Apple’s AirPods 2 wireless earphones are pretty expensive. But soon after launching the AirPods 2, the Cupertino company introduced the new Powerbeats Pro, which make even the new AirPods look affordable. Both of them are fully wireless and offer an excellent audio experience. But how do they differ? Let’s check out how the Powerbeats Pro stack up against the insanely popular AirPods 2.
Powerbeats Pro vs AirPods 2: Design
The AirPods 2 have the same design as the original AirPods. They are small and lightweight, and have the same protruding antenna. They are intended for casual use. Unfortunately, Apple has taken the same one-size-fits-all approach with the AirPods 2, meaning there are no interchangeable in-ear tips for a customizable fit depending on the shape of your ears. The same rounded earpiece is supposed to fit in everyone’s ears.
The AirPods 2 also don’t have any hooks to keep them in the ears. It doesn’t mean the AirPods 2 fall off your ears every now and then. Apple’s design ensures that they rest snugly in your ears even when you are working out. The new AirPods come with a portable dental floss-sized case that not only stores the earbuds but also acts as a charger.
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The AirPods 2 come in only one color option, which is White. The AirPods charging case is also White. In contrast, the Powerbeats Pro ship with a black charging case and come in four different color options – Black, Navy, Moss, and Ivory. The Powerbeats Pro’s charging case feels a lot bulkier than that of AirPods.
The Powerbeats Pro have a sporty design, which makes them more suitable for fitness enthusiasts. They have wraparound earhooks that clip around the ear to keep the earbuds in place. The Powerbeats Pro come with four interchangeable ear tips of different sizes for a customizable fit. They stay in your ears even during vigorous activity. They also feel a bit heavier in the ear.
The Powerbeats Pro are sweat and water resistant. They come with an IPX4 rating for water-resistance. They can easily survive rainy commutes, water splashes, and sweaty workouts. But they may fail if you wear them during your swimming sessions.
The AirPods 2 don’t offer water resistance, so you’d want to keep them away from water, sweat, or saliva. However, multiple tests have shown that the new AirPods can survive certain levels of sweat or moisture exposure.
Powerbeats Pro vs AirPods 2: Specs and controls
Both pairs of earphones run the same H1 processor, which offers lower latency, faster connections, and hands-free Hey Siri activation on iOS devices. You have to pair either of them with an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch for using Hey Siri. Both of them allow you to easily switch between connected devices.
The H1 chip also allows customers to use one earbud at a time. Both of them come with built-in sensors that automatically pause music when you pull one earbud out of your ear. Pairing them with Apple devices is pretty easy, but Android users have to manually pair the earbuds through Bluetooth. Talking about Bluetooth, they both support the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard.
The Powerbeats Pro and AirPods 2 have different controls. Outside of Siri, you have to control the new AirPods by tapping on the side of either earbud. It allows you to play and pause music, skip songs forward or backward.
In contrast, the Powerbeats Pro have physical buttons for controls. They get physical volume rockers, and a multi-function button on each earbud for controlling music playback. The volume rockers are a big plus for Powerbeats. Unfortunately, users can’t customize the button presses for different actions.
Audio experience on the AirPods 2 is excellent, but the Powerbeats Pro are far superior. Sound performance of the new AirPods remain the same as the original AirPods. They offer powerful bass and good instrumental separation. The Powerbeats Pro deliver more punchy bass, clear sound, and brilliant instrumental separation.
Unlike AirPods which lack a closed design, the Powerbeats Pro don’t let in ambient noise. You can listen to music even in a crowded and noisy bazaar without cranking up the volume on Powerbeats.
For phone calls, both products deliver great sound quality. They have excellent microphones that filter out ambient noise to make it easier for people on the other side of the call to hear you. The Powerbeats Pro sound clearer.
Both the AirPods and Powerbeats have a speech-detecting accelerometer and beam-forming microphones to filter out ambient noise. One major difference here is that the Powerbeats Pro have two beam-forming microphones on each side.
Battery life and charging
Apple promises up to five hours of battery life on the AirPods 2 and nine hours of playback per charge on the Powerbeats Pro. The Powerbeats Pro are among earbuds with the longest battery life, as they last about four hours longer than AirPods 2.
Both products support fast charging. The AirPods 2 get you 3 hours of playback time in just 15 minutes of charging. The Powerbeats deliver 1.5 hours of music playback in 5 minutes and 5 hours in 15 minutes of charging. If you take into account the combined battery life of the earbuds and the charging case, both products deliver the same 24 hours of playback time.
The longer battery life also means you won’t have to always carry around that bulky Powerbeats charging case. The AirPods case is much more compact. While the base model of AirPods 2 doesn’t have a wireless charging case, you can shell out an additional $40 for the one with a wireless charging case. The Powerbeats Pro case does not support wireless charging despite being more expensive. Each case has a Lightning port for charging.
The AirPods 2 have been priced at $159. If you want the version with wireless charging case, you’ll have to shell out $199. In contrast, the Powerbeats Pro are much more expensive at $250. They make even the AirPods look affordable.
The Powerbeats Pro are superior in terms of battery life, audio quality, physical controls, water resistance, and customizable fit. But they are ridiculously expensive at $250. On the other hand, the AirPods 2 are lighter and cost almost $100 less. If you know that the AirPods fit your ears comfortably, it makes sense to buy the new AirPods.