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Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.3
Critical Listening
7.0
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.7
TV
5.3
Gaming
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are great sports headphones that are fairly versatile for everyday casual use. They have more accurate audio reproduction than the previous Powerbeats 2 Wireless but kept a similar sports-oriented design. Their stable ear-hooks and the breathable in-ear fit are great for working out. Unfortunately, they don’t have the best noise isolation performance, which will affect their effectiveness during a daily commute or at the office. On the upside, they don’t leak too much so you can mask more ambient noise by raising your volume, and their battery life will last you for a full workday.

Test Results
Design 7.7
Sound 7.2
Isolation 6.0
Microphone 5.6
Active Features 6.6
Connectivity 3.4
Pros
  • Stable and portable design for sports.
  • Above-average sound quality.
  • Good battery life.
Cons
  • Lack of customization options.
  • Poor noise isolation performance.

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7.7

Design

The Beats Powerbeats3 are sports-oriented wireless in-ears, and they are quite similar to the previous Powerbeats2 design-wise. They come in a wide variety of color schemes, and they are stable for intense physical activities thanks to their ear-hook design. They are decently comfortable for in-ears as they don’t enter your ear canal as deeply. They will also fit into most pockets. Unfortunately, they don’t feel as high-end as their retail price suggests and they come with a small rubberized pouch, which is disappointing since the Powerbeats2 came with a hard case.

Style

The Beats PowerBeats3 have a sporty look very similar to the previous Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless. They have an ear-hook design that will fit around your ear for added stability. They come in a multitude of different color schemes depending on the collection you buy from. If you like flashy sports designs, look at the Beats' Pop Collection. If you prefer unicolored designs, the default color schemes or the Neighborhood Collection might be better for you.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.06 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Powerbeats3 have a fairly comfortable design, quite comparable to the Powerbeats2. The in-ear fit doesn’t enter your ear canal as deeply as typical in-ears and they come with 4 tip sizes for you to find the best fit. Their ear-hook design feels lightweight and doesn’t put pressure inside your ears. However, the fit may not be for everyone, and you may feel ear fatigue after a while.

7.4 Controls
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The in-line remote of the Powerbeats3 is an improvement over the Powerbeats2’s. You get better tactile feedback from the buttons since they don't feel as mushy and hard to press. They still offer call/music management, track skipping and volumes controls. You can also access your device’s voice assistant by holding the multipurpose button. There is also a dedicated power and pairing button on the left earbud.

9.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.8 C

Like most in-ears, the Powerbeats3 don’t trap heat inside your ears, and you shouldn’t feel a big difference in temperature while wearing them. This means they’ll be a good option for sports as you shouldn’t sweat more than usual.

9.0 Portability
L : 2.0 "
W : 2.0 "
H : 1.0 "
Volume : 4.0 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are very portable as they can fit in most pockets and bags. They are a bit bulkier than other sports headphones because of their ear-hook design, but they also come with a decent rubber pouch, which doesn’t add too much bulk and will fit in pockets as well.

6.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The Beats Powerbeats3 come with a rubberized pouch that's mostly waterproof. It protects the headphones against scratches, minor water exposure and feels like it could absorb small impacts. However, there is a small opening on top of the pouch that can’t be closed, so the headphones aren’t completely protected. It is also a bit tight to fit in the headphones along with the tip options and charging cable. The case is a bit disappointing since the Powerbeats2 came with a hard case, and the Powerbeats3 come with the same case as the BeatsX.

7.5 Build Quality

The build quality of the Powerbeats3 is similar to the Powerbeats2. The earbuds feel dense enough to survive a few impacts without taking too much damage, and their ear-hook is made of rubberized material that is malleable to fit around your ears without breaking. The in-line remote feels better-made and more responsive. However, compared to other sports headphones, they are not rated for dust or water protection.

8.0 Stability

These headphones are very stable during physical activity, and they shouldn’t pop out of your ears. The malleable ear-hooks offer great stability and will not let the earbuds fall. However, the in-ear part of the headphones moves around quite a bit and often breaks the seal, which may get frustrating for some. If you know this is going to annoy you, we suggest taking a look at the V-MODA BassFit Wireless for another stable option with ear-hooks and stability fins.

Cable
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

These wireless headphones don’t have a cable, but they come with a very short micro-USB charging cable.

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7.2

Sound

The Beats Powerbeats3 are above-average sounding wireless closed-back in-ears. These headphones have a powerful and deep bass, a well-balanced mid-range and a great treble. However, their bass may sound a bit thumpy, which some may prefer. There is also a small bump in the mid-range that will affect the projection and intensity of vocals and instruments, while treble is underemphasized throughout the range, which will make sibilances (S and T sounds), vocals, and leads lack a bit of detail and brightness. Overall, they are versatile for a wide variety of music, from bass-heavy to vocal-centric genres.

