Review: Powerbeats3 with Apple W1 chip are the most reliable Bluetooth headphones we've ever used

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 74
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,456member
    trumptman said:
    I'll never buy these and this is coming from a guy who owns two sets of bluetooth headphones and uses them daily.

    These are simply not worth $200. The Apple or Beats premium isn't worth that in my view. Perhaps the predecessors were priced at that but like many things Apple related lately, Apple stands still and the world moves on.

    The high end for bluetooth headphones is around $100 right now and there are loads of great sounding headphones in the $20-40 range.

    These are items that are sweated on. The earbuds can get pulled off. They can simply get misplaced or lost. In the past you sucked it up perhaps and gave Apple $30 for a new pair of wired headphones when everyone else was charging half that. Now not so much.

    Beats were so hot a few years ago. I don't think I've seen a kid wearing a pair in the last year though.
    Where do you live that you don't see Beats on a regular basis?  And please point me to a review of a great pair of bluetooth earbuds for $100 or $40.  I know for a fact that there are a lot of crap products out there at every price point, so please contribute any wisdom you have.
    I live in Southern California. First a couple of points. We aren't just talking bluetooth headphones. We are talking in-ear, bluetooth headphones meant for exercising. I'm not saying you can't and shouldn't drop $200 on a pair of headphones for listening. I'm simply saying there are great alternatives and lots of them for half the price for something you are going to toss in the gym bag, sweat all over and possibly lose. 

    As for non-crap products out there in the $100 range. I'd look at Jaybird X3 and X2. I'd also look at Bose Sound Sport if you have to have a name brand. They are around $129, $89 and $150 respectively. 

    I've been using headphones like these Soundpeats though for my rides. I'm a decent enough cyclist but if we get above 2,000 ft of climbing in 30 or say 2500 in 40 miles, there are parts where I just am not lean enough to hang. (Got the power, just too many kilograms.) I'll leave those slung around my neck on the magnets and stick one side in for some alone pedaling if I've been dropped for a bit. Both sides if it is a trail or road where there won't be cars.

    The first pair I played around with were Mpow Swift which was a very safe $18 bet when I bought them. I still love using them all the time. At that price they are guilt-free and no worry for exercising. If someone stepped on them or whatever I'd slap another $20 down in a second. I've had them for well over a year though with no problems. The only reason I bought the others were because I thought the magnets would be a nice feature for when they are loose around my neck.
    irelandgatorguy
  • Reply 42 of 74
    polymnia said:
    the Beats acquisition looks smarter everyday. 
    You're kidding...right? I've never heard Beats marque headphones sound anything but truly dreadful. They don't remotely come close to being of audiophile quality.
    Of course they aren't audiophile quality. You mistakenly assume I use these for critical listening. 

    you also seem to be under the delusion that these are marketed as an audiophile device. Have you looked at beats website? It's full of people working out and moving around. There is nothing on that site that says audiophile quality to me. 

    I have a great great stereo system for critical listening. And I'm sure if I listed the components and what I paid for them someone else would call me crazy for wasting my money when I could have bought a Samsung sound bar instead. 

    I use the powerbeats for listening to podcasts, radio and phone calls while at work and walking my dog. 

    All the the above points aside, you've managed to completely miss the reason I think the beats acquisition is looking better. It is not because I expect audiophile headphones. The reason it looks better to me is they have managed to tie beats headphones closer to the core Apple product line. The acquisition puts Beats headphones on the shortlist of any Apple user who is in the market. 
  • Reply 43 of 74


    mac_128 said:
    I returned my set, despite the W1.
    Exercising while listening to music was OK, sound OK, didn't fall off
    Pairing was OK too, but switching sound source from macbook / apple watch /iPhone was very fussy - and several times headphones shoed up on phone, but I couldnt select them as source for making a phone call. Had to power them down and re-power - re-pair.
    biggest complaint, about 20 % of time, whover i was talking to on Beats, cmplained of awful quaility, tinny or muffled ? sometimes breaking up
    The second time that my wife hung up on me in frustration was the day i re-boxed and returned.

