What You Need to Know
- Best sound quality of any in-ear earphone that Thomas has tested
- Water and sweat resistant, certified in soupy Baltimore humidity
- Pairs immediately to any iPhone using Apple H1 chip
- Could turn you into that weirdly happy runner you’re always annoyed with
- Could turn you into that angry elf runner that punches a hole in the wall right after a meditation session
The new Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones are a high-end accessory built specifically for athletes. But do the features justify the price tag when competitors like Jaybird offer a similar product at much lower prices? Read on to find out.
There are a few essential features when it comes to running with wireless earphones, namely sound quality, ambient noise allowance, sweat/water resistance, and battery life. Let’s knock them out.
When it comes to sound quality, the Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro has it. The depth and warmth of the music are lush and warm, while the treble and bass are crisp and deep. In fact, you may find a “happy pill” smile come across your face mid-run, as you discover nuances in your favorite songs that you hadn’t noticed before.
A concerning quality for runners (especially city runners), is the balance between ambient noise and noise-canceling. Unlike the Apple Airpods that allow in almost any noise, the Powerbeats immerse you in your own world without being true noise-canceling earphones. While the earphones are in, you can still hear a small amount of ambient noise like traffic or someone calling your name, unless you crank them up.
It’s summer in Baltimore, which means soup city when it comes to temperature and humidity. It also means an almost daily occurrence of pop-up thunderstorm. I can attest that they have made it through some sweaty-ass (and sweaty ear) Baltimore runs, with no slippage in terms of fit.
Battery life is very solid. With a 9 hour battery when fully charged, you can get through the long weekend miles without needing a power source. The battery charger is the carrying case, much like the Airpods. Charge up the case, store the earphones in it, and you’ll always be ready to go. If you forgot to charge your Powerbeats, you can still get an hour and a half of listening time with a 5-minute charge.
All the controls are at your fingertips– answer calls, deny calls, turn it up, skip songs. But you don’t have to use your fingers at all, you can just “Hey Siri” and use voice controls. The setup is intuitive; you’ll be taking command of your audio right out of the box.
Once the Powerbeats Pro is in your ears, they are reasonably comfortable. They come with some extra earplug sizes to accommodate and customize your fit. With the Apple H1 chip, the range is extended, allowing the earphones to stay connected with fewer dropouts.
Over-the-ear hooks share the same real estate as sunglasses and hats. That means it can get a little crowded and uncomfortable on the top of the ear.
If you’ve ever used true tetherless and wireless earphones, you know that there are times when one earbud is working and the other isn’t. Usually, the fix is putting both buds back in the carrying case, letting them reset, and then trying again. Not a huge issue, but when you are trying to get out the door for your morning run, it may elicit some f-bombs. There go the gains from your pre-run meditation sesh.
Last gripe, one of the nicest features of the Apple AirPods is the size of their recharging case. Their case is small enough to fit in a jeans pocket or the zippered back pocket of your favorite running shorts. Not so much with the Powerbeats PRO. The recharging storage case is about the size of an overstuffed dad wallet. George Costanza approved.
Powerbeats PRO Conclusion
The sound quality on the Powerbeats Pro alone had me loving these earphones. It is like pouring velvet into your ears. The 9-hour battery will get me through anything under a 50-miler. Retailing at $249.99, they’re not cheap; however, all the aforementioned good qualities should assure a good return on your investment.