Beats is on a roll. The company has been shipping headphones with improved Apple smarts for some time now, and perhaps the biggest release in true wireless headphones over the past few months comes in the form of the Beats Powerbeats Pro.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro take Apple’s awesome H1 chip, add Beats’ known sound-quality, and offers an impressive battery life. But at $250, are the headphones worth buying? We’ve been testing the Beats Powerbeats Pro for a few weeks now to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Beats Powerbeats Pro is their design, and they’re immediately recognizable. The headphones offer an ear hook in an attempt to keep them firmly on your head, and avoid the headphones falling off. They’re built with one main arm that extends around an inch, and then curves around into the ear hook.
The Powerbeats Pro headphones are available in a range of different colors, so there should be something out there for everyone. We’re boring, so we chose to go with the Black model, but if you’re a little more colorful, you’ll likely be able to find something that better fits your style.
On each bud, there are two buttons — one on the logo, and one on the side of the main arm. They’re both easy to use and push down — which helps ensure that pushing them doesn’t also push the buds deeper into the ear canals.
Of course, perhaps one of the best things about the Powerbeats Pro is their awesome connectivity tech. Pairing the headphones with your iPhone is a breeze — simply open up the case with the headphones in it, hold it near your iPhone, and it should show up on the display for easy pairing. Once that’s done, the device will be automatically paired with an Apple Watch and your Mac too, as long as they’re signed in to your Apple account. It’s pretty awesome, and makes the headphones feel like they’re a part of the Apple ecosystem.
The charging case looks fine, but it’s quite a bit bigger than many others. So much so that it’s a little uncomfortable in a pocket, so if you’re looking for something pocket-sized, it might be worth looking elsewhere or getting a pair of AirPods. On the back of the case, you’ll get a Lightning port. We would have preferred to see a USB-C port here, and perhaps the next generation Powerbeats Pro headphones will offer one, but for now you’re stuck with Lightning.
Apart from the headphones themselves, in the box, you’ll get a Lightning cable for charging and a total of four pairs of ear tips, which is always nice.
Putting the Powerbeats Pro headphones on can take a few seconds to get used to, but once they are on, they’re actually quite comfortable. The ear hook is especially helpful here. Rarely do we find a pair of true wireless headphones that work great for sports use, but these are one such pair — so if you’re looking for something to take to the gym, the Powerbeats Pro headphones may be the way to go.
Despite the fact that the headphones are relatively comfortable, it’s still worth experimenting with different ear tips to find the ones that best fit your ears.
Beats headphones are a little famous for tweaking frequency response, but we actually don’t mind that. Now, these headphones are not for audiophiles who want something ultra natural — but if you like the idea of a bit of extra oomph for working out at the gym, or don’t mind a bit of tweaking, then these headphones sound great.
As you would expect from a pair of Beats headphones, the bass is front-and center here — but it’s not too over the top. To be sure, kick drums and other low frequencies get a significant boost, but rather than getting muddy, low frequencies simply sound a little more round.
The mids are quite scooped. There are plenty of low mids, helping make for a warm sound, but the high mids seem to have gotten a bit of a cut — and the result is that vocals and guitars can sound a little further back in the mix.
High end, thankfully, is pretty good. Some might want a little extra clarity and detail, but in general, there’s enough sizzle in the cymbals and bite in those rock vocals.
There’s no noise cancellation on offer by the Powerbeats Pro headphones, but in the end these are really sports headphones — so you probably wouldn’t expect noise cancellation anyway.
Apple’s H1 chip doesn’t just make for easier connectivity on the Powerbeats Pro, it also makes for better connectivity. We never experience the headphones dropping out or skipping, whether we played audio from an iPhone, Apple Watch, or Mac.
The battery life on the headphones is pretty impressive too. Beats rates the headphones at up to nine hours on a single charge, and in our experience, that held true. That’s far better than most other true wireless headphones out there. The charging case gets the headphones an additional 24 hours, which means that between the two, you won’t have to charge the headphones for weeks on end.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro are the headphones to get if you want a pair of true wireless headphones that firmly stay in your ears. They’re a little expensive, to be sure, but they’re well-designed, sound great, and offer a host of awesome connectivity features thanks to the H1 chip, at least if you’re an iPhone user.
Of course, there are cheaper headphones worth considering too. If you want to save a bit of cash, then the JLab Audio Epic Air Elite headphones still have a ton to offer. They’re not better than the Powerbeats Pro, but they’re almost as good for a little less money.
Thanks to their nice design, comfortable fit, and great sound, we’re awarding the Beats Powerbeats Pro the Headphone Review Gold Medal.
|Frequency response||Unknown||Active noise cancellation||No|
|Driver size||Unknown||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver type||Dynamic||On-ear controls||Yes|
|Rated impedance||Unknown||Magnet material||Unknown|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Water resistance||Yes|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Battery life||9 Hours (+24 Hours)|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth, Apple H1||Cable length||N/A|
|Wired connection||No||Case type||Charging case|
|Weight||Unknown||Colors||Black, Ivory, Moss, Navy|