Beats has unveiled the Powerbeats Pro true wireless in-ear headphones, adding a new alternative for the Apple AirPods 2. Being owned by Apple, the earphones are based on the core technology that powers the AirPods 2, using the same Apple H1 chip to power the audio. As a result, this enables the handsfree ‘Hey Siri’ integration in the earphones, which is one of the key draws of the AirPods. The overall audio, however, may differ slightly depending on the drivers and configuration that it uses.
In terms of performance, report across the internet state that the Powerbeats Pro lives up to Beats’ claim of wide soundstage and commendable dynamic range. Beats stated upon launch that it uses linear piston drivers with the pressurised airflow of the canisters to provide superior acoustic response. The Powerbeats Pro offers a build that is 23 percent smaller and 17 percent lighter than the original, wireless Powerbeats. As a result, they work better as true wireless earbuds, and instead of confusing gesture-based audio controls, uses physical buttons on the body for audio control.
It claims to fit better in the ear, and as a result, offers better passive noise cancellation. The earclip design ensures that it does not fall off the ears, which is significantly superior to the awkward, wire-clipped design of the AirPods. The earphones also connect independently to smartphones, giving them more versatile connectivity wherein one earpiece is not dependent on the other. It also has onboard sensors that will pause the playback if one earpiece is taken off, making them more intuitive. The Powerbeats Pro also claim to offer nine hours of continuous playback time in a single charge, and its fast charging standard with the supplied charging case claims to offer an impressive 1.5 hours of playback time with just five minutes of charge, and a staggering 4.5 hours with 15 minutes of charge.
However, the charging case does not get wireless charging, unlike the new AirPods. Furthermore, while Beats has claimed that the earphones are water and sweat-resistant, the exact ingress protection (IP) rating has not been disclosed. The Powerbeats Pro is also compatible with Android devices. However, the charging case uses a Lightning port for charging, instead of the more universal USB-C. While iPhone users will not be bothered by this, Android aficionados will find this affronting.
On an overall note, the Beats Powerbeats Pro offers a host of superior features to the AirPods 2. However, pricing may be an issue — the earphones are priced at $250 (~Rs 17,200), which is significantly higher than the AirPods 2, which costs $199 (~Rs 13,800) with a wireless charging case bundled. The earphones will launch in USA in May, and it remains to be seen if Apple brings it to India.