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Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jaybird Vista: Which Wireless Fitness Earbuds Are Best?

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

For this face-off, we’ve pitted two of the market’s best true wireless earbuds for fitness against each other. In one corner, the Beats Powerbeats Pro, a top seller that has been showered with praise for being the ideal sporty AirPods alternative. In the other corner, the Jaybird Vista, a near-flawless newcomer with the features and performance to rival any in-class competitor. Which one deserves a spot in your gym bag? We’ve compared the two to determine the better fitness investment for you.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Jaybird Vista: Specs Compared

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Jaybird Vista

Price

$249.95

$179.99

Colors

Black, Ivory, Moss, and Navy

Black, Mineral Blue, and Nimbus Gray

What's in the Box

Charging case, three pairs of ear tips, and a Lightning cable

Charging case, two sets of full-sleeve ear tips with fins, one set of full-sleeve ear tips, and a USB-C cable

Battery Life

9 hours, 24 hours (charging case)

6 hours, 10 hours (charging case)

Size

1.1 x 1 x 0.9 inches

0.9 x 0.7 x 0.9 inches 

Weight

0.72 ounces, Undisclosed (case)

0.2 ounces, 0.7 ounces (case)

Design

Beats knows all about creating attractive headphones and the Powerbeats Pro is its best-looking creation yet. The lighter and slimmer profile combined with signature design elements like the embossed B logo and bold colorways (Black, Ivory, Moss and Navy) give these buds a sophisticated, sporty appearance.

Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro

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

More importantly, Beats has upped its build quality, something the brand has been hammered for in the past. The buds feel as premium as they look with a durable plastic shell built to survive the daily grind and hardcore training. They are also water-resistant, and while Beats won’t reveal the IPX rating, I’m happy to report my buds have yet to malfunction after weeks of sweat-excessive workouts.

Jaybird Vista

Jaybird Vista

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

The Vista isn’t going to win any design awards, but it was never designed to be a fashion statement. Jaybird optimized its design to be lighter, smaller, and just as sturdy as the Run XT. The all-plastic exterior is capable of sustaining falls onto the concrete. IPX7 certification means the buds are sweat- and waterproof as well. Full protection is guaranteed, but you might not look as cool working out with them as you would sporting the Powerbeats Pro. Jaybird also sells the Vista in multiple colors: Black, Nimbus Gray and Mineral Blue. 

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Comfort

Let’s address the one problem with both models: comfort. The Powerbeats Pro and Vista have multifunctional buttons that require hard presses to activate, which causes the user to apply unwanted pressure to their ears, which hurts after a while. Besides that, each model provides some of the best fit and stability in its class.

Jaybird Vista

Jaybird Vista

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

I was worried the Vista’s smaller design and fin tips wouldn’t keep the buds latched onto my ears during lateral exercises, but they held up well. The front cavity rested gently on my ear, while the fins conformed to my concha for a snug fit. The few times I adjusted the buds were during fast runs on the treadmill. I also appreciated the tight seal these buds created when locked in properly.

Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro

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

The Powerbeats Pro has integrated hooks that wrap around the ear to keep the buds properly positioned. They stayed in place when performing 5K runs, burpees and crunches. The angled sound port is another unique detail that enhances the fit by easily sliding into the ear canal. Fatigue did set in after an hour of use, whereas the Vista felt easier on my ears during longer stretches.

Winner: Jaybird Vista

Controls

With the Powerbeats Pro, you have more buttons and functionality at your disposal. A volume rocker sits atop each bud, while the B logo serves as the multifunction button for playback, call management, and digital assistant support. Each button is simple to operate and has great tactility, though the MF button exhibits latency at times. The buds also have on-ear detection to play and pause music when removed from your ears; movement recognition is very accurate.

MORE: Best Wireless Earbuds 2019

Jaybird’s control scheme is rudimentary with each earbud itself being a button that executes different tasks. The setup doesn’t work well for several reasons. Again, pressing the buds affects comfort. Jaybird programed the buds with single and double-press commands, which limits on-demand controls (several other models have triple-press commands). Lastly, going through the Jaybird app to swap out standard playback controls for access to the digital assistant and volume isn’t practical. The controls aren’t very responsive either.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Apps and Special Features

The Vista was programmed with personalization in mind, whereas the Powerbeats Pro shares the same ideology as the AirPods II with a high emphasis on efficiency. Apple’s ecosystem has its fair share of benefits, but most users will find Jaybird’s app and host of features more appealing.

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

The Jaybird app is loaded with content and music presets to customize your listening experience. A plethora of sound profiles are available to accommodate musical preferences, along with the ability to create your own sound profile. You can even swap out sound profiles for popular user-created ones from the Jaybird community. There are also playlists and podcasts curated by Jaybird athletes and staff.  Other notable features include a Find My Buds option, and volume and play/pause shortcuts. Overall, the app is serviceable, user-friendly, and looks clean.

Bluetooth 5.0 is available on the Vista and brings along a few performance hallmarks such as improved battery life and multi-device connection. But it also has some connectivity issues; occasional dropout occurred on the left earbud during outdoor runs, as well as noticeable lag when streaming YouTube videos. 

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

What the Powerbeats Pro has working to its advantage is the H1 chip, which offers instantaneous and stable connectivity, hands-free “Hey Siri” support, and a wider listening range (up to 50 feet). These are all cool features that work solidly on current Apple devices, but they’re also hit or miss on Android smartphones. Audio cut in and out when screening calls in high-traffic areas.

