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Powerbeats 4 vs AirPods Pro (2021): Wireless Earphones vs True Wireless Earbuds

Apple continues to broaden their range of wearables and accessories, adding an updated model to the main Beats Powerbeats line. Now simply called Powerbeats, these wireless earphones bring premium sound quality to a much lower price range compared for example to current top-end AirPods Pro. If you’re deciding whether to go for the new Beats Powerbeats (referred to as Powerbeats 4 here for clarity), here’s how it stacks up against the Apple AirPods Pro.

Powerbeats 4 vs AirPods Pro Wireless Earphones Comparison Chart

ModelPowerbeats 4AirPods Pro
Powerbeats 4 Wireless Earphones - RedApple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
FitIn-EarIn-Ear
Ear Tip Sizes43
Audio ChipApple H1 ChipApple H1 Chip
Sweat and Water ResistantYesYes
Built-in ControlsYesYes
Active Noise CancellationNoYes
MicYesYes
BluetoothYesYes
Battery Life15 hours4.5 hours
Fast FuelYesNo
Wireless Charging CaseNoneAdds up to 24 hours
ColorsRed, Black, WhiteWhite
CompatibilityAndroid, iOSiOS

Design

The AirPods Pro has a true wireless earbud design while the Powerbeats 4 has earhooks and a cable.

Powerbeats 4 vs AirPods Pro Wireless Earphones Design
Overall design and fit is likely the most important consideration when choosing between the Powerbeats (left) and AirPods Pro (right).

For wireless wearables, comfort and fit are big factors in how much you’ll love (or hate) actually wearing the device. As you can see, the Powerbeats 4 and AirPods Pro have highly contrasting designs, as the former has a wraparound connecting cable as well as secure-fit earhooks while the latter are truly wireless earbuds.

If you like being able to move without worrying about your earphones falling out, the Powerbeats 4‘s earhooks ensure that they stay in place while you work out or go for a run, for example. It’s sweat and water-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about damaging them that way. The cable, which is rounded and designed to reduce friction, also means it’s much harder to lose the earphones.

Those who just want a convenient pair you can put on quickly will likely prefer the AirPods Pro, since it has no earhooks and cable to properly place just so. With the included wireless charging case, along with the small size of the earbuds themselves, the AirPods Pro is a lot more portable too.

Whichever one seems better for you will boil down to preference, and how you’ll be using them for the most part. If you want a few more color options, you can choose between red, black or white Powerbeats while the AirPods Pro is of course only available in white.

Sound Quality

The AirPods Pro has active noise cancellation and a slightly richer sound quality than the Powerbeats 4.

Powerbeats 4 vs AirPods Pro Wireless Earphones Sound Quality
Active noise cancellation features on the AirPods Pro let you fully immerse yourself in your favorite music.

While the Powerbeats 4 comes with four ear tip sizes so you can find the best fit to block our or let in background noise, the AirPods Pro features active noise cancellation in addition to the three size options for its silicone tips. Your choice of ear tip size can reduce ambient sound significantly, but the AirPods Pro uses its mics to detect noise frequencies and cancel them out actively.

Apple says the AirPods Pro adjusts ANC levels around 200 times per second, making them highly adaptable wherever you go. You can also switch to Transparency mode, which functions as if you’re not wearing earbuds at all. You’ll be able to hear the background at normal volume and even hear and speak with people with no trouble.

The AirPods Pro also comes out ahead in the sound quality department, as it’s capable of richer, fuller overall tones with lots of bass and clear instrumentation. It’s also a tiny bit louder, and when combined with ANC, you can get an immersive audio experience whenever you feel like it. You’d definitely feel like you’re getting your money’s worth with the AirPods Pro if impressive sound is a top priority.

Now the Powerbeats 4 received a massive boost to its audio quality compared to the previous Powerbeats 3. It now has the same drivers as the Powerbeats Pro, allowing them to have a very similar sound profile. It’s capable of booming bass and crisp highs, with a slight dip in the mids, so you can soak in upbeat tunes while also doing slower melodies justice.

Battery Life

The Powerbeats 4 gives a longer listening time on a single charge than the AirPods Pro.

Powerbeats 4 vs AirPods Pro Wireless Earphones Battery Life
Get plenty of mileage from a single full charge of the Powerbeats 4.

Beats is giving Powerbeats 4 users more juice by heavily improving its battery capacity. You can get up to 15 hours of listening time on a single full charge, which is more than enough for all-day music. It also has a Fast Fuel feature which lets you quickly get another hour of use after just 5 minutes of recharging. In comparison, the AirPods Pro only gets you up to 4.5 hours of use on a single charge, and turning off ANC only gains you another 30 minutes.

However, the AirPods Pro’s wireless charging case has a significant contribution aside from simply being a convenient way to store and charge the device. It can store multiple additional charges so you can keep topping up your AirPods Pro on the go. Doing so can net you more than 24 hours of battery life at max capacity, which is a big deal if you simply can’t be without earphones.

Still, the connected design of the Powerbeats 4 does have an advantage in being able to share battery juice. You’re never faced with the frustrating problem of one earbud running out while the other still has plenty left, which can sometimes happen when you don’t place the AirPods Pro correctly in its case.

Other Features

The Powerbeats 4 is compatible with Android devices while the AirPods Pro only works with iOS devices.

Powerbeats 4 vs AirPods Pro Wireless Earphones Other Features
You can enjoy the Powerbeats 4 with many more smartphone models than the AirPods Pro.

Apple’s H1 chip allows both the Powerbeats 4 and AirPods Pro to pair nearly instantly with iOS devices while extending the range of the wireless connection. However, the big difference is they gave the Powerbeats 4 Android compatibility to widen its appeal and consumer base while keeping the AirPods Pro a strictly iPhone only accessory.

Whatever platform your phone is running, you’ll love being able to access built-in controls on the earbuds themselves. Both are equipped with touch controls so you can respond to calls, adjust volume, control playback and more without reaching for your phone. They also have hands-free voice assistant functionality which you can activate by simply saying the appropriate wake words, such as ‘Hey Siri’.

One nice perk of the AirPods Pro is being able to detect when it’s actually in your ears. It pauses music when you take off both or either earbuds, a feature that’s not available on the Powerbeats 4.

Verdict

The Powerbeats 4 is recommended for those with active lifestyles while the AirPods Pro is better suited for immersive listening.

Powerbeats 4

Powerbeats 4 Wireless Earphones - Red

It’s clear that these wireless earphones have different intended audiences. The design of the Beats Powerbeats 4 makes it more appealing to those who want secure-fitting earpieces while in the gym or when out for a run. It’s sweat-resistant and plays music for a very long time without needing a recharge, and it doesn’t compromise on sound quality.

For convenience and just pure sound quality it’s tough to beat the Apple AirPods Pro. Its small form factor and truly wireless design affords amazing portability and freedom of movement. You can get a lot of listening time with a fully charged case, and of course, with active noise cancellation you can shut out background noise and just dive into your fave tracks.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.