use their respective apps to customize the sound — bass-forward for running, vocal-prominent for acoustic tracks, etc. But the Powerbeats Pro makes every song sound finely tuned — no manual app controls required.
The pounding beat on Peaches' "Boys Wanna Be Her" didn't dominate the guitar hook; each played off the other when filtered through the Pro. The vocals — which combined singing, chanting and sighing — were perfectly distinctive. The beat drop toward the end of Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" is absolutely killer in a huge spin studio, but it sounded just as awesome in my Powerbeats — a great motivation for crunches timed to that beat. Eilish's acoustic "I Love You," a bittersweet song filled with layered vocals, sounded just as beautiful in the Powerbeats Pro as "Bad Guy" was motivating.
The Powerbeats don't offer full noise cancellation, but I don't expect that feature from a pair of sport earbuds. I could still hear traffic and kids playing in the park as I ran around and through Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park. But the earbuds do offer noise isolation, which is useful for phone calls. Taking a call is as easy as pressing the multifunction button on either bud. As I discussed after-work plans with my husband while at the office, I couldn't hear my co-workers' chatter.
Powerbeats Pro review: Battery life and charging case
I used the Powerbeats Pro for four days, averaging a few hours a day as the buds accompanied me during workouts and commutes and helped me drown out my co-workers to focus on writing at my desk. Every time I popped the Pro buds in my ears, they were % charged — and I haven't yet plugged in the case that powers them up between uses.
The charging case itself is massive, which is the biggest problem I have with it. The thick, squared-off puck fit in the front pocket of my Levi's, but just barely. It looked ridiculous. It reminded me of my makeup compact, except it's at least a third larger (and, you know, square). I wish Apple had stuck a mirror on the inside top lid so the case could serve double duty for quick lipstick checks.
Other completely wireless running earphones, including the Elite Active 65t and the Run XT, come in much smaller packages. Even the Plantronics BackBeat Fit , which sports a similar hook design, comes in a slimmer charging case.
The design of the case interior is a bit strange, with a deep, arched groove. The earbuds' main body sits magnetically on each side of the groove, and the ear tips slide into a smaller oval groove in the center of the case. I still haven't quite nailed the placement of the earbuds in the case, but at least the magnets serve as a helpful guide.
But I appreciate the gigantic battery inside the case that provides up to 18 additional hours of battery life. That, combined with the 9 hours in each earbud, means you can squeeze out up to 27 hours before charging the case. After two days of use, the case was down to 60%. By day three, the case had dropped to 40% — but the Powerbeats was fully charged, with more battery left to sip on.
Apple includes a black Lightning cable in the box. Charging the case for 5 minutes adds another hours of music playback. A minute charge gives you hours. If your earbuds and case are dead, it'll take hours to fully recharge both. If just the earbuds are dead, 90 minutes will juice them back up all the way. You can always see the battery percentages for both the case and each earbud from your iPhone's Spotlight screen, a swipe to the right from the home screen.
Powerbeats Pro review: Verdict
If you're looking for a pair of sweat-resistant earbuds that you can wear to the gym, on the trail, on the train or at work, the Powerbeats Pro is worth the money. The Jabra Elite Active 75t is cheaper, but it lacks an ear hook for added stability. The Powerbeats Pro also offers Apple's magically seamless integration with other Apple products, so using the Powerbeats Pro with an iPhone is a far better experience than using any other pair of earbuds.
If you don't need workout earphones, Apple's second-gen AirPods are the better buy for daily wear. Because they don't offer a sealed fit, you hear more of the outside world, and the distinctive white earbuds are more comfortable for lengthy conference calls or music-streaming sessions at my desk.
The Powerbeats Pro is a pricey, premium product for gym rats and athletes. If you fall into those categories, and you own an iPhone, these are the fitness earbuds to buy.
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Caitlin is a Senior editor for Gizmodo. She has also worked on Tom's Guide, Macworld, PCWorld and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. When she's not testing out the latest devices, you can find her running around the streets of Los Angeles, putting in morning miles or searching for the best tacos.
