However you feel about them, Beats By Dre’s main sports and fitness product are everywhere – and the latest model certainly provides a welcome upgrade on previous versions.
I had previously owned a pair of Powerbeats2s and they were a very reliable companion in the gym. Yes, the battery life degraded over time but they were otherwise the best pair of wireless earphones I have ever owned. After more than two years of daily use one of the earbuds broke away from the housing. It was time to upgrade.
Launched in the autumn of 2016, the Powerbeats3 are available in white, blue, black, yellow and red colours. I picked up a white pair and was eager to see what they offered.
Priced at £169.95 at uk.beatsbydre.com, they do not come cheap. So, do they live up to the hype?
I was intrigued about what the Powerbeats3 could offer in terms of improvements. They look practically identical, after all. But there are plenty of subtle adjustments which lead to an overall improvement and a very strong product.
The first thing I noticed when putting them on for the first time was the fit. It somehow felt tighter and more secure. It’s a subtle but welcome improvement – and I didn’t even have to switch the buds that they came installed with.
Next was the speed and reliability of the Bluetooth connection. I’m an iPhone 7 user and the Powerbeats3 boast Apple’s W1 wireless chipset, which offers a much more stable connection with a larger range. There had been times when my Powerbeats2 had dropped the connection, or worse still, refused to connect at all. That’s no longer an issue – as soon as the Powerbeats3 are switched on, they are immediately paired with my iPhone 7.
The sound quality is the next major improvement. Beats By Dre’s original models were often criticised, even ridiculed, for delivering the looks without the sound quality to match the premium price-tags. Not anymore. The Powerbeats3 offer a deep and high quality sound and will not distort even at loud volumes.
The sweat-resistant Powerbeats3, like their predecessors, come with a RemoteTalk mic for taking phone calls and controlling volume and track selection. Some subtle changes to the design make it easier to skip tracks or pause playback.
The best improvement, however, has to be the improved battery life. It has doubled from six hours to 12 hours, which means you can go at least a week without having to charge them. The Powerbeats3 also have a new Fast Fuel feature, which allows you to get as much as an hour’s worth of playback from a single five-minute charge. Like their predecessors, they are charged via a micro USB connector, and the fiddly rubber port cover from the Powerbeats2 has been removed to make it easier to plug them in.
On the face of it, not much has changed. Look a little closer, however, and the Powerbeats3 are genuinely a huge improvement on the previous model. From the increased battery life to a more comfortable fit and much-improved sound quality, if you’re looking for a reliable companion in the gym, look no further than the Powerbeats3.
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BIOGRAPHY: Ethan Hazard
BIOGRAPHY: Daniel Sturridge