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Better than AirPods in almost every way



Great sound • Super long battery life • Really snug fit • Physical control buttons on both earbuds

Large charging case • Pricey

Compared to AirPods, Beats Powerbeats Pro sound better, have longer battery life, and fit better.

I’m going to get right to the point: Beats’ Powerbeats Pro wireless earbuds are terrific if AirPods don’t cut it for you. 

Maybe you think AirPods look silly dangling out of your ears, or they don’t fit well, or they let too much ambient noise in, or the battery doesn’t last long enough, or you want physical controls on each earbud. All of these are valid reasons to not get AirPods!

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, I highly recommend the Powerbeats Pro. They’ve got the same Apple H1 chip technology that gives the AirPods 2 its convenient pairing with Apple devices (iOS and Mac), hands-free Siri voice controls, and long-lasting battery life, but have none of the aforementioned AirPods downsides. 

The only things that might turn you off are the charging case and price. Compared to AirPods’ tiny dental floss-sized charging case, the one for Powerbeats Pro is huge; you won’t be fitting it in any skinny jeans. And at $249.95, the Powerbeats command a hefty premium over $159 AirPods.

Finally cable-free

Powerbeats Pro are larger and sportier than AirPods.

Powerbeats Pro are larger and sportier than AirPods.


At first blush, the Powerbeats Pro look little more than a cable-free version of Beats’ popular Powerbeats 3 wireless earbuds.

But Beats went beyond simply cutting the cord connecting the two earbuds. The Apple-owned company actually redesigned the sporty wireless earbuds from the ground up for improved comfort and sound quality.

Compared to Powerbeats 3, the Powerbeats Pro are 23 percent smaller and 17 percent lighter. I’ve always found the Powerbeats 3 a little on the bulky side so it’s nice that the Powerbeats Pro are more compact. Beats also changed the acoustic housing so it’s angled and fits better in ears.

The earhooks design is great for keeping the earbuds in your ears.

The earhooks design is great for keeping the earbuds in your ears.


All of these improvements make the Powerbeats Pro more comfortable to wear for hours. But more importantly, they make the earbuds comfier when you’re using them while working out or running. 

It felt great not having a cable flapping around the back of my neck while running with the Powerbeats Pro. I also appreciated the in-ear design that sits deeper in your ears and helps keep them in place. I’ve never had a problem with AirPods falling out of my ears except in one place: on planes. Every time I nod off on a flight, one of my AirPods always gets knocked outta my ear. With Powerbeats Pro, I knew they would stay securely in place and not slip out thanks to the ear hooks.

I get that the ear hooks design might not be for everyone, but they feel better than they look. The ear hooks can also be tricky to wrap around your ears at first, but with a little practice, putting them on becomes easier.

The wireless earbuds are sorta smart, too, thanks to Apple’s H1 chip. As with AirPods, connecting the Powerbeats Pro to an iOS device is as simple as opening the case (Android users will need to go into the Bluetooth settings and manually connect). 

Pairing with iPhone is as easy as opening the charging case.

Pairing with iPhone is as easy as opening the charging case.


Similarly, you can easily switch between iOS and Mac if you’re logged into your iCloud account on the latter. Furthermore, taking one earbud out of your ear automatically pauses the music and putting it back in resumes playback.

Each earbud has a volume rocker and a play/pause/Siri button (Beats logo).

Each earbud has a volume rocker and a play/pause/Siri button (Beats logo).

Image: zlata ivleva / mashable

On AirPods, the only way to control the volume is to do so on the device it’s connected to or use Siri (who does this?). However, on Powerbeats Pro, there are physical volume buttons on both earbuds and the Beats logo also doubles as a play/pause and Siri activation button (long press). 

Overall, I have no complaints about the Powerbeats Pro earbuds design and features. The have everything that makes AirPods feel “magical” and then some.

Bangin’ sound quality

As much as I love my AirPods, I admit they could sound better. The audio quality is fine — as good as wired EarPods — but they won’t knock your socks off if you want high-fidelity audio quality. Their tiny size doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for quality drivers that can push out better sound.

