Hands-On With Apple's New Powerbeats Pro Earbuds
Apple's new wire-free Powerbeats Pro are set to launch this Friday after pre-orders became available last week, and ahead of their official debut, we were able to get a pair to test out to find out whether Apple's latest Beats-branded earbuds are worth the $250 price tag.
While Apple is planning to sell the Powerbeats Pro in four colors, including ivory, moss, navy, and black, only the black version is available right now, with the other options coming later in the summer.
Powerbeats Pro share many features with the AirPods, but the design is totally different because they're aimed at vigorous physical activity like sports and working out. There are a set of earhooks that wrap around your ear to keep the Powerbeats Pro in place, along with four sets of ear tips for a customized fit.
Multiple tips means the Powerbeats Pro will fit most people, and while it's early, we found them to be lightweight and comfortable overall, though any earbud is going to cause ear fatigue after long periods of usage. This kind of around the ear fit isn't going to appeal to everyone, and it can take a bit of practice to be able to get them positioned in your ears correctly.
The Powerbeats Pro fit on the ears super securely, and it's unlikely these are going to fall out of your ears during physical activity. Powerbeats Pro fit in the ear canal unlike the AirPods, and will drown out ambient noise, which is something to be aware of. We tested these out with sunglasses and found them comfortable, so these may work well for those who wear glasses regularly.
As for sound quality, with the tips positioned correctly in your ears, the Powerbeats Pro sound impressive. Everything is full, crisp, and clear, and parts of songs remain distinguishable. Bass sounds great and is not muddy, which can be an issue with other wire-free headphones.
Powerbeats Pro have a carrying case, but it's a lot bigger than the AirPods case. It's not really pocketable, and it's worth noting that wireless charging is not an included feature. You need to charge this case using a Lightning cable. Opening up the case causes the Powerbeats Pro to pair with your device just like the AirPods and thanks to the H1 chip, easy pairing, easy device swapping, and "Hey Siri" support are all Powerbeats Pro features.
We were impressed with how quickly the Powerbeats Pro were able to pair with an iPhone, and it's worth noting that the Live Listen feature available on the AirPods is also available on Powerbeats Pro. Live Listen is designed to let the iPhone serve as a microphone, amplifying the ambient noise around you and beaming it to your earbuds.
Automatic play/pause functionality will pause audio when you remove an earbud and play it again when it's put back in place, a super handy feature, and there are some physical buttons for doing things like playing music, pausing music, adjusting volume (these buttons are at the top) and skipping tracks. Physical buttons are nice, but it's not always easy to use the button on the first try and it takes a bit more effort than the tap controls on the AirPods.
Powerbeats Pro offer up to nine hours of listening time per earbud along with 24 hours of additional battery life from the charging case, plus there's a fast fuel feature that offers up 1.5 hours of playback with a five minute charge. We haven't had the Powerbeats Pro long enough to test the battery life sufficiently, but we'll be providing more detail in a future video.
So are the Powerbeats Pro worth the $250 price tag? We think the answer is yes if you're looking for a set of earbuds that have a secure, comfortable fit with all of the features offered by the AirPods. They're perfect if you live an active lifestyle or are looking for a more traditional earbud fit than the AirPods offer.
We'll be doing a follow up video comparing the Powerbeats Pro to the AirPods, so make sure to keep an eye out for that tomorrow, and for more info on Powerbeats Pro, check out our Powerbeats Pro guide.