Powerbeats Pro: Apple's Sporty AirPods Alternative

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's Beats brand in April unveiled the Powerbeats Pro, a redesigned wire-free version of its popular fitness-oriented Powerbeats earbuds. Like the AirPods, Powerbeats Pro come with a dedicated charging case that offers 24 hour battery life and an H1 chip for fast connectivity to your devices and Hey Siri support.

    Our Powerbeats Pro guide has all of the details you need to know about Apple's newest earbuds, which are a highly appealing alternative to the AirPods.


    Design and Fit

    The Powerbeats Pro feature a design that's similar to prior Powerbeats models, but Apple says they've been entirely overhauled for an ideal wireless fit.

    Apple aimed for the best possible fit for most people, testing more than 20 configurations before arriving at the final design. Apple says the Powerbeats Pro use a new "ergonomically angled acoustic housing" that fits comfortably in the concha bowl of the ear.


    Apple designed the Powerbeats Pro to be 23 percent smaller and 17 percent lighter than the previous-generation Powerbeats 3 earbuds.

    Like prior Powerbeats models, the Powerbeats Pro feature earhooks that fit over the ears to keep them in place. Apple says the earhook is adjustable, and the Powerbeats themselves can be customized with four sizes of ear tips.


    The Powerbeats Pro are designed to create a tight fit in the ear to isolate sound, and there's no ambient noise mode, which is something to keep in mind.

    Powerbeats Pro come with a clamshell-style charging case that's available in black. Like the AirPods charging case, it uses a magnetic closure to keep your Powerbeats Pro safe when not in use.


    According to Apple, sound was its "highest priority" when developing the Powerbeats Pro. The earbuds were reengineered "from the inside out" to add an upgraded linear piston driver that leverages pressurized airflow to create a "powerful acoustic response" in a small package.


    Apple says Powerbeats Pro users will get "incredibly low sound distortion" and "great dynamic range" across the entire frequency curve.

    Water Resistance

    Apple says the Powerbeats Pro are sweat and water resistant, making them ideal for working out and other fitness activities. Apple told The Verge that the Powerbeats Pro have been engineered to handle "all of your sweat without fail."


    Powerbeats Pro have an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means they're certified to hold up to water splashing against the enclosure from any direction, but have the potential to fail when immersed or exposed to jets of water. With an IPX4 rating, the Powerbeats Pro should be able to survive sweat exposure, though heavy rain and immersion should be avoided.

    We did a series of water resistance tests and the Powerbeats Pro held up well to splashes of water and 20 minutes of submersion.

    Battery Life

    Each Powerbeats Pro earbud features nine hours of listening time, which can be extended to more than 24 hours with the included charging case. At nine hours of listening time, the Powerbeats Pro offer a longer battery life than the AirPods 2. Powerbeats Pro provide six hours of talk time, compared to the three hours available via the AirPods.

    A Fast Fuel feature lets you get 1.5 hours of music playback after five minutes of charging, and 4.5 hours of playback after 15 minutes of charging.


    The Powerbeats Pro come on when taken out of the charging case and power off when they're placed inside. A motion accelerometer is included to detect when the earbuds are idle, putting them into sleep mode to conserve battery life.


    The charging case itself does not support wireless charging so you will need to charge it up with a Lightning cable through the included Lightning port.


    Physical Buttons

    There are physical volume and track controls on each of the Powerbeats Pro earbuds, so you can control volume and skip tracks on the earbuds themselves.


    There's also a button for answering and declining incoming phone calls.

    Live Listen

    The Powerbeats Pro, like the AirPods, support Live Listen feature for using the earbuds as a directional microphone.

    Sensors and H1 Chip

    The same H1 chip that's in the second-generation AirPods is in the Powerbeats Pro, allowing for fast connections to your devices and faster switching. The H1 chip also enables "Hey Siri" functionality, allowing for hands-free access to Apple's personal assistant.


    There are optical sensors in the Powerbeats Pro that allow the earbuds to detect when they're in your ears, playing and pausing music appropriately.

