Sunday, October 18, 2020

Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review

Disclaimer: The product featured was purchased by me.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
As you know, gadget reviews are not my forte. However, ever since my boyfriend gave me a pair of Powerbeats Pro (C$329.95) from Beats by Dre for my birthday last year, I've been wanting to share with you how much I love them! Since I've been running with them for almost a year now (the tennis ball is just a prop, haha), the time has finally come for me to write this post. I'll be giving you a detailed look at the Powerbeats Pro and provide my honest user experience to help you decide if they are worth the investment. To read on, click......
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro
What's in the Box:
  • Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones
  • Charging Case
  • Four Size of Eartips
  • Lightning to USB-A Charging Cable
Key Features:
  • Totally wireless design
  • Up to 9 hours of listening time per charge
  • Sweat and water-resistant
  • Flexible, secure-fit earhooks
  • Dynamic range and noise isolation
  • Sensor-detect for auto-play
  • On-ear control for music and calls
  • Hands-free voice control (for iOS devices)
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Charging Case
The Charging Case:
The Powerbeats Pro comes in a sleek matte black charging case that reminds me of a fancy jewelry box. It shuts with a satisfying magnetic snap but can be cumbersome to open due to the rather shallow indentations on the front edge that provide a poor grip. A lot of people find this case way too bulky and although I whole-heartedly agree, I don't find it to be a dealbreaker. If I'm going for a run, I definitely don't need to carry the case with me and if I'm commuting, I can just keep the case in my purse or backpack. Additionally, given that a full charge provides up to 9 hours of listening time, you can simply leave the charging case at home while you are out and about.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Charging Case
When I first started using the Powerbeats Pro, it was a bit tricky figuring out just how to insert them into the case. Maybe I'm spatially challenged but it's not as intuitive as you'd think. It's also worth noting that although the earphones magnetically snap into their place, you really have to press down onto them to ensure that the metal charging components are in contact with each other. This is especially true after a few months of wear as the flexible earhooks will change shape and interfere with the proper positioning of the earphones inside the case. I've learned this the hard way after finding the earphone battery completely depleted one time because they weren't actually charging inside the case.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Earphone Charging Ports
There are a few other features of the case that I want to highlight, the first being the small button on the inside that helps connect the Powerbeats Pro to your device. If you use an iPhone, this is literally a one-second process and you pretty much never have to use that button again. A little light indicator can be found outside the case and it lights up to indicate when the case is being charged or when the earphones have been connected to the case. Lastly, there's a lightning port on the back of the case that allows the case itself to be charged. A full charge of the case provides more than 24 hours of listening time. For my personal use, I find that I only have to charge the case once a week at most.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Charging Case
As I've dropped this case a handful of times, I can comment that the design is quite durable. Despite my careless handling, the case has barely sustained any noticeable dents or scratches over the year, so I'm quite impressed in that respect.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Charging Case Charging Port
The Earphones:
The Powerbeats Pro is a set of completely wireless in-ear earbuds designed with flexible earhooks that keep the earphones in place during even the most intense workouts. Currently, the earphones come in six different colors. I chose black as it is the most incognito of the bunch. The design is very lightweight and resistant to water and sweat. Two identical buttons can be found on each earbud, allowing easy control from both sides. The round button embossed with the Beats "b" logo controls music and calls. One press accepts calls and allows pause/play. A press and hold decline calls or activates voice-control on non-iOS devices ("Hey Siri" activates voice control hands-free on iOS devices). And lastly, two quick presses play the next song. 
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | "b" Button
Of all the features of the Powerbeats Pro, this button is the one I have the most issues with. I've had instances when the button became completely defunct for no reason and would only work again after some time later. Granted this only happened once or twice after 7 to 8 months of use, but it's still a problem. Now the major struggle I have with this button is the double press function, which I use a lot to skip songs while running. Because of its relatively larger, circular design, it seems that the button needs to be pressed right on its centre to register the action. This poses a problem when I am running and have to delicately and precisely press the button twice in quick successions. I would say about 25% of the time, I have trouble executing the double press, resulting in the earphones to register only a single press command, thereby pausing the music. Again, none of this is a deal-breaker but I think it's definitely an issue Beats should address in future updates of the earphone.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Volume Button
The second button is a long rectangular strip that allows volume control. It's easy to access and easy to use so I have no complaints. Near the actual earpiece, a small sensor triggers auto-play when it comes in contact with your ears. Conversely, the feature allows auto-pause when the earphones are removed. This is a convenient feature that comes in handy when I have to remove one earphone to talk to someone or to adjust its positioning.
Both earphones have a small microphone for making calls. I've not used them much but from what my boyfriend has told me, the sound is not great when I've used them on calls with him. Additionally, I find that wind noise is a big problem while I'm running as Siri can barely understand what I'm trying to say half the time (but of course, that could just be a Siri problem).
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro | Auto-Play Sensor
Comfort & Fit:
The main reason I was drawn to the Powerbeats Pro is its totally wireless, secure fit and I was not disappointed. Long gone are the days of trying to secure the wire to prevent pulling and noise interference and the lightweight design makes me forget that I'm wearing earphones at all. As you can see in the pictures below, the earhook is fairly large and flexible so it should fit a variety of ear shapes with no issues. Even during the most vigorous exercise, the hooks help the earphones stay in place so there is no risk of them falling out of the ears. My only minor complaint is that sometimes when sweat starts to collect around the silicone ear tips near the end of a workout, things can get a little itchy but other than that, the fit is comfortable and secure.
It is worth noting that the earphones may not work great for those that wear glasses as the earhook wraps around the top of the ears where the temple of the glasses would sit. Additionally, during COVID 19 when I frequently need to mask up, the ear loops sometimes get hooked onto the earphones, making the mask difficult to remove without also removing the earphones.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro
Sound Quality & Connectivity:
Since I'm far from a pro when it comes to audio gadgets, I'm not the best judge of sound quality. However, as compared to all the other in-ear earphones I've tried in the past, the Powerbeats Pro definitely has a superior balanced sound with good noise isolation. If you are interested, this review from Sound Guys provides a much better breakdown.
In terms of Bluetooth connectivity, the Powerbeats Pro has performed perfectly with zero issues for me. With other wireless earphones I've owned in the past, I've experienced occasional dropouts but with the Powerbeats Pro, this has never happened. It's also worth noting that the Bluetooth connection has a really good range so I can set my phone down and go about my business at home while I'm doing chores.
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones: Review
Beats by Dre | Powerbeats Pro
Overall, the Powerbeats Pro has been a game-changer for me. I run up to five times a week and these have made my running music-listening experience so much better! The design is not perfect but the few issues I have (ex. the temperamental "b" button, the finicky charging ports) are easily outweighed by the lightweight, secure, and totally wireless design. If you lead an active lifestyle and are sick of constantly adjusting your earphones and dealing with the wire, the Powerbeats Pro is the solution for you!

Availability:
Beats by Dre is available online at www.beatsbydre.com and online and in stores at most retailers including Apple, Best Buy, Walmart, Sport Chek, and Indigo. It's worth noting that the Powerbeats Pro occasionally go on sale; mine were discounted C$70 during last Black Friday.
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