Still not sold on true wireless earphones? Hey, we don’t blame you. For some, the performance really just isn’t on par yet with regular Bluetooth buds. If you’re in the market for that, Apple just released the new Beats by Dre Powerbeats, the fourth generation of the outfit’s high-performance wireless earphones.
Sporting a look that’s quite a departure from the Powerbeats 3, the new earphones actually look a lot like a wired version of the Powerbeats Pro. And it’s not a bad thing, since we do like the angled design of Beats’ true wireless units, which came out last year.
The Beats by Dre Powerbeats is, naturally, designed for active lifestyles, with IPX4 rating for water resistance, so you can drench it in sweat and expose it to water without causing any damage. It has adjustable ear hooks that secure its placement snugly on your ears, while the cables are routed down the end of those ear hooks, ensuring the cables tuck conveniently behind your ears, where they can stay completely out of your way, whether you’re running, lifting weights, or playing video games on your phone while accidentally bumping on people on the sidewalk. Yeah, you can’t keep yourself from playing.
It uses the same audio hardware as the Powerbeats Pro, so you can expect the same 12mm pistonic drivers to deliver the same sound quality that many reviews have praised in the previous months. Basically, these things should sound good, with a bass sound that delivers a nice kick, so you can use it to give your workouts the blood-pumping soundtrack it needs to get you excited from every rep. There’s some passive noise isolation, but it’s designed to let some amount of ambient sound through, so you’re never completely unaware of what’s going on in your vicinity.
The Beats by Dre Powerbeats gets on-ear tactile controls for music playback and phone calls, so you don’t have to try to make the right gesture to execute any action, along with hands-free voice controls via Siri for compatible devices (you need to press a button to activate Siri if you’re not using an iOS device). It uses dual beam-forming mics to clearly pick up the sound of your voice, complete with a speech-detecting accelerometer to help recognize when you’re issuing commands, while the onboard battery allows music playback for up to 15 hours straight. In case you run out of juice in the middle of a workout, it comes with a fast-charging feature that lets you charge for five minutes to get an hour’s worth of juice.
For connectivity, it uses Class 1 Bluetooth and Apple’s H1 chip – the same setup used in the Pro version. That means, you can expect quick pairing, extended range, and more sustained connections, as well as the ability to easily switch between iCloud-connected devices. Yeah, basically, Apple products work better with other Apple products.
The Beats by Dre Powerbeats will hit shelves on March 18th in black, white, and red color options. Price is $149.