Many of us here at iMore care about having the best audio quality in our earbuds. We’ve tried out many pairs to get you the best recommendations.
Compact and pro sound
- Improved sound and fit with silicone ear tips
- Multiple sizes of silicone ear tips
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Transparency Mode
- In-ear design with water resistance
- Wireless charging case that’s still compact
- Controls can be customized
- Requires iOS 13.2, watchOS 6.1, tvOS 13.2, or macOS Catalina 10.15.1 or later
- Only about 4.5 hours of battery life, 24 hours with case
- No colors
AirPods Pro finally gives AirPods users true wireless freedom with a secure in-ear fit, so you won’t have to worry about losing an AirPod so easily. It also has Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) with Transparency for safety, and you can share audio with other AirPods Pro users.
Colorful and wireless freedom
- Over-ear hook design for secure fit
- Four sized ear tips for the right fit
- 9 hour battery life, over 24 hours with charging case
- 5-minute Fast Fuel charging gives 1.5 hours of playback
- Has H1 chip but can work with any Bluetooth device
- Large and bulky charging case
- Charging case does not have wireless charging
- Only noise isolating, not cancelling
- Controls can’t be customized
Powerbeats Pro has incredibly long-lasting battery life, and even more so if you have the charging case to extend it. The over-hook design works for a lot of people, including glass wearers. Unfortunately, Powerbeats Pro does not have Active Noise Cancellation, just noise isolation, but it can work with any Bluetooth device.
The AirPods Pro are great for those who don’t mind an in-ear design and want active noise cancellation with transparency for certain situations. But the Powerbeats Pro will definitely last longer and are great for workout enthusiasts.
3, 2, 1, let’s jam
While the Powerbeats Pro are pretty good wireless earbuds, the over-ear hook design is not everyone’s favorite style, and it only has noise isolation, not cancellation. The AirPods Pro, however, are a huge improvement over the first two generations with improved sound quality, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and Transparency Mode for those situations where you need to still be aware of your surroundings.
|AirPods Pro||Powerbeats Pro|
|Design||In-ear tips||Over-ear hook with on-ear tips|
|Colors||White||Black, Ivory, Moss, Navy|
|Battery Life||4.5/5 hours, 24 with charging case||9 hours, over 24 with charging case|
|Addition ear tips||Yes, three sizes||Yes, four sizes|
|Quick charging in case||Yes||Yes|
|Active Noise Cancellation||Yes||No, only noise isolation|
|Water Resistant||Yes, IPX4 rating||Yes, IPX4 rating|
With the first two generations of AirPods, there are no silicone ear tips, so the tip just kind of hangs from your ear, and isn’t a particularly comfortable fit. The new in-ear silicone tips give a better fit, and there are three sizes of ear tips, so you can use the one that works best for your ears. Because of the better flexibility in fit, the AirPods Pro are a definite improvement over the first and second generation AirPods.
Active Noise Cancellation on the AirPods Pro means that the hardware is always minimizing the amount of outside noise that you’ll be able to hear while listening to your audio. While there is no button on the AirPods Pro to turn ANC on or off, you can tap the volume slider in Control Center to see the option of turning it on or off. This is more ideal to use when you’re on an airplane, train, or other modes of public transportion.
AirPods Pro also provides a Transparency Mode for the ANC, which activates the microphones to let you be aware of what’s going on in your surroundings. Again, this can be toggled on or off in the Control Center volume slider. Apple’s AirPods Pro also features adaptive EQ, so you only get the best quality audio in each ear.
The Powerbeats Pro controls cannot be customized through your Apple devices, though it will work with any Bluetooth enabled device. Controls on the AirPods Pro, like AirPods, can be customized through the Settings on your iPhone or iPad. You will need to be running iOS/iPadOS 13.2 or later, watchOS 6.1 or later, tvOS 13.2 or later, or macOS Catalina 10.15.1 or later in order to use AirPods Pro.
As far as battery life goes, the Powerbeats Pro has the AirPods Pro beat at 9 hours versus 5 hours, though using the Quick Charge cases for both will bump you to at least 24 hours total for each. The AirPods Pro has wireless Qi-charging support for its charging case, though you can also plug it in via a Lightning cable. The Powerbeats Pro’s large and bulky case can only be plugged in via Lightning.
If you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem already, then it’s a no-brainer: the AirPods Pro are the clear winner, despite only coming in white. But if you want more colors, don’t mind over-ear hook designs, think noise isolation is good enough, and just want something mostly for workout sessions, then PowerBeats Pro is a good option.
The AirPods we’ve been waiting for
AirPods Pro finally gives us a better, more secure fit with Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode. The new charging case has been redesigned, but still has wireless Qi-charging, as well as a Lightning port.
PowerBeats Pro has great battery life at about 9 hours before needing a charge, but the charging case lacks wireless charging and is quite bulky. The sound quality is good, but it doesn’t have Active Noise Cancellation and it has the over-ear hook design.