Both sets of earbuds support Siri and Google Assistant. The Powerbeats Pro is better for summoning voice commands, thanks its amazing speech recognition and seamless iOS integration.

Winner: Jaybird Vista

Audio

Beats and Jaybird are well known for their boomy sound signatures, which haven’t always fared well with critics. Luckily, both companies made improvements in the audio department, giving their respective models a tighter midrange and more vocal presence over adrenaline-inducing sonics. 

The hard-thumping production on Wu-Tang Clan’s “Triumph” kickstarted my workouts, feeding my ears with an infectious bassline that knocked hard under each member’s commanding rhymes. I felt the bass and got better clarity on the Powerbeats Pro, granted the Vista was no slouch on the low-end either and kept vocals prominent.

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

Records with impactful bass like Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” carry enough oomph to trigger a second wind, but you’ll want to be mindful when listening at max volume. The thunderous lows are accentuated on the Powerbeats Pro, which creates distortion and affects vocal transparency. The Vista performed similarly. Highs are also an area where neither set of earbuds excels; distinctive effects and instruments go unnoticed on orchestral recordings.

Despite their audio similarities, the Vista gains a slight edge over the Powerbeats Pro because of its audio customization. The ability to tweak EQ settings for personalized sound is a win for audiophiles. Adjusting the highs let me hear complex arrangements on jazz classics like Miles Davis’ “So What” more clearly.

Noise isolation is usually a matter of preference for exercisers. Outdoor runners who want to remain aware of their surroundings will find the Vista more useful, as the buds let you hear external sounds and enjoy music simultaneously. Those who want to block out environmental fracas at the gym or even outside will lean towards the Powerbeats Pro since it creates a better in-ear seal and block out noise better.

Winner: Jaybird Vista

Call Quality

Apple stocked the Powerbeats Pro with beamforming mics that enhance call quality by filtering out ambient sounds. The technology is impressive and works great for phone calls and FaceTime in rowdy environments. Several people were sure that I was speaking directly into my smartphone. Using the buds in drafty conditions wasn’t so pleasant, as gusty winds overpowered my voice.

One of the Vista’s notable features is the option to use the earbuds independently for calls. You’ll be able to chat in mono and keep one ear open to hear your surroundings, although using both buds will let you hear calls more clearly. 

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Charging Case

Ask yourself which is preferable: Adequate battery life in a super-compact charging case, or massive battery life in a huge charging case? The more convenient option is the former, that being the Vista. 

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

Jaybird’s case is lightweight at 0.7 ounces and stores up to 10 hours of playback, which is vital since the buds don’t hold a charge for very long. Beats’ charging case offers the best battery life in its class: 24 hours. It’s also the heaviest at 4.5 ounces, and extremely bulky in comparison to other cases. 

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

Another drawback is the awkward charging system that makes docking the buds annoyingly difficult. Neither charging case supports wireless charging.

Winner: Jaybird Vista

Battery Life

The Powerbeats Pro dominates this category with up to 9 hours of listening time, which is realistically 8 hours. Beats’ Fast Fuel technology is clutch for those who always forget to recharge their buds before hitting the gym, generating 1.5 hours of playtime on a 5-minute charge and 4.5 hours on 15 minutes. Apple also built in a motion accelerometer that preserves power by enabling a power-save mode when users place the buds on a flat surface.

MORE: Best Cheap Wireless Earbuds

The Vista comes 80% charged right out of the box, so you can pair them and hit the gym right away. Unfortunately, the buds failed to deliver the 6 hours of use (when fully charged) that Jaybird advertised. The battery percentage on my unit dropped 20% every 45 mins, translating to about 4 hours of use on a full charge. Listening at max volume and heavy Spotify streaming drained the battery quickly. 

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Price

At $180, the Vista falls right in between the affordable and mid-luxury price points. Your money definitely goes to great use, especially when considering the extra bonuses Jaybird provides (e.g. accessories and in-app features). The odds of scoring these buds at a cheaper price are also higher heading into the holiday season, as Amazon is known for generously marking down Jaybird products several weeks after launch.  

Very rarely do new Beats releases undergo markdowns, but there could be a chance that you see the Powerbeats Pro on sale via Black Friday deals. Nonetheless, the buds are worth every penny – you’ll just have to cough up $70 more than the Vista to own them.

Overall Winner: Jaybird Vista

The Beats Powerbeats Pro and Jaybird Vista are equally great and have their own set of perks that make purchasing either model worthwhile. That said, choosing between the two comes down to small, yet impactful, details. When taking extended functionality, portability, and price into account, the Vista earns the win, as well as a spot amongst the true wireless elite. Jaybird did an amazing job of squeezing dynamic sound and features into a durable, sporty design, even if it meant compromising battery life and controls. 

Beats Powerbeats Pro

Jaybird Vista

Design (15)

13

12

Comfort (10)

8

9

Controls (5)

4

3

Special Features and Apps (15)

10

13

Audio (25)

22

23

Call Quality and Digital Assistant (5)

4

3

Charging Case (10)

7

8

Battery Life (15)

14

12

Total Score (100)

82

83

Make no mistake, losing this battle does not diminish the Powerbeats Pro’s value. The sports buds are Apple/Beats’ greatest audio achievement to date, hitting nearly every performance mark to remain one of the market’s top selections. Active sound, best-in-class battery life, strong connectivity, and superb on-ear stability solidify their greatness. They just come with a higher MSRP and larger real estate.