When it comes to audio quality, I'm not going to mince words: These are the best-sounding Beats headphones yet. There is one caveat, but overall, the company has done well with the tuning on the Powerbeats Pro. The Studio 3 Wireless has noticeably less bass than most previous models, and the same is true here. There's still plenty of low end to help keep your energy up at the gym, which is exactly what you should expect from earbuds designed for physical activity. However, it's never overpowering to the point of drowning out the mids or highs. In fact, I'd argue there's too much treble -- which is something I never thought I'd say about a pair of Beats.
The heavy-handed, high-end tone is most noticeable when they are cranked near full blast. If you're like me and have no regard for your hearing (I ruined it years ago anyway), this is how you like to listen to music. Especially when you're at the gym, either trying to get in the zone or trying to drown out the Maroon 5 or Ariana Grande blasting over the speakers. Some genres suffer from this treble issue more than others, and I found it more noticeable when I listened to the likes of Maren Morris, Thrice and Anderson Paak. Hi-hats, snare drums and some guitar licks quickly become uncomfortable noise instead of contributing to the song. It's an odd thing, because there's still plenty of bass underneath -- it's just that the treble is turned up way high too. The clarity is nice here, but it's not quite as crisp as what Sennheiser offers on the Momentum True Wireless.
Not all genres suffer from this though. The Powerbeats Pro (like every other pair of Beats) handles most hip-hop, pounding electronic tunes and chugging metal with ease. Gojira's Magma sounds great on these, for example, but it's booming and bass heavy -- even the grinding guitars. Ditto for Every Time I Die's Low Teens. It's when you're listening to styles that rely on treble to complete the sound that you run into issues. But again, it's the worst at or near full volume. Turn the level down a couple clicks and it's not nearly as bad.
Beats claims nine hours of battery life on a charge for the Powerbeats Pro, which is much longer than most of the competition. Other models typically offer around five hours of listening at a time. I never found myself getting close to a low battery in one go, and I'd imagine you won't either. Even if you wear them all day at work, you're likely going to put them in the case during a lunch break or meeting or some other interaction with humans. And with 24 total hours of playtime, according to Beats, that handy (albeit bulky AF) charging case almost entirely eliminates any battery anxiety. Especially when you factor in the Fast Fuel feature that gives you 1.5 hours of use with a five-minute charge or 4.5 hours of listening with a 15-minute charge. The earbuds will fully charge in 90 minutes while the whole shebang (charging case and all) is topped off after 2.5 hours. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't drain the Powerbeats Pro entirely during normal use, and that's a good thing.
At $250, there are more-affordable true wireless options out there. Jabra's Elite 65t is still my favorite overall, and the pricey Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless and Master & Dynamic MW07 offer better overall audio quality. However, the Powerbeats Pro's reliability, features and great overall audio make it a solid choice for anyone looking for workout headphones that can double as your everyday set. They work well even on Android devices, despite some features being iOS-specific.
The Powerbeats Pro isn't without its flaws, but overall, this is the best set of headphones or earbuds Beats has put out thus far, especially in terms of audio quality. The company took awhile to enter the true wireless space, and thanks to Apple's tech, it got almost everything right. If you're looking for headphones you can put through the ringer at the gym, you'll have a tough time finding an alternative that checks as many boxes at the Powerbeats Pro, especially if you're an iOS user.