1. Testing conducted by Apple in March using preproduction Powerbeats Pro and Charging Case units and software paired with iPhone XS units and prerelease software. The playlist consisted of continuous pink noise at 80dB. 5-Minute charge testing conducted with drained Powerbeats Pro that were charged for 5 minutes, then audio playback was started until the first Powerbeats Pro stopped playback. Battery life depends on device settings, environment, usage, and many other factors.
2. Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area. Internet access is required. Mobile data charges may apply.
3. Testing conducted by Apple in March using preproduction Powerbeats Pro units and Powerbeats3 Wireless units and software paired with iPhone XS units and prerelease software. Testing consisted of transferring phone call audio from iPhone to Powerbeats Pro and Powerbeats3 Wireless. Performance depends on device settings, environment, and many factors.
4. Requires an iCloud account and macOS , iOS or watchOS
5. Powerbeats Pro are sweat and water resistant for non-water sports and exercise. Powerbeats Pro were tested under controlled laboratory conditions, and have a rating of IPX4 under IEC standard Sweat and water resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear. Do not attempt to charge wet Powerbeats Pro; refer to https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT for cleaning and drying instructions. The charging case is not sweat or water resistant.
6. Find My for Powerbeats Pro requires an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS or later, iPad with iPadOS or later, or Mac with macOS Big Sur or later. Customers must have an Apple ID and be signed into their iCloud account with Find My enabled.
Enjoy Apple Music on us
1 Testing conducted by Apple in March using preproduction Powerbeats Pro units and software paired with iPhone XS units and prerelease software. Testing consisted of transferring phone call audio from iPhone to Powerbeats Pro. Performance depends on device settings, environment, and many factors.
2 Testing conducted by Apple in March using preproduction Powerbeats Pro and Charging Case units and software paired with iPhone XS units and prerelease software. The playlist consisted of continuous pink noise at 80dB. 5-Minute charge testing conducted with drained Powerbeats Pro that were charged for 5 minutes, then audio playback was started until the first Powerbeats Pro stopped playback. Battery life depends on device settings, environment, usage, and many other factors.
3 Compatible with all Apple W1 and H1 chip-enabled Beats headphones and AirPods. Works with iPhone 8 or later and iPod touch (7th generation) with the latest version of iOS; and inch iPad Pro (2nd generation or later), inch iPad Pro, inch iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation or later), iPad Air (3rd generation), and iPad mini (5th generation) with the latest version of iPadOS.
4 Find My Beats requires an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS or later, iPad with iPadOS or later, or Mac with macOS Big Sur or later. Customers must have an Apple ID and be signed into their iCloud account with Find My enabled.
5 Find My can locate headphones and play a sound within the Bluetooth range of an iOS device signed in to iCloud.
6 Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area. Internet access is required. Cellular data charges may apply.
7 New subscribers only. $/mo after trial. Offer available for a limited time to new subscribers who connect an eligible device to an Apple device running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 or later. Offer good for 3 months after eligible device pairing. No audio product purchase necessary for current owners of eligible devices. Plan automatically renews until cancelled. Restrictions and other terms apply.
Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
When you think of Beats headphones, you probably picture the full-on over-ear headset you can spot a mile away. But the brand now has a way more discreet— and lightweight—option and it’s just as amazing as its predecessor. The Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones are as intriguing as they sound, with a great design and secure fit that makes them perfect for any on-the-go activity (great for working out).
Shockingly, Amazon just knocked an impressive $74 off the price. In Lava Red, these Beats are down from $ to just $ It's been a stressful year—why not splurge on an amazing upgrade?