    Not a complaint - i knew this when i bought them - but still - why not let them charge from a lightening port (female)? 
    Apple stremline connections which is great, (usb-c and lightneing) except when they dont.

    hope your experience goes better
    I too find it interesting on a pair of headphones about which one of its strongest selling point is the cross-compatibility with Apple products via simple pairing, uses a charging cable that no other Apple branded device uses.
    The reason is plainly obvious. Beats as a brand is cross platform, thus USB. Apple branded gear are more tailored to apple ecosystem interfaces.
    In addition to your point, I think Apple is also making the statement that bringing the wireless part of the product into tight alignment is more important than the plug. Apple is signaling (again) that wireless is the future. W series wireless chips are a bigger deal than Lightning interfaces. 
    Rayz2016albegarc
  • Reply 44 of 74
    Looking back a couple of years while this technology was in R&D, it now appears that Apple acquired Beats with the intention of monetizing its investment in the W1 processor, by putting it in products developed primarily for non-iPhone users. It also appears that the preferred wireless AirPods design is reserved for Apple-branded products.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 45 of 74
    polymnia said:

    Ive said it before: the Beats acquisition looks smarter everyday. 
    Jonathan Ive said it before, or I've said it before?
    I've said it before, as in me. 
  • Reply 46 of 74
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,975member
    Looking back a couple of years while this technology was in R&D, it now appears that Apple acquired Beats with the intention of monetizing its investment in the W1 processor, by putting it in products developed primarily for non-iPhone users. It also appears that the preferred wireless AirPods design is reserved for Apple-branded products.
    1) There's no evidence that the W1 was in development before the Beats acquisition or that it was done because of the W1 chip.

    2) It makes no sense to say that the W1 is being "[put] in products developed primarily for non-iPhone users" when the W1 gets its primary benefit from being used with Apple devices and not just the iPhone.

    3) AirPods can be used with any device that can use BT audio and the setup is exactly the same for those non-"Apple-branded products."
  • Reply 47 of 74
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    mac_128 said:
    john.b said:
    mac_128 said:
    I too find it interesting on a pair of headphones about which one of its strongest selling point is the cross-compatibility with Apple products via simple pairing, uses a charging cable that no other Apple branded device uses.
    My Beats Solo2 Wireless use micro-USB to charge, as do my daughter's Solo3 Wireless.
    Are they the only Apple products you own? Otherwise it's an extra cable you have to carry with you.

    i suppose it's good from the standpoint that you and your daughter can travel together and only share one other cable between you. But otherwise, I don't see any compelling reason to stick with micro-USB if they have already started switching Beats products to Lightning, including the Pill and Beatsx ... it's not as if these headphones weren't all introduced at the same time with the iPhone 7 and airpods. The fact they haven't shipped at the same time is meaningless. In fact that was the perfect time to switch from micro USB to lightning.

    its not like Apple doesn't make wholesale changes across the board for customers who use something else -- heck they just replaced all ports on the Mbp with USBc ... and removed the headphone jack on all iPhones ... and Apple can do that because of its strong brand identity ... something beats also has. At the peak of its popularity is exactly the time to switch to Lightning, especially when a huge selling point of the otherwise identical bears models is the W1 being custom tailored to work seemlessly with Apple products.

    one of the reasons I haven't bought either the Solo3 or powerbeats 3 -- the only available headphones with W1 -- is because I would need to carry an extra cable or adapter I don't need now.
    Just looking around the house, besides the Beats wireless headphones we've got Garmin bike computers, GoPro cameras, DLSRs, rechargeable bike lights and flashlights/headlamps, Anker USB battery packs, various Logitech rechargable mice/keyboards, and my work Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. All take the standard micro-USB. Obviously the iPhones and iPads are all Lightning, with the exception of one old 4th gen iPad. So there's both micro-USB and Lightning charge cables in the cars, backpacks, at work, home charging stations, etc. So definitely not an aberration.

    I admit it would be nice to have, say, just Lightning connectors at work, which is why I'm holding out for the Beats X earbuds, if just for convenience of only needing one charging cable. In the end my guess is that this stuff will all have wireless recharging within the next couple of years, at which point specific cable ends won't matter.
    edited December 2016 Soli
  • Reply 48 of 74
    trumptman said:
    I'll never buy these and this is coming from a guy who owns two sets of bluetooth headphones and uses them daily.

    These are simply not worth $200. The Apple or Beats premium isn't worth that in my view. Perhaps the predecessors were priced at that but like many things Apple related lately, Apple stands still and the world moves on.

