Apple's revamped Powerbeats Bluetooth workout earphones take what was great from the firm's true wireless earbuds and add a cable, longer battery life and cheaper price. Powerbeats replace the older, more expensive Powerbeats 3, with redesigned ear hooks, cable guides and Apple's H1 chip, which simplifies Bluetooth connectivity and gives them all the AirPods-like features Apple's headphones have with iPhones. The design of the Powerbeats is pretty simple. Each earphone's body has an earbud sticking out of one side with a traditional silicone ear tip that twists into your ear canal. The other end has an hook that loops over the back of your ear, holding it in place and neatly guiding the cable backwards rather than in front of your ear like its predecessors.
The Beats Flex are Apple's latest neckband Bluetooth earbuds, and bring many of the fancy features of its AirPods to headphones costing just one third of the price. The new Beats cost £49.99 and replace the £129 Beats X as the firm's cheapest wireless earbuds, sitting below the £129.95 In the world of true wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the older-style neckband models typically occupy the cheaper end of the market. They have wires connecting the earbuds to each other but Bluetooth to the phone. The Flex earbuds are well designed with a balanced fit featuring two pods either side of a flat, semi-flexible cable that rests on the back of the neck. The earbuds are then connected to the pods via further flat, flexible cables.
Apple's true wireless earbuds have gone "pro" and in doing so deliver on the promise of the 2017 originals. The new AirPods Pro are worth the wait. Apple managed two pieces of magic in 2017 with the original £159 AirPods. They just worked without the skips, blips or audio delay, and came in a tiny battery case that kept them charged and safe – a combination that competitors still find hard to match. But they had one big problem: no isolation from the outside world.
Beats by Dre's Powerbeats earphones have been a mainstay in the wireless headphone genre for years, and things have only gotten more interesting since Apple took over. With the Powerbeats Pro, Beats stepped into the true wireless market alongside other fully wireless earbuds like Apple's own AirPods, offering impressive new features and the best sound from Beats earbuds yet. Enter the Powerbeats, which knock a full $100 off the price of their "Pro" sibling, while offering most of the same features. Unlike the Powerbeats Pro, the Powerbeats are connected by a small wire, similar to 2016's Powerbeats3, and other models. There are other differences too, so read on to get the goods on what's new in the latest Powerbeats, what's missing, and which pair is right for you.
At first glance, Beats' new Powerbeats Pro look just like Powerbeats 3, but with the cord connecting the two earbuds together snipped off. But take a closer look and you'll see there's a lot more than meets the eye. Powerbeats Pro are cord-free at last (finally) and pricier than the $199.95 Powerbeats 3, but they also fit better, have improved sound, and faster connectivity thanks to the same Apple H1 chip it shares with AirPods 2. First things first: The Powerbeats Pro aren't replacing the Powerbeats 3. Beats told me Powerbeats Pro will still be sold alongside the Powerbeats 3 when it's available in May. So if you still like having wireless earbuds with a cable -- maybe you like dangling them around your neck after a run -- you'll still be able to get the old model.