I don’t workout. Period. So it takes a lot for me to even be tempted to do this task and the Powerbeats by dr. dre have actually forced me to get my butt off the couch and walk the treadmill instead of to Dunkin’ Donuts. These latest headphones from the popular artist series of dr. dre headphones could be one of their best yet. They are also the first pair out of the dr. dre and Monster in-ear speaker line-up that are for those who like to workout and play hard on the court and off. When they were officially launched last year I scoffed at the tie-in between beats by dr. dre and Lebron James, since he seemed to be the most hated man in basketball at the time. However, as time goes on, people’s memories fade and it was time to give these Powerbeats a workout and see if they could withstand sweat, tears, and yet still keep the beat thumping.
The Powerbeats come in three colors: red, white, and black. The exterior of the Powerbeats feature that signature beats by dr. dre aesthetic. The bright red and the beats logo – it’s all there. However, I do find that the construction although solid.. does seem a bit more plasticky this time around versus other in-ear speakers in the beats by dr. dre line-up.
However, the one major difference of the Powerbeats compared to the rest of the beats by dr. dre and Monster arsenal is that this in-ear speaker was specifically designed for the athlete in you. The Powerbeats are designed to be extremely functional when it comes to exercising by including an earhook, a earhook that is flexible no less! It is also sweat resistant and UV protected and provides a very snug fit in your ear when exercising or doing extreme movement.
Lastly the Powerbeats come in the signature Monster and beats by dr. dre packaging. To unbox you remove the outer sleeve and then pull the material pull tab to reveal the beauty beneath. Inside the packaging is a carrying case, clip, manual, and two additional Monster silicone ear-tips, as well as an extension cable for the headphones.
While the Powerbeats feature a unique design; picture perfect for the workout fanatic, it seems that those with big ears will still be at an advantage when wearing them. Out of the box the earhooks are not small ear friendly, so it will take some bending to get them just right. Luckily they do bend, otherwise they would be completely frustrating to wear for smaller ears. Once you mold the Powerbeats into the perfect shape, everything will sit very nicely on your ears and the Powerbeat’s earbud is designed to position inward into your canal to prevent movement and disruption of music flow, thus keeping your adrenaline pumping while your feet are running.
So the Powerbeats look good but do they sound good? Yes. The built-in subwoofer and midrange tweeter pump certainly help excel when it comes to clear vocals and crisp highs. No matter how you move in these things the pulse of the music stays put in your ears. Walk slow, run, jump, whatever…Powerbeats can handle it and so can the sound. There was absolutely no degrading of sound when I rowed my way on my rowing machine or walked up and down quickly on a flights of stairs. The bass reproduction in the Powerbeats is certainly not overwhelming but it’s not minuscule either. However if you are accustomed to the deep bass like the rest of the beats by dr. dre headphones you will be slightly disappointed. But bass withstanding, everything sounded extremely balanced yet rich at the same time. I did detect some tininess on weaker bit rate’s and even slight static. So you may want to upload higher bit rate files, so your Powerbeats don’t have to subject themselves to low quality sounding music. Treble and midrange were lush and fluid and the Powerbeats did really well with acoustics and wind instruments.
What I also liked about the Powerbeats is that they aren’t sound isolating. I like that you can still hear people around you while doing activities. That doesn’t mean you hear them very well, but certainly you are very aware of your surroundings. This also means you don’t hear the thump of every footstep you make as you walk or run. I find this refreshing and very safe for both myself and those around me while I’m exercising.
Just like all Monster or beats by dr. dre in-ear speakers, headphones, etc, where the ControlTalk feature is included, ControlTalk still remains a superior feature on the Powerbeats. Monster’s ControlTalk technology lets you switch between listening to music and talking on your phone on the fly. The ControlTalk cable in particular has a call answer button and a built-in mic. ControlTalk lets you answer or end a call, decline an incoming call, play or pause a song or video, skip to the next or previous song or chapter, scan forward or backward through songs and video, and also control the volume. Incoming calls sounded crisp and clear when using the ControlTalk, effectively enhancing the overall experience and practicality of using these headphones even more. Since the Powerbeats are more geared towards a workout session, the easy access to the volume control on the ControlTalk remote certainly came in handy at many times.
The Powerbeats are an impressive addition to the beats by dr. dre and Monster collaboration. They feel good, look good, and sound good. For those who have wanted a sturdy pair of workout in-ear speakers, they may have just found their perfect pair. The cost to look fierce while working out is yet again pricey, but for hardcore beats by dr. dre fans, they will certainly pay for it – even if Lebron James is part of the marketing collateral. The Powerbeats by dr. dre retail for $149.99.
The Good: Ideal headphones for hardcore athletes. Flexible earhooks that are sweat resistant and UV protected. Great sound reproduction that doesn’t get degraded when moving or exercising.
The Bad: Only two additional ear-tips are included. Bass reproduction is just average. Might break if shoved in your pocket just because of the shape, so make sure to keep it protected in the included case.