- Apple’s AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro both offer quality audio, a comfortable fit, and easy pairing with iOS devices for similar prices.
- But there are some differences to be aware of. The Powerbeats Pro, for example, offer longer battery life than Apple’s new AirPods, but don’t offer active noise cancellation.
- Here’s how the two Apple-made earbuds compare.
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Apple device owners in the market for a new pair of wireless headphones now have another compelling option at their disposal: AirPods Pro.
The company launched the new AirPods on October 30. They’re a revamped version of its popular cord-free earbuds, and they offer noise cancellation and a refreshed design. The new AirPods Pro cost $250, making them roughly $90 more expensive than the company’s standard AirPods and the same price as the Powerbeats Pro.
Although the headphones are priced similarly and support iPhone-friendly features, like the ability to automatically connect to the phone once the case’s lid is popped open, there are some important differences between the two headsets.
Here’s a look at how they compare.
The most important difference between the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro is their design and fit.
Take a look at both pairs of headphones, and you’ll notice one immediate difference: the way they look.
The Powerbeats Pro have a wraparound design with ear hooks that hug your ear, a form factor that some may prefer since it makes the earbuds feel more securely fit to your ear.
The AirPods Pro, comparatively, look more like the company’s regular AirPods, which is to say they consist of a small bud that fits in your ear with an elongated stem that protrudes outward. This design may be preferable for those who prioritize convenience and don’t want to take the time to affix a hook around their ear each time they wear the earbuds.
It may sound like a small difference, but it’s one that dictates the earbuds’ comfort and fit.
It’s also worth noting that the Powerbeats Pro come in multiple color options unlike the AirPods, which are only available in white. The Powerbeats Pro, meanwhile, can be purchased in ivory, black, navy blue, and moss green.
Apple’s new AirPods Pro offer noise cancellation, while the Powerbeats Pro offer noise isolation.
Apple’s AirPods Pro are better suited for tuning out nearby noise considering they support active noise cancellation, while the Powerbeats Pro only offer noise isolation.
The AirPods Pro come with silicone tips in three sizes to seal your ear and block out noise from your surroundings. But they use microphones to detect sounds and cancel them out accordingly, and the company says the earbuds adjust noise cancellation 200 times per second. You can also put the AirPods in transparency mode for times when you want to be more aware of your surroundings, which lets sound from your environment pass through.
The Powerbeats Pro come with noise isolation, which uses the buds’ eartips as a barrier for blocking out external sounds. This allows the Powerbeats Pro to do a decent job at downplaying nearby noise, certainly moreso than earbuds that don’t provide any seal, like Apple’s regular AirPods. But the AirPods Pro are better equipped to make sounds from the world around you feel more muted and dull. Like the AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats Pro also come with ear tips in multiple sizes — but the Powerbeats offers four size options while the AirPods offer three.
Both earbuds have touch controls that let you perform tasks without reaching for your phone, but the available options differ.
The Powerbeats Pro, for example, include buttons on each earbud for adjusting the volume, while the Beats logo button on each bud can be used to play or pause content, skip to the next track, answer or end a call, activate Siri, or decline a call.
The AirPods Pro offer a similar set of options, although there isn’t a touch shortcut on the buds for adjusting the volume. The stems of each earbud include a groove with a sensor that triggers certain actions when pressed. Such options include switching between transparency and active noise cancellation mode, playing and pausing content, fast-forwarding and rewinding audio, triggering Siri, and answering and ending phone calls.
The both offer great sound quality, although I slightly preferred the AirPods Pro.
Both the Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro are capable of rich, crisp audio playback with plenty of bass to boot. However, I did feel like the AirPods Pro sounded a bit louder and more full-bodied than the Powerbeats Pro in most circumstances, and its active noise cancellation made the audio feel slightly more immersive than the Powerbeats Pro.
That being said, the Powerbeats Pro don’t disappoint when it comes to audio quality.
But the Powerbeats Pro have longer battery life.
The Powerbeats Pro should offer up to nine hours of listening time, while the AirPods Pro can provide 4.5 hours of listening time when using active noise cancellation or transparency mode. You’ll get an extra half hour of playback time out of the AirPods Pro with those features turned off, resulting in five hours total. That means the Powerbeats Pro offer almost double the amount of battery life compared to the AirPods Pro when it comes to continuous listening.
Both earbuds, however, also come with cases that charge the buds when they’re not in use, and should enable more than 24 hours of listening time.
The charging case for the AirPods Pro also supports wireless charging, meaning you can simply rest the case on a charging pad to give it more juice rather than plugging it in with a Lightning cable. That might be an appealing perk for those who already use a wireless charger for their iPhone, although it’s not a deal-breaker by any means. The Powerbeats Pro’s case does not support wireless charging.
There are also many similarities between the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro, especially when it comes to Apple-centric features.
They’re also both capable of connecting to your iPhone as soon as you flip open the case once you’ve paired them for the first time. With both the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro, you’ll see a small dialogue box appear on your iPhone’s home screen after opening the lid, confirming that the earbuds are paired with your device and displaying the remaining battery percentage.
The AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro also both have sensors that can detect when the buds are in your ear, so they can automatically pause music when you remove one or both earbuds.
And both pairs of earbuds are sweat- and water-resistant too, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about wearing them during a tough workout or outdoors in light rain.
Which one is right for you?
Both the Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro offer high-quality audio and convenient features for roughly the same price. But deciding which one is right for you comes down to personal preference, especially when it comes to size and fit.
The Powerbeats Pro are ideal for those looking for more security in terms of how snug the earbuds remain in your ear. They also last for much longer on a single charge than Apple’s new AirPods, which can be an important differentiator for those looking for earbuds they can wear for hours on end without running out of juice. Plus, with ear tips in four sizes and four different color choices, the Powerbeats Pro are probably better suited for those looking for more choice in terms of customization.
But the AirPods Pro offer true active noise cancellation for the same price, which makes them noticeably better at drowning out distractions. If noise cancellation is a must and you prefer earbuds with a more compact design that don’t wrap around your ear, the AirPods Pro are likely the right fit for you.