8.5 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.27 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10.15 Hz
Low-Bass
:
3.41 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.2 dB
High-Bass
:
1.89 dB

The bass performance is great. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent for bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. The whole range is flat and even, but there is a slight, yet barely noticeable, overemphasis throughout the range. The slight overemphasis in low-bass, however, will be noticeable as it will make the bass sound a bit thumpy, which some may like. Mid-bass, responsible for the punch of the bass and kick instruments, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are both within about 2dB of our curve, which is good.

8.6 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.86 dB
Low-Mid
:
-0.66 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-0.82 dB
High-Mid
:
2.71 dB

The mid-range of the Powerbeats3 is also great. The response is fairly flat and even, with a small bump in high-mid. Low-mid and mid-mid are well-balanced and within 1dB of our target which is important for the clear reproduction of vocals and instruments. However, high-mid is a bit overemphasized which will add intensity and projection to vocals and lead instruments.

8.1 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.32 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.87 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-2.31 dB
High-Treble
:
-7.4 dB

The Powerbeats3’s treble performance is also great. The whole range is fairly even, but it is also mostly under our target curve. This underemphasis will have a negative impact on the detail and brightness of vocals, instruments, and cymbals.

9.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.21 dB

The frequency response consistency is excellent. If the user can achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

9.3 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.42
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
0.96
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
1.17

The Beats Powerbeats3 has excellent imaging. Their weighted group delay is at 0.16, which is very good. This suggests that they have a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

1.7 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
5.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.0
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the Powerbeats3 is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because the Beats have a closed-back design, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods or the Bose SoundSport Free.

9.0 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.604
Weighted THD @ 100
:
0.085

The harmonic distortion performance of the Powerbeats3 is excellent. The overall amount of THD is very low, especially in the bass range. Also, for most of the spectrum, the 100dB SPL pass shows less harmonic distortion than the 90dB SPL pass. This is most likely due to the increased flexibility of the driver under heavier loads.

6.0

Isolation

The Beats Powerbeats3 have mediocre isolation performance. These headphones don't actively block ambient noise. Unlike most in-ears, they don’t create an air-tight seal and will let noise seep into your audio. They won’t be ideal for commuting and at the office, but thankfully, they don’t leak too much so you’ll be able to mask more background noise by raising your listening volume without bothering people surrounding you.

4.9 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-11.9 dB
Bass
:
-0.63 dB
Mid
:
-11.61 dB
Treble
:
-24.52 dB
Self-Noise
:
20.62 dB

The isolation performance is sub-par. These headphones don't have active noise-cancelation and do not provide any isolation in the bass range. This means they will let in all the rumbling of engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by about 12dB, which is decent. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and fan noises like A/C systems, they achieved 25dB of isolation, which is also decent. However, there is a weak point around 4-5KHz. For sports in-ears with better passive isolation, take a look at the JBL Endurance Dive.

8.3 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
32.11 dB

The leakage performance of the Beats Powerbeats 3 is very good. The significant portion of leakage sits between 3KHz and 7KHz, meaning it will sound quite thin and mostly consist of S and T sounds. The overall level of leakage is also low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages around 32dB SPL, but it peaks at 56dB SPL, which is about the noise level of most offices.

5.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The in-line microphone of the Beats Powerbeats3 is sub-par. Speech recorded or transmitted will sound noticeably thin, muffled and lacking in detail, which makes speech a bit difficult to understand over the phone in loud environments. It also doesn't fare well in moderately loud environments, as it will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in places such as a busy street.

6.4 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
276.97 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.31 dB
HFE
:
3368.2 Hz
Weighted THD
:
12.189
Gain
:
36.29 dB

The in-line microphone of the Powerbeats3 has an average recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 277Hz means speech recorded/transmitted with it will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.4KHz is poor and results in speech that is muffled and lacking in detail. It also negatively affects the intelligibility of speech but will be understandable in quiet environments.

4.8 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
5.68 dB

The in-line microphone has sub-par noise handling as it achieves a speech-to-noise ratio of only 5.7dB, which is quite low. This means that it won't be able to separate speech from noise in environments with even moderate amount of ambient noise.

6.6

Active Features

The Beats Powerbeats3 have a good 12-hour battery life and a nice quick charge feature for last-minute workouts. They should last you long enough for a full workday as well, which is a nice improvement over the previous Powerbeats 2 Wireless. Unfortunately, they don’t have a companion app to enhance your listening experience, but there is an online updater to get the latest firmware.

