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Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Jul 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm
Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.0
6.6
Mixed Usage
6.1
Critical Listening
6.2
Commute/Travel
7.5
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
4.8
Home Theater
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise-Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless are stable headphones great for the gym but disappoint with their sound quality. They're comfortable and are easy to carry around. Unfortunately, they have a skewed audio reproduction and don't block noise well, which is not ideal for loud environments.

Our Verdict

6.6 Mixed Usage

The Powerbeats 2 Wireless are decent mixed usage headphones. They're more geared towards sports with a good, compact and stable design but struggle under other test cases due to poor isolation and sound quality.

6.1 Critical Listening

Not made for critical listening. They have a poor unbalanced audio reproduction and an in-ear design that limits soundstage.

See our Critical Listening recommendations
6.2 Commute/Travel

Below-average for commuting. They poorly isolate listeners from ambient noise because of their partially open fit. They won't fare well in loud environments

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
7.5 Sports/Fitness

The Powerbeats 2 are good sports headphones. They have an incredibly stable hook design. They're also wireless and compact enough to carry on your person everywhere you go. Also, their in-ear fit allows you t o monitor your surroundings while running.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.6 Office

Average for office use. Minimal leakage but they won't block the chatter of a busty office.

See our Office recommendations
4.8 Home Theater

Subpar for home theater use. They have too much latency for watching videos and movies.

  • 6.6 Mixed Usage
  • 6.1 Critical Listening
  • 6.2 Commute/Travel
  • 7.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 4.8 Home Theater
Pros
  • Comfortable and stable fit.
  • Minimal leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Uneven bass-heavy sound.
  1. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Powerbeats 2 Wireless are well crafted in-ear headphones. They have a stylized in-ear bud design with flexible ear hooks that fit around the ears. They come in a variety of two-tone color schemes that are eye-catching and sporty-looking. However, the tips are a little larger than typical in-ears.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.06 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless are surprisingly comfortable for an in-ear design. The in-ear tips rest on the edge of the ear canal, reminiscent of an earbud, and do not exert any painful pressure. They would be a good alternative for those who find typical in-ear wireless models uncomfortable. They also come with a variety of tips to help listeners find a better fit.

7.5
Design
Controls
Ease of use Average
Feedback Subpar
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Noise Canceling Control N/A
Talk-Through N/A
Additional Buttons No

These headphones have a decent control scheme. They provide call/music, track skipping and volume controls. Unfortunately, the buttons feel shallow and do not provide a good tactile feedback.

8.5
Design
Stability

These headphones feel remarkably stable. The relatively thick ear hooks add a high amount of stability that some other in-ear headphones don't provide. They will stay in place even during high-intensity exercises at the gym. Their wireless design also makes them less likely to be yanked out of your ears because the audio cable got hooked on something.

8.4
Design
Portability
L 3.15 "
W 2.17 "
H 1.18 "
Volume 8.06 Cu. Inches
Stand required N/A

The Powerbeats2 Wireless are very portable headphones. They're slightly larger than typical in-ear buds, but They're easy to carry around on your person and will comfortably fit into most pockets.

7.0
Design
Case
Type Soft case
L 4.53 "
W 3.15 "
H 0.79 "
Volume 11.16 Cu. Inches

Comes with a stylish soft case that will protect the headphones from minor falls and water damage. However, the case is not robust enough for high physical stress, like accidently stepping on it.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is above-average. The in-ear buds are lightweight and dense enough, to not get damaged by a few falls. The ear hooks are made of a rubber-like material that's flexible and won't break easily from regular use. However, the cable that links the two earbuds is susceptible to wear and tear and the inline control module feels cheaply made and not durable.

8.7
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 1.3 C

Design
Cable
Detachable No

Comes with a USB charging cable.

Design
Front

Design
Angled

Design
Side

Design
Rear

Design
Top

Design
In The Box

  • Powerbeats 2 Wireless Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x3)
  • Carrying case
  • Manual
  • USB charging cable

Sound
6.0
Sound
Bass
Std. Err.
5.87 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
12.97 Hz
Low-Bass
1.78 dB
Bass
5.14 dB
High-Bass
9.41 dB

5.8
Sound
Mid
Std. Err.
5.61 dB
Low-Mid
7.22 dB
Mid
-3.3 dB
High-Mid
-4.14 dB

5.9
Sound
Treble
Std. Err.
5.15 dB
Low-Treble
-3.77 dB
Treble
-1.38 dB
High-Treble
-11.17 dB

10
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.0 dB

4.4
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Error
12 dB
Openness
9.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.7
Correlated Crosstalk
-0.36 dB

5.1
Sound
Imaging
Phase Error
307.6 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
0.73 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
1.9 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
133.16 °

7.8
Sound
Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
1.162
Weighted THD @ 100
1.427

Isolation
3.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
-9.1 dB
Bass
-0.39 dB
Mid
-8.89 dB
Treble
-19.92 dB
Self-Noise
26.43 dB

Poor Isolation. Although in-ears usually provide very good Treble isolation, the amount of Treble isolation provided by the Powerbeats is below average. This is due to their loose seal. Additionally, they fail to achieve more than 7dB of isolation in the Mid Range, and provide none in the Bass Range.

7.3
Isolation
Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
37.97 dB

Good leakage performance. The significant portion of the leakage is distributed between 4KHz and 7KHz, which is narrow and typical of most in-ears. The overall level of the leakage is relatively low too.

Active Features
7.1
Active Features
Wireless
Type
Bluetooth 4.0
Obstructed Range
38 ft
Line of Sight Range
73 ft
NFC
No

The Powerbeats have a decent wireless range. They're quite far reaching for an in-ear model and won't drop the wireless connection up to 30+ ft when the Bluetooth source is another room. As long as they are not too many walls between the headphones and the source. Their range in direct line of sight, however, is not the best so if your often outdoors or on an open field running laps the audio might cut out a lot sooner than the Soundsport Wireless. Unfortunately pairing them to your Bluetooth device is a bit tedious, and they don't offer NFC. On the upside, the auditory chimes provide a decent feedback when pairing.

0
Active Features
Latency
Base Latency
250 ms
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

5.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Battery Life
5.2 hrs
Charge Time
1.45 hrs
Auto-off
No
Audio while charging
No
Passive Playback
No

The Beats Powerbeats 2 have a below average battery life. They provide just above 5 hours of continuous playtime, and they don't take too long to charge via USB. However, they won't be the ideal headphones to take on a long road trip or a particularly lengthy flight. They also don't have any battery saving features, like an auto-off timer, so they will quickly run out of power if you forget to turn them off.

0
Active Features
App Support

No compatible app.

Compared to other headphones

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are a good upgrade over the previous Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless model. While the design is fairly the same, a few performance adjustments were done. The in-line remote now offers decent feedback and buttons are now easy to push. They also have a more neutral-sounding sound with a small bass overemphasis, instead of having a really boomy and cluttered sound profile. The Powerbeats3 also have more than double the Powerbeats 2’s battery life, and take less time to charge fully.

Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless Price

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