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Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed May 11, 2020 at 08:43 am
Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless Picture
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.6
Neutral Sound
6.8
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
6.3
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
5.7
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are sleek wireless headphones with a silicone neck cable. They have a comfortable ear-hook design that keeps them stable, even as you move, and their 19 hours of battery life should be more than enough for most uses. They have a well-balanced yet slightly dark sound, but they lack a companion app with customization features such as an EQ if you don't like the default setting. They also have poor noise isolation and a mediocre microphone.

Our Verdict

6.9 Mixed Usage

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are alright for mixed use. While they're compact and comfortable enough to wear for long periods, they struggle to reduce background noise, which can be a problem at the office or on public transportation. Their ear-hook design is stable and they're a great choice for sports. They also have a well-balanced but slightly dark sound profile that can be good for critical listening. However, they aren't compatible with PS4 or Xbox One and their latency on Android and PC may be noticeable if streaming video.

Pros
  • Stable ear-hook design suitable for sports.
  • Neutral, balanced sound.
  • Comfortable in-ear fit.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Extremely limited interface with no customization or controls.
7.6 Neutral Sound

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are good in-ears for neutral sound. However, while they have a well-balanced bass and mid-range, their uneven treble makes them sound dull and lifeless. Like most in-ears, they also don't have a wide or spacious soundstage.

6.8 Commute/Travel

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are fair for commuting. While they struggle to reduce almost any background noise, they're comfortable enough to wear for long periods. They don't take up a lot of space, so you can put them in most pockets when not in use. With their 19 hours of battery life, you should be able to weather even the longest flights without having to pause to recharge.

8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are great for sports. These compact headphones can easily fit in most pockets while their ear-hook design is comfortable and stable enough for more strenuous workouts. Their wireless connectivity also reduces the chances of your cable snagging and pulling them out of your ears, although not as much as truly wireless headphones like the Beats Powerbeats Pro. While Beats advertises them as sweat and water-resistant, they don't have an IPX rating.

6.3 Office

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are passable for office use. They're comfortable enough to wear for long periods, but they don't reduce almost any background noise so you may hear office chatter. If you turn up the volume to drown out the noise, some of your audio may also be audible to those nearest to you. On the upside, their excellent 19-hour battery should easily last you a couple of full work days before you need to recharge them again.

5.6 Wireless Gaming

The Beats Powerbeats 4 aren't recommended for wireless gaming. Since they're Bluetooth-only, they aren't compatible with Xbox One or PS4. While you can connect them to a Bluetooth-enabled PC, their disappointing microphone and high latency make them a bad choice for gaming.

5.5 Wired Gaming

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are Bluetooth-only and can't be used wired.

5.7 Phone Calls

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are sub-par for phone calls. Their microphone records voices as thin and slightly muffled. It also struggles to separate speech from background noise in loud environments. If you're trying to listen to whoever's on the other line, you may have difficulties as these headphones struggle to block out background noise.

  • 6.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.6 Neutral Sound
  • 6.8 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.3 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 5.7 Phone Calls

Check Price

Black Powerbeats 4
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Red Powerbeats 4
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com
White Powerbeats 4
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Beats Powerbeats 4 look very similar in design to the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless but they lack an in-line remote. They're fairly sporty headphones thanks to their ear-hooks but they still have a casual look. If you're looking for something more suited to your aesthetic, they also come in red and black variants.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.06 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are comfortable and lightweight in-ears. Their ear-hooks are malleable while the ear-tips come in four different sizes so you can find your best fit.

6.9
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Great
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The control scheme is okay. There are two physical buttons on the sides of each earpiece. The left is a button rocker that controls the volume up and down while the right has power on/off and a pairing button. The right side's logo is also a button and it manages music and calls. You can even voice-activate Siri on iOS devices. On the downside, they lack voice prompts but they do beep for specific commands such as power on/off.

8.8
Design
Portability
L 2.6 "
W 2.0 "
H 1.0 "
Volume 5.2 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These headphones are very portable. While their ear-hook design makes them slightly bulkier, you can still wrap them up and put them in most pockets without a problem. They also come with a pouch.

6.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have an unremarkable pouch. Its plasticky covering may not be enough to protect your headphones from intense impacts but it feels like it can withstand light water damage. It also has an adjustable drawstring which helps keep your headphones inside the pouch.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have a good build quality. Their mostly plastic and silicone build feels durable enough to survive a couple of accidental drops or impacts. While they're advertised as sweat and water-resistant, they don't have an IP rating.

8.0
Design
Stability

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are very stable headphones and are well-suited for sports. Their ear-hooks are malleable and shouldn't move around, even during more intense workouts. These headphones also come with four differently-sized ear tips so you can find the right fit for you.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Beats Powerbeats 4 headphones
  • 4x tip options
  • Carrying pouch
  • USB-to-Lightning charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.69 db
Treble Amount
-2.25 db

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have a well-balanced sound that's suited for most audio genres. While their treble is more uneven and underemphasized, it can dull sibilants like S and T sounds.

9.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.02 dB

The frequency response consistency performance is outstanding. If you can get a proper fit and an air-tight seal using their assortment of tips that come with the headphones, you should get consistent bass and treble delivery every time you use these headphones.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
9.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.12 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
0.61 dB
Mid-Bass
1.3 dB
High-Bass
1.45 dB

The bass accuracy is excellent and even. There's a slight emphasis in the high-bass that adds warmth and fullness to all genres.

9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.24 dB
Low-Mid
0.03 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.09 dB
High-Mid
1.59 dB

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have outstanding mid accuracy. The range is fairly even and clear. Although there's a small dip in the mid-mid which slightly pushes instruments to the back of the mix, it shouldn't be too noticeable.

