My new Apple PowerBeats Pro wireless headphones arrived this week, among the first batch to be delivered in the UK. They have replaced the generation one AirPods and I much prefer them for the greater sense of security they provide.
I was an early adopter of the Apple AirPods and continue to believe they are the most convenient earphones you can buy. Initially, they looked rather outlandish with their white legs, but now you see them everywhere and they have become almost normal. Yet they are not without problems in terms of security.
I use headphones mainly for listening to podcasts and the radio, so sound quality is not a major consideration. I’m looking more for convenience, lack of connection problems and seamless stop-start when I remove the pods from my ears. In this, the AirPods are without compare — when used with Apple devices, of course. Everything is just so smooth and trouble free.
But there is one thing I never got used to with the AirPods. They had an annoying habit of falling out, usually at the most inconvenient times and in circumstances where they could easily have been lost for good. Not everyone has experienced this, of course, and it is very much a personal situation. The AirPods either stay in or they don’t, depending on your particular ears.
When the PowerBeats Pro headphones were announced I was immediately interested. They are designed for sports use and are very unlikely to fall out. With the in-ear design and the over-ear wings, they inspire much more confidence. As a result, even though I don’t do extreme sports, the PowerBeats fit into my life really well.
I’ve been using the PowerBeats Pro now for several days and am highly impressed in every respect. For me, they are so much better than the AirPods, despite the larger size and the very large charging case. This is a case you probably will not want to carry around in your pocket.
On the other hand, the case is big enough to ensure that you are less likely to lose it than the relatively small AirPods case. I’ve had a few near misses with the white AirPods case in this respect and, eventually, I bought a rubberised outer skin with
The case of the PowerBeats Pro does have the advantage of housing a larger battery which, together with the batteries in the earphones, ensures a 24-hour life. The buds alone give a nine-hour life so it’s possible to leave the battery case at home and just travel with the PowerBeats. This is not the case with the smaller AirPods.
The PowerBeats Pro
As I said, sound quality is not a major consideration for me. In fact, I have been using just one pod when listening to podcasts. But when listening to music and using both pods, I feel that the quality of sound is marginally better than that from the AirPods. At any rate, I am perfectly happy with the performance.
Several reviewers have suggested that the in-ear design cuts out ambient sound and could, therefore, present a problem in day-to-day use. I have to say I haven’t noticed this. I still hear what’s going on around me and I have had no difficulty in hearing voices. Of course, as with any headphones, it is a courtesy to remove them when in conversation. The good thing is that the act of removing the pods pauses the stream and it continues again when you replace them. No fiddling with pause controls on the iPhone.
As a one-pod user, too, I know I can eke out a good 18 hours from of the two pods if used consecutively, so I have become used to leaving the charging case at home. I have worn the pods continuously for up to six hours and they are the most comfortable in-ear phones I have worn — and that includes a very expensive pair of wired phones with custom-made ear-canal inserts (following a professional wax impression of the inside of the canal). They were a severe disappointment, but the PowerBeats Pro
If you are an Apple device user and want the best ear pods with greater physical security than the AirPods, you really cannot go wrong. The PowerBeats Pro retain for £219.95 and, for me, are worth every penny. Four colours will be available eventually but, at the moment, there’s no choice. Like the Ford Model T, the PowerBeats Pro come in black only.