AirPods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: Which should you buy?

AirPods Pro
AirPods Pro (Image credit: iMore)

There are many choices of great earbuds to consider, and the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats 4 are two of the best if you want wireless earbuds with many features. Let's see how they are similar, explore what's different, and find out the best choice for you.

AirPods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: What's the same?

What makes the perfect set of earbuds? The answer will be different for everybody. In the case of our two competitors, there are some similarities. Let's look at the specs.

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Header Cell - Column 0 AirPods ProPowerbeats 4
DesignIn-Ear TipsOver-Ear Hooks
Wireless ChargingYesNo
Wired ChargingLightningLightning
Battery LifeUp to 5 hoursUp to 15 hours
Active Noise CancellationYesNo
Transparency ModeYesNo
Choice of ColorsWhiteWhite, Red, Black
Integrated On-Ear ControlsNoYes
IXP4 Water ResistantYesYes

Both contain the Apple H1 chip, which makes for easy pairing and quick switching with Apple devices. The H1 chip also allows both have "Hey Siri" control. Most importantly for earbuds, both the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats 4 have an excellent sound that will not disappoint. Now that the similarities are out of the way, let's look at the differences.

AirPods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: Tiny wireless wonders

The AirPods Pro are totally wireless. Take them out of their charging case and put them in your ears, and there are no wires to hold you back. They are a great all-around earbud for hands and wire-free phone calls, music and podcast listening, and working out. Just be careful, as they are small, and if you are not careful, they can get lost.

The Powerbeats 4 are not tethered to your device, so they are technically wireless, but the earbuds are held together by a wire. They are also substantially larger than the AirPods Pro, so they will not easily slip into your pocket for you to carry around all day.

Airpods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: Battery life and charging

You don't need a wire to charge the AirPods Pro; the wireless charging case can be charged with any Qi wireless charger. You can even use a MagSafe charger. Of course, you can always charge the case with a lightning cable.

The AirPods Pro get you 4.5 hours of battery life with active noise cancellation, or transparency turned on and 5 hours with them turned off. You can get up to 24 hours of listening time with additional charges from the charging case. A 5-minute fast charge will get you an hour of use.

With the Powerbeats 4, you get up to 15 hours of battery life on one charge, so these will last all day and then some. However, charging is not wireless. You will need a lightning cable to charge them.

Airpods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: Features and fit

Powerbeats 4

Powerbeats 4 (Image credit: Beats)

Do you want to drown out the world and listen to your music or podcast? With the AirPods Pro, you can turn on active noise cancellation (ANC), and you feel like you are transported into whatever is playing in your ears. Click on the AirPod stem, and you can turn off ANC and turn on transparency mode. This will let you hear what is going on around you. Unfortunately, the Powerbeats 4 do not have this feature.

When it comes to fit, the AirPods Pro are the first and only AirPods to feature three tip sizes. The right tip will block any outside sounds, maximize the ANC effect, and keep the AirPods Pro in your ear. However, since they are so small, there's still a chance they can fall out.

If you're worried about losing your earbuds, the Powerbeats 4 have you covered. They are perfect for runners or any workouts since they feature an over the ear hook design. Unlike the AirPods Pro, the Powerbeats 4 have integrated on-ear controls to answer calls, adjust volume, and control your music. No need to mess with voice commands or phone controls. Plus, they have dedicated volume buttons.

For other features, the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats 4 are IXP4 sweat and water-resistant, meaning if you sweat or are caught in light rain, they will be able to handle it. Just don't try to shower or swim with them on. If the color is important, and white is not your favorite, then the Powerbeats 4 gives you some choices. You can choose from white, red, or black, so if you want a color choice, you will need to look at the Powerbeats 4.

AirPods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: Affordability

One big point against the AirPods Pro is the price. They come in over $100 more than the Powerbeats 4. This choice comes down to what each device offers and what you want out of it. The AirPods Pro are a part of the Apple ecosystem, are totally wireless, and have that sweet, active noise-cancellation.

The Powerbeats 4 fit on your ears more securely than the Airpods Pro earbuds, have excellent battery life, and on-ear controls. It's all a matter of the AirPods being worth that extra cash.

AirPods Pro vs. Powerbeats 4: Which should you buy?

The AirPods Pro are integrated into my daily life. The charging case is perfectly pocketable, so they go everywhere with me. If I get a call and want it to be hands-free, all I have to do is take them out of the case and put them in my ears. The AirPods Pro will connect seamlessly, and your call will continue. If my AirPods Pro does run out of battery, I just pop them back into the case, and a 5-minute charge will get an hour of battery life.

To me, the choice is the AirPods Pro. With all the features plus the Apple ecosystem, these totally wireless earbuds are worth the price.

If that doesn't matter, then the Powerbeats 4 would be a great choice. You get all of the Apple H1 chip features, on-ear controls, and a selection of colors for $100 less. It's a great alternative if you can't justify the cost.

Mark Goldschmitt

**Mark Goldschmitt** is the father of three boys and loves anything Apple. Born and raised in Queens, NY, and currently residing on Long Island, Mark is a lifelong New York Mets fan. {.end}