Powerbeats Pro vs. Powerbeats 3

Powerbeats Pro launched last week, and the first orders are now in the hands of customers. We already did a Powerbeats Pro vs. AirPods hands-on comparison, but we got requests for a video detailing how the new ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ compare to the previous-generation Powerbeats 3 Wireless Earphones.

Today, we're taking a look at whether it's worth upgrading to the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ if you've already got the Powerbeats 3, or if it's worth spending the extra cash if you're trying to decide between the two.


Powerbeats 3 have been around for a few years now, and are available at prices as low as $90, making them much more affordable than the $250 ‌Powerbeats Pro‌, but feature wise, the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ pack in a lot of functionality for that extra price increase.

When it comes to design, the Powerbeats 3 and the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ look rather similar as both feature earhooks to keep them in place along with in-ear earbuds that block out ambient noise, but the designs aren't quite the same.

powerbeats1
The Powerbeats 3 have an earhook that's angled upwards and an earpiece that's slightly shorter, while the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ have an earhook that better contours to the ear. The biggest design difference is, of course, the cable that connects the Powerbeats 3 as these are not wire-free headphones like the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌.

A wire-free design is unquestionably better than a wired design in most situations, but a wire does make sure you're not going to lose a single earbud because they're tethered together. That might be preferable for some people.

Both Powerbeats 3 and ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ are comfortable thanks to the four eartips in different sizes, but we preferred the fit and the feel of the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌. The new angle just gives them a better fit in the ear, but there's not a huge amount of difference between the two. The earhooks on the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ seem durable and more sturdy compared to the earhooks on the Powerbeats 3, and we didn't get the impression that they're going to be prone to breakage.

powerbeats3
Powerbeats 3 have a single physical button to power them on and off and they come with a remote on the wire for controlling media playback. ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ have no wire, so there are physical buttons on the earbuds themselves for controlling media and changing the volume.

‌Powerbeats Pro‌ come with a battery case that provides extra power, and while the Powerbeats 3 have a case, it's a flimsy little silicone thing that's only meant to give you a way to carry them around. Powerbeats 3 boast 12 hours of battery life while ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ are limited to nine hours, but you do get up to 24 hours of additional battery life with the aforementioned battery case.

powerbeatspro2
Powerbeats 3 have a W1 chip, much like the original AirPods, which allows for simple device pairing and switching, but it's not as simple as the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ pairing. With ‌Powerbeats Pro‌, you just open the case near an Apple device and the pairing process is initiated, but with Powerbeats 3, you need to hold down the power button for five seconds.

‌Powerbeats Pro‌ have an updated H1 chip that allows for faster pairing than with the W1, hands-free "Hey Siri" support (you need to push a button to use ‌Siri‌ on Powerbeats 3), and improved range, plus the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ support Bluetooth 5 so you're going to get a better connection and longer range.

As for sound, we thought the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ sounded better than the Powerbeats 3 because they're more balanced. The Powerbeats 3 are bass heavy and that muddies the sound in some songs, a problem the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ don't have. Powerbeats 3 don't sound bad, but they don't sound as good as ‌Powerbeats Pro‌.

powerbeats4
Sweat and water resistance is going to be a major question, and it's not something that can be addressed properly without longer periods of testing and moisture exposure over time. ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ have an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means they've been tested and can hold up to splashes of water, while the Powerbeats 3 have no specific Ingress Protection rating.

That suggests the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ are going to better hold up to moisture than the Powerbeats 3, but it's going to take more testing and exposure to sweat over time to get a clearer picture of how durable these new earbuds are.

There have been a lot of complaints about Powerbeats 3 failing due to sweat exposure, so hopefully this is a problem adequately addressed by the sweat and water resistance Apple promises in ‌Powerbeats Pro‌.

Overall, the Powerbeats 3 are fine headphones, but the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ are better in almost every way. There's a huge price difference between the two, but if price isn't much of a factor and you're aiming for convenience, the ‌Powerbeats Pro‌ are the clear winner and are worth the purchase or the upgrade.

Top Rated Comments

az431 Avatar
63 months ago
Not buying ANYTHING wireless again.
My AirPods now last less than 3 minutes... Not worth spending 170 on a device that is going to become a figurine on your table.

At last they should keep operating when the battery is dead (like in some headphones).
It's going to be a big adjustment throwing your phone in the trash.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
santaliqueur Avatar
63 months ago
Not buying ANYTHING wireless again.
My AirPods now last less than 3 minutes... Not worth spending 170 on a device that is going to become a figurine on your table.

At last they should keep operating when the battery is dead (like in some headphones).
Good luck on "not buying anything wireless again". You sound like one of these dudes in 2008 that was ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED they would never buy a smartphone with a touch screen. I guess if you have an active eBay account, you will be able to find wired stuff for years to come!