If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? You can sign up for a day trial here, and it's free. (Either way, those without Prime get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)
$ at Amazon
Originally priced at $, the Powerbeats Pro have everything a great pair of wireless headphones should have, including a compact build, nine-hour battery life, stylish and functional earhooks that'll lock you right into the groove, and, most importantly, top-notch sound with wide-spectrum audio and world-rocking bass. They also feature the brand’s own 'Fast Fuel' technology that adds about an hour-and-a-half of battery life on only a five-minute charge. That's a booster shot that anyone can enjoy!
"I’m extremely picky when it comes to headphones and I’ve bought over 20 pairs from Amazon, from name brands to no-name brands," one enthusiastic reviewer shared. "This is the first pair of headphones that I’ve worn to the gym that have not needed a single adjustment! I have weird ears and no in-ear headphones have ever fit me this well. The seal is great and they just don't move!"
While the Powerbeats Pro do not have active noise-canceling, they do offer strong noise isolation, with a sealed in-ear design (thanks to the customizable ear tips that are included). They seamlessly sync to just about any Apple iPhone, iPad or MacBook. But they work just as well with Android smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth.
Although Beats is owned by Apple, the Powerbeats Pro is Beats' effort to upstage Apple’s AirPods—and they definitely give 'em a run for their moneyand a great return on yours.
"First of all, I am a huge Beats fan," one reviewer raved. "I have enjoyed the Powerbeats lineup for years but was waiting until they finally came out without wires! I do have AirPods as well but I can't keep them in my ears I needed wireless buds that wouldn't fall out, and I found them!!! Great quality! In my opinion stronger than the AirPods. 5 stars!"
They’re sweat- and water-resistant too, which makes them great for gym workouts and long runs around the neighborhood. The Beats Powerbeats Pro come with a charging case, four eartips in various sizes, and a charging cable.
$ at Amazon
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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Pro wireless price beats
Powerbeats Pro review: the best Beats
Dr. Dre, the man who boasted about being the first billionaire in hip-hop after selling his Beats by Dre to Apple, can be forgiven for taking it easy these days. He has nothing left to prove to anyone. But Beats, the brand that transcended its origins as a cynical celebrity cash-in and became a cultural icon, has everything to prove. For a long time, Apple had seemingly frozen development of new products inside Beats, allowing its adopted brand to release only minor updates and alternative colorways. You could be forgiven for thinking Beats was a neglected stepchild.
The new Powerbeats Pro put any such worries to rest. They are the most sincerely and comprehensively new Beats product since the Apple takeover, and they are a triumph. The Doctor’s headphone elves have been quietly busy, and the first true wireless Beats earphones happen to also be the best Beats headphones of any size or kind. At $, they don’t come cheap. However, the Powerbeats Pro deliver numerous advantages over Apple’s cheaper and simpler AirPods, and those upgrades totally validate the Beats price premium.
- Superbly comfortable and steady in the ear, even during intense workouts
- Huge soundstage for true wireless earphones
- Rich sound with satisfying bass thump
- Sweat and water resistance
- Epic battery life for the category
- Laughably large carrying case
- The treble energy can be fatiguing with long listening sessions
- Wireless or USB-C charging would have been nice
- Not the most discreet look for office or casual environments
Buy for $ from WalmartBuy for $ from Best BuyBuy for $ from Apple
Upon unboxing the Powerbeats Pro, you’ll have to stifle a laugh at the size of their carrying case. It’s like a regular true-wireless headphones case with a serious case of gigantism. You could probably fit four AirPods cases in the volume occupied by the Powerbeats Pro’s indulgently chunky box. Looking on the bright side, it’s a very robust case, it includes a battery to more than double the earphones’ running time, and it’s still less than half the size of a case for over-ear headphones. And without wishing to get ahead of myself, the sound quality of the Powerbeats Pro is good enough for them to indeed be compared to over-ear portable alternatives.
The design of this new generation of Powerbeats is subtly brilliant. It still has the crossbar section that houses the batteries for each bud, but now it’s much more gracefully integrated into the hard stem that curves up to go over and around the back of the ear. Apple also gradually softened the part that wraps around your ear to make it more comfortable and forgiving to what’s a highly sensitive area of the body. (There’s no fat to protect the cartilage of your ear.) That single, flowing external shape makes the Powerbeats Pro look vastly more coherent and intentionally designed than their chunky predecessor.
