Price (RRP): $349.95
Manufacturer: Beats by Dre
It took me a moment to work out how to charge up the case of the Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones. My USB Type-C power plug wouldn’t fit. Then I had a closer look and found out why.
Powerbeats Pro features
Of course! Beats by Dr Dre is now owned by Apple, so it has switched over to the Lightning connector for power. Indeed, the Powerbeats Pro earphones come with a suitable cable. No wonder my other plug wouldn’t fit.
I’m pleased that Apple took over the Beats brand. As I remarked years ago, I used to hate the sound of Beats headphones. Apple turned the sound quality around. Going with a Lightning power connection is a small price to pay. And if you’re an Apple home, that would be a definite advantage.
The Powerbeats Pro are true wireless earphones. They connect to your device wirelessly, and they connect to each other wirelessly. They are specifically designed for active users. Beats says that it “listened to real athletes” in designing them. So rather than the diminutive designs of most, these are quite substantial and have fixed ear loops to hold them in place on one’s ears.
And that larger size means both a greater weight and a larger battery. Lots of buds give you three or four hours of use before needing to go back into their case for a recharge. Beats rates the Powerbeats Pro earphones at up to nine hours. With recharges from the case, you get “more than 24 hours of combined playback.” If they do go flat, slip them back into the case for five minutes to get another 90 minutes of use. Fifteen minutes of charging gives them 4.5 hours of playback.
Athletes get sweaty, or possibly wet in the rain. The Powerbeats Pro earphones are IPX4 rated, which is good enough to resist that kind of dampness.
The buds weigh 10.7 or 10.8 grams each. In other words, they are heavier than most. But most of that still modest weight is carried by the hooks over your ears rather than dragging on the silicon tips in your ear canals.
Initially I found the buds a little uncomfortable to wear. There’s a hard body which seemed to press against the flat surfaces of my ears. I persevered and learnt to press the control buttons only lightly. Within a couple of days there was no discomfort. Within a week, I got to the point where I’d often just leave them in my ears for a couple of hours after an audio program had finished, feeling no need to pull them out.
And, speaking of pulling them out, the buds each have a sensor. Remove one from an ear and the program stops playing. You can disable this function in the Beats app, but I left it on. It worked quite reliably.
They come with four different sizes of silicone tips. The largest size fitted me nicely and provided respectable acoustic isolation.
Originally launched in black only, the Powerbeats Pro earphones are now also available in Ivory, Moss (sort of an olive green) and Navy (blue grey).
Regardless of the colour of the buds, the case comes in black only. It’s rather larger than is usual for the genre, which is probably necessary given the need to accommodate the ear hooks on the buds. It weighs 109.1 grams alone, 130.6 grams when loaded with the earphones.
Powerbeats Pro Duplicated
Now we get to one of the most interesting and perhaps unique aspects of the Powerbeats Pro earphones. The left and right sides are identical. More correctly, they are mirror images of each other physically, but identical internally. They both have the electronics for connecting to a source. They can seamlessly switch the connection between themselves. Neither one has to dominate. That ought to improve connectivity with the source device.
It also means that you can use either one – left or right, to your preference – as a hands-free interface for phone calls and such. Also, if you’re using them with your Apple device, the Powerbeats Pro earphones are Siri-enabled. Ask Siri something without any further ado. For Google Assistant, you’ll have to tap the right spot on your phone. I guess that’s another bit of Apple-centrism in the Powerbeats Pro.
Another mirror-image duplication is the controls. There are three buttons on each earpiece. A press button over the place where the bud enters one’s ears handles play/pause media and answer/hang up with calls. It operates the same on both sides. On top of both earphones are two further buttons: volume up and volume down. They both operate the same way.