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Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Which Wireless Earbuds Win?

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Jabra Elite Active 65t
(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

This face-off features two of the market’s best wireless earbuds, especially if you're into fitness. 

First up is the Beats Powerbeats Pro, Apple’s newest Bluetooth earbuds that combine the flawless iOS performance of the second-gen AirPods with the sleek and durable aesthetics of the Powerbeats3 Wireless.

Our second contestant is the Jabra Elite Active 65t. This sportier version of the popular Elite 65t comes reinforced with sweat-resistant protection, while retaining the high-performance hallmarks of its predecessor. Previous face-off victories over the Bose SoundSport FreeJaybird Run XT, and Samsung Galaxy Buds have earned these in-ear monitors category leader status.  

We’ve thrown the two models into the audio octagon to determine a true winner. Read on to find out which one is the better fitness investment.

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Specs Compared

Beats Powerbeats ProJabra Elite Active 65t
Price$249.95$188.99
ColorsBlack, Ivory, Moss, and NavyCopper Blue, Copper Black, Copper Red, and Titanium Black
What's in the BoxCharging case, three pairs of ear tips, and Lightning cableCharging case, three pairs of EarGels tips, and micro-USB cable
Battery Life9 hours, 24 hours (charging case)5 hours, 10 hours (charging case)
Size1.1 x 1 x 0.9 inches1.2 x 0.8 x 1.2 inches
Weight0.72 ounces, Undisclosed (case)0.22 ounce, 2.3 ounces (case)

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Design

Beats specializes in creating attractive headphones and earphones. The Powerbeats Pro is a prime example, designed 17% lighter and 23% smaller than the Powerbeats3 Wireless. Its slimmer profile makes the device less obtrusive. Signature design elements like the durable plastic casing and embossed Beats logo remain intact. Most importantly, water-resistant protection (Beats has yet to confirm the IPX rating) saves the buds from moisture damage.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The Elite Active 65t is a spitting image of the previous model, but with IP65 certification. This makes it dust, sweat, and water resistant. Composed of sturdy ABS plastic, its outer layer is solid and just as durable as the Powerbeats Pro. The shiny copper inlay on the side gives the buds extra flair.

Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Color availability is where the battle really heats up. Beats sells its buds in four appealing shades: Black, Ivory, Moss, and Navy. Jabra has its own set of bold colors with Copper Blue, Copper Red, Titanium Black, and the Amazon-exclusive Copper Black. They all look fresh and hit that sweet spot between contemporary and executive.

Winner: Draw

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Comfort

The Powerbeats Pro was clearly designed to not fall off of your ears. The angled front cavity rests firmly on the concha, while each set of ear tips create a decent seal to block out minimal ambient noise. Of course, the integrated hooks are the true MVP, wrapping tightly around the ears for a stable fit, no matter the exercise.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

For wireless earbuds without fins or hooks, the Elite Active 65t does an outstanding job of staying put. It offers an adjustable and gentle fit with Jabra’s EarGels tips molding perfectly to most ear shapes. I normally sport these buds for about 2-3 hours daily, especially on outdoor runs – they rarely ever fall out.

Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Unfortunately, there is one major caveat with both models regarding comfort, which factors into the next category as well.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Controls

My major complaint about most truly wireless earbuds is that their physical buttons affect comfort. With the Powerbeats Pro and Elite Active 65t, you’re pressing the buds into your ears and applying unwanted pressure that leaves them feeling fatigued after a while. The multifunctional buttons on both devices share some noticeable latency as well.

The Powerbeats Pro has bigger buttons and the more practical control scheme. On the top of each earbud is a volume rocker, while the side hosts a MF button to play/pause (1x press), skip a track (2x press), reverse a track (3x press) and activate Siri (long press). Tactility on the rockers is spot-on, but the MF button often requires an extra press or two to register commands.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The copper inlays on the Elite Active 65t act as controls, granted they feel stiff and aren’t highly responsive. The right earbud lets you answer/end calls or play/pause music with one press, while holding down the button launches the digital assistant. The small protruding rockers on the left bud manage volume and holding down either will skip or rewind a track, respectively. 

One saving grace for both devices is that they’re programmed with on-ear detection to play and pause music when taking them off.

Winner: Draw

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Apps and special features

The Jabra Sound+ app has plenty of features and makes personalizing the Elite Active 65t an absolute joy for music lovers. Once paired, you’re met with the Music Equalizer to fine-tune the bass, mid-range, and treble, creating your own sound profile. There are also five music presets available: Bass Boost, Energize, Smooth, Speech, and Treble Boost. Each serves their purpose, but Treble Boost will become your favorite for exercising.   

Somehow, Jabra integrated an accelerometer into these buds, which transforms the device into a fitness tracker that can log steps per minute and the time elapsed. It’s a decent alternative for when your Fitbit needs recharging, but not a full-time replacement.

Jabra has other unique tricks programmed into its tiny buds. Those who want to listen to their surroundings more clearly can enable the HearThrough mode. The Find My Buds feature comes in handy when losing your buds. Then there’s Bluetooth 5.0 that keeps connectivity steady, while also improving battery life, pairing, and range (up to 40 feet of playback).