It’s still not the most discreet look — for which I’d probably recommend Samsung’s almost-invisible Galaxy Buds — but it allows you to feel more comfortable wearing a pair of Powerbeats earphones outside the context of a gym or an exercise session.
Seating the earbuds into my ears was a bit of a fiddly task at first. They don’t have the AirPods’ streamlined, mindlessly simple shape, and so I have to pay a bit of attention getting them on and off. The advantageous difference from the AirPods, though, is that the Powerbeats Pro have various sizes of in-ear tips, so they have a far more customizable fit. That should mean they have a better chance of matching the people who find the AirPods fall out or don’t fit correctly.
With the new Powerbeats, I do find that if I don’t position them well, the right over-ear hook starts to dig into the back of my ear. (You can blame my physical asymmetry for why it only happens on one side.) I also worried about those hooks clashing with the arms of glasses, but my colleague Chris Welch, who tried the Powerbeats Pro at their announcement, says the trick is to put the earphones on before your glasses and everything is fine. Once you get past those minor stumbles, what you’ll get from the Powerbeats Pro is absolutely phenomenal fit, stability, and comfort.
For their size and shape, these are super light earphones. I wouldn’t quite say you can forget you’re wearing them, mostly owing to the over-ear hooks rather than the buds themselves, but these aren’t too far away from the feathery ease of wear of the AirPods.
My colleague Thomas Ricker has two specific complaints about Apple’s other wireless earphones: he hates the way the connecting cord of the earlier Powerbeats would flap against the back of his neck while running, and when switching to the AirPods, he finds his hoodie catches their protruding stems when he turns his head. The Powerbeats Pro solve both of those issues. Their nicely curved exterior design means they have no aberrant shapes sticking out to catch on things. I very much approve these headphones for use with hoodies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the savvy Beats engineers made a point of perfecting that jogger-friendly combination.
The Powerbeats Pro are, at their heart, exercise headphones, and I put them through their paces. I ran, played basketball, jumped around like a year-old at a metal concert, I lifted weights, I grimaced, I even broke a sweat with the Pros on. But they didn’t. I’m shocked by just how stable these earphones remain in my ears no matter what I throw at them. (Side note: the battery case isn’t water-resistant like the buds, so you should definitely dry the sweat off the buds before tossing them back in there.)
Cognizant of the incompatibility between touch controls and sweaty hands, Apple has wisely stuck to mechanical controls on the Powerbeats Pro. There’s a symmetrical arrangement on each bud: The circular “b” logo is the control for music playback and answering or rejecting calls, and there’s a small volume rocker above that. With the new Apple H1 chip on board, you also get the option to have Siri always listening for your voice commands. You can read more about the H1 chip upgrade in our AirPods 2 review from a few weeks ago.
Being a devoted Android user, I have primarily been using the Powerbeats Pro paired to a Google Pixel 3 XL. Guess what? They work brilliantly together. Keeping up the excellent wireless performance of the AirPods, Apple’s Powerbeats Pro provide a faultlessly stable connection — I’ve had exactly zero dropouts or signal disturbances — and they have the longest connection range of any true wireless headphones I’ve yet tested. Given the Pixel’s reputation for having somewhat questionable Bluetooth performance, I can say you’d struggle to find a device that won’t work beautifully with the Powerbeats Pro. Not that that should be a surprise when Apple’s already on the second generation of its true wireless AirPods champ.
Watching YouTube videos on Android with the Powerbeats Pro, I notice no detectable lag. The automatic sensors that pause and resume music depending on whether you have the earphones in also work as well on Android as they do on iOS. Same goes for taking calls with these earbuds: no latency, no garbling or failure to communicate. In fact, the Powerbeats Pro are so good at things that have nothing to do with workouts that I’m tempted to recommend them as a universal pair of do-everything earbuds.
