A few days testing out a pair of Powerbeats 2 by Beats (you know, that crazy famous company “by Dre” until it was bought out by Apple last August), and we already feel we are ready to spill the beans about what we found. A brand we sometimes associate to the hipsters, wound up taking us a little by surprise.
The Powerbeats 2 is said to be inspired by LeBron James (NBA basketball player), when Beats re-envisioned their earbuds last year. These buds are a little pricey falling in the range of around $200 (US), but they aim to stand their ground by providing a premium look, feel and sound like no other.
These actually have a strong range to them for being a consumer level pair of earbuds, with crisp highs and prominent lows. The bass levels are quite enjoyable while not overpowering anything as the highs pierce through just right giving a solid balance. The mid-range is a little missing, but there is nothing odd about this for buds due to their size. A vast majority of users wouldn’t even expect anything better.
They surprisingly have a great deal of volume to them without the presence of distortion ruining the party. The volume feels as though you can continue cranking it somewhere past your limits of comfort, showing that they do come with a admirable pair of drivers and can provide more than adequate levels of sound for noisy environments–especially since they don’t cancel all outside noise. Given, you probably don’t want to crank them that high anyway unless you are looking to destroy your hearing and gain a nice case of Tinnitus.
There is a slight open design to these which allow outside (ambient) noise to leak through a little, which assumably is meant for safety as you would most likely be using these during a state of fitness training (ie., running, biking, climbing, etc). So if you are looking for something with good noise cancellation, these are not it. They do provide a good amount of cancellation as anything would being shoved into your ears, but nothing like you would get with an over-the-ear solution with active/passive noise cancellation built-in.
They feel good in the ears, even with long-term use as they don’t seem to cause any fatigue or pain. I’m sure that eventually you will feel a little discomfort if you left them in all day, but anything shoved in there would, so that helps for a positive score for these–plus, the battery is only going to give you up to 6 hours of listening anyway. They don’t feel as though they might fall out during active use, even when rotating the head around violently. They maintain a solid grip in the ears, requiring minimal adjustment. Also, the cable doesn’t tug or catch on the backside of your neck causing any pulling sensations. We found this to be regardless of if we used the little cord adjustment piece or not.
They are sweat-resistant so that your fitness endeavors do not destroy them over time. We even found that minimal amounts of splashing water on them didn’t do anything. Now, this does not mean you can go swimming with them. You can however most likely enjoy a decent run in a light rain without having to worry too much about repercussions. We did not try this theory out though for ourselves since it hardly ever rains here, so testing this out would be under your own discretion. We do plan to take them into a steam room first chance we get, so we may update with the results when this happens.
As I mentioned, you get about 6 hours of use from these, which provides the perfect amount of time for any workout or even a full day of work (minus breaks and transitional periods, I guess). I could say that it could use a little more time there, but you can only squeeze in so much battery life to such little space–unless of course we can hurry with the development of cold fusion and maybe branch off with a micro-cold-fusion solution for earbuds (am I stretching too far?). Six hours feels more than enough for something their size, and found little reason to complain about this.
They operate within 30 feet of your connected device, giving them an average performance in the realm of distance. Adventuring anything further from 30 feet generally places you within the category of Bluetooth speakers more than any form of headwear.
The design of the Powerbeats 2 falls inline with everything else Beats makes, with various options of two color tone mixes and a default model of red and black. There are multiple color selections to pick from, but not all stores sell the full line. Amazon is one of the few places that has everything to select from, where a trip to Best Buy turned up only one color to choose from (this obviously may vary by location as well).
The cable going around the neck is a flat cable that doesn’t seem to tug any on the skin and provides more than enough length to get around any neck. The length itself can be adjusted using the small plastic slide at the end.
The look of the design itself is nice and very trendy. More important though, there is no sacrifice in comfort to pull it off. Beats definitely want people around you to know that you have beats in your ears, as the logo is quite noticeable. There is no sharp edges though or anything that applies a lot of pressure. The piece immediately behind the earbud itself may cause a little discomfort if inserted incorrectly, but that is up to you to find the most comfortable fit when using them. The ear hooks are soft and feel good and do a great job of helping to keep the buds where they need to be.
There is an in-line control with 3 buttons for music and call control on one side. The controller does feel as though it could have used a little more solid design, but we didn’t experience any troubles with it (and after minor splashes of water, there was also no change in its performance.
Finally, inside the box you get a selection of silicone tips to help find the best fit for your ears. Also you find a small (very short) micro-USB cable for charging. Don’t plan on placing them anymore than 6 inches away from your charging source.They could have included something a little longer for the price which is odd, but since the buds are light, they could technically “hang” from a USB port that isn’t near-surface level if needed (I guess). There is also a soft carrying case to store them in while not in use.
The Powerbeats 2 earphones are comfortable, stay fit and provide a decent range of sound while also delivering more than enough volume (way more than enough). Battery life is solid and although they don’t block out all external noise, they do enough to make it manageable. The price tag doesn’t exactly fit it our opinion, which is the only thing preventing them from getting a perfect store. Maybe in the $130 range, they could feel more natural. The charging cable is oddly small as well, which we didn’t get. They should have at least provided a cable that ran 1.5 feet in length minimum. We wound up settling on a 7.5 out of 10 score. They are a little pricey, but they do provide an excellent in-ear solution for all ranges of music.
- Pair and play with your Bluetooth® device with 30 foot range
- 6 hour rechargeable battery
- Premium sound in a lightweight design with flexible earhooks
- Sweat and water resistant
- Take hands-free calls and adjust music with no-slip-grip RemoteTalk controls
- Compatible with iOS devices.
Powerbeats2 Wireless earphones with RemoteTalk™ wrap around cable
Hard shell carrying case
Universal micro USB cable
Cable management clip
Four (4) pairs of multi-sized/shaped ear tips
Quick Start guide
Weight: 24 grams
Wrap around cable length: 500 mm
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