AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro

EdMan

macrumors 6502a
Oct 17, 2011
556
194
Michigan
I love my PBP's and use them at the gym religiously. I have AP1 and 2. I'm thinking about the APP but don't know if I want to drop another 250. I use my AP's for all my casual listening. No matter how good the APP's sound they aren't going to be mind blowing. My Bose QC20's are about the best I've had for Noise Cancelling and sound. They're just not Bluetooth. But they do work best for plane use since they can plug into the headrest for movies. I'm a junkie so I know I will eventually cave but the PBP are pretty damn good.
 

VinnyP

macrumors newbie
Dec 21, 2018
3
2
Staten Island



Apple in late October 2019 surprised us with an upgraded version of the AirPods called the AirPods Pro, which feature Active Noise Cancellation, superior sound quality, and an all-new design.

Apple's AirPods Pro are its second set of headphones to feature the "Pro" moniker, following the Beats-branded Powerbeats Pro earbuds that Apple released back in April 2019. In this guide, we'll go over all of the differences between the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro.


AirPods Pro Design vs. PowerBeats Pro Design

The AirPods Pro are designed for casual use, while the Powerbeats Pro are aimed specifically at those who are using them for workouts like running, biking, and trips to the gym.

Design wise, the AirPods Pro look similar to the AirPods 2 but with a much shorter stem and a tweaked body design that incorporates flexible silicone ear tips, a first for the AirPods line. The silicone ear tips snap right onto the base of the AirPods Pro, allowing for a comfortable fit and Active Noise Cancellation technology.


Apple designed the silicone tips of the AirPods Pro to ensure a comfortable fit in most ears, with the design aimed at conforming to the contours of each individual ear for a superior seal.

AirPods Pro have also been designed with what Apple is calling an "innovative vent system" that's meant to equalize pressure within the ear to minimize discomfort that's common in other in-ear designs.


Apple says that AirPods Pro will make you feel like there's nothing in your ears, and in testing, we have found the AirPods Pro to be more comfortable than the Powerbeats Pro, especially over long periods of use.

The Powerbeats Pro also use silicone ear tips much like the AirPods Pro, but they're designed for fitness, also incorporating earhooks that fit over the ears to secure them in place.

Powerbeats Pro come with four tip sizes, rather than three, also offering a customized fit for each user. ?Powerbeats Pro? are meant to stay in the ears during vigorous activity, and Apple says that it tested over 20 designs before settling on the current design that fits most people.


AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both come in charging cases. The AirPods Pro charging case is larger than the charging case for the AirPods 2, but it's still quite a lot smaller than the case for the Powerbeats Pro, which is huge.


The Powerbeats Pro clamshell-style case is much larger because it has to incorporate the earhooks, which makes it almost unpocketable. The AirPods Pro case fits comfortably in a pocket.

Active Noise Cancellation

One of the key features of the AirPods Pro is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and this marks the first time that Apple has built ANC technology into earbuds. The feature has been previously used in over-ear Beats headphones, but not earbuds, including the Powerbeats Pro.

The Powerbeats Pro have silicone ear tips and offer noise isolation properties, but noise isolation is nowhere near as powerful as Active Noise Cancellation.


ANC uses two microphones and Apple's software algorithms to adapt sound to each user's ears. One microphone is outward-facing and designed to detect external sound to let the AirPods Pro analyze and cancel out environmental noise, while a second inward-facing microphone listens to sounds towards the ear to fine tune the noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro with Active Noise Cancellation can drown out a lot more sound than the Powerbeats Pro with simple noise isolation.

AirPods Pro also have a Transparency mode that's designed to tweak the Active Noise Cancellation algorithms so that you can continue to hear what's going on around you, useful for situations like commuting, listening for traffic, and more.

There is no Powerbeats Pro feature for filtering in ambient noises, which is something to be aware of as the Powerbeats Pro can drown out exterior sound with the volume turned up high enough.

