Maybe you already have a set of wireless headphones or earbuds. They fit well and sound fine at home, in your car or at the mall. But when you’re running or working out at the gym, you need phones that can handle a more active lifestyle.
Welcome to Powerbeats3 wireless earphones review. Rain and sweat resistant, they’re specially designed to survive all the punishment of the toughest workout. Flexible ear hooks provide maximum comfort while ensuring that the earpieces won’t fall off while you exercise. And they look sleek and stylish, available in either black or a “defiant black-red” combination.
Powerbeats3 sounds great, using dual-driver acoustics to deliver full-range sound with plenty of volume and powerful bass. And they work seamlessly with any iOS device, with RemoteTalk and Siri compatibility.
Powerbeats3 is produced by Beats Electronics, a company launched by rap legend Dr. Dre and music production wizard Jimmy Iovine. The company is now a subsidiary of Apple, which explains why their headphones are optimized to work best with Apple devices.
So let’s give Powerbeats3 a closer look…
When you buy Powerbeats3, you get the headphones, a set of ear tips in an assortment of sizes, and a USB charging cable, all in a stylish plastic case.
Wired and Wireless, the Best of Both Worlds
Powerbeats3 are often referred to as “wired/wireless” headphones. That means there’s no cable to connect to your audio device, so you can move around freely with a range of several feet. At the same time, the left and right earbuds are connected by a flat audio cable that goes behind your neck.
The cord serves double duty, keeping left and right-channel audio in sync, while also letting you dangle the buds around your neck when you’re not using them. So there’s no chance that you’ll accidentally drop and lose one. A cable management clip lets you adjust the slack for the best fit.
Fit and Comfort
As you surely know already, headphones for working out have to fit both snugly and comfortably. To accomplish this, Powerbeats3 earpieces have molded ear hooks to prevent them from falling off while you’re moving around. And the package includes an assortment of ear tips in four sizes so you can find the best fit for your ears.
Beats improved the earbud post design from version 2. The newer version fits pretty well but not always perfectly, in our opinion. In particular, the hooks can press slightly against the ear and can pull the earbuds out slightly. You may need to experiment at first until they feel right.
Keep it quiet!
Powerbeats3 use passive noise isolation technology to physically block out most background sounds. The adjustable-fit ear tips and in-ear design minimize unwanted external noise. They also help prevent other people around you from hearing your music.
W1 to the Rescue
Powerbeats3 incorporates Apple’s custom W1 chip. This little marvel performs several important functions to make Powerbeats3 much easier to use.
Longer battery life
When connected to any iOS or Android device, the W1 chip takes care of advanced power management to provide up to 12 hours of use on a single battery charge. That’s long enough for a full day outdoors or a week of workouts at the gym. And with its Fast Fuel charging technology, you can get up to an hour of playback from a single 5-minute charge, in case you forgot to charge them the night before.
No more Bluetooth headaches
But the W1 chip really shines when you connect Powerbeats3 to your Apple device. No more do you have to go through a tedious Bluetooth pairing routine with the settings menu on your phone or tablet.
Just turn on Powerbeats3, hold them near your iPhone, and watch them connect almost instantly. Powerbeats3 also connects seamlessly to an iPad or Apple Watch.
Powerbeats3 are made to stand up to water, especially perspiration from a long workout. They come with an IPX4 protection rating.
IP ratings in a nutshell
The Ingress Protection (IP) Rating is a code used by manufacturers that indicates how well a product is protected against contamination from solid or liquid particles. The first digit represents its tolerance to solids, while the second digit (in this case, 4) its resistance to liquids.
Specifically, an IPX4 rating means that the Powerbeats3 have not been rated for solids, but they’re protected against water splashing at them from any angle, whether perspiration or rain. However, we don’t recommend dropping them in a swimming pool!
Connecting Powerbeats3 to Your Device
If you have an iPhone 10 or later, pairing Powerbeats couldn’t be any simpler. Unlock your phone and press the Powerbeats3 on-off switch for 1 second. Thanks to the built-in W1 chip, after a few seconds, your iPhone will ask you to connect.
Beats also provides an app to make connection to an Android phone or another device easier. Press the power button for 5 seconds until the indicator light starts flashing, then you can select Connect on your Android device.
The Powerbeats3 on-off switch is flush-mounted on the top of the rectangular block holding the left earpiece in place. The design makes it slightly difficult to operate if you’re wearing gloves. To turn the headphones on or off, press and hold this button for 1 second.
