If you normally use your right hand to manipulate these controls but for the moment it’s tied up with other activities, you can just use your left hand.
I’ve mentioned the case and the battery life. Well, perhaps not thoroughly enough in the case of battery life, but after a month or more of use, I’ve never been prompted by a near-end-of-life experience. The earphones don’t tell you how much life they have left, although the app gives you a percentage. Indeed, it gives you the charge percentage for the case as well if the buds are in it and the lid is open. I simply used the Powerbeats Pro earphones as my only day-to-day earphones for several weeks, returned them to the case whenever they were not in my ears, and plugged the case in for a recharge whenever it crossed my mind.
The case takes around two and a half hours to charge up. At one point I noticed the case was down to 10%. Had it hit zero, then I’d have had only nine-ish hours left!
One thing I would have liked was a power button. There are a sufficient number of controls on each bud to have permitted that. Perhaps holding down the multifunction button for ten seconds. But, no, the only way to power-down and disconnect the earphones is by putting them in their case.
On just one occasion during those weeks things ran berserk. The buds wouldn’t connect and seemed to be unresponsive. That kind of thing happens with most Bluetooth earphones very occasionally. Switch off then on is the solution. Fortunately I had the case with me, so I could put the Powerbeats Pro earphones into it for a few seconds, then extract them again, renewed and ready to go. But if I hadn’t …
Connecting to the Powerbeats Pro earphones
How you connect to the Powerbeats Pro earphones depends on your device. With an Android phone, the easiest way was to install the Beats app and have it guide you through the process. I did this a couple of times (I nuked the connection at one point so it could be devoted to the iPhone) and both times it worked well. A little wizard tells you precisely what to do (basically, put the earphones into their case, then open the lid). No fiddling around in the Bluetooth menu involved.
With iOS devices it was a different matter … and somewhat easier. The earphones and iPhones (and iPads) seemed to seek each other out. On several occasions a pop-up would appear on the iPhone or iPad noting that the Powerbeats Pro earphones were in the vicinity and asking whether I wanted to pair them.
My first impression with the Powerbeats Pro earphones was one of impressive balance. That was principally due to a rare bass solidity. Look, you’re going to have to search far and wide to find Bluetooth true wireless earphones with more impressive bass performance. Both depth and power were first class in the bass registers.
Yet they weren’t too overblown. The male spoken voice on podcasts was clear, coherent and not at all “chesty” (an effect of excessive mid-bass).
With just about all the music I tried, the general sense was enjoyable, with excellent clarity and coherence and the ability to hear all manner of detail. I think most people will really enjoy these earphones. They are really a step up from the run-of-the-mill true wireless earphones.
When I put on my audiophile hat and pay close attention to the music, my impressions are a little different. Yes, the bass is strong and extended. That has been a long-standing characteristic of Beats headphones, even in the disappointing pre-Apple days. Hey, hip-hop needs a convincing bass line.
There’s also a decent level of high-ish frequencies. Cymbals are sharp, clear and well-defined. But some vocals are rather too sibiliant and with a lot of music there’s a generally recess in the midrange body. Treble and bass, but not so much midrange. That makes for a brash, bright and upfront performance, but also a somewhat tiring one.
And now as I’m proofreading this a couple of days after writing it, I’ve got The Terskey Brothers debut album playing on them, from Spotify via my phone. I don’t resile from what I’ve written in this section, but I am finding the music very lively, quite exciting. Audiophile? No. Fun? Yes.
Powerbeats Pro connection reliability
Now, it seems to me that the Powerbeat Pro earphones work differently, depending on whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android phone. I almost exclusively used the latter, but did a bit of brief checking with an iPhone. None of the following issues arose with an iPhone.
First, the connection with my phone – a Huawei P30 Pro – was reliable, with a very good range available. I paced out a 35 metre range in my usual test spot, at which range the connection remained flawless regardless of my orientation. Part of that would be due to the Class 1 Bluetooth connection. That’s a high powered capability which is typically rated at up to fifty metres. And part would be due to the connection circuitry being built into both sides of the Powerbeats Pro.