The AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro are both considered luxury wireless earbuds that are meant to look aesthetic, while also remaining functional. With the Beats by Dr. Dre brand recently being purchased by Apple, the company has made strides to include the Beats product lineup into the Apple ecosystem.
The Powerbeats Pro seems to be their best attempt yet. With a focus on exercise and athleticism, its design philosophy is simple and elegant. However, how does it stack up to the tried and tested Apple AirPods Pro? This guide takes a look at all the differences between the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro to help you decide!
AirPods Pro & PowerBeats Pro: Pros and Cons
- Casual, iconic design
- Has a more neutral sound profile
- Features ANC (Active Noise Cancellation)
- The case is reasonably sized
- Buds don’t hold on to a lot of charges
- Tends to fall off in vigorous exercising
- Comes in only one color
- Sporty athletic design
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Has an ear hook that does not let the earbuds fall off
- Good playback controls
- Inaccurate sound profile
- Quite a hefty case
- Aftermarket cases aren’t readily available
Design and Comfort:
The original AirPods had an iconic stem-shaped design that clearly needed some improvements. The fit wasn’t very snug and you’d often find yourself squeezing the AirPods back in especially when wearing them for longer periods. The AirPods Pro now has a much better fit and can actually be used for a long time.
However, if you truly want a snug fit, the PowerBeats Pro is the obvious winner here. It features an ear hook that sticks out like a sore thumb. But, it fits in comfortably with your ear and grants you extra protection since the ear hook will be able to keep the earbuds stuck on your ear even if the nozzle that goes inside it somehow falls out.
If you are afraid of your expensive wireless earbuds falling out in the middle of the street, the Powerbeats Pro is the safer bet.
If weight is a major concern, the Powerbeats Pro has a far heftier case that is both larger and weighs more at about 80 grams. The AirPods Pro case on the other hand weighs about 45.6 grams which makes a big difference especially if both are going to be stuffed in your pocket the entire day.
The buds too, share a similar tale. The AirPods Pro buds come in at about 5.4 grams while the Powerbeats Pro buds weigh 11 grams each. One factor to note here though is that the ear hook provides better weight distribution so they actually end up feeling better than the AirPods Pro in some instances.
The AirPods Pro comes with three comfortable ear tips that are small, medium, and large in size. Clipping them on requires some force however the process is fairly smooth. One extra feature that the AirPods Pro has over the Powerbeats Pro is that Apple includes an Eartip Seal Fit Test which you can find within the Bluetooth settings. These help you find out whether the ear tips you are using are a good fit for you.
The Powerbeats Pro too comes with three different sized earbuds. Clipping them on is much easier than the AirPods Pro and they deliver a more snug fit. However, you won’t be able to use the fit test as it is not included with the Powerbeats Pro.
Noise Cancellation is an integral part of wearable headphones. However, this is where the AirPods Pro further differentiates itself from the Powerbeats Pro. The AirPods Pro features ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) while the Powerbeats Pro does not.
What is ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) On The AirPods Pro?
The AirPods Pro features an array of microphones that face outwards whose sole purpose is to detect external sound. Once they do, they counter that noise with anti-noise thereby canceling external noise before you are able to hear them. The AirPods Pro also has an array of inward microphones that detect what your ear hears to ensure clean audio quality.
The AirPods Pro makes thousands of calculations per second adjusting the anti-noise to reduce the amount of background noise that comes in through your ear. They work better in situations where there is constant noise, for example, the humming of a train.
Noise Isolation: AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro
If you were to activate ANC on the AirPods Pro, they’ll trump over the Powerbeats Pro in almost every situation when it comes to sound isolation. However, the Powerbeats Pro too fit very well in your ears (arguably better than the AirPods Pro in some instances) which means you’ll still experience some sort of isolation by blocking out sound physically.
However, with that said, the AirPods Pro does win in the noise cancellation department and will succeed in providing you with a more immersive listening experience. Plus, a common complaint found in the AirPods Pro was the inability to listen to background noise even with ANC turned to transparency mode. With a few firmware updates straight from Apple, that complaint has faded away too.
