Among the high-end headphones, there’s plenty to choose from regardless of taste. However, the Beats seem to stand above the rest, at least when it comes to sheer popularity. And we’re always trying to see if they’re worthy of such acclaim. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at their sportier alternative in our Beats by Dre Powerbeats 3 review.
An active lifestyle requires a different set of survival skills for your earbuds to come out unscathed. Are the Powerbeats 3 up for the task? We´ll see.
Before diving into our Beats by Dre Powerbeats 3 review, there’s a couple things you need to know about earbuds. Finding the perfect set for you means being mindful about the following:
When you’re buying wireless earphones for running, a good sound doesn’t have to be at the top of your list. However, it’s still one of the most pressing matters in any device meant for audio playback. It’s vital to ensure that your candidates can deliver the acoustic performance you require.
In the same way, you’ll want to check for a well-balanced sound and good volume levels. Further additions like a good sound stage and noise-canceling are appreciated, but not necessary. However, if you plan to use your running earbuds for anything else than doing exercise, then rearrange your priorities accordingly.
Given their purpose, earphones meant for an active lifestyle are different from their standard counterparts. Mostly because they need to live through circumstances that regular earphones can’t withstand. Above anything else, you need to make sure that they won’t break apart the first time they meet the ground.
This means that you need to look for quality materials both in the casing and inner parts of your earphones. Trusting the quality standards of a reputable brand is often the only reliable way to go about it. Likewise, a certain degree of isolation from elements such as water, dust, and dirt can do wonders for your earbuds.
Wireless earbuds struggle to keep up with long sessions of audio playback most of the time. In the market, cheap alternatives barely offer a couple of hours of battery life. However, there’s a significant increase in their capacity as we get closer to the higher-end of the spectrum.
Average battery life is around 4 hours of usage, but many models go beyond the 10-hour threshold. Within that frame of reference, you can easily find an appropriate alternative that fits your needs. However, keep in mind that most times the earbuds’ battery won’t last as long as advertised.
Besides keeping pace with your strenuous routine, sporty wireless earphones require a good connection to be properly enjoyed. Nothing is more annoying than your track suddenly skipping in the middle of a workout session. Besides, if the Bluetooth connection is dropped, you’ll have to take the time to pair the devices again.
The best way to ensure a smooth playback is to find devices with up-to-date Bluetooth protocols. Unfortunately, both the earbuds and the streaming source need updated protocols to make a significant difference. This means that buying headphones with the latest Bluetooth version won’t yield results unless paired with an equally updated device.
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Right out of the box, the Powerbeats 3 look remarkably well. They came in a neatly organized package, along with their USB charging set, clips, manuals and a few other trinkets. However, to write a proper Beats by Dre Powerbeats 3 review, we needed a hands-on approach. We put them through every test we could think of, and the highlights of our experience were:
Being a member of the Beats by Dre family comes with a lot of expectations. They’re arguably the most notorious manufacturers of high-end audio devices and doing things half-way isn’t their style. Moreover, their products have a characteristic sound that’s openly favored by many audiophiles.
Fortunately, the Powerbeats 3 didn’t fall short in the acoustic department whatsoever. These earphones make the most of their 10 mm drivers, miraculously achieving the signature bass-heavy performance we associate with Beats. However, just like many other Beats products, the highs tend to feel slightly overshadowed from time to time.
Nonetheless, their remarkable performance in the lower range doesn’t rely too heavily on being loud for the sake of loudness. The bass is rather tight, which keeps the lows from taking over the track. Coupled with a solid middle range, this results in a punchy sound that’s both powerful and clear.
Additionally, the stage sound is beyond what you would expect from a set of running earbuds. Despite its limitations regarding size and isolating capabilities, the Powerbeats 3 delivers a surprising sense of depth. In fact, they’re maybe the best wireless earphones for running in that regard.
When you’re paying top-dollar for your smart devices, you’re allowed to expect a few amenities in return. Beats, now owned by Apple, understood that idea in a very heartfelt way. Keeping in mind that a user-friendly experience is key, they added their W1 chip to the Powerbeats 3. And, in general terms, it proved to be a wise move on their part.