Sound Differences

When announcing the Powerbeats Pro, Apple said that sound was a focus. The Powerbeats Pro are designed to offer powerful, balanced audio with pure sound reproduction, enhanced clarity, and improved dynamic range.


Superior sound is also a selling point of the AirPods Pro, and the AirPods Pro have an Adaptive EQ feature.

Adaptive EQ tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of music that's playing to the shape of each person's ear for what Apple says is a rich and immersive listening experience.


The AirPods Pro feature a custom high dynamic range amplifier to produce pure, clear sound, along with a custom high-excursion low-distortion speaker driver that optimizes audio quality and removes background noise.

In our testing, we didn't find a significant difference in sound quality between the Powerbeats Pro and the AirPods Pro, as both offer sound that's quite good. The Powerbeats Pro are a bit warmer and slightly more bass heavy whereas the AirPods Pro sound more neutral to our ears.

AirPods Pro have less bass, but the sound profile allows all of the instruments to be heard clearly and distinctly.

Physical Buttons

The AirPods Pro feature a Force Sensor on the stem, a control method that's unique compared to the Powerbeats Pro and the AirPods 2.


The Force Sensor supports press-based gestures, so you can press once to play or pause music, press twice to skip forward on a track, press three times to skip backwards, or press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode.


The Powerbeats Pro are quite a bit larger than the AirPods Pro and thus have the space for physical buttons. There are buttons for adjusting volume, changing the song track, and accepting or declining an incoming call.

The AirPods Pro have no on-device option for adjusting the volume, and that's something that needs to be done using a connected device.

Water Resistance

AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both feature IPX4 water resistance, which means they can hold up to water splashing against the enclosure from any direction, but can still fail when immersed in water.

With an IPX4 water resistance rating, the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro can survive sweat exposure, but rain, swimming pools, and other excessive moisture should be avoided.

Apple's warranties do not cover water or sweat damage, which is something to be aware of.

Powerbeats Pro Colors vs. AirPods Pro Colors

Despite rumors suggesting the AirPods Pro would come in multiple colors, Apple only released them in white.


Powerbeats Pro? come in Black, Ivory (an off white shade), Navy, and Moss (an olive green). ?AirPods Pro? also feature a white charging case while all ?Powerbeats Pro? models ship with a black charging case.

Price Difference

Powerbeats Pro are priced at $249, as are AirPods Pro, but you can often find deals that drop the price of the Powerbeats Pro by $50.

Processor, Sensors, and ?Siri? Support

AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both use Apple's H1 chip, offering simple setup, fast switching between devices, low latency, and hands-free "Hey Siri" support.


?Powerbeats Pro? and AirPods Pro have all of the same sensors and features that come with the H1 chip, including ear detection that plays/pauses music appropriately based on position.


The H1 chip in the AirPods Pro has a unique design because it was engineered to be in the shape of the AirPods Pro earbud, with the design dictating the internal component arrangement instead of the other way around.

Phone Calls

AirPods Pro feature a speech-detecting accelerometer and beamforming microphones designed to filter out noise when you're making a phone call or a Siri request, and Powerbeats Pro also have a similar feature.

Both earbuds have dual beamforming microphones, with the microphones in the Powerbeats Pro positioned on each side to make up for the lack of a stem like the AirPods Pro have.

Calls on both the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are crisp, clear, and sound great with little difference between them.

Battery Life

Battery life is the main area where the Powerbeats Pro have a significant edge over the AirPods Pro.

Each Powerbeats Pro earbud offers nine hours of listening time, a full four and a half hours longer than the AirPods Pro promise.

AirPods Pro offer 4.5 hours of battery life when Active Noise Cancellation is turned on, or five hours of battery life when it's turned off.

Both the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro have battery cases that extend battery life to over 24 hours, but you can get much longer listening time with the Powerbeats Pro.

Live Listen

Powerbeats Pro? and ?AirPods Pro? both support the Live Listen feature for using the earbuds as a directional microphone.

