The reliable fit and great sound of the Beats Powerbeats Pro mean they are still among the best sports headphones, despite having been available since 2019. They don’t have features like ANC though, and are not great value at list price compared with other options, but the Powerbeats Pro are often in big sales like Black Friday and are worth buying when the price drops.
- Secure fit
- Great sound
- Long battery life
- No ANC or transparency modes
- More expensive than rivals
- Large carry case
You can trust Coach
These headphones were first reviewed in June 2019 and given 4.5 stars, then re-reviewed in January 2024 and given 4 stars.
When the Beats Powerbeats Pro came out in 2019 they were among the best workout headphones, and that’s still the case today. However, in the four years since launch there are features that have become standard that the Powerbeats Pro lack, such as active noise cancellation (ANC), which makes them a harder sell at their high list price.
Fortunately, the Powerbeats Pro are regularly in sales and when discounted they are still worth buying. They are among the best running headphones thanks to their reliable fit and great sound, and they outlast most newer buds’ battery life.
Beat Powerbeats Pro: Price And Availability
The Beats Powerbeats Pro launched in 2019 at $249.95 in the US and £219.95 in the UK. In the US that price remains unchanged, but in the UK the headphones are now considerably more expensive, at £269.95. However, it’s unlikely you’ll have to pay full price for the Powerbeats Pro, which usually drop to $149/£149 in sales like Black Friday.
How I Tested These Headphones
I reviewed the Powerbeats Pro headphones for Coach when they launched and have recently tried another set for several weeks of workouts, mainly running, for this updated review. I’ve also reviewed the Beats Fit Pro, and the best workout headphones from many brands.
Design And Fit
The Powerbeats Pro have an in-ear bud with an ear hook that holds the headphones in place no matter how vigorous your workout is. I’ve worn the headphones for long stretches and have no complaints about comfort. They’ve never budged during runs or other kinds of workouts. I also found I could wear the buds alongside glasses and a hat without the ear hook being uncomfortable.
There are three colors available now—black, ivory and navy—though the range of colors has been larger in the past so you may see others available. The headphones come with ear tips in four sizes to help ensure a good fit.
The Powerbeats Pro use Apple’s H1 chip, rather than the newer H2 chip in the Apple AirPods Pro 2. The H1 chip means the Powerbeats Pro buds pair easily with all Apple devices, and you can use them with Android and other Bluetooth devices too, though they lack some of the advanced features on the AirPods Pro like their adaptive transparency mode.
With a water resistance rating of IPX4 the Powerbeats Pro are not fully waterproof but will withstand sweat and rain. I’ve no concerns about their durability, having used them for years of sweaty runs in all weathers, but you can get workout headphones that are fully waterproof if you’d prefer.
The Powerbeats Pro have a large carry case that also charges the headphones, which last up to nine hours on a charge with another 15 hours of juice in the case. You can use Apple’s Find My feature to locate the Powerbeats Pro if you lose them.
The sound quality is impressive. The balance of bass, treble and vocals suited my indie music preferences well, with plenty of detail on the top end, and they are powerful enough to drown out most surroundings so you can focus on your workout.
The in-ear tip sometimes slipped a little, which doesn’t make the headphones feel loose but does reduce the passive noise cancellation they offer. Since there’s no ANC on the buds, I found they let in a lot of wind noise when running outside unless you really jam the in-ear bud into place.
There is also no awareness mode, which is another common feature on sports buds these days. This means they’re less suitable for cycling or running outdoors, when at times you will want to know what’s going on around you, though you can just take one headphone out to hear more of your surroundings.
The Powerbeats Pro last nine hours on a charge, which is impressive, though the lack of ANC means they are a little power-intensive than buds with that feature. You can also get 90 minutes of playback from a five-minute charge if you find they are low on juice when you put them on.
I found that I had to be careful to ensure the right headphone in particular was sitting correctly in the case each time I used it, because sometimes it hadn’t charged. Also, the extra 15 hours of battery you get from the case is a little low given how large and heavy it is. You get the same amount of overall battery life from smaller buds with smaller cases, like the Apple AirPods Pro 2.
Aside from the lack of an on/off button, which means you have to put the Powerbeats Pro back in their case to turn them off after use, the controls on the buds are excellent. Each headphone has a multi-function button that you use to control playback, or fire up Siri, as well as separate volume up/down controls on each bud.
The buttons are easy to use even when exercising vigorously and it’s hard to inadvertently set them off, which is a problem I had with the Beats Fit Pro. You can also use Siri hands-free by saying Hey Siri.
Are The Beats Powerbeats Pro Worth It?
It’s hard to justify buying the Powerbeats Pro at their full price when there are excellent sports headphones like the Jabra Elite 8 Active, Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Beats Fit Pro available for less and offering extra features such as ANC. Those are all better lifestyle/sports cross-over headphones too, thanks to their smaller size and smaller cases.
However, the Powerbeats Pro are still excellent workout headphones and some will find the ear hook design essential for getting a reliable fit when training. If you spy them available at a significant discount, they can still be worth buying thanks to the combination of fit, sound quality and battery life.
There are, of course, cheaper workout buds with ear hooks available, like the JLab Epic Air Sport headphones, which also offer ANC (though it’s not great) and have even better battery life than the Powerbeats Pro—but the Beats buds do sound better.
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.