Two months later: AirPods Pro versus Powerbeats Pro

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2020
Now that both AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro have been out for a few months, we pitch the pair head-to-head to see which ones we'd recommend for most users -- and why.

Comparing AirPods Pro VS Powerbeats Pro
Comparing AirPods Pro versus Powerbeats Pro


As a blanket statement, Powerbeats and AirPods targeted vastly different markets. With the launch of AirPods Pro, however, those markets began to converge.

Powerbeats Pro had superior sound, better sound isolation, better fit, and were designed with the gym-user in mind. AirPods were small, lightweight, and portable. Then came AirPods Pro. The new buds added noise-cancellation, sweat and water resistance, and customized fit all in a small wireless charging case.

With both priced identically, it makes deciding between the two even harder for average users. We made some recommendations at launch, but now that we are two months in we have more experience to speak from in guiding users one way or the other.

Sound

For many, audio quality is the most critical factor when considering earbuds. If that is the only factor, we will go with AirPods Pro over Powerbeats Pro. We've listened to both of these sets of headphones for months now and can easily give AirPods Pro the win.






Powerbeats Pro sounds better than the traditional AirPods, but AirPods Pro bests both. AirPods Pro has a much larger dynamic range than Powerbeats Pro and even punchier bass. Both have good mids and impressive definition, but Powerbeats Pro don't quite keep up.

That said -- if you truly prioritize sound, you may want to look elsewhere, such as the luxurious MW07 Plus or sport-friendly MW07 GO.

Battery life

Powerbeats Pro have great battery life
Powerbeats Pro have great battery life


A clear deficit of AirPods Pro is battery life, at least when compared to Powerbeats Pro. The latter boasts an impressive nine hours of battery life -- double that of AirPods Pro.

Both sets of buds max out at 24 total hours of use when combined with the additional capacity found in the case.

We should also point out that while both charge over Lightning, AirPods Pro support Qi wireless charging, which is very convenient. We set them on our desk's Qi charging pad each day and have never had to think about their battery life or plugging them in.

Noise Cancellation

Another element that furthers the AirPods Pro case is the addition of noise canceling. The built-in ANC on AirPods Pro is fantastic and even gives way to a toggleable passthrough mode that allows you to hear the surroundings freely. Whether at the gym or walking down the street, the ability to listen to the surroundings can be not only convenient, but safe.

Toggling active noise cancellation and transparency mode on AirPods Pro
Toggling active noise cancellation and transparency mode on AirPods Pro


ANC can be changed on the AirPods Pro with Siri, through Control Center, or within Settings. AirPods Pro only has simple controls on the earbuds themselves, so the ability to toggle through these settings so many ways is well warranted.

With silicone tips, the PowerBeats Pro do offer a customized fit that acts as passive noise cancellation, which does its job well in keeping out external noise. It won't hold up in challenging audio conditions like planes, but day-to-day it isn't bad.

Fit and comfort

Powerbeats Pro in their case
Powerbeats Pro in their case


What sealed the deal for us, though, is the fit of both of these headphones. After extended wear, our ears were less fatigued after the AirPods Pro than they were after the Powerbeats Pro. The arm that wraps around the ears on the Powerbeats Pro adds a bit of pressure and, after a period of use, made our ears sore.

Whereas the AirPods Pro is simple and goes in-ear with a set of customized silicone tips. The Settings app even has a fit test that determines if the seal is proper.

AirPods Pro has a much smaller case as well, which affords enhanced portability.

AirPods Pro individual earbud
AirPods Pro individual earbud


With that said, if AirPods Pro don't fit your ears well, maybe you need the additional grip provided by Powerbeats Pro. If either falls out of your ears or is uncomfortable, you aren't likely to use them, which defeats the point of it altogether.

Which to choose

Most users, hands down, should pick up AirPods Pro over the Powerbeats Pro.

AirPods Pro in their case
AirPods Pro in their case


AirPods Pro has superior sound, is smaller, more portable, offer active noise cancellation, can wirelessly charge, and have a hear through mode that puts them easily above the Powerbeats Pro. Powerbeats Pro wins in battery life,

However, if AirPods Pro still don't fit right, Powerbeats Pro is a great option as well. If you are near an Apple Store, head in yourself and try them both out. Apple has try-on tips so that you can listen to them for yourself before picking one up.

Where to buy

Both Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro retail for $249 with occasional discounts on each. Check out the AppleInsider buying guide for the most updated prices and deals on both.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 879member
    The Powerbeats Pro are far more comfortable and are not made from the ugly white plastic that screams 2005.
    Case is nicer, battery life is better. Sound is fine for mobile. Nobody uses these things for critical listening.
    I do not want noise cancellation when out walking. 

