Offering stability, comfort and quality sound, the Powerbeats from Beats by Dr. Dre are the perfect headphones for working out
Wireless headphones are an essential inclusion in a gym enthusiast or runner’s kitbag. Apple subsidiary Beats has been catering for that market for more than a decade with its Powerbeats range and the latest addition to the series – the eponymous Powerbeats – is the most impressive yet.
At £129, they’re keenly priced, but it’s the way they refine and build upon their predecessors’ design and audio quality that truly sets them apart. Read on to find out exactly what makes the Powerbeats such great exercise companions.
Engineered for activity
Everything about the Powerbeats’ design is tailored for the active individual. First and foremost, they operate wirelessly via Bluetooth 5, with support for both AAC and SBC codecs. With no wires, you can work out without worrying that you’ll pull out your connection!
Their earhooks – a signature feature of the Powerbeats series since 2010 – offer unrivalled stability during physical activity. The flexible silicone hooks loop easily over your ears, and once the earbuds are inserted into your ear canals, it’s nigh on impossible to budge them. To help get that perfect fit in your ear, there are four sets of ear tips included, offering supreme stability regardless of the shape of your ears.
The wire connecting the two earpieces now runs behind your ear, rather than in front as it did with the last generation. It’s a small change, but a significant one, as you’re far less aware of the Powerbeats’ presence on your head. In another welcome tweak, the wiring – which was once flat – is now round, reducing any friction that might occur while you’re working out.
On top of all that, the Powerbeats are both sweat- and water-resistant, so whether you’re caught in the rain running or sweating profusely in the gym, you needn’t worry about damaging your headphones.
The soundtrack to success
Beats headphones are renowned for their low-end prowess and the Powerbeats deliver spectacularly, with tight and punchy bass reproduction. At full volume, they unleash a sensory assault on your eardrums that those that enjoy their music loud and powerful will adore.
At more reasonable volume levels, the sound signature is well balanced, giving plenty of room for vocal- and treble-heavy tracks to shine. There’s detail across the acoustic spectrum, and while the soundstage is on the narrower side, this helps create a wonderfully intense listening experience to power your physical endeavours.
The Apple of your eye
iPhone users will be in their element with the Powerbeats. Pairing with an Apple device is as easy as turning on the headphones and holding them close to your smartphone. If iOS is your chosen operating system, you’ll also get access to Audio Sharing, which enables you to pair two compatible Apple or Beats headphones to one device.
Thanks to Apple’s latest H1 headphones chip, the Powerbeats are fully equipped with voice-assistant functionality. As part of the Apple ecosystem, they’re geared towards use with the company’s Siri technology and are constantly listening for the “Hey Siri” command, which gives you hands-free voice controls in an instant. You can also choose to have Siri announce messages without having to unlock your phone should you wish.
Not part of the Apple ecosystem or a fan of Siri? Fear not – you can simply hold down the Beats-branded multi-function button on the right earbud to hail your voice assistant of choice.
Simple yet effective
If voice controls aren’t your cup of tea, there’s no need to worry, as the Powerbeats’ manual controls are responsive and intuitive to use. There’s a power button on the left earpiece, while volume controls and the multi-function button are housed on the right earpiece. Everything is so conveniently laid out that you won’t ever find yourself fiddling around trying to pause your music or skip past that track you really hate.
Talking a good game
It may not be high on the priority list for your gym headphones, but the quality of the Powerbeats’ microphone is excellent. Chatting while on the cross trainer posed no issues at all, with top-notch clarity at both ends of the call. You probably won’t be having deep and meaningfuls while pumping iron, but it’s always good to know that you’ll be heard over the hubbub of a crowded gym.
Going the distance
The Powerbeats’ battery life is exceptional. Fully charged, you can expect up to 15 hours of playtime, a figure very few in-ear Bluetooth headphones can match. Coupled with a marathon runner’s level of stamina, the Powerbeats are quick out of the blocks, too: just five minutes of charge provides an hour of audio.