Powerbeats Pro headphone review – Beats by Dre alternatives to AirPods
Powerbeats Pro – true ‑ wireless ‑ headphones that are charged in the case and are not connected by wires. This model was developed by Beats by Dre, a company once famous for perhaps the most popular consumer ears. At the same time, fame did not guarantee an excellent sound at all: audiophiles did not take the brand seriously, scolding Beats models for their excessive emphasis on low frequencies.
In 2014, Apple bought Beats. This was supposed to affect the nature of the products: their connection with iOS devices, usability, ergonomic properties, design and conciseness. The comparison with AirPods came from here – the only wireless headphones that are associated with the iPhone and iPad even more closely. In this review, we will also periodically resort to this comparison.
Black, dark blue, dark olive, ivory
Lightning for charging, Bluetooth for connecting to a source
Headphone Battery Life
Headphone battery life taking into account charging from the case
The package is concise. In a black square box we found headphones in a case, a Lightning ‑ cable without an adapter, additional ear pads, instructions and a sticker.
More information about the ear pads: taking into account the nozzles that are already on the headphones, there are four pairs of them. They vary in size. In addition, one of the pairs is two-flange ear pads for a tighter fit.
Appearance and ergonomics
Headphones are available in four colors. We got a modification in black.
On the outside of the package there are bright labels and a red logo. Everything else – headphones, case, cable and all parts of the box – is black.
Let's start with the case. He is big and weighty. And this is the main claim to the model as a whole. Such a case can not be carried in your pocket, and it barely fits in the palm of your hand. At the same time, the case is made of matte plastic, and this, in my opinion, always looks a little cheaper than gloss. This is how our case looks next to the AirPods case.
When opened, the case creaks slightly. But inside, nothing hangs: the headphones flies tightly into the magnetized recesses. The case is tough. If he falls from a decent height, something is unlikely to happen with the headphones.
On the back side of the case is a Lightning-socket for recharging the gadget. From the front – an indicator that turns red when discharged. Inside the case there is a button for synchronizing with Android devices.
Go to the headphones. On the promo pages, the first thing they write is that they are sports. The model is really suitable for all kinds of physical activity and has advantages over AirPods in such scenarios.
First off, the Powerbeats Pro is a tight-fit in-ear headphone. They hold well due to correctly selected ear pads, and additional fixation is provided by rubber temples with a memory effect, which can be pressed close to the auricle. However, for someone this is a minus: if you are comfortable only in unobtrusive AirPods, Powerbeats Pro may not be suitable.
Secondly, Powerbeats Pro are protected from moisture. The manufacturer does not report the level of protection, but claims that you can safely sweat in them. We believe.
And thirdly, all AirPods navigation chips remained in place and even improved, which means that music playback in Powerbeats Pro can be controlled without a smartphone, without distracting from training.
Connection and management
The H1 chip is installed in the headphones – the same as in AirPods. In theory, it provides Siri operation, quick connection, reliable connection with iOS devices and sound transmission without delay.
The magic of Apple begins with the first launch. It’s enough to open the case next to the iPhone: a pop-up window will offer to synchronize Powerbeats Pro with your smartphone, and on subsequent power-ups, it will tell you how charged the batteries for the headphones and the case are.
In the same way as on AirPods, the autopause function works when pulling the earphone out of the ear.
But for a short time of operation, there were problems. At some point, the second headphone categorically refused to turn on. In another, the gadget continued playing directly in the case. But I don’t want to call Powerbeats Pro buggy: bugs are rare and insignificant.
Each headphone has two controls: a paired volume key on the side of the case and a main button on the front panel.
The functions of the mechanical button on the front panel are predefined and not configurable. One press – pause, two – the next track, three – the previous one. Long hold causes Siri. In my opinion, this is the optimal configuration.
Like AirPods, Powerbeats Pro is not required to listen together. Only one earphone can be used while the other is on recharge.
Beats remained faithful to the low frequencies – there are a lot of them. But at the same time, the sound is quite balanced. The graph from the portal Les Numeriques speaks of subsidence in the lower middle region, as well as the emphasized bass and the highlighted upper middle with the use of conversational frequencies.
Frequency response of Powerbeats Pro. The graphs when using single-flange and two-flange ear cushions are almost identical. www.lesnumeriques.com
In fact, this means that Powerbeats Pro perform very well in music rich in low frequencies and minimalistic: hip-hop, trap, some kind of bass lounge (for example, the last album of the Soyuz group sounds just fine with these headphones) or jazz with deep timbre of double bass. When more detail is added to the music in different frequency sections, things get more complicated. For example, I did not really like the sound of loaded guitars.
Verdict: Beats headphones in 2019 are definitely not the overrated low-end consumer goods from the mid-2010s. However, it could have been better. Part of the problems with frequencies would be solved, for example, by an additional equalizer, like the Jaybird X3. Beats also managed without features that in theory might be needed by someone: active noise reduction and “transparent hearing” that duplicates street sound into the headphones.
Back to AirPods, Powerbeats Pro is the clear winner. Firstly, due to the higher noise isolation, the headphones allow you to listen to podcasts and audio books in the subway. Secondly, the device is, in principle, more musical, and AirPods are still somewhere in the category of high-quality conversational headsets.
Two microphones on each earphone are responsible for the sound characteristics during a conversation. In non-extreme conditions, the test passed without complaints: the interlocutor heard me well, and I did.
The battery capacity of the manufacturer is hidden and does not even google. But the information on the promo pages says about nine hours of work without recharging and days – when recharging with the help of a case. The technology, called Fast Fuel, allows you to charge the headphones with the case for one and a half hours of playback in five minutes at the outlet. Wireless recharge is not supported.
Powerbeats Pro attracts no sound. He is good here, but there is nothing special about him. The main thing in these headphones is Apple protection and sharpening for iOS devices. If you like the speed, stability and software of AirPods, but don’t like their ergonomics or sound, then you have few alternatives and Powerbeats Pro is a great option. Of course, they work with Android devices, but these headphones have too many more budget competitors in this field.
The price of Powerbeats Pro may vary depending on the store, the average is about 19,000 rubles.
The author thanks Beats for providing the device for testing.