    Phone Calls

    There's a speech-detecting accelerometer in the Powerbeats Pro, along with two beam-forming microphones on each side that are designed to filter out external sound so incoming phone calls sound crisp and clear. In our testing, the Powerbeats Pro sounded great on calls and people had no issues hearing what we were saying, nor were there disconnects or other issues that we ran into.


    Along with an H1 chip for "Hey Siri" support and quick connections to your devices, the Powerbeats Pro use Class 1 Bluetooth technology for extended range and "exceptional cross-body performance."

    As with the AirPods, you can use both Powerbeats Pro earbuds at once or choose to use just one.


    Powerbeats Pro connect to your iPhone or Mac just like AirPods. Simply open the case to prompt a pairing mode, and Powerbeats Pro will pair automatically with any supported devices signed into your iCloud account. This feature requires an iCloud account and macOS 10.14.4, iOS 12.2, and watchOS 5.2 or later.


    Full functionality, such as quick device connections and Hey Siri support will require an iOS device, but Apple says the Powerbeats Pro will also work fine with Android devices.


    The AirPods are only available in white, but Apple is making the Powerbeats Pro available in Black, Ivory, Moss, and Navy. At launch on May 10, only the Black model will be available, with the Ivory, Moss, and Navy colors set to become available this summer.


    Reviews and First Impressions

    First impressions and reviews of the Powerbeats Pro have been largely positive, and the new earbuds are getting high praise for their comfort, stability, battery life, and other features.

    We tested out the Powerbeats Pro were impressed with the design. The earhooks light weight and comfortable, and are going to keep the Powerbeats Pro firmly in the ear even during vigorous activity. Multiple tips ensure a good fit, and the sound quality is great for earbuds this size. Even glasses wearers should find the Powerbeats Pro to be comfortable.

    All of the AirPods features are here, so these function just like AirPods 2, and while the battery life is excellent, there's a downside - the Powerbeats Pro case is large, bulky, and not as pocketable as the AirPods case, nor does it have wireless charging. On the whole, we think the Powerbeats Pro are worth it for anyone looking for the perfect earbuds for an active lifestyle or those who prefer a more traditional earbud fit.

    Reviews from other sites have also been overwhelmingly positive, which is no surprise given how well the AirPods have been received and the fact that these match the feature set of the AirPods.


    Pocket-lint highlighted the slimmed down size and weight compared to the previous-generation Powerbeats, and said they're much more comfortable to wear because of the softer angles and contours. The earhook grips the ear but doesn't tug or dig.


    As for audio, Pocket-lint found it to be "genuinely great" for an earphone in the $250 price range. "At the low end, very low bass notes like the kick of a bass drum - or low bass guitar notes - were tight and controlled. Similarly, both treble and baritone vocals were clear and dynamic, while songs with plenty of reverb were given space to expand, without ever feeling like one aspect was giving way to the other."


    Digital Trends wasn't a fan of the larger charging case, but loved the fit of the Powerbeats Pro. Songs were "clear and potent" with bass that "doesn't cloud the upper registers."


    iMore said the Powerbeats Pro are "way more comfortable than AirPods," even after wearing them for five hours straight. Compared to AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro are "massive in size" and while the earhooks are comfortable, they can get caught in longer hair. Sound was clear and "not bass heavy at all," with an overall EQ balance that's impressive.

    Additional Reviews: 9to5Mac and PCMag.

    Powerbeats Pro How Tos

    [*]How to Set Up and Connect Powerbeats Pro Earbuds
    [*]How to Use Apple's Live Listen Feature With Powerbeats Pro
    [*]How to Use Powerbeats Pro With Android Devices
    [*]How to Activate Siri With Your Powerbeats Pro Earbuds
    [*]How to Change the Name of Your Powerbeats Pro Earbuds
    [*]How to Turn Off Automatic Ear Detection on Your Powerbeats Pro Earbuds
    [*]How to Answer and Decline Calls With Powerbeats Pro
    [*]How to Have Powerbeats Pro Announce Your Calls
    [*]How to Assign the Powerbeats Pro Microphone to Your Left or Right Ear
    [*]How to Share One Pair of Powerbeats Pro Earphones With a Friend
    [*]How to Check Powerbeats Pro Battery Life on iPhone and Apple Watch
    [*]How to Pair Powerbeats Pro to Your Apple Watch
    [*]How to Unpair Powerbeats Pro Earphones From iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Watch, or Mac
    [*]How to Pair Powerbeats Pro to Your Apple TV


    Powerbeats Pro are priced at $249.95 in the United States.