Are The AirPods Pro And Powerbeats Pro Water Resistant?
Both the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro feature IPX4 sweat and water resistance. While this isn’t much, you should be able to use them comfortably in the gym and will also sustain the occasional light rain. However, they’ve been rated for about 10 minutes. So, prolonged exposure will lead to permanent damage.
While the AirPods Pro never claimed to be sporty, it is quite disappointing that the Powerbeats Pro features the same water resistance rating. However, both should do fine when you are sweating it out at the gym.
Do the Powerbeats Pro Have Better Battery Life Than The AirPods Pro?
When you are on the hunt for your next wireless earbuds, battery life is an important credential to take into point. You’d be much better off with a wired option if you have to keep charging your headphones constantly to have them last through the day.
Thankfully, both the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro have decent battery life. Coming onto specifics, the AirPods Pro as per our testing ran for about 3-4 hours when ANC was on and lasted about 5 hours with ANC turned off.
When the case is fully charged, you’ll be able to listen to your AirPods Pro for a full day with the charging itself needing 30-40 minutes. You also get about one hour of listening time if you charge the AirPods Pro for 5 minutes in their case! That’s impressive. The case also supports Qi wireless charging and fast charging as well.
On the other hand, the Powerbeats Pro has an excellent 9-10 hours of battery life. However, they do not have ANC which might be the reason why they run for longer. The case for the Powerbeats Pro is a bit bulkier but still has fast charging and delivers excellent battery life lasting for more than 24 hours.
In general, you are much better off with the Powerbeats Pro if you go for longer workouts or runs that span more than 3-4 hours. However, storing the bulky case in your pockets can get quite annoying after a while.
As mentioned earlier, the Powerbeats Pro and the AirPods Pro both have fast charging. Here’s a brief rundown:
- Case Charging Time: 2.5 hours
- Earphone Charge Time: 90 minutes
- Case Charging Time: 1 hour
- Earphone Charging Time: 20 minutes
If you’ve noticed, the Powerbeats Pro takes a considerably longer time to charge both for the case and the buds themselves. This is because they hold a larger amount of charge and can therefore deliver playback for about 9-10 hours as compared to the AirPods Pro’s 4-5 hours.
The AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro both have Apple’s proprietary H1 chip which helps ensure a stable connection for both Android and iOS devices. However, there are a few advantages to owning an iOS device when it comes to both these earbuds.
The dedicated H1 chip works alongside the Bluetooth 5 chip also present in the earbuds to deliver a seamless audio experience on almost every device. In terms of iOS / Apple-centric advantages, you’ll be greeted with a pop-up as soon as you open the case for the first time near an Apple device.
Then, connecting and pairing is just as easy as tapping on the on-screen Connect button. After that, you’ll be able to use the earbuds, both the AirPods Pro and the Powerbeats Pro on any of your Apple devices on the same iCloud account seamlessly.
If you are on Android though, you’ll have to open the Bluetooth Settings on your device and then pair manually. However, they work quite fine after that. You will not be able to enjoy some of the features that the AirPods Pro has on an Android device. For example, you can’t summon the voice assistant, change ANC options on the fly, or access OTA software updates as well.
From our testing, it is clear that the usage of Apple’s H1 chip means that both earbuds have almost the same connection range. They work fine if you are 30-40 feet away from your phone. However, your mileage may vary as this depends on the amount of Bluetooth noise in your environment alongside whether you are testing the range behind solid walls or in an open room.
Generally, you won’t be experiencing any glitches or hiccups whether on iOS or Android. Plus, there’s no difference in range or connectivity since both of them use the same chip.
Should I Buy The Powerbeats Pro or the AirPods Pro For Working Out?
The design philosophy of the AirPods Pro is to concoct a set of buds that work well or are decent for every situation. And they do just that. Yes, you can use them for exercising, they won’t look bad in a business meeting and they appear casual enough to be used on the train without anyone batting an eye.
