Last month, 9to5Mac exclusively revealed the design of Apple’s new truly wireless Beats Powerbeats Pro, as well as their accompanying charging case. Today, Apple made Powerbeats Pro official and confirmed they will launch in May, giving AirPods 2 their first real challenger.
Powerbeats Pro face intense competition from AirPods – which were also just updated to version 2. Which should you buy? Read on as we walk through a full comparison.
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The biggest difference between Powerbeats Pro and AirPods 2 is design. The second-generation AirPods are identical to their predecessor and therefore don’t fit everyone. While several third-party attachments exist to help AirPods stay in your ears, they definitely don’t fit everyone.
Meanwhile, Powerbeats Pro feature a an in-ear design with earhooks. The customization of Powerbeats Pro makes them an excellent choice for working out and high intensity use. In total, Beats actually includes four sizes of ear tips with Powerbeats Pro, while the earhooks can be adjusted to fit your ears.
One thing to note is that Powerbeats Pro include physical buttons on each earpiece. This means you can do things like control volume and playback without using your paired device. AirPods support basic controls through tap gestures, but the Powerbeats Pro controls are more advanced and reliable. Of note, Powerbeats Pro are the first Beats to ditch a physical power button.
AirPods 2 vs Powerbeats Pro (via CNET)
In terms of size, AirPods and the AirPods case still have a major leg up on Powerbeats Pro. While Apple touts that Powerbeats Pro are 23 percent smaller and 17 percent lighter than their predecessor, AirPods are still much smaller.
Powerbeats Pro are also sweat and water-resistant and designed for “optimal performance” under such conditions. AirPods have been known to fail after high amounts of sweat, so this is a notable advantage for the Powerbeats.
Powerbeats Pro feature a far more customizable fit than AirPods. If AirPods don’t fit your ears, you’re pretty much out of luck, whereas you can likely customize Powerbeats to comfortably fit your exact ear shape. On the other hand, some people don’t like the earhook design of the Powerbeats. Fit is very much a personal preference, but if AirPods don’t fit your ears, there’s a good chance Powerbeats Pro will.
One area where Powerbeats Pro have a major advantage over AirPods is battery life. You get up to 9 hours of listening time, while the charging case gives more than 24 hours of playback. AirPods 2, meanwhile, offer 5 hours of listening per charge. The AirPods case also offers more than 24 hours of playback.
In terms of quick charging, AirPods can add 3 hours of listening time in 15 minutes. Powerbeats Pro, meanwhile, can add up to 1.5 hours of playback in 5 minutes and 4.5 hours in 15 minutes.
On the flip side, one of the standout features of AirPods 2 is not supported on Powerbeats. While the AirPods 2 case can be recharged via Qi charging, the Powerbeats Pro case is limited solely to Lightning charging. This will become an even bigger limitation later this year when the 2019 iPhones and support for two-way wireless charging.
Both the second-generation AirPods and Powerbeats Pro feature Apple’s latest H1 chip. This enables seamless switching between your Apple devices, as well as support for “Hey Siri” functionality. With Hey Siri support, you can use the voice activated assistant without having to use your iPhone.
In this way, Powerbeats Pro and AirPods 2 are virtually identical. They both perform equally as well with your Apple devices, and the pairing process is incredibly simple.
With Powerbeats Pro not coming out until May, it’s hard to compare sound quality with AirPods as we have not tried them out yet. That being said, Powerbeats Pro will have one clear advantage: noise isolation. Because Powerbeats Pro use an in-ear design, they will be able to better block out surrounding noise than AirPods.
AirPods 2 don’t feature any noticeable sound improvements over the first-generation, so if you’ve used AirPods before, you know how they sound. CNET notes in its brief hands-on with Powerbeats Pro that there is a noticeable sound quality improvement compared to AirPods:
Which should you buy: Powerbeats Pro or AirPods 2?
If you know that AirPods fit your ears and you value their small, versatile size and charging case, they are a great choice for truly wireless earbuds. They’re sleek and quick to charge, offer optional wireless charging, and are cheaper than the Beats alternative.
On the other hand, if you plan on exercising and doing anything that requires more than 5 hours of battery life, Powerbeats Pro are the way to go. They can last for up to 9 hours on a charge, and you can get nearly 5 hours of charge in 15 minutes.
Powerbeats Pro are also far more customizable in terms of fit, with four included ear tip sizes and adjustable earhooks. If color is important to you, Powerbeats Pro come in four unique colors: white, black, ivory, and navy. AirPods 2 only come in white.
Powerbeats Pro will be available in May for $250. AirPods, however, are considerably more affordable – especially if you opt for the version without the charging case. AirPods 2 start at $159, while the Wireless Charging Case bumps the price up to $199.
What do you think? Are AirPods 2 or Powerbeats Pro the more desirable option? Let us know down in the comments.
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