Their claimed nine-hour battery life off one charge is so good that I’ve never been able to come close to draining them. Even at my most intensive and extended listening, I don’t go beyond five hours at a time, and then when I return to the earphones, they’ve refueled inside their chunky case and are ready to go even longer. Apple claims a total of 24 hours of power between the case and the earphones. It’s almost enough to make me forgive the company for forcing me to carry a Lightning cable around specifically for the Powerbeats Pro. Wireless or USB-C charging really would have been helpful.
But there are two things that prevent me from crowning the Powerbeats Pro as the uncontested best true wireless earbuds.
One is that they don’t quite have the noise isolation to be great commuter headphones. Don’t misunderstand: these have a vastly better seal and isolation than the AirPods and are a real upgrade from Apple on that front. But when I’m wearing them on the London Tube, subtler music like Burial’s Burial gets overwhelmed by the drone of the train’s passage through the tunnel. Jabra’s Elite 65t are far superior in these circumstances, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds also hold their own, and if you’re willing to tolerate a connecting wire, neckbuds like the OnePlus Bullets Wireless do an even better job.
The other small foible, and it’s a highly unusual one for Beats headphones, is that the Powerbeats Pro have a lot of treble energy in their tuning. This is a complicated issue to address because that treble is what gives them my favorite sound of any Beats headphones to date, but it can also be fatiguing if you’re just listening to the Powerbeats Pro in a quiet place and trying to relax. These are not laid-back headphones at all, and you have to know and be comfortable with that right from the beginning.
Why do I enjoy the Powerbeats Pro sound? Well, it’s everything that a sports or workout pair of headphones is supposed to give you. To be stimulating, workout music has to be aggressive and in your face, not veiled or demure. The Powerbeats Pro combine energetic highs with a tight and impactful bass that is full of authority. Music feels dynamic, fast, and, indeed, aggressive through these headphones. Any Apple enthusiasts feeling bass-deprived by the AirPods will find themselves very much at home with the Powerbeats Pro.
The signature Beats bass emphasis is much more refined on the Powerbeats Pro, and it serves only to provide a nice sweetener to vocals and instruments. Male voices sound a little deeper and a little richer than they naturally are, which makes them — and the Pros’ overall sound signature — more pleasant to listen to. If it wasn’t for that extra bit of treble sharpness, I seriously would be recommending these as your go-to headphones for all situations. But I have to also underline the fact that these wouldn’t be as good in their primary use case as sports headphones without those imposing highs.
Sampha’s Process serves up a good illustration of the Powerbeats Pro’s deftness in handling more nuanced and gentler productions. That album also shows off the surprisingly wide soundstage of these earphones. Rodrigo y Gabriela’s Area 52, on the other hand, challenges the Pros with a diverse cavalcade of instruments, including an entire orchestra at times, all interwoven and layered into a fast-paced, complex performance. Like a sports star who happens to also be good at academics, the Powerbeats Pro do a remarkably cogent job of playing back all genres of music.
The Powerbeats Pro are the best Beats product yet. They raise the bar for what can be expected of fitness and true wireless earphones, both in terms of sound quality and battery endurance. They improve on Apple’s own AirPods in tangible ways, and they shame rivals like Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless that can’t seem to be able to figure out the whole wireless connectivity issue.
You can go on Amazon or AliExpress today and find true wireless earbuds for less than $30, so the $ asking price of the Powerbeats Pro is a considerable spend. But none of those budget alternatives will come close to the design refinement, wireless performance, sound quality, or fit and stability of the Powerbeats Pro. Or that nine-hour battery life. Apple took a long time to spit out a truly new Beats product, but now that it has, the wait has absolutely been worth it.
