PowerBeats Pro vs PowerBeats: What's the difference?

PowerBeats Pro
PowerBeats Pro

While the PowerBeats3 and PowerBeats Pro have the same moniker, they're very different from each other. Let's take a closer look.

Let's break it down

The PowerBeats3 is the older product here, but it's still a good option for those who need a wireless pair of earbuds for exercising. However, the new PowerBeats Pro exceed them in almost every way.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 PowerBeats ProPowerBeats3
DesignAround-ear, no wiresAround-ear hook design with neck string
ColorsIvory, Black, Moss, NavyPop Indigo, Pop Magenta, Pop Blue, Pop Magenta, and limited edition colors
ChipNew H1Old W1
Battery lifeUp to 9 hoursUp to 12 hours
Auto On/Off sensorsYesNo
Carrying CaseYesYes
Charging CaseYesNo
Wireless ChargingNoNo
Charging cableLightningMicro-USB
How fast does it charge?5 minutes gets you 1.5 hours of playback5 minute charge nets 1 hour
"Hey, Siri" SupportVoice-activatedRequires RemoteTalk
Play/Pause sensorsYesNo
Water and sweat resistantYesYes

While both the PowerBeats Pro and PowerBeats3 are wireless, the latter uses a neck string to connect to the two earbuds together, which may be annoying to some. However, the PowerBeats Pro is wireless without any neck strings, so you have complete freedom.

Plus, there are Play/Pause sensors in the PowerBeats Pro, so it automatically starts or pauses your music by determining when they're in your ear or not. The Auto On/Off sensor also puts your earbuds into standby when they're idle for a certain amount of time.

The PowerBeats Pro also contains Apple's latest and greatest headphone chip, the H1, which is also in the new AirPods 2. This means even faster connecting and seamless switching between Apple devices, and you can activate "Hey, Siri" with just your voice. The PowerBeats3 only has the older W1 chip, so it's not as fast at connecting and switching as the H1. Also, you can only bring up "Hey, Siri" by pushing a button on the RemoteTalk control.

When it comes to charging, the PowerBeats Pro is also superior. The carrying case that it comes in is also how you charge up your earbuds. All you need to do is drop them into the case, which holds another 24-hours of charge capacity on it's own, and plug the case in with a Lightning cable. It's much more streamlined than the PowerBeats3, where you plug in the micro USB cable into the earbuds themselves.

However, while the PowerBeats3 has better battery life at 12 hours, and the PowerBeats Pro only lasts up to 9 hours, the latter more than makes up for it with the charging case. It's much more convenient to drop your earbuds into a case that holds another 24 hours of charging capacity than it is to plug your earbuds into a micro USB cable. Plus, that 9-hour battery life isn't anything to scoff at, when other true wireless buds, such as AirPods and Jabra Elite 65t, usually only last around 5 hours on a single charge.

Overall, we think the PowerBeats Pro are a worthy successor to the PowerBeats3, and a great alternative to even AirPods 2 due to the more secure and comfortable fit of the around-ear design (unless you wear glasses). The battery life is also very impressive compared to the competition. This is a true wireless earbud experience for the workout enthusiasts.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.