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Reviewed on Feb 01, 2019 , Sam Vafaei, Simon Barbier, Jean-Simon Bonneterre, Yannick Khong

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.9
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.3
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.0
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
8.1
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.9
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
5.7
TV
Score components:
5.3
Gaming
Score components:
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.

Check Price

7.7

Design

Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Design Picture

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
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Design Picture 2

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
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.06 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
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
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Controls Picture
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
What it is: A transparency feature that uses the mics of the headphones to let you hear what is doing on around you without removing them.
When it matters: If you want to be aware of what is going on around you without removing your headphones or while still listening to your audio. This is typically a feature for the noise canceling headphones and passively isolating in-ears that block a lot of noise.
Good value: Yes or adjustable.
:
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
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Breathability After Picture
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
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Portability Picture
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
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Case Picture
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
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Build Quality Picture

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
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Stability Picture

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
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Cable Picture
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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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.2

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Frequency Response

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
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.27 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10.15 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.41 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.2 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
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
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.86 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.66 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.82 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
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
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.32 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.87 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.31 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-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.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
9.0 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Consistency L Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
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
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Group Delay Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.42
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.96
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
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
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
N/A
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
5.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
2.0
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
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
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.604
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
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

Score components:

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
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-11.9 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-0.63 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-11.61 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-24.52 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
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
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people to hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
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

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
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
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Microphone Frequency Response
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
276.97 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
3.31 dB
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
3368.2 Hz
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
12.189
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
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
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless SpNR
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
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

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

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
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
11.7 hrs
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
1.2 hrs
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
No
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when you're relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
No
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
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
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless App Picture
App Name : N/A
iOS : Yes
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
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

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

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
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version
What it is: The version of Bluetooth that the headphones support.
When it matters: Newer versions of Bluetooth, when paired with devices that support the same version, may have improved latency and wireless range performance.
:
4.2 + W1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
NFC Pairing
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
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
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
OS Compatibility
What it is: Testing the headphones' cable to see which operating system it works with.
When it matters: Some wired headphones don't support all operating systems so this allows you to check if the headphones will work with your device.
:
N/A
Analog Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play analog media using a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack. Includes using a 1/4" or 1/16" TRS with a 1/8" TRS adapter.
When it matters: For listening to music with devices that have a standard 1/8" TRS audio jack, like an MP3 player, tablet, smartphone or PC.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Audio
What it is: When your headphones can play digital media using a standard USB connector.
When it matters: For listening to music on a PC. A digital USB adapter can offer some advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC or added software support.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4 controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One controller.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

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

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a specific frequency range or wired headphones that have a proprietary amp.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and personal computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source for the base/dock/transmitter.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

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

9.5 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. We test our obstructed range with a Moto E4 Plus. Results may vary depending on your phone model or Bluetooth source.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout. Note that wireless range also depends on your Bluetooth sources' signal strength which may vary from device to device or depending on your phone model.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
56 ft
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
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
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
182 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
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 Wireless In the box Picture

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

Compared to other Headphones

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Compare Picture

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.

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.

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.   

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.

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.

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.

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Conclusion

6.9Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
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.
7.3Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
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.
7.0Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
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.
8.1Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
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.
6.9Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
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.
5.7TV
Score components:
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.
5.3Gaming
Score components:
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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