The new Powerbeats Bluetooth in-ears are aimed – like their True-Wireless counterparts the Powerbeats Pro – primarily at an audience who want to use them during sports and exercise. And they are particularly suited, thanks to their securely fitting ear hooks and their sweat- and water-resistant design. Their powerful sound and long battery life provide additional motivation for power workouts.
Thanks to the flexible ear hooks, the Powerbeats have a very stable fit and they adapt well to individual auricular anatomy. However, a certain amount of effort is required to get them into the desired position, but in combination with the appropriate earpieces, this results in a very good hold, as is necessary for wearing while walking, for example. As with the Powerbeats Pro, a certain amount of pressure is also exerted on the ear canal. Spectacle wearers also have the additional problem that their ear and the temples (the long arms on the side of the glasses frame that fit over your ears) sit beneath the ear hook. Add a hat over the headphones and these pressure problems are complete.
The neckband has been redesigned and is now round instead of flat, and this actually produces less friction. However, if your neck gets sweaty, the neckband will stick to your neck, placing pressure on the headphones when you turn your head.
The manufacturer advertises a runtime of 15 hours, and in practice, this value is sustained quite well at a higher volume, while the indicated charging time from zero to one hundred is quite exact: We got up to 89 minutes when using the original cable connected to an iMac. The fast charge function – here called “Fast Fuel” – also works quite well in practice, with a charging time of five minutes for one hour of listening pleasure.
Home H1 chip
Powerbeats also work with Apple’s H1 chip, which not only enables fast Bluetooth pairing within about three seconds, but also allows two pairs of Beats- or Apple headphones to be paired with the same iPhone or iPad. Even though aptX codecs have been dispensed with, the Bluetooth AAC codec that they use has a pleasingly low latency, so that hardly any noticeable differences between picture and sound occur when watching video. In addition, the chip integrates Apple’s voice assistant, from which we can elicit all kinds of information with the familiar command “Hey Siri”.
Operating your Powerbeats is very easy: The small switch on the left headphone switches the in-ears on and off, and initiates pairing. On the right there is a volume rocker, the beats logo acts as a multi-function button which takes care of music playback, pause, skip and answers or rejects calls. Finally, a long press is used to call the above-mentioned voice assistant.
Powerbeats remain true to the established Dr.Dre tuning: the bass range has a powerful foundation and reaches deep down. A little imprecise in the lower registers, it still manages to produce a solid sound in combination with the mids and highs. The midrange, which is important for comprehensibility, carries a warm basic tuning, but swallows up some spatial information when the sound structures are dense and complex, meaning that a cloudy sound image can be created and the distribution of the instruments on the stage can appear quite narrow and dense. Since the upper frequency range loses precision and speed the higher it gets, they don’t manage to adequately compensate for this shortcoming.
For this reason, these in-ears are not suitable for the sound connoisseur as they suit modern music styles much better than classical orchestral pieces, which depend on their depth, their attention to detail and their authenticity.
However, this does not mean that these headphones sound bad, when used in their specific area of application they have the necessary pressure and the volume reserves to propel you forward while working out or playing sport.
Finally, we rate the voice quality in phone calls as excellent. Both sides are clear and understandable, two wave-bundled microphones and accelerometers with motion detection and speech recognition effectively filter out background noise.
As with the Powerbeats Pro, Beats by Dre’s Powerbeats, paired with the technical expertise of their parent company Apple, also deliver a well-rounded sports headphone design that can push you to new heights with their typical Beats sound. This product can definitely be called a success, and if you don’t mind having a thin cable dangling around your neck, you can even save 100 Euros compared to the True Wireless version.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Cable length21,5 cm
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
- 1 pair of ear tips with double flange
- USB-A to Lightning charging cable
- Carrying pouch
- available in black, white and red
- BT- Codecs: SBC, AAC