Powerbeats Pro or new AirPods -- Which do you buy?

in iPhone edited December 2019
With Wednesday's debut of the Powerbeats Pro, AppleInsider compares the brand new completely wireless earbuds with the new AirPods to help decide which is the right true wireless headphone for you.

Powerbeats Pro
Powerbeats Pro

Powerbeats Pro

First, let's run down the brand new Powerbeats Pro.

These headphones are far more secure with adjustable earhooks to help keep them in place. Due to their workout-centric nature, these are also sweat and water resistant for protection during marathon runs or rain.

Connectivity is provided by the H1 audio chip, the same used on the latest generation of AirPods. This uses Class 1 Bluetooth 5 audio for great range and connectivity -- as we've seen already with AirPods. Using the same chip, Beats has enabled "Hey Siri" functionality to control everything purely by voice. Powerbeats retains physical controls, however, so you don't have to look like you're constantly talking to yourself in the gym.

One of the biggest benefits of Powerbeats Pro, is battery life. They are capable of up to nine hours of continuous use on a single charge versus the five hours from AirPods. If you place them back in the case for a quick top-off, you can get a total of 24 hours of use -- same as AirPods -- before they need plugged in.

Speaking of which, the battery case for Powerbeats is not wireless and must be plugged in using the included black Lightning cable. When you place the earbuds into the case, five minutes will garner an hour and a half of use.

We can't confirm much about sound quality until we have the headphones in hand, or in ear, but they also appear to have better audio quality than AirPods based on the boastful statements put forth by Apple. An "upgraded linear piston driver that leverages an efficient, pressurized airflow to create a powerful acoustic response in a small package," reads the Powerbeats Pro webpage, but what precisely that means right now isn't clear. This will certainly be a test for us as soon as the headphones are released.

Powerbeats Pro colors
Powerbeats Pro colors

Powerbeats Pro will be available in four colorways -- black, navy, ivory, and moss -- when they ship.

New AirPods

Apple's new AirPods 2, which we've already reviewed, hold up quite well compared to Powerbeats Pro sans a few key areas. First, the battery life is going to be shorter for a single session. This may or may not be important to you depending on if you plan to use your headphones for longer than five hours. If not, then this point is a wash between Powerbeats Pro and AirPods.

AirPods 2
AirPods 2

AirPods does win out in terms of portability. They are smaller and more compact, as well as being more convenient thanks to the optional wireless charging case. We really love the wireless charging case and makes us weary to forgo it for the Powerbeats Pro.

At $159 for AirPods, they are quite a bit cheaper than Powerbeats Pro which will hit the shelves at $249.

Which to choose?

The decision on whether to jump on AirPods now, or hold out for Powerbeats Pro is seemingly a fairly easy one. Each have clear pros over one another. If you struggle keeping AirPods in your ears, workout frequently, and prefer better audio quality/noise isolation -- Powerbeats Pro is the answer.

Otherwise, if you want a more compact package, do more casual listening, and prefer the wireless charging case, and want a lower price point -- go with AirPods.

AirPods are already out now both on Amazon as well as B&H. You can also keep and eye out on the AppleInsider Price Guide for the latest deals.

Powerbeats Pro will be available in black, navy, ivory, and moss this May for $249.


  • Reply 1 of 14
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,966member
    The other questions, besides sound quality, to consider in your future review:
    Fit in variety of ears;
    ho do they sound compared with other sports oriented earphones, like jabras;
    Will the Powerbeats just pop into the charging case in a magical way?

    edited April 2019 albegarc
  • Reply 2 of 14
    I'd be down for an AirBeats X. 
  • Reply 3 of 14
    stubbstubb Posts: 16member
    A big question on the Powerbeats Pro will be physical build quality. At least in my case, the controller and ear hooks on the Powerbeats 3 would fall apart after a couple months of daily usage, and reviews were filled with similar stories of them not holding up.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    zhtfreakzhtfreak Posts: 29member
    I'd be down for an AirBeats X. Yes! Absolutely love my Beats X. 

  • Reply 5 of 14
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 247member
    For me, the answer was neither. I bought a set of Jabra Elite 65t's and I love them. Great battery life. Great sound quality. Great fit. 100% wire free...$100 less than the Powerbeats. 
  • Reply 6 of 14
    zhtfreakzhtfreak Posts: 29member
    Yes! I love my Beats X and would buy a true wireless version in a second. 

  • Reply 7 of 14
    In-ear canal is almost always going to sound better than earbud-style devices. You have to have a good seal, but you'll get much strong bass. The AirPods are nice, but they're not match for the comparably priced BeatsX.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    In-ear canal is almost always going to sound better than earbud-style devices. You have to have a good seal, but you'll get much strong bass. The AirPods are nice, but they're not match for the comparably priced BeatsX.
    It also depends on where and how somebody is going to be using their headphones.

    For me walking around outside, I do not want any noise isolating headphones. I want to hear music and speech in my phones of course, but I also want to be aware of what's happening around me.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    Both. Totally different devices with different advantages in different scenarios is my opinion. 
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 163member
    Neither. 1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones is the way to go.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    kiehtankiehtan Posts: 24member
    Release a wireless charging case model and I'm in. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    matrix077matrix077 Posts: 867member
    I’m an AirPods guy. :)

    This Beats looks nice though. 
  • Reply 13 of 14
    I see the AirPods with Siri voice control (or the Beats described above) as making hands free driving a reality. Telling Siri to dial a number or person sure beats fumbling with the phone while driving. In Tempe, AZ, just having a phone in hand is a police stoppable event with a substantial fine in additional to the usual driving offenses.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    I loved the AirPods until the batteries talk life dropped to 25 minutes after owning them 28 months. And  charges $147 plus tax to replace them. That’s $5.70/month to own them. Not acceptable. I will not buy them again.
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