    The high end for bluetooth headphones is around $100 right now and there are loads of great sounding headphones in the $20-40 range.

    These are items that are sweated on. The earbuds can get pulled off. They can simply get misplaced or lost. In the past you sucked it up perhaps and gave Apple $30 for a new pair of wired headphones when everyone else was charging half that. Now not so much.

    Beats were so hot a few years ago. I don't think I've seen a kid wearing a pair in the last year though.
    You make no substantive arguments other than your slanted opinion, which as worthless as CNN fake news.

    I've been using this product for a couple weeks now and love them. I also own the previous version which is also quite good.

    Apple really got it right with the Bluetooth pairing. Switching between iPhone, iMac, MacBook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV is sooo much easier.

    They're also more comfortable, and they sound great.
    edited December 2016 albegarc
  • Reply 49 of 74

    wozwoz said:
    Seriously - who would put a radiating device INTO their head?? Does this model cause less brain damage than other Bluetooth headphones?
    Stupid superstition.
    Solialbegarc
  • Reply 50 of 74

    mr4js said:
    I have a pair of these and love them. Sound great and comfortable to wear. The W1 makes a big difference. Had absolutely no issues with connectivity or switching between devices.
    Same here. Love 'em!
    albegarc
  • Reply 51 of 74
    I've been using this product for a couple weeks now and love them. I also own the previous version which is also quite good.

    Apple really got it right with the Bluetooth pairing. Switching between iPhone, iMac, MacBook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV is sooo much easier.

    Powerbeats3 also lost the flimsy little cover over the charging port on PowerBeats2. They also got rid of the kind of sticky covering on the control switch which caused me to have them replace twice when the covering got all grimy with skin oil and dirt, and actually started deteriorating. They replaced it twice at no charge, but it was still annoying. The switch on PowerBeats 3 is hard plastic and feels like it will hold up to use well.

    They're also more comfortable, stay in my ears better, and they sound great.
  • Reply 52 of 74
    irelandireland Posts: 17,620member
    razormaid said:
    Ok as an owner of 7 yes SEVEN pairs of PowerBeats2 wireless Bluetooth head phones (each in a different color) lets clear up a few things here:

    You cant put the cable behind your neck as shown in the photos. DONE!!  No more discussion. And you wanna know why?  Because you idiots... your controller is on the cable. Yeah. The controller. The one that lets you press to talk to Siri. To press to change songs. To press to answer a phone call and more importantly THE MICROPHONE!  The very thing you use for that telephone call you're complaining about on the quality!  So a singer at a concert should hold her mic BEHIND her neck and sing and you don't find a problem with that?  Seriously?

    I ride my bike 26 miles every morning. I do apple tech support calls WHILE I RIDE!  I have not ever have anyone say how bad I sounded because it's where it's supposed to be...BY MY MOUTH THATS TALKING. Geez Louise some of these reviews are dumb as a stick!  I take that back... one time I had a client ask if I was ok. "You're breathing a little hard". My response?  "If you saw this hill I'm climbing on my mountain bike at the moment you'd.be breathing hard too!"  Lol. "You're on your bike??"  (Now there's a great ad for these headphones. I was in heavy traffic going up a hill and they didn't even hear the cars).

    Ok onto pairing. 
    This one drives me crazy. It's not the device having trouble pairing (remember I'm on last years model!) it's the person doing the pairing. 

    1. If you currently are paired to a device click the little  "I" on the right side of the device name and unpair the device. If you don't, you will NEVER pair with anything else. It even asks "do you want to remove this device completely?  Or just unpair?". How hard is that?  Just pick one. 

    2.  NOW you can go to the next device whether it be another phone or iPad or computer. Hold the button down for 10 seconds. Not 2. Not 4 - 10!  It tells the headphone and all the other devices "I want to pair to something new now". But this won't happen unless you do step 1 first.

    You can't drive two cars at the same time. You have to turn off one car before you turn on the new car. These headphones are no different.

    And just like those fancy seat setups where you get in your car and press your number and the car seat adjusts to what you set up as comfortable for you... the powerbeats does the same when you unpair them in step1. You can: "save for future use" (no 10 second hold) just unpair. Or you can "wipe out the device setup completely."