    I guess it depends upon your needs.
    napoleon_phoneapart
  • Reply 2 of 38
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 621member
    davgreg said:
    The Powerbeats Pro are far more comfortable and are not made from the ugly white plastic that screams 2005.
    Case is nicer, battery life is better. Sound is fine for mobile. Nobody uses these things for critical listening.
    I do not want noise cancellation when out walking. 

    I guess it depends upon your needs.
    I use the transparency mode when I'm walking on a street, noise cancelling when I'm walking on a trail or someplace safe. Works great. I haven't tried the Beats and I doubt I ever will because the AirPods Pro are just about perfect (for my ears YMMV).
    edited January 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 38
    Why don’t you talk about anc. Because noise cancelling drastically reduced after updates. I can say that it is very hard to understand differences between anc on and off. I am definitely sure when they update for this problem you will mention about the problem. Don’t buy till the update. Don’t listen these ads...
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250887615
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 4 of 38
    I bought first gen airpods, but after 2 years I got just 2 at most hours of playtime and that was deal breaker that I am not gonna purchase another airpods, simply too expensive to be replacing them every 2-3 years... So in the September I bought powerbeats pro, just to try them and maybe let them go... Well now they are my daily carry. Sound is decent and I don't even know about "hook", I am not really fan of silicon tips so I am using the smallest ones and don't stick them deeply, just tip. But what is really bad about powerbeats is charging, many times they simply don't connect pins to charge them (last month I found out after few hours in charging case that they are still connected to phone...) that might be improved in second gen, but over all I think they are pretty great...
  • Reply 5 of 38
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 621member
    yusufd84 said:
    Why don’t you talk about anc. Because noise cancelling drastically reduced after updates. I can say that it is very hard to understand differences between anc on and off. I am definitely sure when they update for this problem you will mention about the problem. Don’t buy till the update. Don’t listen these ads...
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250887615
    In the Apple discussions you say you are using version 2B588. The current version is 2C54. If you don't have that version, plug in your AirPods Pro case and your iPhone near each other overnight. The AirPods should update to the latest version. If that doesn't work, you might want to contact Apple. I'm not seeing (hearing) this problem.

    Edit: Reading the extended thread, it seems that people are aware of the latest firmware version but are still complaining about the ANC. From what I can tell, it is mostly about voices nearby. I haven't been working in an office for the last month so I haven't had a chance to try the AirPods Pro in the potentially problem environment. So I'll reserve judgement until further information is available.
    edited January 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 38
    AirPods don’t fit my ear right, so decided to buy the PowerBeats instead. Poor sound quality, awkward fit, glitchy BT, and worst of all, produces too much ambient sound. 

    Worst Apple purchase ever: returned it the next day. 
  • Reply 7 of 38
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 621member

    amoonra said:
    I bought first gen airpods, but after 2 years I got just 2 at most hours of playtime and that was deal breaker that I am not gonna purchase another airpods, simply too expensive to be replacing them every 2-3 years... 
    Just so you know, you can replace your AirPods and AirPods Pro for battery problems for a reduced cost. It is $89/airpod for AirPods Pro and $69 for regular AirPods. Not cheap but still cheaper than buying new. Even cheaper if you get AppleCare extended warranty for the AirPods, $29 across the board after the $29 AppleCare purchase. So a one time replacement would be under $90. Still not cheap but a little more reasonable if you are a very heavy user of the AirPods.

    I have a 3 year old pair of the original AirPods and they seem to still get pretty good battery life so I don't think I would spring for AppleCare but I also am not a particularly heavy user.

    Edit: There is an even cheaper plan for replacing AirPods with a battery issue. You can get replacements for $0 with AppleCare or for $49 a piece for out of warranty. So, much cheaper at just $90 to replace the pair.
    edited January 2020 cy_starkmanRayz2016StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    jdb8167 said:

    Edit: Reading the extended thread, it seems that people are aware of the latest firmware version but are still complaining about the ANC. From what I can tell, it is mostly about voices nearby. I haven't been working in an office for the last month so I haven't had a chance to try the AirPods Pro in the potentially problem environment. So I'll reserve judgement until further information is available.
    You are very lucky. There are many voices around me and Greeks talk very loudly. Whenever i don’t want to hear noises  i used airpods pro  but unfortunately it doesn’t work anymore. 2C54 didn’t solve my problem and claimed that Apple pulled back that update. One of my friends has bought last week and we tried every method but AirPods pro hasn’t been updated to 2C54.
    there isn’t Apple store in Greece and we have to wait another update...
  • Reply 9 of 38
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,673member
    Just got a pair of Raycon wireless.  $80.  Sound is better than 1st gen AirPods (I had them for a few years).  Much more comfortable and they fit better.  So far I have had fewer pairing and other similar issues.  I can’t tell you how many times one of my earbuds would discharge and the other would not. Or one pod would not work until I put them back in the case and tried again.  They used to fall out all the time. Forget about putting anything over your head like a sweatshirt or what not while they are in. Almost all of these problems have been solved with the Raycons.  They probably are not as good as the pro, but for 1/4 of the price I’ll take it. 
    ronn
  • Reply 10 of 38
    davgreg said:
    The Powerbeats Pro are far more comfortable and are not made from the ugly white plastic that screams 2005.
    Case is nicer, battery life is better. Sound is fine for mobile. Nobody uses these things for critical listening.
    I do not want noise cancellation when out walking. 

