Review: Beats Fit Pro outperform AirPods 3 with ANC, colors, more

The Beats Fit Pro are now official, marking the latest expansion of the Beats lineup, which is growing increasingly versatile and increasingly impressive. The Beats Fit Pro come following the introduction of the Beats Studio Buds over the summer and Apple’s own announcement of the AirPods 3 last month.

So how do the new Beats Fit Pro compare to the Beats Studio Buds, AirPods 3, and more? Head below for our full review.

Compact and secure design

As I detailed in our announcement coverage, the Beats Fit Pro feature a clever new wingtip design where the buds not only go in-ear, but there’s an added hook to further secure the fit. This is essentially a more compact version of the Powerbeats Pro design, which uses an ear-hook for a secure fit.

In my time with the Beats Fit Pro, I’ve found the fit and design to be incredibly secure in my ear as well as pretty comfortable. The wingtip design can take some getting used to, especially when combined with also having to find the correct in-ear fit. Once you find that perfect fit, however, the combination of the wing tip and in-ear design makes the Beats Fit Pro the most secure, truly wireless earbuds I’ve ever used. You don’t have to worry about these falling out of your ears, even when working out.

But while the in-ear design combined with the wingtip makes the Beats Fit Pro, it can lead to some discomfort in longer-term use. I had no discomfort when wearing the Beats Fit Pro for around one to two hours for working out, but using them for four-plus hours while sitting at a desk did lead to some ear discomfort. What’s important to keep in mind, however, is that I don’t think there are any in-ear headphones that don’t get slightly uncomfortable during extended periods of use.

Something else worth pointing out is that Beats has employed some software trickery to make it easier to find that “perfect” fit. Similar to AirPods Pro, when Beats Fit Pro are connected to your iPhone or iPad, you can find the “Ear Tip Fit Test” in the Settings app. Apple and Beats say that this test will “test the fit of your ear tips” to ensure you’re getting the “best acoustic perfect.” Essentially, the goal is to make sure that the tips create a complete seal when placed in your ears.

The Ear Tip Fit Test is useful, albeit a bit gimmicky. The results can sometimes be inconsistent, but it’s a nice option to have if you’re struggling to find the perfect fit for your ears.

Apple’s H1 chip

When I reviewed the Beats Studio Buds earlier this year, I noted that their biggest downfall was the lack of an Apple H1 (or even previous-generation W1) chip inside. This meant that you missed out on features such as audio sharing and spatial audio.

Beats Fit Pro, on the other hand, pack Apple’s latest H1 chip with support for all of the features we’ve come to expect: automatic device switching, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode, Hey Siri, Find My integration, iCloud sharing, and the aforementioned Ear Tip Fit Test.

Apple’s H1 chip continues to excel at seamless connectivity for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Some features, particularly automatic device switching, have their quirks, but after comparing the Beats Studio Buds and Beats Fit Pro, it’s clear that Apple’s H1 chip does indeed provide an added layer of “magic” for fast pairing and connectivity.

And if you’re wondering about Android, the latest version of the Beats app for Android brings support for all of these features except: iCloud sharing, automatic switching, audio sharing, spatial audio, Hey Siri, and Find My.

Sound quality

As I’ve said before, I’m no expert when it comes to sound quality, but I generally find that most of Apple’s H1-powered earbuds have similar and respectable sound quality. Here’s what Beats has to say about the Beats Fit Pro sound quality:

Beats Fit Pro deploys an all-new custom transducer to deliver robust sound in a tiny form factor, while an innovative vent system minimizes treble distortion across the flexible diaphragm. Beats Fit Pro’s new acoustic architecture combined with Beats’ signature tuning delivers impressive dynamic range and clarity across the frequency curve for an emotive, powerful and balanced listening experience.

With three listening modes, you are in total control of your sound experience. While using Active Noise Cancelling (ANC), outward-facing and inward-facing microphones work together to limit unwanted environmental sounds with targeted anti-noise, even as the sounds around you change. Beats Fit Pro’s ANC continuously adapts in real time, up to 200 times per second, to account for variances in fit and movement. When both ANC and Transparency are turned off, Adaptive EQ is enabled. Powered by Apple’s computational audio, the inward-facing microphone in each earbud listens to the sound you are hearing and automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies to the shape of your ear for superior sound quality and a consistent listening experience.

