Beats PowerBeats Pro Review – Beware of the Hype
The sweatproof true wireless earbuds from Beats might be great but aren’t without issues.
Our Conclusion – Not Perfect But Great for Sports
After thoroughly testing PowerBeats Pro ourselves, we think these are great true wireless earbuds for sports with an emphasized bass, category-leading battery life, perfectly stable fit for all types of activities but they do get uncomfortable after a while.
High build quality with sweatproof IPX4 design will keep them safe from water damage, making them perfect for outside sports as well as heavy sweating, but don’t submerge them.
Nonetheless, this is Beats, so do expect to pay a higher price compared to the competition.
PROS & CONS
- Deep, punchy bass that energizes modern music (slight V-shaped signature)
- Great battery life with quick charging (we got over 11 hours out of them)
- Perfect stability for working out
- High build-quality and nice materials
- Sweatproof, but can’t be submerged
- They get slightly uncomfortable after 30 minutes
- Occasional Bluetooth interruption
- Large charging case
- No way to turn them off without the charging case
- Mids sound a bit subdued
Beats PowerBeats Pro are the perfect sports headphones for bassheads and all other bass enthusiasts that want reliable and stable true wireless buds.
We bought the headphones ourselves and didn’t test hand-picked models like many other reviewers get from companies. This is what an average consumer can expect.
Find PowerBeats Pro featured in:
Type: In-ear headphones – true wireless
Connection: Wireless Bluetooth
Driver size: n/a
Frequency range: n/a
Weight: 22g (earbuds only, 10-11g each bud)
Cable length: n/a
Microphone & Controls: Yes (built-in)
Water-protection: Yes, IPX4 (sweatproof)
Bluetooth: 5.0 + H1 chip on iOS
Battery life: 9h per charge, up to 24 hours with the case (200 mWh per bud)
Charging time: Under 1h + 5min charge for 1.5h of music
Active noise-cancelling: No
Charging cable: USB to Lightning cable
Bluetooth codecs: AAC
Wireless range: 33ft (10m)
Type: Built-in mic
Mic design: n/a
What’s in the Box?
- Beats PowerBeats Pro true wireless headphones
- 4 pairs of silicone ear tips (3 single-flange tips, 1 double-flange)
- Charging case
- USB to Lightning cable
- User manual
Comfort & Fit – 3.5/5 Almost Great
Are PowerBeats Pro comfortable?
The PowerBeats Pro are similar to the older PowerBeats3 in regards to design and comfort. And while the earphones are fantastically stable for sports, they tend to irritate the outside of the ear canal, especially if you have smaller ears.
Contrary to other reviews, if you’ve read them, the PowerBeats Pro aren’t perfectly comfortable.
I think a lot of fans of the brand are not objectively evaluating these.
Now, don’t get me wrong, for most people, these are still comfortable headphones that stick in the ears like glue and don’t induce pain.
But after about 30 minutes or so, the casing that touches the outside of the ear canal creates irritation. The ears get slightly irritated, and if you press in when you use the controls, it’s even a bit unpleasant.
Thankfully, the pain doesn’t increase over time (we wore them for over 5h straight), but you always have the feeling that there’s something bugging your ears.
You always know you’re wearing earbuds and can’t completely forget about them.
On the other hand, stability is perfect. The ear hooks do a great job at keeping them in during fast movement.
You won’t need to readjust them often. Usually, it’s as simple as putting them in, and you’re set to go.
Since they weigh very little, about 10-11g per earbud, they create little downforce.
How many eartips do you get?
There are 4 pairs of silicone ear tips. They’re 3 of the same single flange tips in different sizes, and 1 pair of double flange eartips.
And, you can get aftermarket memory-foam eartips for them as well, for improved comfort and noise isolation.
Noise Isolation – 4/5 Great
Passive noise isolation in PowerBeats Pro is about average for in-ear headphones. To get the best results, pick the right size of ear tips for your ears, or get aftermarket memory-foam tips.
While these don’t have the best isolation we’ve seen in true wireless headphones, it’s not the worst either.
