Last spring, Apple subsidiary Beats released the currently available version of its Powerbeats headphones. The in-ear headphones rely on a Bluetooth connection and are perfect for athletes and runners thanks to their ear hooks and IPX4 protection. There is no number after the name, but these are already the fourth generation. The in-ear headphones are available in red, white and black.
We have tested the red Beats Powerbeats extensively at home, on the road in the streetcar, but of course also during workouts or runs in the last few weeks. Whether the sports headphones could convince us, you will learn in the following test.
|Design||With ear hook and neckband|
|Special features||IPX4 protection from water and sweat, Integrated on-ear control, Voice assistant (Apple Siri)|
|Charging port||Lightning Connector|
|Quick Charging Function||Fast Fuel (5 minutes charging for 1 hour playback)|
|Battery Life||Up to 15 hours|
|Size||38 x 59 x 24 mm (H x W x D)|
|Colors||Red, White, Black|
|Scope of delivery||Powerbeats Wireless High Performance in-ear headphones, ear inserts in four sizes, carrying case, Lightning to USB-A charging cable, quick start guide|
|Price||Price not available *|
The Beats Powerbeats come in a black cardboard box. The design is simple, and the in-ear headphones are clearly visible on the front. After opening the box, you can directly see the headphones, which are bright red in our case, and the other accessories are stored underneath. In addition to three more pairs of ear inserts, these include a black pouch, a short Lightning to USB-A charging cable, and instructions.
Design and Workmanship
The Powerbeats are in-ear headphones with both sides connected by a relatively thick and sturdy neckband. On the other hand, the connection to the smartphone or even other devices is wireless, with Bluetooth. In addition, they rely on ear hooks to guarantee a perfect hold, in any kind of movement. The ear hooks are flexible and thus adapt well to the ears.
On the left side is the on/off switch, when turned on a white LED is permanently lit there. Everything else can be found on the right side. Instead of the on/off switch, there is a wide volume rocker and the Lightning port, for charging, on the bottom. The Beats logo on the right side is another button. Pressing this button plays/pauses music or changes the song. Later, in the practical test, we will go into more detail about the operation. Two microphones are also installed for voice control and other functions.
The material quality and workmanship of the Powerbeats can convince us all around. The plastic feels high-quality, and there is nothing wrong with the corners, edges and transitions. The ear hooks are very flexible and, like the neckband, very stable. The power beats leave a robust impression.
Practical test and sound quality
Beats also relies on an Apple chip for the Powerbeats, in this case the H1. This ensures a fast and stable Bluetooth connection, enables many functions in interaction with the voice assistant Siri and simplifies pairing with Apple devices.
On the other hand, we use the Powerbeats with an Android smartphone and our laptop and connect them quite classically and also unproblematically, via the settings, with our devices. For more info, options, settings or even a short introduction to the product, the Beats app is available for download in the Google Play Store.
The Powerbeats is operated with the help of three buttons. On the left side you turn the in-ear headphones on or off, and on the right side are the other two controls. The volume rocker is on the upper side of the right casing, everything else is controlled by pressing the Beats logo. Depending on the action, you have to press it differently often. Pressing it once pauses playback or plays the music again, pressing it twice jumps to the next song, and pressing it three times restarts the current song or jumps back to the previous song. To call up the voice assistant, the button has to be held down longer (with Apple, the command “Hey Siri” is possible as an alternative). Calls can also be accepted with a simple press of the button.
The operation of the headphones usually worked well and reliably in everyday use. Sometimes we did not recognize what we wanted when we pressed the button more often. If we wanted to skip several songs or go back, we also had to press the button very often. Another button, e.g. on the left logo, might have been advantageous here.
We liked the sound of the Powerbeats in the test. Whether for podcasts, quiet songs, pop or indie, the headphones always performed well. The sound is balanced, the bass sufficiently present, but not too dominant. This will not be enough for audiophile users, but the Powerbeats should be a good all-rounder for the majority. Ambient noise was only suppressed a bit, and the lack of ANC is very noticeable here. Passing cars or louder noises were clearly audible, albeit quite quietly.
During phone calls, we found the voice of our conversation partner to be clear and well intelligible. Our own voice is much less audible due to the microphone quality. The Powerbeats are sufficient for short conversations in between, but you should probably rather switch to a suitable headset for longer conversations.
Whether for everyday wear or sports, the flexible ear hooks prevented slipping at all times and guaranteed us the perfect fit. The earpieces require some time to get used to, at first the design-related slight pressure was a bit unfamiliar. After a while, we found the Powerbeats comfortable for several hours. The neckband often wobbled back and forth a bit during faster jogging, but the impact on the sound was only minor and we generally found this to be only slightly annoying. The neckband even proves to be an advantage over TWS headphones in some situations, allowing you to hang the headphones around or take one out of your ear in between jogs without worrying about storage. The ear inserts fit well, plus four sizes should be enough for everyone to find the right ones.
We couldn’t quite reach the promised 15 hours of playback in the test. On average, we got a playback time of just over 13 hours at medium volume. Using fast charging, the battery, via the Lightning-to-USB-A cable, was charged by seven percent within five minutes, which, based on our 13 hours, or 13.13 to be more precise, gives us a playback time of 55 minutes after five minutes of charging.
The fourth generation of the Powerbeats left a good impression in the test, our Gold Award was only just missed. The in-ear headphones are particularly convincing in the test with high material quality, good workmanship and very high wearing comfort, whether at home, on the road or even during sports. The sound of the headphones is good and balanced, but does not necessarily stand out from the crowd of in-ear headphones. We found the battery life of 13 hours to be sufficient, and the Powerbeats are ready for the next workout or run after just a few minutes thanks to Fast Fuel.
If you’re looking for sonically balanced in-ear headphones that are especially suitable for sports of any kind, you should take a look at the fourth-generation Beats Powerbeats headphones.