However, the Powerbeats Pro is made for those with an active lifestyle. While the AirPods Pro can hold their own, the Powerbeats Pro features a complete set of playback controls right on the earphones so you won’t ever have to take your phone out. While you can squeeze the stem of the AirPods Pro for play/pause and activate Siri, it isn’t nearly as convenient.
Plus, the ear hook we mentioned earlier lets you perform a wider series of body movements without worrying about your buds falling off. Since they are larger, they are also much easier to find on the gym floor in the unlikely event that they somehow fall out. Plus, the fact that they have more even weight distribution makes them tire you out less especially in longer, strenuous sessions.
However, don’t get us wrong. The AirPods Pro is still great for working out. They do the job just fine and if you can find the right ear tip, they fit in quite well as well. But, you really don’t want to take your phone out after veery set to lower your audio volume or talk to Siri every time you want to put on songs. However, over here, ANC can really help you negate annoying background noise which can be useful especially if you work out in open spaces.
Do The AirPods Pro Have Better Quality Than The Powerbeats Pro?
Let’s face it. Both of these earbuds aren’t really meant for audiophiles and you won’t be finding audio engineers mixing tracks with these any time soon. However, both have a relatively distinct sound stage that works quite well according to your preference.
One thing to note though is that your preference can be different than ours. While we’ll try to be as qualitative as possible, we recommend giving both of these a test run before you make a decision.
The Beats brand was never known to deliver an accurate audio profile and the Powerbeats Pro is no different. While there is an emphasis on bass, it isn’t overwhelming by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll enjoy listening to bass-heavy music, EDM, or Rock. However, when it comes to vocals, they seem to be de-emphasized just a tad leading for vocals to sound slightly muffled in some instances.
However, with the punchy bass, you’ll definitely remain motivated in your workout. The high end too seems to be a little amplified as well. All in all, while not the most accurate experience, it is quite enjoyable and works well if you primarily listen to Rock and EDM when you work out.
As mentioned earlier, the AirPods Pro is meant for a more general, casual audience. The same philosophy seems to have been carried towards the soundstage as well. It delivers the same frequency across the board and due to the ANC present, you’ll be hearing all parts of your favorite song quite clearly.
While the lower end seems to be emphasized here too, it isn’t nearly as much as the Powerbeats Pro which means that you’ll be able to listen to vocals in a much clearer fashion.
Audio Quality: AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro
While this delves down to mainly personal preference, you can always use software EQ to balance out the bass-heavy response of the Powerbeats or add a little bit more of a kick to the AirPods Pro.
However, they still retain the same audio profile albeit with some slight differences due to a changed EQ setting. If you appreciate amplified bass and feel like it helps you work out better, the Powerbeats Pro should be your go-to choice. But, if you have a more varied music taste or aren’t a fan of punchy bass, the AirPods Pro makes more sense for your workout.
Do the AirPods Pro Have Better Microphone Quality Than The Powerbeats Pro?
The answer is, it is complicated. While both the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro have respectable microphones and you won’t be sounding bad on either of them, we feel that there are some caveats on both.
For example, while the Powerbeats Pro is great at cutting out background noise (even though the AirPods Pro should theoretically be better), they also deliver a more natural-sounding result.
On the other hand, the AirPods Pro seems to capture more of your voice while also taking into account deeper tones as well. The larger array of microphones also seems to have a better range than the Powerbeats. Although this isn’t really an advantage as you’ll be talking through the microphone while they’re inside your ears anyways.
Final Take: Should I Buy The Airpods Pro or the Powerbeats Pro?
With all those points out of the way, the AirPods Pro is meant for the casual. If you go to the gym but don’t need a 4-5 hour long battery life, use your earbuds for things other than the gym like online calls, listening to music, or just commuting in the bus, the AirPods Pro is the obvious choice. The fact that they feature ANC at the same price point as the Powerbeats Pro makes them a worthwhile grab.
However, if you are more of a gym freak, don’t want to take your phone out constantly to change your music, the Powerbeats Pro makes more sense. The fact that they fit better and are a tad bit more comfortable means you can go biking with them without worrying about them falling off after a heavy bump.