Photography by Vlad Savov / The Verge
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Beats Powerbeats Pro review: Bulkier than AirPods, but with better sound
I came close to getting a great fit. I would rate it between a B+ and A-. The issue wasn't one of security; I never had to worry about them falling off. With a few tweaks to the iconic earhooks -- they're bendable -- the Powerbeats Pros were essentially clipped onto my ears. I shot some hoops with them on and I suspect that they'd stay on even if I was capable of, say, a degree slam dunk. (Alas, I am not.)
Read more:The best true wireless headphones you can buy in
My little problem: Even with the largest ear tips (yes, they're large but not quite large enough), my ear canal wasn't completely sealed off, so more ambient noise leaked in than I would have liked and sound quality was impacted in noisier environments -- like on the subway or the streets of New York. I was in the minority, however. I had CNET colleagues who were able to get a tight seal and not only really liked the fit but were immediately impressed with the sound.
These did fit me better and more comfortably than the earlier Powerbeats3 Wireless, which -- unlike the Pro -- have a wire connecting the left and right earbud. And, in fact, the Powerbeats Pro have been engineered to be compatible with a higher percentage of ears than past Powerbeats. That's because Beats, which is owned by Apple, refined their exterior design. According to Beats, the Powerbeats Pro are 23% smaller than the Powerbeats3 and 17% lighter. They're not rated as being fully waterproof, but they are sweat- and water-resistant. With an IPX4 certification, they can be splashed from any direction but could fail if sprayed with a sustained jet of water or are fully submerged.
One thing that's definitely not compact is the charging case. Although it isn't heavy, it's a good three to four times times the size of the AirPods charging case. It'll leave a pretty big bulge in your pocket, so you'll probably want to leave it in a bag or locker at the gym. Considering these cost $, it would have been nice if Beats had thrown in a protective pouch to carry them around in for those times you want to leave the charging case behind.
Read more: 9 tips a tricks to master Beats' completely wireless earbuds
It's also worth noting that the case doesn't offer wireless charging, as the new AirPods Wireless Charging Case does. However, it does charge via an included Lightning cable, which is better than Micro-USB. Beats' earlier BeatsX also charged via Lightning.
Big sound upgrade from AirPods
Beats says these guys use new upgraded piston drivers that are supposed to cut down on distortion. They sound significantly better than the original AirPods, which isn't that high a bar to clear, but the Powerbeats Pro deliver richer, cleaner sound with bass that's not only much bigger but tighter. As I said, a full seal is crucial to maximizing sound quality with these types of noise-isolating headphones, so if the tips aren't sitting snugly in your ear canals you can lose some bass.
In contrast, the AirPods have an "open" design and sit more loosely in your ears (though the newer AirPods Pro feature a noise-isolating design). They let in a lot more ambient noise as a result. Assuming you get that good seal, the Powerbeats Pro would be much better for, say, listening on an airplane than the AirPods, for instance.
The knock against Beats headphones used to be that they were too bass-heavy and that the bass was boomy and lacked definition. The Powerbeats Pro also accentuate the bass, but I didn't have a problem their bass performance. In fact, the bass is one of these reasons you'd buy this over something like the AirPods or Jabra's Elite 65t (or the Elite Active 65t). But I did notice some treble push -- sometimes referred to as presence boost -- that can make them sound a tad too bright with certain tracks. The BeatsX had the same issue, and while it may not be something regular people will be too perturbed about, audiophiles will probably take issue.
The Powerbeats Pro's sound is going to compare favorably with most other premium true wireless models, which can sound quite decent but ultimately don't measure up to a good set of wired earphones. That said, I thought the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, which retails for $, sounded better. It's just a little more detailed and smoother sounding. Likewise, the UA True Wireless Flash by JBL sound as good as the Powerbeats Pro for about $40 less. However, the Powerbeats have some advantages over both, including much better battery life.
Thanks to their larger design compared to the AirPods, Apple and Beats engineers have been able to incorporate a larger battery. The Powerbeats Pro are rated at 9 hours for music listening compared to 5 hours for the AirPods, and the charging case delivers 15 extra hours of juice. With the quick-charge feature, a 5-minute charge gets you an hour and a half of playback while a minute charge will get you four and a half hours. The headphones automatically turn off when you drop them in the case and will go to sleep if you leave them sitting on a table.