Charging

The AirPods Pro and the AirPods Pro Wireless Charging Case can be charged using the included USB-C to Lightning cable or a Qi-based wireless charger.


The Powerbeats Pro case does not support Qi-based wireless charging and must be charged with a Lightning cable.

The ?Powerbeats Pro? have a Fast Fuel feature that adds 1.5 hours of music playback after five minutes of charging and 4.5 hours of playback after 15 minutes of charging.

The AirPods Pro also have a fast charging feature that offers around an hour of listening or talk time after charging for five minutes.

Comparison Chart

Here's an at-a-glance comparison chart that gives a quick overview of the differences between the ?AirPods? Pro and the ?Powerbeats Pro?.


Bottom Line

With the same $249 price point, the AirPods Pro are superior to the Powerbeats Pro because of the Active Noise Cancellation feature.

For casual, everyday use, the AirPods Pro edge out the Powerbeats Pro, but for athletes and those who need the secure fit of earhooks and the much longer battery life, the Powerbeats Pro win out.

Fit is subjective, so some people may prefer the fit of the Powerbeats Pro over the AirPods Pro or may not care about Active Noise Cancellation.

The AirPods Pro are smaller and more convenient to carry and offer wireless charging, while the Powerbeats Pro come in more colors.

Choosing between AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro will ultimately come down to the fit that you prefer and the set of features that you want.

More Info

For more details on the ?Powerbeats Pro?, make sure to check out our full Powerbeats Pro guide, and for more info on the AirPods Pro, make sure to check out our AirPods Pro roundup.

We also have a comparison between the AirPods and AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro and AirPods.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about AirPods Pro or Powerbeats Pro or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro
I did purchase the AirPods Pro and find them way more comfortable than the original AirPods, however, I don’t think the sound is anything worth the higher price point. They just seem ‘weak’ to me. I am currently using the Sony WF-1000XM3, and they are just way better with more powerful sound. Yes, the Pro’s are way smaller, but I am all about the sound performance. The Pro’s just don’t have power behind them, especially at same percentage levels in volume.
 
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ellsworth

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2007
740
72
I bought a pair of Power Beats for my wife for several reasons:
1. They were $140 refurbished at Best Buy
2. They have a fairly long battery life
3. They have the loop hooks which secure them for when you're working on
4. Physical buttons on each headphone work great once you practice where they're located.
5. They're black and not as eye catching as the AirPods.

The two gripes that I personally have are:
The case is large and doesn't fit comfortably in a jean pocket.
They can be a bit difficult and fussy to put on quickly. It takes me about a minute to get them on and seated correctly. All in all, we're pretty happy with them for now.
 
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kab695

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2010
11
4
Washington (state)
Anybody else having problems getting the APPs to fit? My left ear seals just fine, but none of the tips work in my right ear... I think they just aren't long enough.
Yes. I too have some problems with fit. I have tried all three size tips, and even on best fit, they work themselves loose over 20 minutes, and I shove them back in. So, certainly not perfect fit. But, damn, that noise cancelling is awesome, and they are the most comfortable earbuds I have ever had; the only ones I don't suffer ear fatigue with. So, having to tighten these three times an hour may be worth it for comfort, sound quality and ANC.
 
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kab695

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2010
11
4
Washington (state)
I have both the PowerBeats Pro and the new AirPods Pro.
My ears have never ever done well with simple buds. Apple earbuds from their original wired to AirPods are the absolute worst in fit for me. They rattle and fall off easily. That's my ears, damnit. On me, all buds just fall out over 7 to 10 to 20 minutes; they don't seal either. Wireless buds like JBL that do indeed stay in the best and don't fall out end up hurting my ears in very short time. I can wear JBL for one hour and that is it.

As to PowerBeats Pro, I love the ear hook as I never fear them falling off while working-out or doing yard work. But, I still shove the tips of my Powerbeats Pro back in about three times an hour; like all buds, they just work their way out after a while.