7.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.79 dB
Low-Treble
-0.49 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.15 dB
High-Treble
-7.39 dB

The treble accuracy of these headphones is decent but lacks airiness and brightness. There's a dip in the low-treble which can hurt the detail and comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments. There's also another dip in the mid-treble that darkens and dulls sibilants like S and T sounds.

7.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.44 db
Dips
1.14 db

The peaks and dips performance of these headphones is good. Although decently balanced, the peak between the high-mid to low-treble creates harsh and bright sounds that can make the bass sound weaker in comparison. The treble range is more uneven and can be both sharp and dull, although not everyone may hear it.

9.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.1
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.12
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
0.91
Weighted Phase Mismatch
0.72

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have excellent imaging. The group delay is below the audibility threshold for the entire range, ensuring a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our unit are also very well-matched. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

2.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
6.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.0

The passive soundstage of Beats Powerbeats 4 is poor. Part of creating a large and spacious soundstage requires the pinna or outer ear to activate with sound resonances. Since these are in-ear headphones, they completely bypass the pinna and don't interact with it. Instead, they produce a soundstage that's perceived as both small and as if it's coming from inside the listener's head. Their closed-back design also doesn't feel as open as open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.364
WHD @ 100
0.120

The weighted harmonic distortion performance of these headphones is good. While the rest of the range falls within acceptable limits, there's a couple of spikes in the treble range which can cause some noticeable distortion. However, most people likely won't have problems, even at louder volumes.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2C48
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Beats Powerbeats 4. Our results are only valid when using the headphones at these settings.

Isolation
3.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-9.14 dB
Bass
-0.64 dB
Mid
-5.5 dB
Treble
-21.57 dB

These headphones have poor noise isolation performance. You can pretty much hear all bass range sounds such as plane and bus engines. There's a slight reduction of mid-range sounds like background chatter, but they won't be adequate in an office setting. However, these headphones do an okay job of cutting high pitched sounds like A/C units.

7.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
37.44 dB

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have decent leakage performance. They leak mostly in the treble range and sound thin. If you're listening to your music at max volume, even in a moderately loud environment such as an office, those around you may be able to hear it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These headphones have an integrated microphone.

Note 05/07/2020: Our microphone tests were recorded on an iPhone. We had issues with our testing on PC, but they should still work with your computer.

5.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
649.31 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
5.16 dB
HFE
22988.02 Hz
Weighted THD
451.073
Gain
8.21 dB

The Beats Powerbeats 4's integrated microphone has a disappointing recording quality. Speech recorded by this microphone is thin and muffled but still understandable.

6.1
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
13.76 dB

The integrated microphone is mediocre at noise handling. It struggles to capture voices, especially in loud environments, and is best suited for quiet spaces such as your home.

Active Features
6.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
19.0 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
19.0 hrs
Charge Time
1.5 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port Lightning

The battery performance on the Beats Powerbeats 4 is alright. It has 19 hours of continuous battery life, which is one of the best we've measured so far and lasts long enough to get you through a full work day or a lengthy commute on a single charge. They also only take an hour and a half to fully charge, which is great if you're pressed on time. On the downside, just like the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, they don't have any power-saving features and you can't use them while charging.

4.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Beats
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS Yes
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't really have an app so much as they have a built-in interface. On iOS, their interface only has a connection box that gives you the option to either disconnect or forget this device. Android users can also download the app, but they won't have the built-in interface. Instead, they have a small tutorial for controls and an update device feature.

Connectivity
6.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0+H1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
65.3 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
168 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
63 ms
Android Latency
175 ms

The Beats Powerbeats 4 have alright Bluetooth compatibility. They don't have multi-device or NFC pairing and their line of sight range is extremely limited. Their latency for Android and PC may also cause some lag. While iOS has less latency, they still may not be ideal for gaming or streaming video.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones don't have non-Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

The Beats Powerbeats 4 can't be used wired. They come with a lightning charging cable.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones aren't compatible with the PS4. While they can be used on Bluetooth-enabled PCs, some may find the lag too high to game or watch videos.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

The Beats Powerbeats 4 aren't compatible with the Xbox One.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Beats Powerbeats 4 don't have a base/dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Beats Powerbeats 4 are the newest generation in the Powerbeats series and have improved battery life and charge via lightning cable. While they have a similar ear-hook design and balanced sound profile to the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, they also lack a true companion app or a charging case with extra charges. See our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for running, the best wireless earbuds under $100, and the best earbuds and in-ears.

Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless are similarly performing headphones to the Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. Although the Powerbeats 4 have a neck cable and they lack a carrying case that can hold additional charges, they have a similarly balanced sound and ear-hook design. The Powerbeats 4 also have a longer continuous battery life but they lack a stand-by mode like the Powerbeats Pro. 

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are the predecessor of the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless. The Powerbeats3 have an adjustable neck cable and in-line controls. They also have a warm, thumpy bass that some listeners may enjoy. However, the Powerbeats 4 have a longer battery life and use a lightning cable to charge. 

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless are similarly performing headphones to the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless, but are slightly better for outdoor sport use. The Bose are semi-open earbuds and while they let in more background noise, their design makes it easier for runners to stay aware of their surroundings. On the downside, the Bose also have a shorter continuous battery life than the Beats but their case holds two additional charges and the headphones have an auto-off timer. 

Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 Headphones are slightly better-performing headphones than the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless. While they're both similarly comfortable and stable, the Anker have a more bass-heavy sound than the Beats which some may prefer and are better at noise isolation. However, the Anker have a slightly less durable build, and their continuous battery life is just a touch less than the Beats, but they also charge slightly faster. 

Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless Price

Black Powerbeats 4
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Red Powerbeats 4
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com
White Powerbeats 4
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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