If you’re looking for a new pair of true wireless workout earbuds, there’s a good chance you’re gravitating towards the Beats Powerbeats Pro and the Bose Sport Earbuds. They’re both from brands with a lot of clout, and they both appear to have all the bells and whistles a pair of workout earbuds needs. But which pair of earbuds is the right choice for you?
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which is built better?
The Beats Powerbeats Pro and Bose Sport Earbuds don’t look very similar at all. Where the Bose earbuds have a compact chassis with a wing tip, the Beats have over-the-ear hooks so you can be assured they won’t fly out of your ears when running. While the Bose Sport Earbuds are very comfortable for ear buds with wing tips, the Beats’ ear hooks don’t exert much pressure on your ear, so comfort is more likely for people of all ear shapes and sizes, and you can probably end up wearing them for longer periods of time. Both pairs of earbuds have silicone ear tips for additional stability as well as sound isolation.
The Bose Sport Earbuds have onboard touch controls rather than buttons, which can help prevent discomfort sometimes caused by pushing earbuds further into your ears when pressing buttons. With these touch controls, you can control media playback, answer and end calls, access your smart assistant, and control your volume. The Beats Powerbeats Pro have one multifunction button, which can be used for all the same functions as the Sport Earbuds, and a volume controller on each earbud. They also have automatic ear detection that will pause your music when you take them out of your ears.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which has the best software?
If you have an iPhone, you’re going to benefit a lot more from the Beats Powerbeats Pro software than Android users will. The buds feature Apple’s proprietary H1 chip, which means connecting them to your phone is easy as pie, latency shouldn’t be an issue, and battery life is maximized. The Beats Powerbeats Pro don’t have a compatible smartphone app for equalizing their sound signature or downloading firmware updates; all firmware updates are downloaded with iOS updates, again, due to the H1 chip. That does mean that Android users unfortunately don’t have access to any of the Beats products’ firmware updates.
The Bose Sport Earbuds do have a companion app, called Bose Music, and it can be used on both Android and iPhone to download firmware updates, disable or enable voice prompts, and assign a function to the left earbud. The Sport Earbuds, though, just like the Powerbeats Pro, do not allow you to customize the sound signature through an equalizer. So if you don’t like the way the earbuds sound out of the box, you’re out of luck. These buds do, however, have a feature called Active EQ which cannot be disabled but works pretty well to adjust the sound based on your environment.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which has a better connection?
The Bose Sport Earbuds use Bluetooth 5.1, which means a slight improvement in battery life, location services, and faster establishing of connections. The Sport Earbuds support both the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. They don’t support any kind of Bluetooth multipoint, but you can use the Bose Music app to switch between your devices.
Because of the H1 chip embedded in the Beats Powerbeats Pro, they will retain a strong connection to your iPhone with no issues, but this is less so the case for your Android. You can also seamlessly switch between your Apple devices through your iCloud account. These buds support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs and use Bluetooth 5.0.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which has the best battery?
While playing at a constant output of 75dB, the Bose Sport Earbuds lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes on a single charge. They also support quick charging and 15 minutes in the charge case will afford you 2 hours of playback. To fully charge them via USB-C takes 2 hours, and to fully charge the case takes 3.
Under the same playback conditions, the Beats Powerbeats Pro lasted 10 hours, 52 minutes when streaming from an iPhone. You can thank the H1 chip for this stellar battery life, but even with an Android phone they still lasted 10 hours, 34 minutes in our test. The Powerbeats Pro case charges via Apple’s lightning USB cable, which can be a bit inconvenient for non-iPhone users, but it does support quick charging—5 minutes in the case affords 1.5 hours of playback.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which earphone isolates better?
When it comes to workout earbuds, you don’t necessarily want very isolating buds. It’s important to be able to hear your surroundings when exercising anywhere public, including running outdoors or lifting weights at a gym, just to be sure you’re maintaining the safety of yourself and others. That being said, you also might want earbuds that isolate well enough that you’re not blasting your eardrums out trying to block out the annoying music the gym is playing.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro isolate higher frequencies pretty well, so they’re versatile enough to take on the bus for your commute as well as to your next workout. However, they block out almost no low-frequency sound, so the low rumbles of engines or washing machines will be audible. The Bose Sport Earbuds don’t isolate quite as much as the Powerbeats Pro, but, again, this might be a good thing if you’re planning to just use them for exercise.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which sounds better?
Exercise earbuds typically have an emphasized bass response, because a kicking bass is not only pleasing to most consumers—but can also pump you up during a workout. While the Bose Sport Earbuds do emphasize the bass notes a healthy amount, they aren’t so overly emphasized that they shroud the rest of the frequency spectrum. Some people may find this less than ideal, but it does mean that the earbuds are a bit more versatile for non-workout situations. They reproduce vocals more accurately than a headset with stronger bass would be able to because the effect of auditory masking is less prevalent. In addition, the upper-midrange frequencies have a bit of a boost which helps you hear harmonic resonances and other subtle musical sounds. Unfortunately if you don’t like the frequency response, you can’t EQ it in the Bose Music app.
The frequency response of the Beats Powerbeats Pro is a more emblematic of both workout earbuds and other Beats products. Bass has a significant bump, but the high frequencies are also boosted to help maintain the clarity of other instruments. The dip in the low-mid frequencies can cause some issues by decreasing the volume of piano, string instruments, and some vocals, so try as they might, these earbuds don’t have the clearest audio. When it comes to working out, though, this frequency response is just fine, though it would be nice if you could equalize the sound signature.
Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Which has a better microphone?
The mic in the Beats Powerbeats Pro is pretty decent and audio is relayed very clearly for a pair true wireless earbuds’ mic. While there is a pretty significant rolloff on the bass frequencies, Chris, who has a deep voice, found that it didn’t modify the sound of his voice too much when he tested the mic. Each earbud has a downward facing microphone which helps block out wind noise if you’re on a call outside, and it is very effective.
The Bose Sport Earbuds have a 4-mic array that does a fine job of relaying the sound of most voices, though it isn’t going to sound pristine by any means. It has an even more drastic bass rolloff to combat the proximity effect, and it can make people with very deep voices sound distant or “hollow.” The mic does a very good job at reducing the sound of low-frequency environmental noise such as a washing machine or refrigerator.
Beats Powerbeats Pro mic sample:
Bose Sport Earbuds mic sample:
Which pair of earbuds should you buy?
All in all, the Beats Powerbeats Pro are a generally better pair of earbuds. They have a fit that is more likely to be comfortable for most people, their battery lasts longer, they isolate better, their mic sounds clearer, and they have better software features, if you have an iPhone, that is. Though their audio is a little less clear, it’s still more than fine, especially for working out.
However, if you’re looking strictly for a pair of workout earbuds and don’t particularly feel like breaking the bank, the Bose Sport Earbuds might be a better option for you. Their fit is not uncomfortable by any means, and their battery life is fine considering most people don’t workout for longer than 2 hours a day anyways. While their isolation is almost nonexistent, this can be a lifesaver because it helps you remain aware of your surroundings when exercising. In addition, if you don’t have an iPhone, you’re going to be missing out on a lot of the best features of the Beats Powerbeats Pro anyways.