    3. If and this is a rare thing trust me - IF you go back to the device (after unpairing from your new one) the fastest way to "re-pair" is to click off Bluetooth and back on. Then pressing the Powerbeats button for a nano second you're connected WHAM (sound of mic dropping to the floor)

    This isn't Apple. This is BEATS!  

    Apple didn't make this this easy BEATS did waaaaay before Apple bought them.

    In fact Apple said straight out after buying them "These will remain two different companies with two different approaches. We will NOT be integrating the two together" and they didn't. That's why Powerbeats 3 is out and working EXACTLY like PowerBeats2 - smooth and easy. 

    Oh oh I forgot to mention one thing that I did different than everyone else..... I READ THE DAMN MANUAL FIRST. Yep. This is all in there folks. And guess what if you do as BEATS states it will work for you too. 
    "NO. WAY. BECKY!"  
    WAY!

    This article did manage to get one recommendation  correct. All those different size ear buds?  Thrown them out - all except the giant flexi one. That one squeezes softly into your ear creating a "suction cup" affect - in essence capturing ALL the sound and not let it slip out of your ear. What does that cause?  Excellent tight bass!  Pristine clarity.

    I wrote about this before:  I was actually packing my first set up to return because they sounded so shity. Then this little black "pouch" fell to the floor. I opened it up and saw all the other sizes. I tried each one
    Small: sounds like shit
    Mefium: sounds like shit
    Large: sounds like shit
    Giant looking flexi thingy: holy crap. Sounds like the BEATS Studio over the ear headphones. No way!  Way!

    SUMMARY:
    unpair all devices before attempting to pair to a new one
    translation:  stop driving one car before you start driving another car!

    don't sit backwards when driving a car
    translation: don't put the cable that controls the damn headphones behind your head trying to use it like  A contortionist and they will actually work correctly 
    http://www.raptitude.com/2016/02/the-art-of-letting-others-be-right/
  • Reply 53 of 74
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 412member
    How on earth can it gain a score of 4.5 when the review starts with
    "The fit is good but not great".
    At 200 bucks, you'd have to start with "the fit is fantastic, especially when working out".
  • Reply 54 of 74
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,456member
    trumptman said:
    I'll never buy these and this is coming from a guy who owns two sets of bluetooth headphones and uses them daily.

    These are simply not worth $200. The Apple or Beats premium isn't worth that in my view. Perhaps the predecessors were priced at that but like many things Apple related lately, Apple stands still and the world moves on.

    The high end for bluetooth headphones is around $100 right now and there are loads of great sounding headphones in the $20-40 range.

    These are items that are sweated on. The earbuds can get pulled off. They can simply get misplaced or lost. In the past you sucked it up perhaps and gave Apple $30 for a new pair of wired headphones when everyone else was charging half that. Now not so much.

    Beats were so hot a few years ago. I don't think I've seen a kid wearing a pair in the last year though.
    You make no substantive arguments other than your slanted opinion, which as worthless as CNN fake news.

    I've been using this product for a couple weeks now and love them. I also own the previous version which is also quite good.

    Apple really got it right with the Bluetooth pairing. Switching between iPhone, iMac, MacBook, Apple Watch, and Apple TV is sooo much easier.

    They're also more comfortable, and they sound great.
    Thanks for your opinion which I guess in your world is a substantive argument. I named two major name brands with options that cost 75% to 45% of the Apple option. Bose for example isn't know for making cheap stuff and is considered a premium brand like Beats yet are much cheaper and higher rated. In fact all the options I mentioned are rated higher by review sites and store websites. The Powerbeats 3 never rate higher than 3.5 out of five stars even on their own Beats website. That puts them in the mediocre range. Did you note look at my next post a bit further down?

    That is substantive regardless of what you want to claim. They rate no better than my $35 headphones in most comparisons yet cost $200. There are headphones that are better that cost more but Beats is not one of them. Jaybird X3 and X2 are both rated higher for sound and often for fit as well. They cost $129 and $89. When multiple competitors are rated much better and are cheaper that is when you've fallen behind.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 55 of 74
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member

    mac_128 said:
    I returned my set, despite the W1.
    Exercising while listening to music was OK, sound OK, didn't fall off
    Pairing was OK too, but switching sound source from macbook / apple watch /iPhone was very fussy - and several times headphones shoed up on phone, but I couldnt select them as source for making a phone call. Had to power them down and re-power - re-pair.
    biggest complaint, about 20 % of time, whover i was talking to on Beats, cmplained of awful quaility, tinny or muffled ? sometimes breaking up
    The second time that my wife hung up on me in frustration was the day i re-boxed and returned.

