Powerbeats Pro view: Apple’s latest earphones are the best for working out
Apple’s signature earphones are the AirPods — half the people you walk by on the street now seem to sport a pair.
But Apple’s subsidiary Beats by Dre produces a number of alternatives, including the Powerbeats 3: I recently compared them with AirPods, and concluded that each has invaluable features but also irritating downsides.
But Beats has finally released its latest earphones: the Powerbeats Pro, which combine the best of both AirPods and Powerbeats 3 into an excellent product for both everyday use and for working out.
What are they?
Powerbeats Pro earphones are the long-awaited upgrade from Powerbeats 3: like their predecessors, the Pros hook around your ears to hold in place; unlike their predecessors, which are connected by a(n annoying) loop that runs around the back of your head, the Pros are totally wireless.
How much are they?
It’s a long list of pros — the Powerbeats Pro are a brilliant set of headphones.
The major downside of AirPods is that, while they’re great for day-to-day use, they’re not so great for training. While they won’t fall out while you’re walking, they will bounce out if you’re running or slip out if you’re doing anything in the gym where you tilt your head too far.
The Pros eliminate that problem. These are hooked fast in your ears, and aren’t going anywhere. The viral commercial that depicts US gymnast Simone Biles flipping while her Powerbeats Pro stay stuck in place — I have no doubt that’s possible in real life (assuming I was anywhere near coordinated to flip like that, that is).
But all the best features of AirPods are retained: Take out one earphone, and your music automatically pauses. There are buttons on both sides of your head to pause and skip tracks, and control the volume — essential when you’re mid-workout. Effortless syncing with other Apple devices. And yes, you can take phone calls.
Powerbeats Pro sound terrific — but the caveat there is that I’m not an audiophile, so your mileage may vary if you’re obsessed with getting the bass and treble just right. But if you’re just listening to Spotify and podcasts, you will not have a problem.
Added bonus: while the Pros aren’t noise-cancelling, if you’re wearing them on the street or in an open-plan office, they do a decent job at blocking out most sounds. (So they’d probably be a fine choice to take travelling on a plane, too.)
Beats says the Pros boast an impressive nine-hour battery life. More practically, they only need to charge for five minutes to score up to 90 minutes of listening time — so it’s unlikely you’ll get to the gym and realise with horror that they’re flat.
They’re also sweat-resistant, and you can use them to summon Siri.
The major con is the bulky charging case. The AirPods’ petite, candy-sized case fits snug in your pocket, but the Pros’ case is too big to carry around like that. (But on the plus side it charges using the same Lightning cable as AirPods and iPhones, unlike the Micro USB needed to fire up the Powerbeats 3.)
The high price is another con — there are plenty of other wireless earphones that will get you through a jog or a workout at a fraction of the price.
And if you prefer earbuds that sit lightly on your ear — rather than jammed inside — then you may find the Pros uncomfortable to wear.
The final word
AirPods look cool. But Pros are by far the better earphones, especially if you intend to wear them during your workout.