6.8 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
11.7 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.2 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
No

The Powerbeats3 offer 12 hours of continuous playback, which should last you a full workday or a few workouts. They don’t take much time to recharge fully, and they also have a quick charge feature that gives you an hour of battery life for only 5 minutes of charging time. This can be very useful for last minute workouts or before commuting. Unfortunately, they don’t have any power saving feature to extend the battery life.

5.0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : Yes
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Powerbeats3 make use of the W1 chip for better integration into the iOS platform. This gives them a simple popup when connecting to an Apple device that displays battery information and a persistent notification for it. It also makes pairing and switching between iOS devices easier. However, this is not really a functional app as you don't have any equalizers, room effects or additional features.

3.4

Connectivity

These Bluetooth-only headphones have an amazing wireless range. However, you won’t be able to use them with a wired connection, and their Bluetooth connection doesn’t support multi-device pairing or NFC. Being Bluetooth, their latency is slightly high but outperforms most similar headphones.  

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.2 + W1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

These are Bluetooth-only headphones that don’t offer NFC or multi-device pairing, which would have been convenient if you often switch between your phone and office computer. On the upside, the W1 chip makes pairing and switching between iOS devices easier.

Note that we could not confirm the Bluetooth version. Also, if you use them with a PC be sure to set the playback device at 44.1 KHz otherwise you may get a ticking sound caused by sampling rate issues.

0 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A

These Bluetooth-only headphones do not have a wired connection.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

Like most sports headphones, the Powerbeats3 do not have a dock.

9.5 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
56 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
226 ft

The Beats Powerbeats3 have an amazing wireless range. With 56ft of range when the source is obstructed by walls, you’ll be able to move around a small apartment fairly easily without hearing too many audio cuts. You shouldn’t have any problem with the connection, especially if you keep the audio source on you while working out for example. However, these results may vary depending on your Bluetooth source’s signal strength.

2.9 Latency
Default Latency
:
182 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

Their latency is slightly too high for watching videos and gaming. However, they perform better than most Bluetooth headphones, which average around 200-220 ms, so you might not notice the delay as badly as with other headphones unless you’re gaming. Also, some video content apps like Netflix and YouTube offer some sort of compensation depending on your device so you may not notice it at all.

In the box

  • Beats Powerbeats3 headphones
  • 4 tip options
  • Carrying pouch
  • Charging cable
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Beats Powerbeats3 are great sports-oriented headphones that are also fairly versatile for everyday casual use. They come in a variety of different colors to suit your preferred style and have a way better sound quality than the previous Powerbeats 2 Wireless. They have great battery life for wireless in-ears and perform quite well against similar sports headphones. See our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds for running, the best wireless earbuds under $100, and the best earbuds and in-ears.

Bose SoundSport Wireless

The Bose SoundSport Wireless have a more neutral sound quality and their earbud-like design will be more comfortable for most people. However, the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless have twice the battery life of the Boses and feel better-built. Also, their closed-back design isolates more than the semi-open design of the Bose. For sports, the ear-hooks of the Powerbeats3 are more stable and their control scheme is easier to use.

Jaybird X4 Wireless

The Jaybird X4 and Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless perform similarly, but the X4 have the edge thanks to their app that lets you EQ the sound to your liking. Also, the X4 have better isolation performance and you’ll be able to use these on the bus or at the office without a problem. However, the Powerbeats3 have longer battery life that will last you a full workday, and some may prefer the ear-hook design for more stability during physical activities.

Beats BeatsX Wireless

The Beats BeatsX are more versatile headphones than the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, but the Powerbeats3 are better sports headphones. Due to their typical in-ear design, the BeatsX create a tight seal inside your ears and block a good amount of ambient noise, making them suitable for commuting and at the office. However, they have an around-the-neck design that not everyone will like. On the other hand. The Powerbeats3 are typical wireless in-ears and their ear-hook design is more stable for sports. They are also a bit more comfortable since they don’t enter your ear canal as deeply.

Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless

For the money, the Anker Soundcore Spirit X might be a better choice for most consumers. The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are better headphones than the Anker Spirit X since they have a slightly more neutral sound signature and feel more solid due to thicker cables. On the other hand, the Ankers are more comfortable and come with a nice solid case. Unfortunately, they don’t have the great wireless range of the Powerbeats3, but if you keep your phone on you during your workouts, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats Pro are practically identical to the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, but in a truly wireless design. Both headphones also have a very similar sound profile and have about the same battery life. However, the Powerbeats Pro have a case that gives you about 15 more hours wherever you are. The fit of the Powerbeats Pro is also a bit more comfortable than the Powerbeats3. If you don’t really need the truly wireless design, than the Powerbeats3 might offer better value.

