Love your Beats products? Good news! You can now buy Beats headphones specifically meant for gym junkies. Meet the new PowerBeats 2 headphones.
What Is It?
The PowerBeats 2 headphones are earbuds that wrap around your head and clip over your ears. They're "sweat-proof" with an IPX-4 certification, and are reportedly "inspired by LeBron James", whatever that means. As expected, they come in a variety of insanely bright colours and you can pick them up from $260 from Apple.
Considering that Beats products have a history of being massive, ostentatious and completely over the top, it's nice to see that the PowerBeats 2's are slightly more sedate and manageable. They're compact and almost discreet in the way they slip over your ears when you work out.
The problem with tiny, durable fitness headphones is often how they produce sound with such tiny drivers. On top of that, you usually have a volume issue. It's almost always too quiet and the sound is sub-par. The stereotype couldn't be more wrong with the PowerBeats 2 headphones: they produce crisp, clear mid and treble frequencies, which makes pop and dance music sound great (would you workout to anything else?). The bass is a little soft for a Beats product, but that's due to the size of the drivers themselves, and it's only a good thing when you think about it: Beats usually go way to hard on the bass anyway.
Best of all, these are loud. They go beyond the Bluetooth volume produced by your smartphone to an almost deafening maximum. That means you can jump on the treadmill, throw on some loud, angry tunes and sweat your troubles away while not having to touch your ears to readjust your headphones.
The PowerBeats also don't fall out of your ears easily while running. I've done everything from run, walk, jump rope and dance (yes, really) with the PowerBeats on, and they haven't come out of my ears yet. They loosen slightly, but that's not the same as being torn out of your head like wired headphones might be. Partly that's because of the redesigned over-ear clip, and a wide selection of earbuds that cater to even the weirdest-shaped ears.
Finally, the PowerBeats 2 headphones have a fast-charge capability which gets you an hour worth of use after just 15 minutes on the juice. After a 3 hour charge, you're likely to get around 6-8 hours of life out of the PowerBeats which we found more than ample.
What's Not So Good?
The PowerBeats are great for their size, but their compact nature ultimately works against the proposition in one aspect: range.
Even when your phone is sitting in your pocket, the PowerBeats 2s have a problem maintaining a solid connection. Ideally, you'll be using one of those nifty little arm strap cases when you workout to keep your phone within an optimal range, otherwise, expect problems.
While the Powerbeats clip over your ears and slide in, it's worth noting that they still sit just outside your ear. For lovers of in-ear headphones, that's going to be a dealbreaker.
Also, because of the relatively small size of the headphones to other Beats products, the bass is somewhat lacking on the Powerbeats 2 headphones. Again, not a huge drama, just something to keep in mind if you love those phat beetz from your headphones.
Should You Buy It?
Obviously, the only people who are going to buy Beats headphones sight unseen are people who already love the Beats they have. From that perspective, these are great as far as Beats go, the Powerbeats 2s are fantastic. If you love Beats and need something more compact for when you work out or go outside, these are for you.
Compared to other sports headphones, they're also great, despite the extra cost. Thankfully, the PowerBeats 2s are headphones that can be used outside of the gym as well as when you're doing lifts.