It’s about average for in-ears, which makes it pretty good in general.
For reference, PowerBeats Pro have better noise isolation than AirPods due to in-ear design.
You can effectively reduce the ambient noise from a loud gym and keep your music to yourself. But keep in mind, if you’re running on the streets it’s a bit dangerous because you won’t hear your surroundings well.
Are PowerBeats Pro noise cancelling?
No. These are not active noise cancelling headphones, they’re only passive noise isolating. What’s the difference?
Bluetooth – 4/5 Great
The Bluetooth 5.0 connection in PowerBeats Pro is above average. Generally, it works without problems, but occasionally you will experience short interruptions of the signal even with your music device in your pocket.
With Bluetooth strength, it’s always a bit random. The same headphones can have slightly different performing chips, or your environment might be full of Bluetooth connections that interfere with your signal.
Nonetheless, the basic wireless functionality of these Beats true wireless headphones is solid.
Also, the earphones support AAC Bluetooth codec, which is standard for Apple devices. We likely won’t ever see aptX or LDAC support. But that’s not a big issue since most people can’t hear the difference anyway.
What’s the range?
We did the usual wall test with the PowerBeats Pro and got good results.
The wireless connection stayed stable through 1 wall even at near maximum range (33ft – 10m).
But the connection and music completely stopped after the second wall in between the music device and wireless earbuds.
It’s better than average Bluetooth performance but isn’t perfect. Like said before, sometimes, for no apparent reason, there is short distortion in the signal. But it’s not a big deal.
How to connect them?
Connecting to a new device for the first time is as easy as it comes.
- Take them out of the charging case which will initiate pairing mode
- Find a new Bluetooth device on your smartphone
- Pair them
- You’re ready to go
Can you watch videos with PowerBeats Pro?
Yes, you can. But a keen eye will sense a short delay in audio though most people won’t notice it. The delay is minimal, and you have to really focus to see it.
While these headphones aren’t made for heavy video watching, you can binge on your favorite YouTube channels with decent audio accuracy.
Battery – 5/5 Best on the Market
The battery life in Beats PowerBeats Pro is one of the best in sports true wireless headphones today. With officially 9 hours per charge and 24-hour battery life if you include the case, you’re hard to find better.
In our testing, we got over 11 hours per single charge at about half the volume. The battery is amazing.
With 400 mWh battery capacity, it’s almost double of that in the AirPods.
What’s even more exciting is their super fast quick-charging.
For just a 5-minute charge you can play music for 1.5 hours. That’s one solid workout for most people.
The time of a full charge is under 1 hour, which is faster than many comparable earbuds.
You charge the carrying case with the USB to Lightning cable, which you already have if you’re an Apple user.
The only downside is that you can only power them up with the case that happens to be rather large. Plus, there’s no battery indicator on Android.
How big is the Powerbeats Pro case?
We measured it at:
USA/UK: 3-inch x 3 inch, 1.77 inch tall
EU/CAN: 7.7 cm x 7.7 cm, 4.5 cm tall
Compared to other true wireless charging cases, this one is the biggest we’ve seen from a major brand yet.
It takes considerably more space than AirPod’s case which might be problematic for those who don’t use backpacks.
Honestly, it’s hard to fit into an averagely sized pocket. Nonetheless, since these are workout oriented, most people will carry them in a backpack.
Durability – 4/5 Great
The materials and build-quality of PowerBeats Pro is superb, the only disappointing thing is low IPX4 water protection. This makes them at risk when dropped in water and even heavy rain.
Generally, premium true wireless headphones for working out come with high IPX ratings.
6, 7, even 8 is usual. And, for the price you’re paying for these Beats, you’d expect better water protection.
Are Powerbeats Pro waterproof?
No. With IPX4 these are only sweatproof and water-resistant but not waterproof. Heavy rain or an accidental drop in a puddle might be their end.
Note: There are some people who submerged them in water for 1 minute in a test and they worked fine, but we don’t advise it.
However, the materials are top-notch. The ear hooks are just enough flexible and covered by soft rubbery material that doesn’t irritate the skin.
