Apple's Beats by Dre headphones brand has finally revealed its Powerbeats Pro completely wireless headphones, and they feature more tricks than AirPods 2, and some features made for workouts. But are they a must buy?
In our opinion, yes. Check out our full review to see how Apple's first wireless fitness earbuds stack up to the competition.
Editor's note: Updated May 10 with impressions from our full review of Powerbeats Pro.
Powerbeats Pro Release date and availability
Powerbeats Pro earbuds are on sale now (May 10). The buds come in four colors: black, ivory, moss and navy. Only black is available to buy now; the other colors will roll out this summer.
Powerbeats Pro Price
Powerbeats Pro will run you $249.95, which is about $90 more than the starting price for Apple's second-gen AirPods. There is no option for a wireless charging case, unlike with AirPods 2, which cost $199 with a Qi-based case.
With Apple's H1 chip — which is also used in AirPods 2 — the Powerbeats Pro are the first completely wireless sports headphones from Beats. Previous models featured a cord that connected buds behind the head.
The H1 chip also enables hands-free "Hey Siri" activations, just like the new AirPods. And just like AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro have optical sensors for automatic pausing and resume when you take them in and out of your ears.
Powerbeats Pro headphones also feature sweat-resistance, a standard feature for this line that's missing from AirPods, and one that we really wanted to see in the 2019 update. Beats didn't disclose a specific IPX resistance rating.
One of the biggest features of the Powerbeats Pro comes from their design, which will provide a snug fit for staying in place during workouts, by hooking around the ear. This is similar to previous Powerbeats models, as well as Plantronics' BackBeat Fit 3100.
Buttons built into each earbud give you controls for playback and volume. Beats is claiming excellent call quality for the headphones, which could help make these buds stand out in the field.
Powerbeats Pro Battery life
Rated for 9 hours of playback on their own, Powerbeats Pro come with a portable charging case, a first for the Powerbeats line. This will extend their battery life to 24 hours, which beats the 12-hour life from the Powerbeats 3. The AirPods 2 are rated for 5 hours of battery life.
The case charges via a Lightning jack, and Beats claims you can give the buds 1.5 hours of battery life off a 5-minute charge.
What people are saying
The Verge got a very brief amount of hands-on time with the Powerbeats Pro, and walked away with a very positive impression about the buds' audio quality. Specifically, "The Powerbeats Pro put a lot of oomph behind The Hold Steady" and other rock songs and "exhibited a really nice dynamic range and wide sound stage." And since this is a Beats-branded pair of earphones, "there’s emphasis on bass.
Further, the Powerbeats Pro case is larger than most, and probably not fit for a pocket, but better off in "a bag of some sort; whether it’s your gym bag or daily carry doesn’t matter."
CNET is reporting that Powerbeats "significantly better than the AirPods, with richer, cleaner sound and bass that's not only bigger but tighter." That audio quality appears to be amplified by their design, as Powerbeats are designed to create a seal at your ear, and not just hang in there and allow sound to leak in.
We look forward to reviewing Powerbeats Pro and putting them through their paces. Their mix of design and quality and wireless connectivity looks to be a marriage of the best of both AirPods and workout headphones.