So, with skepticism I bought these AirPods Pro, drooling over early reviews and the noise cancelling.
Sitting on the couch, they do NOT work their way out like others! Yeah! They stay put for and hour or two easy. They are comfortable for hours and hours, and are the only earbuds with which I have not suffered any ear fatigue at all. Working-out (cross-training and weights), it turns out my fit problems are not much better with these AirPods Pro. They work themselves loose over 20-25 minutes, and I shove 'em back in the ear canal to where they are more secure. Laying down with AirPods Pro has them fall out in 15 seconds. But that is me and my problematic ear canal and ear shape. My PowerBeats Pro loosen in just the same ways I just described, with the only difference being that the ear hooks take away all fear and annoyance of them ever falling off. I still must shove my PowerBeats back in the canal every 20 min. too.

Given that I am resigned to pushing all buds back in my ear every 20 minutes when exercising, given that the AirPods Pro do not loosen from the sealed secure fit when just sitting, given that they are the most comfortable buds I have ever had with no ear fatigue at all, given the noise cancelling, I'm keeping the AirPods Pro. Nothing is perfect for me when I am exercising, but the noise cancelling on the AirPods Pro allow me to completely tune out the gym's provided music, air conditioning noise, and all.
 
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MarkB786

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2016
704
1,181
Rocky Mountains, USA
Sound quality is a little better than the AP2, probably because of the active noise cancelling and the better noise isolation. These Pros stay in the ear much better, but still manage to wiggle out of your ear during the day, especially during exercise. And when you try to reseat them, it's hard not to active the contyrols on the stem by mistake. A little irritating. I compared these to the Amazon Echo Buds, which are also very good. Overall Apple sounds a touch better, but the Echo buds have customized controls and they stay in the ear much better. Both have very good active noise cancelation. I think the AP Pro is overpriced for what you get compared to comparable ear buds. But hey, it's Apple and folks will pay the premium to stay loyal to the ecosystem!
- - Post merged: - -

I don't know if I should buy the AirPods Pro or wait for the Bose 700?
Wait for the Bose so you can compare. Then buy them from Target or Best Buy so you have a better return policy. The AP Pro is good, but not amazing.
 

rdavis41

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2009
137
98
Anybody else having problems getting the APPs to fit? My left ear seals just fine, but none of the tips work in my right ear... I think they just aren't long enough.
I have an issue with my left ear. I have to size down the tip in my left ear (small) vs right ear (medium). Key I’m finding for my ears is having the tip facing down then push tips in and slowly tilt. if You can turn the AirPod quite a bit after the seal then the tip is too small. It should take a little force to move the silicone tip.
 
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haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,063
2,601
My main reason for getting the AirPods Pro was the size of the case. I got tired of carrying the Powerbeats Pro case in pocket. I love both for different purposes.
The case of the PowerBeats Pro is like a slippery soap bar, it’s not pocketable at all.
I switched to the AirPods Pro due to the active noise cancellation and smaller size. The ANC is much better than the relatively poor noise isolation by the PowerBeats Pro.
My ear hurt in the early days of wearing the PBP due to the ear hooks but it stopped after a week or two. For the APP, it is really comfortable wearing it.
For the original AirPods, I can’t really use it at all since it constantly fell out of my ears and had terrible noise/sound leak as a result.
 

aimbdd

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2008
620
52
East Cost
Another advantage to the power beats pro that most may not think about is battery life. When the pros are half dead, you still get 4.5 hours of battery. Where was you would get 2.5 with aap. Also, since the pros have a bigger battery, all things being equal and with the same use, they should last a lot longer before the battery is useless.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,865
31,155
I don't know if I should buy the AirPods Pro or wait for the Bose 700?
Two things:

1.) The 700’s are exponentially more expensive over the AirPod pros at $400. So you’re talking a $150 price difference, so that probably depends on what you’re willing to spend.