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The Powerbeats Pro doesn’t have a companion app or a ton of features, but it harnesses the power of Apple's all-new H1 chip. It makes pairing to Apple devices seamless when opening the charging case. The buds offer strong range for up to 50 feet of wireless listening, although connection on Android devices can be finnicky with some stutter present.

“Hey Siri” support is available on here for hands-free functionality, but it’s only accessible on iOS devices. The lack of customized EQ settings, listening modes, and Find My iPhone feature doesn’t give the Powerbeats Pro much ammunition against Jabra’s buds. 

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 65t

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Audio quality

Bass is generally a catalyst for boosting workouts and these two sets of buds are well engineered to deliver impactful, booming sound. Listening to tracks like Kanye West’s “Stronger” on the Powerbeats Pro was uplifting, as the pulsating synths and thumping kick drums fueled my second wind on a long-distance run. Beats’ deserves credit for tightening up the profile, primarily the low end, which lends itself considerably to EDM and Hip-Hop records. 

The Elite Active 65t doesn’t skimp on sound quality either. Its tiny drivers pump out crisp vocals and deep bass across numerous music genres. Workout go-tos like Metallic’s “Enter Sandman” were given a cleaner presentation, while still providing an adrenaline boost; the combination of lead singer James Hetfield’s blaring vocals with thrash-metal lows was intense.

Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Live recordings and orchestral tracks sound better on the Elite Active 65t, making the buds ideal for casual listening as well. “Lean on Me” from the Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall album was a satisfying listen that placed me in the front row of the performance. Highs were transparent with instruments like the tambourine audible over the singer’s compelling vocals. The Powerbeats Pro struggles with highs and hides intricate sonic details. 

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 65t

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Call Quality

Taking calls on either device is a delight, but Jabra’s four-mic technology performs particularly well when communicating outdoors. Conversations sound full, and the buds’ noise-filtering capabilities silence a good portion of ambient noise. You can adjust the call equalizer in the app to enhance transparency. It’s cool hearing calls on the left and right buds as well.

Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

The Powerbeats Pro works great for Facetime and Skype calls, using its own beamforming mics to clear out backgrounds. Friends complimented how clear I sounded. Wind resistance is where the buds lose points; drafty conditions created noise interference that disrupted my convos. 

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 65t

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Charging case

Ask yourself what’s worth compromising on: power or portability? It’s a tough call, however, considering its reasonable battery length (10 hours) and ultra-convenient form, this round goes to Jabra. Its case is lighter and smaller (2.4 ounces, 2.8 x 2.1 x 1 inch), takes up very little space, and provides great drop and splash protection.

Beats’ charging case is quite the behemoth in power and size. To have 24 hours of juice available on the go is a blessing, but that comes at the cost of more real estate. At 4.5 ounces, it’s a hefty sucker that will weigh down your denim pockets, if you can even fit the case in them.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

It must be said that both cases have their own particular design flaws. The Powerbeats Pro has an arched magnetic charging system that makes powering and storing the device a hindrance, while the Elite Active 65t case has a tiny ridge that lacks a grip to easily access and store the buds. In addition, neither case supports wireless charging. 

Winner: Jabra Elite Active 65t

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Battery life

Beats set out to build truly wireless earbuds with lengthy battery life. The Powerbeats Pro offers a phenomenal 9 hours on a single charge – the most of any in-class model. You can realistically expect 8 hours, which is still 4 more than its competitor. Fast Fuel technology helps generate 1.5 hours of playtime on a 5-minute charge and 4.5 hours on 15 minutes. To save more juice, Beats built in a motion accelerometer that enables a power-save mode when placing the buds on a flat surface.

Beats Powerbeats Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Jabra estimates its buds will get approximately 5 hours on a full battery, but it’s more like 4 hours. This is barely enough to enjoy Spotify playlists during a full week of workouts and commuting.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro vs. Jabra Elite Active 65t: Price

At $189, the Elite Active 65t is borderline pricey, but well worth the money when considering its personalized features via mobile app. The charging case is another plus, especially since Jabra sells it separately online in three colors (Black, Blue, and Red) for those who misplace it regularly. Furthermore, you’re likely to find the buds on sale during seasonal holidays.

Most Beats’ earphones are sold at a premium and the Powerbeats Pro is no different; it’s currently the most expensive truly wireless sports earbuds out there. Don’t expect a price drop anytime soon either, as it usually takes 2-3 years before the brand discounts its flagship products.

Overall Winner: Jabra Elite Active 65t

It’s a close battle, but it’ll take more to remove the Jabra Elite Active 65t from its throne. Jabra’s craftsmanship and engineering are not to be underestimated, as it’s managed to squeeze dynamic sound, great call quality, and loads of intelligible features into a compact and sporty design.

Beats Powerbeats ProJabra Elite Active 65t
Design (15)1313
Comfort (10)98
Controls (5)33
Special Features and Apps (15)1013
Audio (25)2223
Call Quality (5)35
Call Quality (5)78
Battery Life (15)1412
Total Score (100)8185

Brand recognition alone will keep the Beats Powerbeats Pro atop the best-sellers list. However, this arguably remains the brand’s best release to date. Champion battery life, warm audio, and AirPods-like connectivity elevates it higher than all other fitness Bluetooth earbuds, sans the Elite Active 65t. You can’t go wrong with this purchase, but you won’t save much money.