Truly wireless earphones are on the rise these days. It started with a revolution from Apple when it launched the first generation AirPods back in 2016. Since then, other manufacturers have come forth with their own renditions of the truly wireless earphone. Samsung had the Galaxy Buds, Sony had the WF-1000X, and now Beats is here with the Powerbeats Pro.
The Powerbeats Pro are aimed at “professionals” especially athletes, at least according to their advertisements. Price and specification-wise they are aimed to rival Apple’s second-generation AirPods that are currently the latest ones you can buy. Are the Powerbeats Pro a better choice to have over the AirPods or does Apple reign supreme in the category it has created itself? Let’s find out. Shall we?
The Powerbeats Pro feature a plastic build, which is okay for earbuds as they need to be light, durable, and flexible. I like the fact that they have ear support to keep them in place. This means that, unlike the AirPods, they are less likely to fall off. The plastic of the support is slightly rubberized and it can adjust itself on any ear size.
The buds themselves are replaceable, which means you can change their size so that they fit perfectly. On the back, you have a subtle beats logo which doubles as a button. You also get a volume rocker on the top and a proximity sensor on the inside. Overall, the design is simple yet functional. I wouldn’t call it beautiful but then again, it’s not what it’s trying to be. Function wins over form for these and I’m completely fine with it being that way.
Like the AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro do pack a lot of functionality that meets the eye. Earlier I mentioned the buttons on the exterior of these earbuds. You get a dedicated volume rocker which is convenient but what about the rest of the functions. Well, that’s where the Beats logo comes into play. It has multiple functions. While playing, press it once and it will play/pause the track. Press it twice to go to the next track and thrice for the previous track.
Similarly, you can press it once to accept phone calls or just long press it to decline them. If you’re using them with an Android device, you can long-press it to activate Google Assistant. The proximity sensor is there to automatically pause/play your music track when you take your Powerbeats off and then put them back on.
Also like the AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro come with a charging case, albeit this one is quite a lot larger in size. The buds themselves are rated for 9 hours of continuous use, which is actually pretty good, way better than the AirPods. In case you run out of juice, just stick the buds in the case. They charge up in just 5 minutes and the combined playback with the case is enough to last 24 hours, which is class leading.
However, things aren’t all that great as, unlike the one that comes with the AirPods, this case doesn’t support wireless charging regardless of its larger size. You can only charge via a Lightning cable as there’s no option for a USB-C either. The Powerbeats do have the same H1 chip as the AirPods, which makes it effortless while pairing with Apple devices. Because of that chip, the Powebeats come standard with “Hey Siri” voice command detection.
Price & Verdict
At $249.95, the Powerbeats Pro are one of the most expensive earbuds you can buy. They cost even more than the AirPods, which can be bought for “just” $199. But then again with the Beats, you do get overall better buds. They last longer, are more comfortable and can do everything the AirBuds can except wirelessly charge. They even sound better.
At this point, I’m even confused at the point of this competition. In case you didn’t know or haven’t figured it out yet, Beats was bought by Apple back in 2014. This makes Beats a subsidiary of Apple and the profit made by either of these devices will benefit Apple regardless. This type of competition is not that uncommon in the business world.