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Apple on Wednesday officially announced Powerbeats Pro, an upcoming pair of wireless earphones that are basically the Beats version of AirPods.
Unlike past Powerbeats earphones, the new Powerbeats Pro are completely wire-free. They also come with a number of AirPods-like features, such as an H1 chip that’ll deliver upgraded wireless connectivity and always-on “Hey Siri” capabilities.
Alongside the H1 chip, Powerbeats Pro will sport “Class 1” Bluetooth technology for the best range and fewest dropouts possible.
Because of the design, Powerbeats Pro will be able to offer better noise isolation than AirPods. Apple also says they’ll deliver “powerful, balance sound with dynamic range … for a premium listening experience.”
In addition to being 23 percent smaller and 17 percent lighter than Powerbeats 3, the new Powerbeats Pro headphones also feature more than 20 configurations that should offer an ideal fit for a wide variety of users. They feature the standard Powerbeats ear hooks so they don’t fall off when you’re working out.
Like AirPods, they’ll be able to automatically detect when they’re in your ear and adjust playback accordingly. As far as physical controls they’ll also sport dedicated volume buttons, as well as another button for phone call control and track skipping.
Battery-wise, Powerbeats Pro will offer up to nine hours of listening time. But the included clamshell case will also be able to charge up the earphones, bumping its battery life up to 24 hours of combined playback.
There’s also a “Fast Fuel” charging feature that can provide 1.5 hours of charge in just five minutes.
While Powerbeats Pro don’t have an official IPX rating, they’re just as sweat- and water-resistant as past earphones in the Beats lineup. That should make them better-suited for workouts and runs during inclement weather (but you still shouldn’t swim with them).
All in all, the Powerbeats Pro are pretty much AirPods for athletes or active people. They’ll offer a better fit, more water-resistance, and noise isolation — all things that the current version of AirPods lack.
On the other hand, the clamshell case isn’t Qi-compatible and Powerbeats Pro will start at $249.95, quite a bit more expensive than AirPods.
Powerbeats Pro will be available in Black, Ivory, Moss and Navy. They’ll launch in May in the U.S., as well as more than 20 other countries across North America, Europe, and Asia.