2.) The overall styling between the AirPod Pros and the 700s is comparing night and day. The 700s are the ‘over the ear’ and have a much more obtrusive look, as compared to the AirPod Pros being far more discrete. It depends on what you prefer in terms of comfort/style/fit.
 
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iSayuSay

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2011
3,197
325
For the same price PowerBeats Pro have double the battery life … that's enough for me.
True, the PowerBeats Pro has always been the more expensive, enhanced version of AirPods. Keep in mind that PBP was sold at $249 and released about the same time as $199 AirPods 2. So yeah, being all equal, the PBP will be more expensive than a typical AirPods or AirPods Pro.

The next PBP will have ANC, trasnparency mode and hopefully a wireless charging case. That would be my next go-to wireless headphones.
 

incoherent_1

macrumors regular
Oct 19, 2016
123
192
If you use common sense and also consult the readily available Headphones Audio Levels reports in Apple Health, then using either pair of earphones need lead to no hearing loss at all.
I had no idea the Headphone Audio Levels section existed! Thank you for mentioning it!
 
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TwoBytes

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2008
2,682
1,513
What's interesting is that I've seen multiple reviews on this forum say that folks on the receiving end of the calls have been frustrated.















This is what's holding me off from buying them. I'd love more reviews to see if the issue gets fixed, or if it's a settings issue (toggling one of the features on or off).
Is this true for any users of airpods? For the receiving end of the calls?
 
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TheFluffyDuck

macrumors 6502a
Jul 26, 2012
512
1,281
I'm so glad I got my AirpodsPro before the 2-week shipping date. No, I lied, I didn't get them in time, cry with me.
 

jscooper22

macrumors regular
Feb 8, 2013
241
599
Syracuse, NY
I don't understand what's "pro" about headphones/earbuds/speakers/whatever unless you're a sound engineer or PROfessional musician. I'd live for Apple to get back to making "pro" things for PROfessionals to actually get work done. Yes, I've officially crossed the divide into grumpy-old-man-dom.
 
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Col4bin

macrumors 68000
Oct 2, 2011
1,727
1,284
El Segundo
They look 100x better?
(No. You look funny.) All kidding aside, mine don’t portrude outside of my ears like that and I’ve never seen them look like that on anyone else. I have to question if you are wearing them backwards or upside down?
 

Blasterzilla

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2011
12
1
Minnesota
I have both and the APP are the clear winner. Better Fit (if security isn't an issue) for elliptical and other low impact workouts. with the PBP I didn't like the fit, feel or the volume. The volume level on the APP is about the same, but the ANC is what makes them great. With the PBP I ordered day one and I eventually had connectivity issues (all types) and charging issues, the right one was always inconsistent. Also the charging case is big. After fighting with the PBPs for 3 months I sent them in. By the time they got to Apple they had corroded from sweat - I am assuming. Still fighting with Apple to get them replaced. Not holding my breath, but they did seem to say they would cover the repairs. I now take special care to make sure the APP are dry before putting them into the case.

Wow - I just noticed a repair ID request has been cancelled by Apple at 3am CST this morning. I was unaware of this repair ID. So maybe not getting them replaced by Apple.
 

patent10021

macrumors 68030
Apr 23, 2004
2,951
412
It's too bad these new APPs hark back to earbud designs from over 10 years ago by needing to add the extra rubber piece that fits in your ears. I have always hated having to make sure they fit or buy replacements. I love the original AirPods just for the fact that it's all once piece and you don't need to stick some extra rubber piece on the end. The original APs fit my ears perfectly and I have never had one come close to falling out while running or training.
 

fwunder

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2013
3
0
Panicked yesterday when I couldn't find my L PBP. After searching for an hour DW found it. In the bottom of the washing machine. Speed Queen full cycle, cold wash. It survived! High notes seem a bit cleaner! I do wish they had a location feature. Love my PBPs.