Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Content

  1. TECH SPECS
  2. Contents of delivery
  3. Positioning
  4. Appearance
  5. Ergonomics, application
  6. Sound quality, battery life
  7. Competitors, impressions

TECH SPECS

  • Type: In-ear neckband earbuds
  • Connection type: wireless, Bluetooth Class 1, AAC codecs, SBC
  • Charging connector: Lightning
  • Driver size: 12mm
  • Sensors: accelerometers for motion and speech recognition
  • Control: physical buttons
  • Autonomy: up to 15 hours on a single charge
  • Height: 5.6 mm
  • Weight: 26.3 g
  • Materials: plastic, silicone
  • Color options: white, black, red
  • Features: Apple H1 Chip, Fast Charging, IPX4 Protection, Parallel Headphones, Voice Control, DSP, Dual Directional Microphones
  • Cost: 10 990 rubles

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Contents of delivery

  • Headphones
  • Four sizes of attachments
  • Soft case for carrying and charging
  • Lightning to USB Type-A cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Positioning

The official name of this model has spoiled a lot of blood for journalists writing about gadgets. Many viewed the leaks that had been circulating on the network for a long time as a sign of the imminent entry into the market of the successor of Powerbeats 3, which it would be logical to call Powerbeats 4, this name was actively promoted in news and leaks about leaks. It’s hard to blame their authors for anything, but the manufacturer had its own plans, and the new model was named … Powerbeats. Some publications have already released reviews of the model with an incorrect name, in general, the mess turned out to be notable. Accident?

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones ReviewPowerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

All of this could have been avoided by adding “2020” to the title, but Apple is on its own mind. Apparently, the point is in the already selling very good Powerbeats Pro headphones. The new model is positioned as their junior version, which is quite fair, functionality and ergonomics are similar, as well as appearance. From this position, everything seems to be logical, but then what name will the next iteration of the models receive? Apple Sport / Sport Pro? Powerbeats 2 2021 / Powerbeats Pro 2? There is no clarity.

Appearance

In fact, the new Powerbeats outwardly repeat the model with the Pro attachment: similar materials and earpieces, the same fit in the ear, except that due to the cable the weight has increased, from 20 to 26 grams. The earhook is still flexible and can be adjusted to fit your ear. If we compare the new product with the Powerbeats Pro, then, according to subjective feelings, it has a more rigid landing, it took some time to get used to it.

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones ReviewPowerbeats Wireless Headphones ReviewPowerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Comparison with the Powerbeats Pro

The curvature of the ear arches blends into the cable that emerges from the ear arches, which is attached to the neck when using the headphones. The cable itself is round and does not interfere with movement, its length is selected for the same purpose, about the ergonomics of this element – in the next section. Headphones in black came to the test, unfortunately, there were no samples in a brighter red color, as well as in white. The black plastic has a matte surface, dirt and dust particles are clearly visible on it, which can be easily removed with literally one movement. By the way, the headphones are protected from splashes from any direction, IPX4 standard, and this is taking into account the uncovered charging connector on the right earpiece.

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Coming back to color, it seems to me that it would be logical to transfer the new bright colors of the Powerbeats Pro to the younger model. Yes, the red color does its job, but the colors discussed in the leaks look at least fresh and quite logical in the context of the Beats product line, the same Beats Solo Pro is offered in 6 color variations. Well, if you completely develop the idea, then this approach is logical to apply to AirPods, if, of course, Apple seeks to further increase their popularity.

Ergonomics, application

The headphone shape and its mounting method, which have already been tested on the older model, are relevant here as well. Very tight fit, no chance of shaking the headphones out of your ears, of course, if you don’t pull the wire. The in-channel arrangement provides passive noise isolation, which, however, does not protect against street noise. But the models are only on hand, sports headphones with active noise cancellation can hardly be considered safe. The controls work clearly and flawlessly, you cannot accidentally press the buttons, this is facilitated by their location. The weight of the headphones is almost imperceptible, I did not notice any discomfort when wearing after a period of getting used to Powerbeats after my own full-size headphones.

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

Powerbeats are controlled by physical buttons: one on the top of the left earphone (on, off, activation of pairing mode by long press), buttons with the Beats branded logo (control of playback and calls) and a volume rocker on the right earphone. The “b” button commands are quite standard for such devices: one press – pause, double press – the next song, three press – the previous one. A long press will call the voice assistant, only Siri support is declared, but it also works with Google Assistant. I liked that there is no block with control buttons on the cable; it is not always possible to fit this element organically into such a form factor.

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

The headphones have the same chip as Powerbeats Pro, AirPods 2, AirPods Pro, Beats Solo Pro. But, to my bewilderment, for some reason there are no optical sensors here. And if you remove one or both headphones from your ear, then playback will continue. Perhaps these cells fell victim to an enlarged battery, the secret of the capacity of which is kept in the secret laboratories of Cupertino. Included are three additional pairs of attachments: large, small and herringbone, which I preferred over the default medium sized attachments.