    To see a detailed comparison on how the Powerbeats Pro measure up to the second-generation AirPods, make sure to check out our AirPods vs. Powerbeats Pro guide. We've also done a comparison between the Powerbeats 3 and the Powerbeats Pro for those who are thinking of upgrading.

    Launch Date

    The Powerbeats Pro became available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on May 3 and a launch followed on May 10.

    Powerbeats Pro became available in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, on May 31. The earbuds will launch in July in Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, and Brazil.

    The other Powerbeats Pro colors will be available in the summer, with current availability limited to the black version.

    Guide Feedback

    Have questions about the Powerbeats Pro or know of details we've left out? Let us know in the comments or Send us an email here.

    Article Link: Powerbeats Pro: Apple's Sporty AirPods Alternative
  2. tridley68 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 28, 2014
    How long is Apple going to keep beating this dead horse of low quality over priced headphones.
  3. NickName99 macrumors regular


    Nov 8, 2018
    Nice for folks who prefer ear plug style earbuds. I can’t stand them, ugh.

    AirPods are perfect for me, enjoying my 2nd gen ones.
  4. zeizei macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    Can you use them without the ear hooks?
  5. Remy149 macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2016
    You mean they should stop selling the most popular headphone brand among most millennials.
  6. Onexy macrumors regular


    Sep 14, 2012
  7. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    AirPods are fine a 'walking around' solution for me but I find them far too insecure for any moderate to serious activity. I'd get these if I still used ani Phone and hadn't already found the JLab Epic Air Elites--similar size (both case and ear buds), sweat resistance, even better battery life in case (and case includes it's own charging cable) and a customizable EQ. And best part is $100 less.
  8. guyjin macrumors newbie


    Jul 27, 2010

    Jeez, that case is HUGE. I carry my airpods in my pocket all the time. With that thing I'd look like I had a tumor.
  9. Fozziebear71 macrumors 6502


    Sep 23, 2014
    I have the Beats X earphones for when I run verses using the Airpods which I also own. I have never had a problem with Airpods falling out of my ears I just feel more secure with the Beats X because they have the wire connecting them along with the internal ear hooks and the A1 chip. These are expensive for sure but the added water and sweat resistance without the wire and instead having the hook over the ear to keep them from falling off my ear will probably get me to buy them. Having the A1 chip and now the H1 chip just make it so easy to use with my iPhone, Apple watch, and iPad.
  10. Lordforex macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2018
    My Airpods v1 are getting flacky on me so these will be a nice upgrade.
  11. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Julie, can we get some clarification on what this actually means? Is it BT5? 4.2? Marketing speak for something pedestrian?
  12. tbayrgs, Apr 3, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019

    tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    These are purely for activity/exercise and I was comparing directly to the size of the Powerbeats Pro and their case. The case lives in my backpack or messenger bag most of the time. AirPods were my walking around earbuds, until i recently switched to Galaxy Buds.
  13. jasonefmonk macrumors regular

    May 5, 2011
    An internet search will tell you what you need. In short, Class 1 Bluetooth has greater range. Class-es are independent from Bluetooth version.

