Although they’re marketed primarily as “sport” earphones, the PowerBeats Pro are so much more. With class-leading battery life, excellent sound quality, and a highly secure and comfortable fit, the PowerBeats Pro make a strong argument for best overall true wireless earbuds. I tested them for an entire month and am now an unapologetic Beats devotee. Here’s why.
If you’ve seen Apple’s marketing campaign for the PowerBeats Pro, then you know Apple is going after active users. Runners, lifters, movers and shakers—these Beats are for you. The true wireless design means no annoying cable flapping against the back of your neck while you run. The adjustable ear hooks are incredibly secure, so you don’t have to worry about your buds falling out. And, even though they’re larger than some of their sleeker peers (Airpods, for example), the Beats are lightweight and very comfortable, making it easy to forget you’re wearing them. Add to that a water-resistant body complete with sweaty-hands-friendly controls, and you have a darn near-perfect set of sport earbuds.
Sound that Inspires
True to their sports-centric branding, the PowerBeats Pro offer a listening experience that’s meant to inspire and drive your next workout. The bass thumps, the highs are full of energy and pop. Being from Kansas City, one of my favorite hype songs of all time is Tech N9ne’s The Beast. Listening to that track on the Beats was like a shot of adrenaline. The opening piano bars sound so crisp, then the beat drops with a forceful kick, and I was immediately thrown into a headspace where I just wanted to attack the weights. That inspirational, high-energy sound is one of the biggest selling points of the PowerBeats Pro, and a primary reason why they’re such excellent sports headphones.
The Beat Goes On
The PowerBeats Pro’s exemplary battery performance cannot be overstated. Nine hours of playback from a single full charge—that’s incredible. Consider this: Airpods give you about five hours of listening; Samsung’s Galaxy Buds get you between six and seven. Those are objectively good numbers, and the Beats absolutely destroy them. Now add the 15-plus hours the charging case gets you and you’re talking about a full day’s worth of listening. That’s the best battery performance from wireless earbuds you will find anywhere.
Elephant in the Room
Despite universal praise for its battery performance, feedback on the Beats’ conspicuously large case has been mixed. The criticism hasn’t been about the design per se, but the dimensions of said design. Plainly speaking, the case is the size of a George Costanza wallet. It’s a big ol’ clam. But, though I might die alone on this hill, I am actually going to sing the praises of this oversized carrier. One, I think it does look very sleek. It’s got a nice matte finish, it’s very minimalistic—I dig it. Two, I really like how big it is. Yes, it’s true you can’t (or shouldn’t) fit the case into your pocket, but I wear skinny jeans, so I can’t comfortably fit any charge case in my pocket. And I like that it’s big and easy to find. Other charge cases, while smaller, more diminutive, are easily misplaced. I carry around a comically large and cavernous messenger bag, in which more accessories than I can count have been swallowed and lost for months as a time. I never once lost the PowerBeats Pro charge case. It’s like a small rock just sitting in the bottom of my bag—I love it.
In addition to excellent design, battery life, and sound quality, the PowerBeats Pro feature several nice-to-haves. Of those, my favorites were the matching on-device controls. This staves off fussing and allows you to control volume and playback by tapping either the left or right bud. Not only is that super convenient, but it also means you can listen to music with just one earbud if you desire. I also really liked that the Powerbeats Pro automatically start and stop when you put them in or take them out. And, even though I don’t use it much, the built-in "Hey, Siri" functionality is a nice touch.
Reviewing the PowerBeats Pro, one of the challenges was to remain objective and stay clear of writing a love letter—there are plenty of solid options for true wireless earbuds in the world. But the simple truth is I adore these earphones. They fit well and feel great. No connection cable driving me nuts. No anxiety about them falling out. They sound great. That big, high-energy quality is perfect for runs and working out. I even like the super-sized travel case. It’s better for people like me who are always misplacing things. What would I change? Well, they’re true wireless earphones, which means if you want a quality pair (which these definitely are), then you’re going to have dole out a decent chunk of change. But other than that, I’m hard-pressed to file a legitimate complaint. Bottom line: The PowerBeats Pro are a great overall pair of overall pair of true wireless earphones and they might just be the best wireless earphones for active users available today.