Beats Powerbeats 3 Review
Wireless sports & workout in ear headphone with super energetic ‘smash you in the head’ bass from Beats, the new powerbeats 3 are a fully focused set of in ears with 1 aim – to be the outright king of active in ears for the new iPhone 7.
Quickly running through the box contents, as well as the powerbeats 3 in ears, you get 3 extra sets of silicone ear tips, the obligatory micro USB charge cable, and a nice pill shaped rubbery hard carry case.
The design of the powerboats 3 is aimed squarely at the fitness & workout user (as is the sound profile – we will get into that more later), and while being a good looking pair of in ears, they are not going to win any beauty queen prizes.
But what they will win prizes for is the security of fit which is a big deal if you are genuinely active. The over ear hook (which is adjustable) ensures that the powerbeats 3 sit locked in place despite your strongest efforts to shake them out whilst running or working out. It’s not cool looking to have that large plasticy ear hook, but it works great even for glasses wearers like ourselves.
It’s a chunky design all right, but they stay put & are comfortable in use for an hour or 2 at a time. On longer listening sessions we found that the earhook could become a bit annoying, but I guess that is missing the point – it’s all about that secure fit & it is spot on for workout or running sessions.
The full plastic construction feels pretty good, with a high standard of finishing overall with no snags or sharp edges – the powerbeats 3 carry over that high standard of build quality that you would expect from any apple product. The pretty standard control dongle is nicely constructed too – with a good clicky button press that we found strangely satisfying.
Battery life is exceptional, with the powerbeats 3 coming in with a class leading performance of 12 hours playtime. Charging is catered for with a standard micro USB cable plugging into the bottom of the ear piece, and if caught with an empty battery you benefit from a ‘fast fuel’ charge which gives you 1 hour of playback with only 5 minutes connected up to the micro USB.
Rounding out the specs, the powerbeats 3 feature ‘class 1’ bluetooth and the apple specific W1 chip, giving you pretty instant connection & a fantastic range letting you stash your audio player on a side stand while working out & stay connected with a rock solid signal. We could maintain a connection throughout the entire house (even through a few brick walls) which is pretty fantastic.
Beats Powerbeats 3 – Sound quality & Performance
If you were expecting super energetic smash you in the face boosted sound from the powerbeats 3, you will not be disappointed! They squarely aim at the sports & fitness user listening to motivational tracks, and they really blow your socks off. We have never heard ‘Eye of the Tiger’ sound so impressive on the move, even ‘Call me Baby’ came across great with a fantastic energy & zing.
The sound delivery is exactly what you should be expecting from Beats – it’s fun & energetic & smashing bass notes with little regard to subtlety & classical music lovers. The sennheiser momentum wireless in ears or even the B&O beoplay H5 completely wipe the floor with the beats for ultimate sound quality, but they don’t have that sporting design, secure fit, the crazy energetic delivery or the killer battery life of the powerbeats 3.
That chunky design allows for larger than normal bass drivers which really kick hard, for gym use or running we’ve honestly heard nothing better.
Calming down from the pounding gym session, you are not going to get audiophile levels of sound quality from the powerbeats 3 (no shock there), and being critical you could say that the mid range & higher frequency response is not the best on the market. High notes are lacking that last little edge of crispness & sparkle, and at the highest volume setting the powerbeats 3 can come across a little muddy as the bass intrudes over the midrange. Not that you would notice in the gym, where the performance comes across as super satisfying & spectacular!
- Feature Set 90%
- Build Quality 86%
- Sound Quality 82%
- Value for Money 80%
- Overall Rating 84%
Beats Powerbeats 3 – Final Thoughts
Sometimes it’s not just about getting the best audio quality possible, there is a tradeoff with the powerbeats 3 and if you have an iPhone 7 & are into your running or the gym, the powerbeats 3 should be the first choice in ear headphones.
Class leading battery life, super secure fit, decent build quality, and a super strong energetic sound delivery that will taunt you on to push past that next level.
Beats has aimed squarely at the sport & fitness market, and quite honestly they have smashed it out of the park!
Price at time of review: UK £169 / US $199