When discussing my first impressions of Apple’s PowerBeats Pro a couple months back, I liked but did not love the new earbuds. Now that I’ve been able to use them for three full days, I can say that my first impressions were mostly accurate. Here are some of the major pros and cons:
Fit and Comfort
The PowerBeats Pro are larger than your typical earbuds, and they have ear hooks. The trade-off for the size is definitely worth it; the Pro buds fit your ears perfectly. You can run with them, dance with them, and do almost anything else (but don’t swim since they only have an IPX4 water resistance rating). They never feel like they are going to fall out of your ears.
Although Beats headphones have a history with heavy bass, it’s not so prevalent on the PowerBeats Pro — and the more balanced sound certainly isn’t a bad thing. The bass is still there for your hip-hop and EDM songs, while the treble is there for your classical music. The mids are minimized, but the overall sound is very good if not great.
Unlike the latest critically acclaimed earbuds from Sony (as well as most other earbuds), the PowerBeats Pro work very well when making phone calls. People tell me that even when I am in a crowded place with noise, they can still hear me (although they can still hear a bit of the background noise as well). If call quality is one of your major concerns, these won’t let you down.
OMG is this case large! It feels like a miniature rubber brick, which is still too big for your pocket. Then, there’s putting these buds back in the case, which can be quite difficult. It gets easier to fit these for charging after a couple days, but it’s never as simple as it is with the AirPods and other buds.
Poor Noise Isolation
The AirPods have no isolation whatsoever, and although the Pro buds block your ears, the noise isolation is not that good. Some may consider this a good thing since they wear these when jogging or even driving (be careful, please!), but you will notice the annoyance of all the ambient noise when you are at a gym or coffee shop. It would be nice for the next PowerBeats device to have actual digital noise cancellation.
It’s expected that wind will affect any type of ear device that sticks out, but the PowerBeats Pro buds let the wind in even more than most earbuds. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is annoying. I can’t imagine using these while walking down Michigan Avenue in Chicago during the month of January.
There are better sounding and better sized earbuds on the market. However, for those who exercise a lot and need earbuds that work well for making phone calls, the PowerBeats Pro may be worth the expensive $250 price tag.