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 PowerBeats Pro are Apple-owned Beats' first true wireless Bluetooth earbuds that cut the cable and seek to be the ultimate running and gym earphones. As with Apple's original AirPods, which looked like a set of the firm's standard EarPods with the cables cut off, the £220 PowerBeats Pro are basically the firm's popular PowerBeats 3 neckband Bluetooth earbuds without the cables joining the pair. That includes the signature ear hook, which tucks behind the top of your ear to hold the earbuds in place. As such the PowerBeats Pro are neither small nor subtle. They come in black, but also a series of attractive colours such as a dark green.
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.
While some people might decry the act of running while blaring tunes, claiming it distracts you from the objectively arduous task at hand (that is, flinging your body through space at speed for miles on end), I wholeheartedly disagree. Whether you're jogging, lifting, skating, or just spending a lot more time indoors due to increasingly restrictive government mandates, you're gonna want some headphones to keep the party going in your head. To that end, Apple-owned audio company Beats now has a new version of its workout-focused Powerbeats headphones, a sort of little brother to the truly wireless Powerbeats Pro. At $149, the Powerbeats won't outshine the pricier Pro model, but it does make for a decent pair of headphones at a fair price if you can get over some potential dealbreakers. The new Powerbeats, which look more streamlined compared to the $199 Powerbeats released in 2016, are in-ear headphones with adjustable rubber hooks that loop around the back of the ear.
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.