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PowerBeats Pro vs AirPods 2:

A question of fit and noise isolation?


BY MICHAEL

Beats by Dre have released their first attempt at a pair of truly wireless earphones, and the result is surprisingly good! But how do they compare to their mother company Apple's AirPods 2? 

It's a really close call for me, but I think I might stick to the AirPods 2 because of their price and their small size, which allow me to carry them wherever I go.

If I had unlimited funds, I would probably keep both, and use the PowerBeats Pro at the gym and when I'm running, and the AirPods at work and when I go out.

I also have a pair of over-ear headphones, the Bose QC35 II, that I use whenever I want to shut the whole world out, for example on flights.

Some other good alternatives I might consider are the Bose SoundSport Free and the Jabra Elite 65T. Don't hesitate to create a new showdown (or edit this one) if you've tried any of them, and want to show us how they compare!
Criteria and weight
PowerBeats Pro
Score:
AirPods 2
Score:
Comment
  • $250
    $199 with wireless charging case / $159 without
    The PowerBeats are significantly more expensive.
  • H1 chip
    H1 chip
    No really difference in terms of connectivity, both have Apple's H1 chip, that guarantees very fast and convenient pairing with Apple devices.
  • The charging case is very large, which means that you need large pockets or a bag to carry them around - except if you leave the charging case at home and just toss the earphones into your pocket.
    The small charging case of the AirPods fits in most pockets, and is really convenient to carry around.
    A win for the AirPods in terms of convenience, especially if you don't always carry a bag around with you.
  • The PowerBeats can get a bit uncomfortable for me after a long listening session.
    I find the AirPods really comfortable to wear for a long time. 
    I find the AirPods a bit more comfortable for long sessions, but the difference isn't huge, and certainly not a dealbreaker.
  • The hooks and their light weight ensure that they always stay in your ears.
    The left earbud tends to fall out very easily for me. I've managed to make it better by using silicone covers from DamonLight (you can find them easily on Amazon if you're interested), but they still require regular adjustment to keep them in place.
    Everyone's ears are different, but in my particular case, the AirPods fall out very easily if I don't add covers or fins on them.

    The PowerBeats Pro win this category hands down.
  • Both earbuds have the same controls: a volume rocker, and a multifunction button.
    The only controls available are the double tap on each earbud, which can be configured to either summon Siri, play or pause, or skip track forward or back
    The lack of volume controls on the AirPods is a bit annoying, even when I have my Apple watch on.
  • They don't isolate as well as some earphones that go really deep into your ear canal, but definitely better than the AirPods. I bought a pack of Comply foams, which does makes them isolate much better.
    They don't isolate much, which means that you will hear a lot of what happens around you if you don't turn the volume up to uncomfortable levels. This means they aren't ideal for noisy trains or flights, but it doesn't bother me much otherwise.
    Noise isolation really isn't the AirPods' strength, but that won't bother you unless you listen in a noisy environment. The PowerBeats Pros' better isolation still really useful for commutes and busy streets though!
  • Beats promises that they have improved the sound compared to the PowerBeats 3, and if you listen to the reviewers out there who can actually judge these things, it looks like they delivered!
    Depending on how well they fit you, and how far you push them into your ear, I find the sound can actually be pretty good!
    If you believe other reviewers, the PowerBeats have better sound that the AirPods. To my untrained ears, the difference isn't huge though, especially when I put covers on the AirPods to make them fit better.
  • 9 hours of listening time
    24 hours in total with the case
    5 hours of listening time
    24 hours in total with the case
    Case supports wireless charging (if you buy that version)
    The longer battery life of the PowerBeats Pro between charges doesn't matter much to me, as I never listen for such long periods of time. The absence of wireless charging on the PowerBeats doesn't bother me either, as I don't mind plugging the case in to charge it.
  • IPX4 certified
    Not IPX certified, but no problems reported
    The AirPods are not IPX certified, but they apparently also survive rain and sweat without any issues, just like the PowerBeats.