Beats Powerbeats3 Bluetooth Headphones Review

And the most expensive of the best, but an extra £20 for 12 hours of battery life is worth it

Beats Powerbeats3
(Image: © Beats by Dr Dre)

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There are many important factors to consider when selecting the right pair of Bluetooth workout headphones – price, fit, sound quality and design to name a few – but when it comes down to practical, everyday use, the feature that can make or break a pair is battery life. The best-sounding headphones in the world are of no use at all if you’ve left them behind because they’re out of juice.

That’s why before you consider anything else about the Beats Powerbeats3 – and there’s plenty more to like about them – it’s worth hailing their 12-hour battery life. That’s a sizeable improvement on the six to eight hours you get from most models and it means you can use the Powerbeats3 for a week’s worth of activities comfortably. If they’re dead, you can also get an hour’s playback from just five minutes of charging.

Beats Powerbeats3 wireless bluetooth workout headphones

(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre)

The Powerbeats3 also shine when it comes to connectivity, especially if you’re an Apple fan (unsurprising given that Apple owns Beats). They connect quickly and easily with iPhones, MacBooks (I’ve found most Bluetooth headphones to be fussy when connecting to laptops) and Apple Watches. Even if you don’t have an Apple device the Powerbeats3 are fast to connect and the signal is reliably strong.

When you turn on the headphones you get a little jingle to indicate they are connected to a device, which is fine, but I’d have liked to also get an indication of battery life – something’s that standard across other brands. You can see the battery life, to the exact percentage, of the Powerbeats3 on your iPhone but a quick message in your ear when you turn them on would be more convenient.

Beats Powerbeats3 blue detail

(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre)

The fit is comfortable and secure. The ear hook can be bent to your liking and there are several different buds to choose between. I found that you could use the different buds to pick between a tight seal for better sound or a looser fit to allow some ambient noise, which is useful if wearing the Powerbeats3 when running or cycling outside.

Even during more vigorous activities the Powerbeats3 never budged a millimetre. The cable length can be adjusted with a clip but even if you remove this the cable doesn’t bounce around annoyingly during runs.

The sound quality is also impressive. Naturally if you opt for a looser fit that allows in external noise it’s not as good, but if you get a tight seal the sound is full and rich, with strong but not excessively punchy bass. There is also an inline remote with all the usual capabilities – you can pause what you’re listening to, skip forward and back, adjust the volume, take calls and speak to your virtual assistant, like Siri.

As active headphones should be, they’re water resistant so they can handle sweat and rain, but they’re not waterproof.

If you plan on pairing them with Apple devices, the Powerbeats3 are the best option on the market and they’re a superb pick even if you’re an Android fan. However, they come at a premium – £169.95. That’s a fair chunk more than ever other top-end options like the Jaybird Freedom (£139.99) or Bose SoundSport (£149.95). In my eyes, the battery life upgrade alone is enough to justify the difference, but if you’re less concerned about that and not locked into the Apple ecosystem, there is better value elsewhere.

£169.95, buy on

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.