Overall, it’s what you’d expect from Beats, and there are no major weak points.
The only thing that feels a bit cheap is the top cover of the charging case. It’s a bit flimsy, and we’ve seen better in budget TWS earbuds.
Features – 3.5/5 Almost Great
Many of the high-end true wireless earbuds come with app support that gives you equalization and customization options. Not PowerBeats Pro. But the controls are super easy to use and the mics work fine for phone calls.
There’s no real app support. But on Apple devices, you get to see the battery level of the charging case, though you can’t remap the controls like on the AirPods 2.
Likewise, no app support for Android at all.
On the other hand, there is auto on/off function that works quite nicely and it’s easy to get used to. The buds come with sensors that detect when you’ve taken them off and stop the music automatically.
Once you put them back on, they resume the music.
Can you talk on Powerbeats Pro?
Yes. The buds come with built-in microphones. You can make phone calls with both earbuds, or only one. So, you can use one earbud like a Bluetooth headset, both sides work.
The call quality is about average for this type of microphones. You can hold normal phone conversation in a quiet room, but don’t expect to have a clear call in a loud environment.
Also, voice commands are easy to use in quiet, but not noisier places.
What are the controls?
There are 2 physical buttons on each side.
The long button that protrudes out of the casing controls volume. You can control volume on either side.
Then there are the main buttons under the Beats by Dre logo that works like a multifunction button.
You can play/pause music, skip, rewind songs, activate Siri or other voice assistants, and more. You do that all with a combination of pressed and long pressed of the button, both sides work the same way.
The controls are simple to use, and I’d argue work better than touch controls from other high-end true wireless earbuds.
Touch controls often don’t sense your fingers or you botch the right combination of pressed that turn on something else.
With physical buttons, you always know what you’ve pressed because you get immediate feedback.
Even so, the only annoying thing is when your ears become irritated from long wearing, and then you press the earbuds in which irritates them even further.
You have to be careful not to press too much, that takes some getting used to.
There are no special accessories in the package. The PowerBeats Pro come with 3 single-flanged and 1 double-flanged pair of regular silicone eartips.
It would be nice if they added some memory-foam ones as well, but you can get them on the aftermarket.
Additionally, you get the Lightning charging cable and case.
Sound – 4.5/5 Almost Perfect
PowerBeats Pro have a slightly V-shaped sound signature with the most emphasis on bass as well as a boost to highs. The audio quality is best suited for bassheads and bass fans.
We believe that V-shaped sound is generally most popular for sports, hence the high score.
As is normal for V-shaped signatures, vocals and other mids sound subdued, but it’s not deal-breaking.
You’ll notice the bump in lows immediately. But contrary to older Beats models, the bass is rather controlled and detailed.
The muddiness of the past, that so many hated, has been dealt with. This time it’s a very enjoyable sound that pushes more power from the low-end.
Moreover, the highs, while not perfect, do an accurate job of reproducing cymbals and other high pitch sounds. Though, sometimes they get a bit harsh or sibilant.
The vocals take a back seat but are still presentable, so these headphones are suitable for all genres of music.
When it comes to soundstage, it’s about average for in-ear headphones, which means it’s not that great.
All in all, if you like boosted bass and stronger, punchy beats, these are tuned for you. The emphasis on bass is clear, which is what a lot of sports people prefer.
Are the Beats PowerBeats Pro Worth It?
Overall score of 4.1 points.
If you’re looking for one of the best sports true wireless earbuds that stick to your ears, have long battery life, some water protection, and produce strong, forceful bass, then yes.
The PowerBeats Pro are made for an up-to-date, modern sportsperson who wants the latest and best technology that’s geared for working out (and is willing to pay for it).
With their top-notch battery life, you’ll fall down from exhaustion before they die on you. And, the fit is one of the most stable ones (though not the comfiest) we’ve seen in workout earbuds.
Sure you have to pay a hefty price of $250. But Beats was never cheap.
All in all, with all the features and performance during a workout, the PowerBeats Pro is one of the best bass-heavy pair of workout earbuds right now (reviewed in September 2019).