While Powerbeats Pro aren’t audiophile-grade wireless earbuds by any means, they sound noticeably better than AirPods in my opinion, and not just for bass-heavy music.

Listening to a variety variety of music genres — everything from EDM to classical to hip-hop — I found the Powerbeats Pro produced a wider audio range. Music sounds warmer with more distinguishable mids and highs and the low-end no longer drowns out everything. This improved sound is especially noticeable in a song like Childish Gambino’s “Summertime Magic,” where the bass doesn’t overpower the vocals as much as through AirPods.

The Powerbeats Pro come with four sizes of ear tips.

The Powerbeats Pro come with four sizes of ear tips.


Back in the day, Beats headphones were notorious for prioritizing bass over all other frequencies. Those days are over. Beats president Luke Wood told me during a press preview that they now tune their headphones, including the Powerbeats Pro, to sound more like what it does in the recording studio.

Using new linear piston drivers, the Powerbeats Pro, produce cleaner sound with less distortion when the volume is cranked up. 

Combined with the tighter sealing from the in-ear tips, the Powerbeats Pro really sound fantastic. The sound quality’s also not compromised during workouts or runs.

Beats has come a really long way from its bass-y days and it’s time consumers realize this.

All-day battery life

The Powerbeats Pro last up to nine hours on a single charge compared to the AirPods' five hours.

The Powerbeats Pro last up to nine hours on a single charge compared to the AirPods’ five hours.


Battery life is another way the Powerbeats Pro are better than AirPods. While I think most people agree AirPods get a respectable five hours of listening time on a single charge, Powerbeats last even longer with up to nine hours of listening from one charge.

On several days, I was able to leave them on during entire work days from around 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. before having to pop them back into the charging case. The charging case adds another 15 hours of listening time for a total of 24 hours. 

Like AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro can be quick charged. Beats says this “Fast Fuel” charging with a five-minute charge giving you 1.5 hours of music playback and 15 minutes giving you 4.5 hours. In comparison, AirPods get up to three hours with a 15-minute quick charge. It’s definitely handy in a pinch!

Now, about the charging case: It’s big. The clam-shaped case is nearly four times larger than the AirPods charging case, which to be fair, is one of the smallest there is for true wireless earbuds.

Yeah...the case is pretty huge.

Yeah…the case is pretty huge.


The case isn’t a problem if you’ve got a backpack, purse, or jacket pockets to stash it in. But if you like going out with as little as possible in your pockets, you’re gonna hate that the case is large. 

Are you supposed to just put the earbuds in your pocket when you wanna take them off? And pray they don’t get lost? As somebody who’s lost wireless earbuds because I put them in my pockets instead of back into their case, I can say this is not something you wanna do. 

The case definitely won't fit in skinny jeans without bulging out.

The case definitely won’t fit in skinny jeans without bulging out.


Leaving the charging case isn’t as big of a deal if you’re taking the Powerbeats Pro out for a quick run or workout because the battery lasts pretty long (you’re not working out or running for nine straight hours are you?), but if you wanna take them off afterwards, you’ve got no choice but to hold them in your hands or put them in your pockets. At least with AirPods, the case is small enough to fit in your pocket. 

AirPods or Powerbeats Pro?

Which wireless earbuds do you choose?

Which wireless earbuds do you choose?

Image: zlata ivleva / mashable

So AirPods or Powerbeats Pro? Personally, I still prefer AirPods because I can’t stand the size of the Powerbeats Pro’s charging case, but that’s just me.

But if you can overlook the case because maybe you want better sound quality, a snugger fit, longer battery life, and physical controls, Powerbeats Pro are hard to beat and superior to AirPods. That said, at $250, there are also many wireless earbuds that offer arguably better sound and comparable comfort at similar pricing such as the $300 Master & Dynamic’s MW07 or $300 Sennheiser Momentum.

If you’re a runner or workout a lot, though, the Powerbeats Pro are a no-brainer in my opinion. For sports, Beats’ Powerbeats are considered the gold standard, mainly because of battery life and the Powerbeats Pro are no different.

Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with either. Pick the one that works best for you. As with headphones, there’s no one-size-fits-all for true wireless earbuds. What works for me might not for you since ears come in different shapes and sizes.

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