Simple to operate.
The RemoteTalk control, which you use to change audio tracks, adjust playback volume, or take a phone call, is located on the cable near the left earpiece. The design of this control is about as simple as it can possibly be, with a single central button to control most functions, plus a pair of volume buttons.
To pause or play music, press the center button once. In order to skip a track, press it twice, or three times to skip backward. To scan forward or back through a track, press it two or three times and hold.
Take that call!
If the phone rings, press the center button once to answer, or press and hold it for 1 second to reject the call. If you’re already on a call and another one comes in, press the button once to switch to the second incoming call and back again.
Siri is at your command.
With Powerbeats3, you get hands-free Siri operation. Press and hold the center button until you hear a chime, then tell Siri what you need. One thing you can’t do is say “Hey Siri” to summon your assistant. For that, you’ll need the newer Powerbeats4.
Powerbeats3 gives you up to 12 hours of continuous use on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery. To recharge, connect the included USB-A to USB Micro-B cable from Powerbeats3 to your laptop or charger.
The FastFuel feature lets you get as much as an hour of listening from a single 5-minute charge. That’s convenient when you’re heading out to the gym and discover you forgot to recharge the night before.
An LED on the left earpiece shows you how much battery time you have left. When it changes from white to red, you have less than an hour, and when it starts flashing, the battery is almost completely discharged.
When Powerbeats3 was introduced in 2018, they carried a premium price tag that reflected their high-quality popularity. More than one product reviewer pointed this out as a reason to buy a different model.
The good news is, now that Beats has released a newer version of Powerbeats with some enhancements, the original Powerbeats3 are available at a significant saving. That means that now is the perfect time to get quality name-brand headphones at an amazing price.
Warranty and Service
Should anything ever go wrong with your Powerbeats3, you can take them to any Apple Authorized Service Provider. They will repair or replace them in 3 to 10 business days.
Apple’s warranty covers any manufacturing defects for one year. Normal battery wear isn’t covered, nor is accidental damage.
But AppleCare+ service is available!
You have an option to purchase AppleCare+ for Headphones within 60 days. AppleCare+ will cover battery replacement, two incidents of accidental damage for $29 each, plus a host of other exclusive services.
Powerbeats3 are dual-driver earphones. As the name suggests, each earpiece has two speaker elements. One handles the treble and midrange frequencies, and the other the bass. Dual-driver technology helps provide a much smoother frequency response with a solid bass foundation.
A good fit is key…
The secret to getting a good sound from Powerbeats3 is making sure they fit your ears snugly. Otherwise, the overall frequency response can change, with a noticeable loss of bass. Also, outside noise can leak in. To help ensure a good fit, Powerbeats3 includes four sets of ear tips in different sizes.
Full-range response with punchy bass
Once you get them to sit properly in your ears, Powerbeats3 delivers an excellent sonic portrait, with crisp highs and full lows. In fact, the bass response is quite pronounced. This is ideal for hip hop but perhaps not for classical music.
Like any closed design headphones, the soundstage is relatively narrow with a smaller stereo spread. The sounds appear to come more from the center of your head than all around you.
Pros and Cons
- Powerful audio performance for bass lovers.
- Excellent battery life.
- Massively boosted bass and sculpted highs will not please anyone seeking an accurate sound signature.
- The fit could be better.
More Superb Headphone Choices
Do you want to compare these with some other excellent headphone choices? If so, check out our reviews of the Best Sennheiser Headphones, the Best Beyerdynamic Headphones, the Best Sony Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, the Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording, or even the Best Waterproof Headphones currently available.
Beats Powerbeats3 are an excellent headphone choice for your daily run or workout. They fit most ears comfortably, and they won’t fall off, no matter how much you move around.
The sound is generally very good, with a strong bass that goes well with the music you’ll probably be listening to when you exercise.
You can wear them up to 12 hours on a single charge, thanks to the embedded W1 chip’s power management. This isn’t as long as some other models, but it should get you through a week of workouts, or a long day outside. Fast Fuel gives you an emergency 1-hour charge in 5 minutes.
Perhaps best of all, Powerbeats3 work seamlessly with Apple iOS devices, pairing almost instantly, so you don’t have to dig through menus.
Beats was founded by two giants of the music industry, and Apple has built upon their original designs with a host of exciting innovations. That quality doesn’t come cheap, which is all the more reason to pick up a pair of Powerbeats3 at a great price.