Apple's H1 chip on board
Like the AirPods, these also have Apple's new H1 chip that supports Bluetooth 5. That means Apple users get the same fast-pairing feature and always-on Siri that allows you to activate Siri by just saying, "Hey, Siri," rather than touching a button. You can ask Siri to raise and lower the volume, and Apple Music users can tell Siri to skip tracks forward and back.
Needless to say, Siri features only work with Apple devices, but there's some good news for Android users: There are buttons on the earpieces that give you control of playback and volume levels. I thought they worked well during my two days of playing around with the product. Each earpiece has the same buttons, so you can control playback from either earpiece.
If you look closely, you'll see that there are optical sensors built into the buds. They detect whether you have the buds in your ears or have removed them, so your music will automatically pause and resume. Like the AirPods, each bud can be used independently of the other, so if you want to go with one bud -- left or right -- you can.
The AirPods are great for making calls, and Apple's engineers have brought some of the same technology to the Powerbeats Pro. There are two beam-forming microphones in each earpiece, along with a speech-detecting accelerometer that helps pick up your voice better -- whether it's for phone calls or talking to Siri. And like the second-generation AirPods, these are supposed to do a better job filtering out external sounds such as wind and ambient noise during calls.
I thought they worked as well and maybe even better than the AirPods for making calls because they don't have an open design that allows sound to leak in (that makes them better for noisier environments). Callers said I sounded clear and they didn't have trouble hearing me when I made calls from the streets of New York.
Worth the price?
People have gotten used to spending $$ on a pair of full-size noise-cancelling headphones, but $ seems like a lot to spend on a set of true-wireless earbuds, particularly with the second-generation AirPods starting at $ for the version with the standard charging case. However, as I said, if the Powerbeats Pro fit you well, you're going to be quite happy with them.
Yes, their large charging case is a notable drawback. But the combination of incorporating all the features that make the AirPods great while delivering richer sound and better battery life, in a design that won't fall out of your ears, is ultimately a winning proposition. Just make sure you buy them somewhere that has a good return policy in case you're in the small minority that has ears that aren't quite a match for them.
First published May
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Amazon Epic Daily Deals: Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones for just $
Amazon Epic Daily Deals continue to wow us with this excellent Black Friday-like price on Apple Powerbeats.
Right now, you can get the Powerbeats Pro for $ from Amazon. They usually cost $, so that's $40 in savings — it's the Powerbeats Pro's lowest price ever.
This is one of the best headphone deals we've seen outside of Black Friday.
Powerbeats Pro deal
Powerbeats Pro deal
Apple's proprietary Beats Powerbeats Pro earphones are the best headphones for working out. They offer great sound, a built-in mic, and up to 9 hours of battery life (25 with charging case).
Although we didn't test these 'phones, they have an average customer rating of out of 5 stars on Amazon. According to feedback left by satisfied owners, the Powerbeats Pro provide solid sound. Others say they're great for running, cycling and gym workouts.
Runners and gym rats will benefit from the Powerbeats Pro's wrap-around-the-ear secure fit and water-and-sweat resistance. Just like the AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats Pro features Apple's H1 chip. This allows for instant, painless connectivity to your phone.
If you're looking for the best sports-centric headphones for your workout, the Powerbeats Pro are a wise choice — especially at this price.
This deal ends October 7.
Hilda Scott uses her combined passion for gadgets and bargain shopping to bring you the best prices on all things tech. She has a bachelor’s degree in film and media studies from Hunter College and 11 years of tech and entertainment journalism. Her work has been featured on Tom’s Guide, iTechPost, Examiner.com, Parlemag, Enstars, and Latin Times. When she's not scouting for the best deals, Hilda’s catching up on her favorite TV shows and pro-wrestling matches.