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Powerbeats Pro review: Apple’s finest true wireless headphone

By Kenny Yeo - 28 Oct 2019
Launch SRP:

Performance & Conclusion

How do they sound?

The larger drivers of the Powerbeats Pro provide a more wholesome sound.

I found the Powerbeats Pro to be better than the AirPods. It has a richer, fuller sound that’s probably down to its larger 12mm linear piston aluminum driver, and better seal and isolation courtesy of its in-ear design. One of the things I admire most about its sound is the wide soundstage that it projects. Sound seems to radiate from the space just ahead of you. This is a trick that very few headphones accomplish. It can, however, possess too much energy in the treble and therefore sound steely on some tracks. Despite this, I think it’s a step up from the AirPods, and overall, a very fine sounding pair of headphones at its price.

 

Does it have active noise-canceling?

No, I'm afraid it doesn't. That said, it doesn't really need active noise-canceling since I found its isolation to be adequate. But this depends greatly on how good a seal you can achieve with the supplied ear-tips.

 

Does the charging case support wireless charging?

The charging case charges via a Lightning connector.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t. It charges using a Lightning connector, which highlights the inconsistency of Beats’ headphones. You see, the Powerbeats Pro and BeatsX charge via a Lightning cable whereas some other Beats headphones, like the Solo3 and the old Powerbeats3 Wireless, charge using a micro-USB cable.

 

How long is the battery life?

Look at the size of the Powerbeats Pro's charging case!

On a full charge, the Powerbeats Pro lasts 9 hours, which is well above average for a headphone of its class and size. To give this number some context, consider that Jabra’s Elite Active 65t lasts 5 hours while Sony’s WF-SP700N and WF-SP900 only last 3 and 6 hours respectively. Unless you are taking part in an Ironman triathlon, the Powerbeats Pro will easily outlast you on a full charge. You can’t say the same for some of its rivals.

Speaking of battery, one major gripe that I have with the Powerbeats Pro is the size of its carrying case. Clearly a consequence of the headphone's design, but there's no getting around the fact that it's a lot larger than that of the AirPods’. If you insist, you can probably squeeze it into your pants but it’ll leave you with ridiculous (and possibly obscene) looking bulge.

 

So, AirPods or Powerbeats Pro?

If you intend to wear the headphone for sports, then the Powerbeats Pro is the obvious choice. It fits securely, is resistant to rain and sweat, has a longer battery life, and also sounds better. But for daily use and commuting, I prefer AirPods because it's pocketable and chic.

 

Any final thoughts and buying advice?

If you need true wireless headphones to accompany you on your workouts, the Powerbeats Pro is an excellent option. Pity the large carrying case.

If you are looking for a true wireless headphone to go exercise with, the Powerbeats Pro is a great option. At S$328, it’s comparable in cost to the competition. But more importantly, it fits well, has a long battery life, and outstanding sound quality. It’s easy and flexible to operate too. My only gripe is the large and ungainly carrying case. It's safe to say that the Powerbeats Pro is another true wireless headphone hit from Apple. And probably their finest yet.

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8.5
  • Design 8
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Good sound quality
Works well with iOS devices
Long battery life
Comfortable, secure fit
Controls on both earpieces
The Bad
Only connects to a single device
Bulky carrying case
No support for wireless charging
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