Beats Fit Pro deliver the signature Beats soundstage, similar to Powerbeats Pro. They are slightly heavier on the bass than AirPods and AirPods Pro, which is a difference that I tend to prefer. I would rank Beats Fit Pro as one notch below AirPods Pro in terms of sound quality, but in line with AirPods 3.

The true power is in the versatility between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. The former is there for when you want to block out the noise around you, and the latter is there for when you want to let in more sound from around you.

As I’ve said before, I tend to prefer Transparency mode over Active Noise Cancellation in most situations, especially when outdoors or at the gym. I do love that the choice is there for choosing between both options, which is something that can’t be said for the new AirPods 3.

Battery life

Beats Fit Pro pack up to six hours of listening time when you use either Active Noise Cancellation or Transparency mode. With only Adaptive EQ enabled, the number increases to seven hours. The charging case adds 21 additional hours of battery life.

In my testing, the Beats Fit Pro easily delivered on these battery life claims. As always, it’s important to remember are a lot of factors that can impact battery life for earbuds, including the volume of the audio you’re playing. Using them for phone calls will also drain the battery quicker than just listening to music.

I’ll continue to reiterate my belief that Beats should add wireless charging to its headphone cases. But with that being said, it is nice that the Beats Fit Pro charging case feautures a USB-C port for connectivity as opposed to Lightning.

Controls

Just like with the Beats Studio Buds, Beats has found a clever way to turn the tops of each bud into a physical buttons for playback control. Here are the details on how this works:

  • Press once for play, pause, or answer a phone call
  • Press twice to skip forward
  • Press three times to skip back
  • Long Press to cycle between ANC ON (default), Transparency Mode, and ANC OFF

These controls are also fully customizable via the Settings app. For instance, pressing and holding on the right earbud could cycle between ANC and Transparency mode, while pressing and holding on the left earbud could activate Siri. But again, there is also support for “Hey Siri,” so physical controls to access the voice assistant isn’t necessarily required.

I always prefer physical controls over capacitive buttons, so I’m glad that Beats was able to find a way to add physical buttons to the Beats Fit Pro while also maintaining the compact form factor.

Who should buy Beats Fit Pro?

The new Beats Fit Pro join an increasingly diverse lineup of truly wireless earbuds from Apple and Beats alike. To me, the Beats Fit Pro really shine because of their versatile and secure fit combined with Apple’s H1 chip, Active Noise Cancellation, and Transparency. The H1 chip makes Beats Fit Pro a more compelling option than Beats Studio Buds for those deep in the Apple ecosystem.

The more compact form factor also give Beats Fit Pro an instant leg up comapred to the Powerbeats Pro. Not only are the Powerbeats Pro themselves are larger, but the charging case is also larger.

One of the most common comparisons will certainly be between Beats Fit Pro and the new AirPods 3. They are similar in price, with AirPods 3 at $179 and Beats Fit Pro at $199, and they are the newest offerings from Apple and Beats. If you’re trying to decide between AirPods 3 and Beats Fit Pro, the biggest thing to consider is what you’re looking for in terms of design and fit.

Beats Fit Pro feature a design that is more secure and more geared toward working out, but not everyone will find the in-ear fit comfortable. AirPods 3, on the other hand, feature Apple’s “universal” fit that rests on the inner edge of your ear. It’s purely up to personal preference to decide which of these two fits is best for you, but from a sound quality and tech perspective, Beats Fit Pro have the clear edge, thanks to support for Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode, both of which are missing from AirPods 3.

Also: Beats continue to be the best (read: only) option if you want wireless headphones with Apple’s H1 chip available in a color other than white. Beats Fit Pro are available in four colors: Stone Purple, Sage Gray, White, and Black.

You can order Beats Fit Pro today from the Apple Store Online for $199.99 in the United States, with the first orders shipping on November 5. Beats says that Beats Fit Pro will be available in China starting in early December and in additional regions starting in 2022.

Ultimately, Beats Fit Pro are an incredibly compelling option, thanks to their excellent sound quality and design, versatile compatibility with Apple and Android devices, and a sub-$200 price point. Between this release of Beats Fit Pro, the affordable Beats Studio Buds, and more, it seems clear that Beats is firing on all cylinders right now and thriving within Apple.

What do you think of the current lineup of audio accessories offered by Apple and Beats? Let us know down in the comments!

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