Apple has officially released AirPods Pro with new features such as Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, and more. With a $249 price tag, they’re direct competitors to the Powerbeats Pro. Read on as we walk through how AirPods Pro stack up vs Powerbeats Pro.
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AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro: Design
In terms of design, both AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro (review) feature an in-ear fit. The difference, however, is that Powerbeats Pro include an added hook that secures each headphone snuggly to your ear.
Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro are both versatile and customizable. Powerbeats Pro include four changeable ear tip sets, while AirPods Pro include three. One feature unique to AirPods Pro, however, is the “Ear Tip Fit Test,” which is designed to help users decide which size tip is best for them.
Another thing to consider for design is the charging case. The AirPods Pro charging case is noticeably smaller than the Powerbeats Pro charging case. This makes AirPods Pro the more pocketable option.
If colors are important to you, AirPods Pro are available in white. Powerbeats Pro are available in black, ivory, navy, and moss.
Because of the earhook style of Powerbeats Pro, they will likely stay a bit snugger when exercising. It’s hard to say which design is “best,” since it’s largely dependent on personal preference and activity level. One thing that is clear is both AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are more versatile than regular AirPods.
AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro: Noise cancellation and sound quality
The biggest selling point of AirPods Pro is support for Active Noise Cancellation. Apple is using a combination of software and two microphones to block out all outside noise for users. Powerbeats Pro do not support noise cancellation, though you will get a certain level of noise isolation thanks to the in-ear design.
AirPods Pro also support Transparency mode – just like the Beats Solo Pro on-ear headphones (review). This allows users to simultaneously listen to music while still hearing the environment around them.
As for sound quality, we haven’t gotten a chance to try AirPods Pro yet. Much like design, however, this will likely depend on personal preference. Powerbeats Pro sound significantly better than AirPods, and we expect AirPods Pro to sound significantly better than AirPods. How AirPods Pro sound quality compares to Powerbeats Pro remains to be seen.
The added size of Powerbeats Pro dramatically helps battery life. Apple says that Powerbeats Pro offer up to 9 hours of battery life during playback and up to 6 hours of battery life during calls.
On the other hand, AirPods Pro offer 5-hours of playback and 3.5 hours of talk time during calls. If you enable Active Noise Cancellation, the listening time drops to 4.5 hours.
The charging cases for AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both give you over 24 hours of total listening time. Both charge via Lightning connectivity, but the AirPods Pro case supports wireless charging, while the Powerbeats Pro case does not.
Powerbeats Pro feature “Fast Fuel,” with gets you 1.5 hours of playback from a 5-minute charge. AirPods Pro can add 1-hour of listening after a 5-minute charge.
Powerbeats Pro are the clear winner in terms of battery life with almost double the listening time as AirPods Pro. Because of this, you might just be able to leave the Powerbeats Pro charging case at home, rather than pocketing it.
Much like AirPods, the new AirPods Pro don’t feature any physical controls. Instead, there’s a “Force Sensor” that lets you perform common tasks by tapping on the side of the earbuds:
- Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call
- Press twice to skip forward
- Press three times to skip back
- Press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode
If you want to adjust volume, you’ll have to do so with the connected iPhone, iPad, or Mac, or via Siri.
Powerbeats Pro feature physical buttons. Each earbud has a dedicated action button and a volume rocker. You can press the action button once to pause/play, press it twice to skip ahead a track and press it three times to skip back a track.
The physical buttons of the Powerbeats Pro will be easier to use than the tap gestures on the AirPods Pro. But again, that comes at the added cost of the larger Powerbeats Pro form factor.
Sweat and water resistance
If you’re looking for water and sweat resistance, AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are both good options.
They’re both rated for IPX4 sweat and water resistance, which means they’re good for 10 minutes of water or sweat splashing:
Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. Test b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
Apple’s H1 chip
AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both feature Apple’s H1 chip. This means you get features including Audio Sharing, Announce Messages with Siri, and Hey Siri:
- Voice-activated Siri uses the H1 chip to enable hands-free “Hey Siri” to play a song, increase the volume, make a call or get directions.
- Audio Sharing makes it easy to listen to the same song or watch the same movie with a friend by simply bringing a second pair of AirPods close to iPhone or iPad.
- Announce Messages automatically and conveniently speaks incoming messages as soon as they arrive, and when on a phone call or sharing media via Audio Sharing, Siri knows not to interrupt.
AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro: Which should you buy?
AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are pricey. They both retail for $249, though you can often find Powerbeats Pro on sale for less at Amazon.
Which should you buy? A lot of it depends on personal preference. Are you active? Do you want the most battery life possible? Powerbeats Pro are probably the way to go. With 9 hours of battery life and the earhook design, they’re far more rugged than Apple’s AirPods Pro.
If you want the most pocketable option, with features like Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency, and a wireless charging case, then AirPods Pro are for you.
If AirPods don’t fit your ears, then you can’t really go wrong with either option in terms of fit and design. AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are both more customizable than AirPods and are likely to fit the ears of more people with the inclusion of added ear tips.
What do you think of the AirPods Pro vs Powerbeats Pro comparison? Let us know down in the comments!