This chip allows better Bluetooth connections within Apple’s ecosystem. The main advantage that this addition entails is the capability to sync with an iCloud account. When a user is identified by the Powerbeats, any associated Apple devices will connect to the earphones automatically. Furthermore, when paired with an Apple device, the connection is outstandingly strong, almost impervious to signal drops and interference. This comes in handy if you’re an Apple enthusiast, although such features aren’t available for Android devices.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that the Powerbeats have a poor wireless performance with non-Apple devices. The Bluetooth 5.0 protocol ensures that you can enjoy a clear and reliable signal streaming from any source. Although a few perks are exclusive for Apple users, they’re a solid pick regardless of the platform.
The Powerbeats 3 need to be tough enough to withstand a few blows. Whether you’re running, hiking, or living another kind of adventure, your earbuds have to keep up with your pace. In this regard, they certainly deliver, although with a few slight hiccups along the way.
We initially noticed that they were almost entirely made of plastic, which could either be a blessing or a curse. Fortunately, it isn’t the cheap stuff, as a couple of shock tests quickly demonstrated. This material feels solid enough to endure a couple of hits before the wear even starts to show. And, at their price range, we wouldn’t have settled for anything lesser than that either.
Beyond that, there a few more comments regarding the Powerbeats3 design. Like other Beats devices, they feature the brand’s logo quite prominently and come in many colors. There’s also a lack of sharp edges that’s characteristic of both Apple and Beats products. Overall, the aesthetic approach is rather simplistic, which is common in high-end earphones and similar gadgets. For a set of earbuds for doing exercise, the Powerbeats come as a classy alternative with an upbeat attitude
The Powerbeats3 are meant to fit the needs of an active lifestyle. Despite not being “true wireless” earphones, the wire can be used to further secure the fit of your Powerbeats 3. The inclusion of an adjustable clip that deals with any remaining cords after your fit is secure it’s also welcomed.
Surprisingly, Beats opted to keep the ear hook design that many manufacturers tend to avoid. However, in the Powerbeats3 case, this decision proved to be for the better. Earbuds can fall from your ears when you’re running, but there’s nothing like a hook to keep them in place. All things considered, the solid grip it provides easily makes up for the bigger size and slightly heavier load.
However, their waterproofing seems to be a weak point, as some costumers reported. Despite our uneventful workout sessions sweating into our Powerbeats 3, others didn’t fare so well. Since there isn’t an official IPX rating, knowing how well they keep water at bay is rather complicated. These seem to capable of dealing with a few mild splashes, and sweat shouldn’t be an issue, but little more. If they were forced to face a total submersion, you’ll likely have to find a new set of earbuds later.
Battery life is perhaps the most troubling area for most wireless earbuds, given the size limitations in the job title. However, despite their small presentation, the Powerbeats offer a fair amount of playing time with each charge. The exact time depends on your use, but you can get at least 10 hours of audio playback most times.
However, we could easily reach the advertised 12 hours of playing time when we connected our iPhone to the earbuds. This was partly due to Apple’s W1 chip, which allowed the device to save a significant amount of energy. Such improved power efficiency, however, is only noticeable when you’re using compatible Apple devices.
Similarly, the exact amount of time these lasted was heavily influenced by the volume of the music. Given that these aren’t particularly loud, we usually had to stay close to the maximum level, draining our battery faster. However, the fast-charge feature easily makes up for it, allowing us to keep the Powerbeats ready for action within minutes. With a single 5-minutes charge, we were able to enjoy a full 1-hour workout session, musical accompaniment included.
The Powerbeats are remarkably durable and should be able to reach the end of their useful life unbroken. However, the battery, like all rechargeable batteries will eventually die. How long it takes for that to happen will mostly come down to the frequency of use. Using them somewhat regularly, the Powerbeats can last around 3-5 years.
The Powerbeats 3 aren’t entirely waterproof, but rather impervious to sweat and similarly small amounts of water. You can’t take them into the shower, nor the pool or rain because they’ll likely malfunction. Even more, it could be potentially dangerous to your health, so avoiding unnecessary spills and splashes is essential.
These wireless earbuds seem like a solid choice for an active lifestyle regardless of their few shortcomings. Above anything else, it was the solid sound that compelled us to write a Beats by Dre Powerbeats 3 review. If you’re looking for a set of high-end earbuds, they can fit the bill without breaking the bank. Besides, unlike the Powerbeats Pro, these have a regular USB charging port.
Overall, this is a deal that we wouldn’t hesitate to take, as the value clearly outweighs the investment. Quality materials, superb acoustic performance, and a solid wireless connection come together to deliver an unsurprisingly satisfactory result. To enjoy your music nearly anywhere, there’s hardly a more appropriate candidate.
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