    I guess it depends upon your needs.
    I bought the Powerbeats Pro when it didn’t look like the AirPods were getting ANC. I liked them, but really loved being untethered even more. The thing that I didn’t like about them was the case as it was so large that it limited when I’d be wearing them. When the AirPods Pro were released, I sold the Powerbeats to get these and have loved them since. The small case is perfect in the front pocket of your pants. Because they are always on my person, they are getting way more use than the Powerbeats. And the transparency mode is something I use just as often (if not more) than the ANC. 
    space2001watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,030member
    davgreg said:
    The Powerbeats Pro are far more comfortable and are not made from the ugly white plastic that screams 2005.
    Case is nicer, battery life is better. Sound is fine for mobile. Nobody uses these things for critical listening.
    I do not want noise cancellation when out walking. 

    I guess it depends upon your needs.
    I bought the Powerbeats Pro when it didn’t look like the AirPods were getting ANC. I liked them, but really loved being untethered even more. The thing that I didn’t like about them was the case as it was so large that it limited when I’d be wearing them. When the AirPods Pro were released, I sold the Powerbeats to get these and have loved them since. The small case is perfect in the front pocket of your pants. Because they are always on my person, they are getting way more use than the Powerbeats. And the transparency mode is something I use just as often (if not more) than the ANC. 
    The case it's a bit big for travel my biggest issue seems to be the quality as the top hinge seems to be a bit wobbly when opened for an Apple product.

    davgreg said:
    The Powerbeats Pro are far more comfortable and are not made from the ugly white plastic that screams 2005.
    Case is nicer, battery life is better. Sound is fine for mobile. Nobody uses these things for critical listening.
    I do not want noise cancellation when out walking. 

    I guess it depends upon your needs.
    That's a dumb comment. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 38
    Soli said:
    The case it's a bit big for travel my biggest issue seems to be the quality as the top hinge seems to be a bit wobbly when opened for an Apple product.
    I would agree on the lack of quality too. As someone above mentioned, there were a few instances that I pulled them out and they didn’t charge. It wasn’t too big of a deal because they do get a good enough charge in 15 minutes, but that’s a issue one shouldn’t have with an Apple product. 
  • Reply 13 of 38
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,392member
    yusufd84 said:
    There are many voices around me and Greeks talk very loudly. Whenever i don’t want to hear noises  i used airpods pro  but unfortunately it doesn’t work anymore.
    Sorry you are having that problem, but your comments infer that you're not understanding what noise-cancelling will (and won't) do for you. ANC works well on steady, drone noise (like airplane engines or faraway crowd hubbub). It a) can't cancel all noise, and in particular b) does not even attempt to cancel irregular noise like people talking close to you or babies crying, dogs barking, that sort of thing. If it could do that, it could also cancel car horns seconds before hitting you when you cross the street, and nobody wants that.

    I hope perhaps the better understanding of the limits of ANC helps you manage your environment a bit better. For better "every kind of noise" avoidance/reduction, you might consider a pair of over-ear ANC headphones -- but please be careful walking around with such things. I've seen a LOT of very close calls where people were lost in their music and were nearly run over/otherwise injured because they were not paying enough attention to their surroundings while blasting their music, which (incidentally) will also really do a number on your hearing later in life.
    edited January 2020 Rayz2016StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    I bought first gen airpods, but after 2 years I got just 2 at most hours of playtime and that was deal breaker that I am not gonna purchase another airpods, simply too expensive to be replacing them every 2-3 years... So in the September I bought powerbeats pro, just to try them and maybe let them go... Well now they are my daily carry. Sound is decent and I don't even know about "hook", I am not really fan of silicon tips so I am using the smallest ones and don't stick them deeply, just tip. But what is really bad about powerbeats is charging, many times they simply don't connect pins to charge them (last month I found out after few hours in charging case that they are still connected to phone...) that might be improved in second gen, but over all I think they are pretty great...
    jdb8167 said:

    amoonra said:
    I bought first gen airpods, but after 2 years I got just 2 at most hours of playtime and that was deal breaker that I am not gonna purchase another airpods, simply too expensive to be replacing them every 2-3 years... 
    Just so you know, you can replace your AirPods and AirPods Pro for battery problems for a reduced cost. It is $89/airpod for AirPods Pro and $69 for regular AirPods. Not cheap but still cheaper than buying new. Even cheaper if you get AppleCare extended warranty for the AirPods, $29 across the board after the $29 AppleCare purchase. So a one time replacement would be under $90. Still not cheap but a little more reasonable if you are a very heavy user of the AirPods.