    Not a complaint - i knew this when i bought them - but still - why not let them charge from a lightening port (female)? 
    Apple stremline connections which is great, (usb-c and lightneing) except when they dont.

    hope your experience goes better
    I too find it interesting on a pair of headphones about which one of its strongest selling point is the cross-compatibility with Apple products via simple pairing, uses a charging cable that no other Apple branded device uses.
    The reason is plainly obvious. Beats as a brand is cross platform, thus USB. Apple branded gear are more tailored to apple ecosystem interfaces.
    well - except that they use the W1 chip - its suposed to be a big deal - but the W1 chip is only for apple devices... so again why not put the lightning (female) to charge.
    of course - offer two versions for the few that would pay this much (for the W1) who then doeasn't use the W1 bacuase they are not pairing it with apple devices.

    its pretty silly IMO (of course) to put a charging connector that they dont use on any apple device. - 
    These are at least just as good for Android as any other Bluetooth headphone, and so with Beats being the most popular headphone company in the world, it would be foolish for Apple to limit the sales of Beats products to Apple users.
  • Reply 56 of 74
    All this and not a word about sound quality, particularly in comparison to known products by recognizable companies.
  • Reply 57 of 74
    For $20 you can buy an arm band and play music out of it into the open air -- cheap and doesn't kill obliterate your situational awareness.

    Granted, you won't look nearly as cool and hip.  Depends on your priorities -- is hi-fi music key to your workout?
  • Reply 58 of 74
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,975member
    For $20 you can buy an arm band and play music out of it into the open air -- cheap and doesn't kill obliterate your situational awareness.

    Granted, you won't look nearly as cool and hip.  Depends on your priorities -- is hi-fi music key to your workout?
    Playing music into the open air we would be rude if you're doing it in a gym. Jogging outside, not so much. I suggest bone conducting headphones to split the difference.
  • Reply 59 of 74
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    With my Powerbeats 2 I took the cable shortener off altogether, didn't need it.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 60 of 74
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,448member
    melgross said:

    mac_128 said:
    I returned my set, despite the W1.
    Exercising while listening to music was OK, sound OK, didn't fall off
    Pairing was OK too, but switching sound source from macbook / apple watch /iPhone was very fussy - and several times headphones shoed up on phone, but I couldnt select them as source for making a phone call. Had to power them down and re-power - re-pair.
    biggest complaint, about 20 % of time, whover i was talking to on Beats, cmplained of awful quaility, tinny or muffled ? sometimes breaking up
    The second time that my wife hung up on me in frustration was the day i re-boxed and returned.

    Not a complaint - i knew this when i bought them - but still - why not let them charge from a lightening port (female)? 
    Apple stremline connections which is great, (usb-c and lightneing) except when they dont.

    hope your experience goes better
    I too find it interesting on a pair of headphones about which one of its strongest selling point is the cross-compatibility with Apple products via simple pairing, uses a charging cable that no other Apple branded device uses.
    The reason is plainly obvious. Beats as a brand is cross platform, thus USB. Apple branded gear are more tailored to apple ecosystem interfaces.
    well - except that they use the W1 chip - its suposed to be a big deal - but the W1 chip is only for apple devices... so again why not put the lightning (female) to charge.
    of course - offer two versions for the few that would pay this much (for the W1) who then doeasn't use the W1 bacuase they are not pairing it with apple devices.

    its pretty silly IMO (of course) to put a charging connector that they dont use on any apple device. - 
    These are at least just as good for Android as any other Bluetooth headphone, and so with Beats being the most popular headphone company in the world, it would be foolish for Apple to limit the sales of Beats products to Apple users.
    Not sure how switching the charging connector from micro USB to Lightning limits the sale to Apple users. But to the extent what you claim is true, then they've done just that with the BeatsX and Pill.

    Switching to Lightning makes Apple users lives more convenient, just as the W1 chip does. Android users are used to several different micro/mini USB plugs already, and now USBc has been added to the mix. Lightning doesn't really complicate their world any worse than it already is, and maybe they might just realize how convenient it is compared to the micro/mini USB variants they have been living with all these years, maybe even taking a closer look at other Apple products.
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