Meet the most life-changing, workout-transforming, workout earbuds you’ve ever seen, the Powerbeats Pro. The latest training sound solution from sound giant Beats by Dre solves one of the most underrated problems I’ve had with wireless earbuds: On occasion, they just fall out.
You know this earbuds problem if you train hard and aggressively, and if you’re constantly doing explosive movements. The true wireless earbud revolution has been terrific for fitness overall. But no pair matches the ear security and confidence delivered by the Powerbeats Pros, which let me comfortably do Superman pushups, power cleans, headstands, and sprints with ease.
During exercises like these, even the best true wireless buds are prone to loosening and slipping out of your ear. That instantly wrecks your training experience and immersion, pulling you out of your workout music world and sending you to the ground to grab that missing bud. Even the threat of such an incident can take you out of your workout flow.
That doesn’t happen with the Powerbeats Pro earbuds, so you can focus on what you’re supposed to focus on: your workout.
Safe and Secure Fit
The beauty of the Powerbeats Pro starts with a design that’s unique among wireless buds (although it’s somewhat shocking that no company built true wireless buds like this before). Your average pair of workout buds is really just a bud with some built-in inner ear suction holding it in place. The Powerbeats Pro takes things one step further, though, adding loops that secure the units to the outside of your ear.
These loops aren’t massive, although they are slightly noticeable, especially compared to other devices on the market, like Jaybird’s Run Frees or the iconic Apple Airpods. But the loops offer terrific benefits. I’ve historically had trouble keeping earbuds in my ears, and this has been troublesome even with, say, the Apple Airpods. Just walking down the street, they don’t feel secure. That’s partly why I test all earbuds with something I call the Superman Test: Essentially I do Superman pushups until they fall out.
Most earbuds last, max, 4 or 5 reps of Superman test. But the Powerbeats Pro? I got tired of doing pushups long before they fell out. Those loops are secure and strong, so the buds simply never move. That makes them perfect for everything, from outdoor runs, to CrossFit sessions (I can’t tell you how frequently other pairs of earbuds fall out during rowing interval work) to basketball shootarounds. Heck, if I didn’t need to listen for teammates, I might wear my Powerbeats Pro earbuds on the court for games too.
This same security characterized the Powerbeats and Powerbeats wireless lines that came before the Pro-style, too, so it’s no surprise that the earbuds, designed to be as low-profile as possible while still getting the job done, work terrifically well.
Add the Power of Apple
The internals of the Powerbeats Pros share a lot of the same traits as the Apple Airpods, including that seamless instant connectivity. If you’re pairing these Bluetooth buds with an iPhone or Apple Watch, it’s an ultra-quick process: Hold the buds near your device, hop in Settings, and connect.
That’s a welcome change from the typically inconsistent pairing process found on third-party devices. And it’s not the only time the Powerbeats borrowed from the Airpods. The Powerbeats are driven by the same H1 chip, which means Siri can also listen for voice commands. You can also take calls on the Powerbeats as well.
It’s a magical overall experience, and it doesn’t diminish all that much even if you’re pairing with non-Apple devices (as many people are). Sure, you lose voice commands and that instant pairing, but setting the Powerbeats Pro up with, say, a Google Pixel 3a, is not complicated, and the Powerbeats maintain the same steady connection you expect.
Top-Notch Sound and Battery Life Complete the Package
All those touches wouldn’t be much without quality sound and battery life, and, as you might expect, Beats delivers here, too. You get nine full hours of battery life on a single charge, plus more thanks to the charging case (an industry standard for true wireless buds these days).
So if you’re using these buds in the gym exclusively, you may go a full week without ever charging them. If you use them more frequently, you’ll still get plenty of mileage on a single charge. I’ve been using the Powerbeats Pros for a month, and I’ve yet to have them actually run out of juice.
Sound quality, meanwhile, is everything you’d expect from Beats, meaning potent bass pop (something that’s much appreciated in an earbud), and clear trebles and mids. That’s perfect for the thumping lines of most of the songs in my gym mix (think Eminem’s “Venom” and Aloe Blacc’s “Superstar”), but there’s versatility here, too; the Powerbeats Pros also performed well in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” a multidimensional song that’s one of my go-tos for overall music testing. Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” however, can get a little laborious; the Pros have such potent trebles that certain vocal songs can sound like a headache. Still, that’s a minor quibble.
The attention to the mids and trebles, however, has an extra benefit when you’re using the Powerbeats Pro earbuds for other media. Often, bass-heavy cans make movies and Netflix-viewing a headache, drowning out dialogue in too many lows. No problems here, though.
And no problems with latency, either. If you’ve played games on your iPad or PC, you know all about audio that lags a millisecond behind what you see on-screen, and early Beats wireless models struggled in this regard. You’ll notice no such lag on either phone calls or video and gaming here, though.
The Only Problem With the Carrying Case
If only Beats built all that into a product with, you know, a slightly smaller carrying case. The one issue with the Powerbeats Pro earbuds is its oversized case, which simply can’t fit anywhere. There are plusses and minuses to this. One serious positive: You’ll never, ever lose this case and these buds.
You’ll also never leave them in your back pocket and put them in the laundry, partly because this case just won’t fit in your back pocket period. That creates a headache if you’re not carrying a backpack to your next stop, or if you’re just planning to take a walk around the city. This shortcoming is offset somewhat by the fact that the Powerbeats Pros already have some terrific battery life (just put the buds in your pocket sans case and go for your four-hour walk around the mall), but still, not having your case can be annoying.
Despite that large case, Beats somehow doesn’t build in wireless Qi charging. The only way to charge these babies is via your Apple lightning cable. So if you’ve been cutting the cord with your phone charging, these won’t play nice. That’s an especially noticeable shortcoming since the latest Apple Airpods feature full wireless charging, as do the other big guns in this space, Samsung’s latest IconX buds.
Are the Powerbeats Pro Worth it?
The Powerbeats also come in a rather steep package; they’ll run you a whopping $249. But if you’re a hardcore gymgoer who does more than slow movements, or you have a diverse fitness life that includes, say, basketball and soccer, then the Powerbeats are more than worth the money.
You’re getting everything the AirPods can do, plus dominant battery life, plus terrifically tuned sound (yes, these sound better than the AirPods). And most of all, you get security in your workouts, and the comfort to really attack your workouts.
That said, not everyone needs the Powerbeats Pros. If AirPods feel comfortable and secure in your ears, and they’ve never fallen out, you don’t need this change. But if AirPods have never felt right? These new buds are for you.
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