    I have a 3 year old pair of the original AirPods and they seem to still get pretty good battery life so I don't think I would spring for AppleCare but I also am not a particularly heavy user.

    Edit: There is an even cheaper plan for replacing AirPods with a battery issue. You can get replacements for $0 with AppleCare or for $49 a piece for out of warranty. So, much cheaper at just $90 to replace the pair.
    I know about replacement, but I am from the Czech Republic, so Applecare isn't available here. But that "discount" doesn't really seems like that much tbh, and well I payed quite some price at purchase so that "maintains" price seems high for me. For me it isn't about money, it is just my judgement that replacing old ones would excuse Apple for this mistake (I know about battery lifespan etc, I know that isn't really any way around it more than enough...). PB Pro have one other advantage for me, that wearing them seems secure enough, with airpods I have weird feeling that I know that they mostly don't go anywhere, but I am never sure (for example riding bike at high speed down hill, or inline skating...). And I am calculating with battery degradation with PB Pro as well, but with bigger lifespan per headphone it will still last enough for my usage...
  • Reply 15 of 38
    I have both, one for my gym works and others for usual usage....i hate the case of power beats(too big to cary)but easy to pull the piece out, the AirPods pro somehow is a bit hard to pull out of the case....but sounds better.
  • Reply 16 of 38

    I have both, one for my gym works and others for usual usage....i hate the case of power beats(too big to cary)but easy to pull the piece out, the AirPods pro somehow is a bit hard to pull out of the case....but sounds better.
    From Macrumors:  Apple has designed them in such a way that you simply have to push on the back of each earbud and it will swivel right out between your thumb and forefinger.
    jdb8167watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 38
    Soli said:

    davgreg said:
    The Powerbeats Pro are far more comfortable and are not made from the ugly white plastic that screams 2005.
    Case is nicer, battery life is better. Sound is fine for mobile. Nobody uses these things for critical listening.
    I do not want noise cancellation when out walking. 

    I guess it depends upon your needs.
    That's a dumb comment. 
    ^^^
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 38
    One big thing that I noticed was missing in this piece, is the fact that Powerbeats Pro have physical buttons on both buds. This is tremendously helpful when working out or running when it’s cold out. 
    Not having to reach for your phone, say hey Siri or reach for your watch (if you even have one) is great. No matter how discrete you try to be saying hey Siri always draws attention. 

    Plus for android users who don’t get the same ease of use and feature switching this could seal the deal for them. 
    Plus the Powerbeats Pro are geared toward fitness primarily. If you’re running a marathon the 9 hour battery life is great. If your working out or training 9/10 you’ve got a gym bag or back pack to throw the case in. 
    I don’t think the Powerbeats pro where ever designed to be for the casual user or and AirPods replacement. It’s for a complete different demographic. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    kimberlykimberly Posts: 375member
    I don't have either but with some Christmas gift vouchers I will probably get something (I currently have a pair of JayBirds and the hideous charger would have to be one of the worst industrial designs of the past 100 years). The question I have is .. are my ears suitable for the AirPods? There is no way one can answer that one in the shop without using them for a few days. I note @davgreg 'ugly white plastic that screams 2005' comment and Apple's 'any colour you like so long as it is white' is going to attract some minus points for a lot of potential customers. I don't like white AirPods personally because they don't blend in to any background to the extent that black does. I couldn't care less about sound quality comparisons so long as the one that was rated second best is still OK. I mean if sound fidelity was a priority, then would air pods really be an option any way?  Not sure I stayed on track so apologies .. took a while to type this so I might as well click "Post Comment'  :/
    davgreg
  • Reply 20 of 38

    I had the PowerBeats 2. It was nice when I used it for walks and stuff. However, it's been a while since then and I got the AirPods and now, the AirPods Pro.

    It's going to be very difficult for something to dethrone the AirPods Pro currently for my daily use. The ANC is a blessing when I listen to music in the gym, where the constant hum of the treadmills almost disappears.

    I'd love a pair of traditional cans for listening in leisure, but it's not a pressing requirement right now, thanks again to the AirPods Pro.


    I also love the fact that it is White. It is as iconic as the iPod earphones.

    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.