JBL Endurance Dive Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are better sports headphones than the JBL Endurance Dive. Their fit is more comfortable and their in-line remote might be easier to use than the touch-sensitive surface of the Dive, especially during physical activity. They fit a bit more securely inside the ear too, which is great for sports. They sound a bit more neutral and have noticeably more battery life. On the other hand, the JBL Dive have internal storage so you can use them in the water without Bluetooth, and their fit creates an air-tight seal that blocks a good amount of ambient noise, which makes them a better option for commuting.

V-MODA BassFit Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are slightly better headphones than the V-MODA BassFit Wireless, but both headphones are very similar. The Beats have a slightly more comfortable build, as they don’t enter your ear canal as deeply as the V-MODAs. They also have a slightly more neutral sounding frequency response, but the difference will be subtle. The Powerbeats3 are also slightly better-built, feel more durable, and have better wireless range. On the other hand, the BassFit have slightly less latency for watching video content and support the aptX and AAC codecs, which might give you better overall performance.

Jabra Elite Active 45e Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless are better headphones than the Jabra Elite Active 45e. They are more comfortable and their audio quality is superior. They also have slightly better isolation performance and they offer about twice the battery life of the Elite Active 45e. On the other hand, you can’t EQ them, which you can do on the Jabras. You can also connect the Elite Active 45e to two devices and they have a mic-mute function for calls. They will also be a better option if you want headphones to run outside with, while being aware of your surroundings.

Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless

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.

Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019

The Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless are better headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 2019. Their closed-back design will isolate more ambient noise than the open AirPods, although the fit of the Powerbeats3 doesn’t isolate very well. However, they are noticeably more stable due to their ear-hook design, which is great for sports. They also have a very good audio reproduction and perform more consistently across different users. You also get volume controls on their in-line remote, which the AirPods don’t have. On the other hand, the Apple AirPods 2 have a great charging case and feel slightly better made than the Powerbeats3. While you get more battery life with the Beats, you can’t charge them anywhere like you can with the AirPods’ case.   

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.9 Mixed Usage
Decent for mixed usage. The Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless have a better and more accurate sound than the previous Powerbeats2 that critical listeners will enjoy. They don't have the best isolation performance but they don't leak, which is useful for commuting and at the office for blocking out more noise. The in-ear fit might not be ideal for everyone, especially for long periods of time. On the upside, their ear-hook design offers great stability for sports, and they are breathable and portable to bring to your workouts. Unfortunately, their latency may be a bit too high for watching TV and gaming, and their microphone performance is sub-par for online multiplayer games.
7.3 Critical Listening
Above-average for critical listening. These headphones have a powerful and deep bass, a well-balanced mid-range and a great treble. However, their bass may sound a bit thumpy, which some will prefer. There is also a small bump in the mid-range that will affect the projection and intensity of vocals and instruments, while treble is underemphasized throughout the range which will make sibilances (S and T sounds), vocals, and leads lack a bit of detail and brightness. They are versatile for a wide variety of music, but the in-ear fit will not be comfortable for long listening sessions.
7.0 Commute/Travel
Decent for commuting and traveling. They don’t passively isolate lower frequencies, so you’ll hear engine rumbles during your commute. However, they are very portable and easy to carry around. Their battery life will last you even for long flights, but you may feel ear fatigue after long listening sessions.
8.1 Sports/Fitness
Great for sports. The ear-hook design is great for added stability during physical activities, and the in-ear fit is very breathable. Also, they are very portable and can fit in most pockets and bags, meaning you can bring them to work out about anywhere. Due to the great wireless range, you’ll also be able to leave your source nearby if you don’t like working out with a phone in your pockets.
6.9 Office
Decent for the office. The Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless isolate a decent amount of ambient chatter, and they don’t leak too much so you’ll be able to raise your volume a bit without distracting others around you. On the upside, their 12-hour battery life will last you a full workday. Unfortunately, they don’t support multi-device pairing for you to use them with your phone and PC, and the in-ear fit might not be comfortable enough for a whole shift.
5.7 TV
Sub-par for watching TV. Even if they have lower latency than most Bluetooth headphones, you could still notice a delay between what you see and what you hear. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem on mobile apps like YouTube and Netflix as they slightly compensate for the delay. On the upside, their amazing wireless range will allow you to watch TV from your couch.
5.3 Gaming
Sub-par for gaming. These headphones are sports-oriented and shouldn’t be used for gaming due to their high latency and mediocre microphone. Even if you don’t play online and don’t need a mic, these headphones won’t be a good option for this use case.

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