Powerbeats3 Assessment: A Retrospective | Digital Traits

The Powerbeats3, the third iteration of the bass-heavy, sport-ready earbuds from Apple’s Beats by Dre offshoot, have been among the many hottest wi-fi earbuds obtainable after they debuted in 2016. With the approaching launch of Beats’ new Powerbeats Professional — which ditch the band between the buds to go totally wi-fi à la Apple’s AirPods — it’s value having a look again on the Powerbeats3.

Are these hip-hop loving headphones nonetheless worthy of your consideration? We’re not so certain. Although the Powerbeats3’s value has dropped by as a lot as half since their debut, their authentic $200 price ticket was undoubtedly a giant ask. What’s extra, the competitors has solely gotten stronger, making at present’s wi-fi headphone market a tricky row to hoe for Dre’s emblematic earbuds.

Out of the field

The Powerbeats3 arrive in a white-and-red field which appears unimaginable to open at first blush. A second look reveals a rip strip on the entrance that unleashes the buds from their paper mattress. Pulling out the buds reveals giant matte plastic shells linked by a rubberized tether that may be cinched up for a tighter match in your neck.

Beneath the highest layer is a group of equipment, together with a choice of three extra pairs of eartips (4 in complete), a tiny USB-to-micro USB charging cable, directions, and a group of Beats stickers that look quite a bit just like the trademark for Goal retail shops. There’s additionally a rubberized case that appears like a futuristic coin purse — it received’t shield the buds from drops, however might assist maintain them untangled, we suppose.

Options and design

You’ve little question seen the Powerbeats3 (or their predecessors) whereas out and about. Their signature horizontal-strip design and wraparound hooks are unmistakable, even when you don’t know the model, they usually’ve impressed loads of copycats. They’re mostly seen in “Defiant” pink and black, however our all-black assessment pair gives a extra subdued look.

The Powerbeats3’s 12-hour battery continues to be spectacular for his or her class.

Like just about all banded wi-fi buds, the Powerbeats3 include a three-button microphone management piece connected to the rubber strip between them. The quantity and pause/play/calling keys are all the place they need to be, although the distant is on the left aspect, relatively than on the fitting like most opponents, which took some getting used to. Whereas straightforward to make use of on the go, the management piece feels a bit flimsy in comparison with these on comparable earbuds from V-Moda and others, particularly for $200 headphones. Even at half that value, we’d desire some aluminum or heavier plastic there for sturdiness.

One nice function of the Powerbeats3 is their 12-hour max battery, which continues to be spectacular of their class 2-plus years on. We count on the brand new Powerbeats Professional to supply 9 hours per cost, with two costs within the case for over 24 hours complete cost, which may also be among the many high on supply. The Powerbeats3 additionally present as much as an hour of playback time on 5 minutes cost, a strong feat for a tool nonetheless leaning on micro USB connection.

powerbeats 3 review Riley Younger/Digital Traits

Apple’s W1 chip — the identical one inside the unique AirPods — offers these earbuds blip-free wi-fi reference to Apple’s AAC codec, intuitive pairing for iOS gadgets, and loads of vary to roam out of your supply earlier than the connection scatters. We had one odd occasion during which the buds have been on and linked to the telephone with Spotify taking part in music, however no sound popping out. Urgent the facility/pair button on the left earbud to energy cycle the earbuds resolved the difficulty, so we’re keen to imagine it was only a quirk for now.

The Powerbeats3 are sweat- and waterproof, however since Apple doesn’t launch IP rankings, we don’t know precisely how a lot these buds can deal with — simply know you shouldn’t expose them to jets of water, and undoubtedly shouldn’t submerge them.


Whereas the buds really feel a bit bulbous in our ears, they’re comparatively comfy for just a few hours of damage, they usually additionally held on properly throughout a brief jog because of these wraparound hooks. We’re not all that loopy in regards to the hooks for commutes or the workplace, although, and need they may very well be eliminated like some opponents.

Audio efficiency

The identify actually says all of it. Beats headphones are constructed for bass, and that’s what they ship — highly effective, droning, at instances overpowering bass. It’s not probably the most musical bass you will get for the cash, and it actually does maintain courtroom in many of the music you’ll play, however taut readability within the treble retains it from masking different devices like some bass-heavy choices on the market.

They held on properly throughout a brief jog because of these wraparound hooks.

Whereas we all know folks love these headphones as a result of they intensify the beat (think about that), there’s additionally some strong element within the higher register that truly outclasses Apple’s different wi-fi headphones, the AirPods. Notably candy are devices like horns and guitar, that are served up with higher definition than the AirPods’ smoothed-over sound.

The distinction is that these headphones aren’t almost as accessible-sounding as Apple’s please-the-crowd Pods, rewriting nearly each music you cue up — from the Beatles to Frank Sinatra — with a bass guitar or kick-drum solo. Even when that’s your factor, there are alternatives with extra readability and fuller midrange sound at value factors proper across the $100 line, and loads of cheaper sports activities choices if all you want is one thing to jam out to in your jog.

Guarantee info

Apple gives a one-year guarantee from date of authentic buy. You may study extra in regards to the guarantee on the corporate’s web site.

Our Take

Whereas not the most suitable choice for the cash, in case your major jam is hip-hop, the Powerbeats3 ship clear vocals alongside mondo bass in a package deal that may keep put.

Is there a greater various?

There are many options that ship nice sound in a sporty package deal at comparable pricing. The primary that involves thoughts is V-Moda’s Forza Metallo Wi-fi, which supply sensible sound with clear, authoritative bass. In case you just like the earhook design, V-Moda additionally has the Bassfit, which supply greater bass in addition to detachable earhooks.

For a bit extra cash, it’s also possible to step into totally wi-fi choices like JBL/Beneath Armour’s Flash headphones or Jabra’s Elite Lively 65T. And that’s only for starters. Our lists for one of the best true wi-fi earbuds and greatest sports activities headphones supply loads of different engaging selections.

How lengthy will it final?

Whereas we haven’t had the earbuds lengthy sufficient to check them over time, there have been sufficient complaints on-line about sturdiness to present us pause in regards to the Powerbeats3. What’s extra, a burgeoning assortment of wi-fi earbuds that aren’t banded collectively makes these headphones much less engaging than they have been upon debut, even at their lower cost level.

Must you purchase it?

In case you’re a bass head who simply loves that Beats model, and yow will discover them for $100 or much less, you may nonetheless contemplate the Powerbeats3. However for our cash, there are many higher choices for each your every day exercise, and your every day life.

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