January 27th, 2020

PowerBeats Pro - 4 Month Runners Review

When I'm not spending time being dad or attempting to be a decent husband, I'm often found in the mountains on some adventure. Running on the regular trails, bushwhacking some new route through the river valley, or just training so I can do the other two things quickly with the limited weekends I have to myself. While doing this I usually listen to podcasts and have been on a search for a great pair of wireless headphones after my original Jaybird X1's died a few years back.

It took many tries, and a bunch of money spent, but I think I found the right pair in the PowerBeats Pro. Today we're going to talk about using them for the last 4 months.

Connecting

One of the big features of the PowerBeats Pro is the Apple H1 chip that enables Siri and fast connections. The H1 chip as almost magical, almost. Yes it allows you to connect to one of your Apple devices and then have the PowerBeats Pro show up across all the devices on that Apple ID. Yes they connect fast, but they also don't connect to multiple devices at a time like many other bluetooth headphones.

Take my Plantronics Backbeat Pro headphones as an example. They connect with 2 devices and I can start playing music from either device to the headphones and the sound will just come through them. Nothing to change, just listen to whichever device is playing. I can even accept calls on my phone when I'm listening to audio on my iPad.

The PowerBeats Pro don't do this. If I'm listening to my iPad and then want to change to my phone I have to open the sound settings and change which device they're connected to. Yes that's an extra step which I've found fairly annoying over the last number of months, especially when they simply don't show up on my other device.

Once every other week I'll go to change devices and when I open the sound settings they simply don't show up as an option to listen with. I can listen to audio out of the last device I was using, and often see them on a third device, but the one I want to change to has no idea they exist as they sit directly on top of the screen waiting to pair properly.

I find the fact that I have to continually change which device the PowerBeats Pro are connected to a step back in performance from previous bluetooth headphones I've used.

PowerBeats Pro Sound Quality

I'm no audiophile, but these headphones sound pretty good. The definitely sound as good, or better, than any other sport headphones. Actually, I'll go with better than any in ear headphones I've owned before. Many times I've found myself stopping what I'm doing to listen to a song I've heard hundreds of times before because I'm enjoying it so much more with these well fitting good sounding headphones.

They're not noise cancelling, outside of how snug they fit in your ears, but they cut enough outside noise that they easily drown out the sounds of a busy house when I'm in the office working and my kids are being kids in the rest of the house. I mostly run on the trails and can almost always hear someone coming up behind me, but I do miss the general nature sounds when I'm out training. On the road, I can hear cars around me enough that I feel safe.

Fit

The PowerBeats Pro come with a few soft silicon ear tips to choose from, but the best part of the fit is the ear hooks because they increase the stability of the headphones in your ears. With previous sport headphones I've had from JayBird, Mpow, Anker, and JLab the hooks have been a poor fit or they didn't even exist. With no hooks the headphones are simply hanging in your ears which ends up uncomfortable over the long haul. For me the hooks come in especially useful when I'm pushing through sections of forest where previous headphones would get caught and drop out of my ears.

The second awesome thing about fit is the lack of any wires. In previous headphones I've had there was a wire connecting the two sides of the headphones. This wire would get "caught" on the back of my neck as I turned my head and sometimes pull the headphones out of my ears. Even on the headphones that allowed you to wrap the cable around the back of your head for a tight fit, the cable would pull them out of your ears from time to time.

I love having no wires at all.

Battery Life and Charging

Apple claims that these headphones have 9 hours of battery life. I know I've used them for 7 hours and still had batter life left, so that claim seems reasonable to me.

Now Apple also says there is 24 "extra" hours in the case provided, which I'd guess is true, but there is a caveat for sport users. You're only supposed to put the headphones in the case if they're totally dry. That means if you're using one bud and charging the other for a bit they better not be sweaty. Previous headphones I've used have been destroyed because I charged them while slightly damp from sweat, so I've been very careful about how I charge these.

I also have had issues with these not making a proper connection in the case and thus not charging. Sometimes I think it can be attributed to dropping them in my bag and my bag getting jostled, but sometimes they're simply sitting on the table and when I go to use them one side of the pair hasn't charged overnight. Make sure you're extra careful placing them in the case if you want reliable charging.

Should You Purchase the PowerBeats Pro for Sport?

I've found the PowerBeats Pro to be a great set of sport headphones. They last for my long days, get a 90 minute charge with 5-minutes in the case, and the total lack of wires is amazing.

I still have a reservation about how they'll last through the "winter" outside of Vancouver BC with all our rain, but I've already been out on some really wet days and they're still working fine. I am very careful to ensure that they are totally dry before I put them in the case though.

Purchase PowerBeats Pro on Amazon