Another subjective moment from the point of view of ergonomics concerns weight balance. If you take off one of the headphones and leave it hanging on the cable on your chest, then the second will begin to slightly, but noticeably, pull the ear. It seems to be a trifle, but leaves its mark. It is clear that, according to the manufacturer, the model does not belong to the premium, but one could take this moment into account.

I remember the Beats app for Android from testing the Powerbeats Pro, when pairing and synchronizing the headphones on a smartphone, a neat window with a beautiful animation pops up, displaying the percentage of charge of each earbud. Alas, the new product lacks this functionality, pairing is accompanied only by a sound signal. Interestingly, when connected to an iOS device, this window also does not appear, moreover, there are no equalizer settings. Perhaps this is a feature of the device or the options were removed after one of the system updates, but purely from the point of view of visual experience, it was more pleasantly implemented in the “older” model.

The software update is only available on Apple devices, as is the option to connect two headphones at the same time to one device. This feature is available on Powerbeats / Pro / 3 Wireless, Beats Solo Pro / Solo3 Wireless / Studio3 Wireless / X and AirPods and only on select Apple devices with the latest OS updates.

Is it possible to say that the described features negatively affect the user experience? No, they are, rather, a reason to find fault with what is generally included in the process of writing a review. Apple does not stop its attempts to hint to an ever wider circle of users about the transition to its ecosystem and abandonment of Android, but Powerbeats prove themselves worthy on the “green robot”. To tell you the truth, during testing, I practically did not take off the headphones, I charged them almost every other day, so much they “went” to me during the current self-isolation. The number of texts is increasing, and it is already hot to sit for more than two hours in full-size headphones, plus it can be useful to hear what is happening in the neighboring rooms, as well as to monitor whether the courier rings the doorbell or intercom.

Sound quality, battery life

In this regard, the headphones did not disappoint, I was pleased with their sound, which can easily be compared with that in Powerbeats Pro. Yes, there is no support for audiophile codecs, but the sound is very good. The volume of the sound picture is average, you need to understand that due to the peculiarities of the form factor, the sound will “leak” a little into the outside world. When using Powerbeats, there is no desire to adjust the equalizer, all frequencies are in their places, there are no obvious bends and highs that come out and low booms. You could add the middle, but this is rather a taste. The headphones reproduce both EDM and instrumental compositions equally well with overloaded guitars and drums blastbeats, there is no feeling of crowding and indistinctness of instruments, everything is in its place.

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review

For the sound quality, I personally am ready to forgive Powerbeats for all the mentioned small and not very points with ergonomics, the headphones are simply pleasant to use for their intended purpose, especially if it happens in a quiet environment. During telephone conversations through headphones as a headset, the interlocutors note a clear transmission of speech and the absence of any distortion of words. A faint background hiss is discernible, apparently, the noise cut-off system is working during the conversation. This sound does not affect the transmission quality, but some users may notice this moment.

Charging is carried out via a USB-A / Lightning cable, in this regard, you should not expect any changes yet. A full charge takes about 100 minutes, it will last for 15 hours of music playback, this figure will decrease when making calls. Powerbeats support Fast Fuel fast charging technology: 5 minutes of charging will last over an hour of use, a convenient feature for those who commute to work with music or go for a short run.

Powerbeats Wireless Headphones Review


Competitors, impressions

From competitors in the price range of about 11 thousand rubles, the sports model Adidas FWD-01 can be distinguished. The attachment of these headphones is carried out by means of temples that are fixed inside the auricle. According to Eldar Murtazin’s reviews, the model produces good sound, has a similar autonomy and costs a thousand more than Powerbeats. Of the less current models with good sound for the same money, we can note the Bose Soundsport Wireless / Pulse, the sound is good, but the autonomy is incomparable, the Apple model will work 2-3 times longer. Logitech Jaybird Freedom 2 are a little cheaper, but they also do not reach the autonomy indicators of the review hero. If we move further in the direction of reducing the cost, then for about 3 rubles, good Honor Sport Pro headphones are available, at an average volume they can work up to 500 hours, and you can charge them directly from the smartphone using the built-in power plug, 18 minutes of charging enough for 5 hours of work.

Powerbeats definitely catch on with their sound, while maintaining a secure fit in the ears, compared to the Pro model, the autonomy when working on a single charge is increased, which, in theory, could make the new product an even more preferable option. Of course, if someone does not like any wires and the concept of a charging case is close, then you will have to pay extra. Apple’s new headphones turned out to be very good both in terms of sound and cost. Despite the illogical “naming” and potential questions for the further development of the line, Powerbeats easily entered my everyday scenarios and performed well, effectively replacing my full-size headphones.

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