3 minutes? So you cannot even play a single song on your AirPods? I must have been extremely lucky with my launch day AirPods still lasting several hours despite me wearing them 50+ hours a week.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
triton100 Avatar
63 months ago
Received my Power Beats Pro today and after listening I put them right back in the box to return to Apple. The sound quality is just blah. I'm used to the Bose Free Sound Sports and these PBP's don't even come close in sound quality. To me all the other features mean nothing unless you have optimal sound quality. And these do not have it.
This is what I was waiting to find out. Sounds like I won’t be getting them either then. I have the sennheisser momentum true wireless in ears. And they are on a par with the Bose sport or arguably better. I would have loved to have had the easy pairing though as swapping between devices is a pain. But like u say it’s sound quality first all the way.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
acorntoy Avatar
63 months ago
Not buying ANYTHING wireless again.
My AirPods now last less than 3 minutes... Not worth spending 170 on a device that is going to become a figurine on your table.

At last they should keep operating when the battery is dead (like in some headphones).
People seem to forget that cheap ($10-$90) earphones that use a wire break, a lot, because of the wire. It's usually the weak point in the earphones. I used to go through a pair every couple months, if my AirPods died tomorrow I would still have saved a significant amount of money in the last two years because they don't have the failure prone wire.

For example: The wired version of AirPods reviews. https://www.apple.com/shop/reviews/MMTN2AM/A/earpods-with-lightning-connector?page=0&rf=1

Most didn't even last a year let alone 2.
[doublepost=1557788318][/doublepost]
A pair of $170 headphones, should last more than 2 years... Im not against wireless stuff, just make sure that they have a second option (wired) or nice technology.
EarPods with 3.5 mm Headphone Plug ('https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MNHF2AM/A/earpods-with-35-mm-headphone-plug?fnode=450e041bbbd92fedab236ec893f456c218dc7aa645aa0f68b45503465f4e55c8b083f124e6ccaee29a0a9d533418d5e674b6dcbeb6eec04343e3cf8467360353fa8bb77abe8d0755d23ec594480d25425283e06236d51d1a9ed8f30a153fe1cf')

EarPods with Lightning Connector ('https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MMTN2AM/A/earpods-with-lightning-connector?fnode=bbe3464c85e6388008d141f4096e5563c213aa6d2b23ac6925fe99df3fef9a8c7752c6a42a334cd4c6ce8ffd3b922d19f79f301c937d3a288082109914eea82f476bdb483fb63c42c03d42c24defb1799cfca9e77da146b68320484ffe4b1791')
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bubsdaddy Avatar
63 months ago
I think the complete discharge requirement was for Ni-mh rechargeable batteries. Most devices now use Lithium ion batteries and do not require full discharge.

This is a rather confusing post. Am I right to translate it to mean that after x (undisclosed months/years) the batteries in your AirPods are no longer working? Also you expect a wireless device that runs on batteries to keep running when the batteries are no longer working? LOL, I wish my flashlight did that too.

The only thing I can say if x is less than 3 years or so and you did not expose them to water/sweat (they are not resistant) than you have a legitimate gripe. If x is > than 3 years or you got them wet, well that is a problem with devices without replaceable batteries and/or getting electronics that are not water resistant wet.
[doublepost=1557795206][/doublepost]

You must be right because people keep buying them. I know I have a pair of powerbeats3, love them. (OK, truthfully, I only paid $99)
[doublepost=1557795366][/doublepost]

Is that still a thing? I know years ago, battery experts used to say that about batteries. I thought that was no longer the case, starting about 10-years ago.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobob Avatar
63 months ago
The AirPods battery is a huge problem. I'm not paying $150 ever other year to replace them.
That is the equivalent of a subscription of $6.25/month.

If I found my AirPods so useful that I completely wore out the batteries in just 2 years, I would happily pay that much.

However as it turns out, although I do indeed love my AirPods, I'm a much lighter user of them and my batteries are all still fine after 2 years. I expect to get 5 years out of them before the battery life impacts my own use case. That brings my own monthly AirPods cost down to $2.50
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
General Apps Messages

iOS 17.4 to Add This 'Groundbreaking' New Messaging Feature

Friday February 23, 2024 5:05 am PST by
With iOS 17.4, set to arrive in March 2024, Apple is bringing a new cryptographic security feature to iMessage called PQ3. This "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks," according to Apple. Let's break down what that means. Apple's iMessage service already supports end-to-end encryption, but security...
iPhone Notch

Apple Explored These Notch and Dynamic Island Designs for iPhones

Friday February 23, 2024 2:05 pm PST by
With the iPhone 14 Pro models in 2022, Apple introduced the Dynamic Island, which can morph and expand to display system alerts, sports scores, and a variety of other information. The feature makes the space surrounding the front camera and Face ID sensors useful compared to the notch on older iPhone models. Apple explored a variety of ideas for the iPhone's notch area over the years before...
Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
New Macs iPads iOS 17 4

What to Expect at Potential Apple Event in March: iPads, Macs, and More

Friday February 23, 2024 8:35 am PST by
Apple often holds its first media event of the year in March, so the company could be just weeks away from announcing new products. Below, we have outlined what to expect from a potential Apple Event this March. Past Apple Events in March Apple has held five events in March since 2015:Monday, March 9, 2015 Monday, March 21, 2016 Tuesday, March 27, 2018 Monday, March 25, 2019 Tuesday,...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...