Back in late May 2014, Apple made a blockbuster announcement to acquire Beats Music and Electronics for $3 billion. Beats Music is rumored to be a big reason Apple made the acquisition but it is also clear that Beats is one of the biggest selling brands in the headphones space. Beats is best known for their over-ear headphones that crank up the bass adding bursts of energy to dance and hip-hop tracks. But the company also targets a few niches to compete with other prominent brands. The Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones brings Bluetooth connectivity onboard and targets folks that want to jam to music while exercising outdoors or working out in the gym.
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Design and Comfort
The Powerbeats2 is like a small jump rope with a highly sophisticated earpiece on each end. The left and right earpieces have ear hooks to keep them comfortably in place even if you are performing activities like jogging. What is nice about these hooks is that they are pliable so they can be bent to adapt to different ear sizes and shapes. Once placed in your ears, you can also use the little crimp to adjust the length of the cord. But even with those flexible hooks, there is no perfect fit for everyone when it comes to in-ear headphones. This is why the Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones package also comes with three sets of silicone ear tips each with different sizes. The Powerbeats2 isn’t advertised as a noise-cancelling headphones set but you could reduce the ambient noise significantly if you go for a tighter seal.
Fitness in-ear headphones need to be a bit more durable than typical earphones. The Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones boasts this durability and has the IPX-4 rating to prove it. It isn’t waterproof to the point that you should go swimming with these earphones on but it is water-resistant so you can work up a sweat and not worry about wear and tear on the Powerbeats2. The right side of the cable connected to the right earpiece also has the RemoteTalk module that you normally see on the RemoteTalk cable included in other Beats headphones. This RemoteTalk module has over-molding so you can easily press the buttons without your fingers slipping.
The standard Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones model has the traditional black design with red cable and Beats logo. But it comes in a few other flavors too including grey with pink accents and red or blue with white accents. If you want the Powerbeats2 to match your iPhone or other white smartphone, the white model is a good choice. No matter what design you pick, the package also comes with a matching hard-shell carrying case with Beats logo and it feels well made. A fairly short micro-USB cable is included too.
The RemoteTalk feature serves as an easy way to perform quick operations on the connected iOS device right from the Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones. The module only has 3 buttons with 2 of them dedicated for volume controls while the other button can answer or end calls and play, pause or skip tracks forwards or backwards if you press that button 2 or 3 times. The skip track function only works for iOS devices but you can still use the other functions if you have an Android or Windows Phone device connected.
The Powerbeats2 possesses a lot of power in those small earpieces. It has strong bass response living up to the Beats image and you can turn up the volume all the way if your ears can handle it and enjoy distortion-free sound. Beats fans will definitely be pleased while purists that enjoy a broader range of music may find the sound to lean too much towards the bass. A lack of high-mids is expected for a Beats product though.
Thanks to the Bluetooth 4.0 specification, the Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones shouldn’t significantly drain your mobile device as long as it has Bluetooth 4.0 too. The earphones themselves last about 6 hours, which should be enough for a couple of workout sessions. If you really need to go beyond that, you can charge the Powerbeats2 for 15 minutes to get an additional hour of listening time. The Bluetooth range is pretty good too at 30 feet maximum if no obstructions are present and there were no disconnecting issues while testing. It would have been nice though if the headphones automatically turned off after disconnecting from the mobile device.
The Powerbeats2 Wireless headphones is one of the best wireless sports earphones ever made with its primary weakness being the average battery life. It sounds just as good as a decent wired earphones if you are into house music, hip hop or dubstep but it is a bit on the pricey side. If you can swallow that $199 price tag or wait for a discount, you’ll find the Powerbeats2 to be a great workout companion.