    From Wikipedia:
    Officially Class 3 radios have a range of up to 1 metre (3 ft), Class 2, most commonly found in mobile devices, 10 metres (33 ft), and Class 1, primarily for industrial use cases, 100 metres (300 ft).​
  14. dan110 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2013
    Remember when the moniker "pro" actually stood for something other than charging customers a questionably premium (see: high) price?
  15. falconneil macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2012

    So I just looked those JLab ones up on amazon. They get truly TERRIBLE reviews. Bluetooth pairing, build quality. All subpar according to people who own them.
  16. miniyou64 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2008
    Wired powerbeats were so bad they went back for a second pair of Airpods. Not even close to good quality
  17. sunapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2013
    The Netherlands
    AirPods are great when you want or don’t mind ambient noise, but other times like on public transport, they are lacking.

    I own Shure SE215 BTs for that as they offer excellent noise isolation. However, they still have a cable between the IEMs which is annoying (they do cost only 120€ or so though).

    Previous BeatsX which I owned where the most annoying experience I ever had because of the neckband and because they did not stay in my ears without the hooks. Had those for a year before I got AirPods.

    If I have to use public transport again for my daily commute in the future, I will buy these PowerBeats instantly, they look stunning. Best Wireless experience (like AirPods) plus noise isolation plus (most likely) much better sound.

    The Beats brand definitely caught my attention with the previous gen Beats Wireless headphones (3?), great hardware and sweat sound to my taste (they’re obviously colored as opposed to neutral headphones). I tried a number of high end headphones at the time but these where my favorites even though most people wouldn’t agree from what I gather.
  18. ghost187 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 18, 2010
    Wow, you actually got your review unit in this early?:rolleyes:
  19. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    Yup...They average 2.7 out of 5 over 100 reviews while the Powerbeats 3 average a 'spectacular' 3.0 out of 5 over 2800+ reviews. :rolleyes: Over at Best buy the reviews average 4.2 vs. the Powerbeat's 4.5 out of 5. I'm not going to apologize for other reviewer's bad experiences, can only attest to my personal experience. I've had no issues pairing to multiple devices, switching between them easily and having no regular connectivity problems. They appear to comparable is most regards to the new Powerbeats Pro as far as form factor and specs for significantly less ($119 at BestBuy presently). Just sharing my $0.02.
  20. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    Yeah I did that already and an internet search doesn't really tell me or you anything relevant. That info is pretty useless when discussing Bluetooth if it doesn't anchor to commonly understood term. BT 5, BT 4.2, BT 4.0 that's commonly accepted terminology. Class 1 Bluetooth is not a term anchored in consumer facing language. Heck, it's not even common BT terminology in tech circles.

    I've seen several videos that reference the PBP's as BT 5. If BT 5 is what Beats marketing means with the Class 1 BT reference, they should have just said BT 5.
  21. supertomtom macrumors 6502


    Sep 21, 2007
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Wish Apple would have just gone the extra mile and added a wireless charging case.
  22. mjoecups macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2017
    You should study up, so you have a clue, and stop blabbing here about what Beats should do. The class of the radio and Protocol version aren't the same thing and they aren't related.
  23. ho0lee0h macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2018
    I am on Android at the moment. Do we know if these will support aptx or ldac? Sony XB80BS support ldac, but they haven't released wireless in-ear phones that support it since they released those in 2016. Jabra Elite, Bose Soundsport do not support aptx/ldac. I am really disappointed. The Sony XB80BS are the only wireless sport (sweat resistance) in-ears that support hi-res audio for Android.

    At this point, I really hope that Apple releases an updated iPod Touch and makes it compatible with Apple Watch and PowerBeats Pro (I assume PowerBeats Pro supports AAC hi-res bluetooth codec).
  24. TomaxXamot macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2009
    Seattle, Washington
    If I can get these for a decent discount i might consider them, as regular Apple earbuds absolutely refuse to stay in my ears, which is why I haven’t bothered with the AirPods. The fact that these have the H1 chip is enticing. But that price in CAD is $300 I’m assuming and that’s about $75 too high for what I would spend on them.
  25. 69Mustang macrumors 604


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    That's why I asked the question in the first place. You should be less rude to people you don't know. If you aren't going to contribute, then please kindly go interact with someone else who can appreciate your type of discourse.

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