Powerbeats 4 Wireless Earphone ARE PRO ENOUGH

Beats gives you the SAME audio experience as the Pro model. But what’s missing, read here to find out.

INTRODUCTION

My Powerbeats Pros are great. I really enjoyed them for the ear hooks, intuitiveness, and battery life.  If I want something that won’t drop out of my ears when I’m working out, I go for my Powerbeats Pros.

But let’s say…

One:
You don’t want to spend upto $250 on the Pros.

Two:
You want want something that hangs around your neck instead of taking off your pros and putting it in your pocket.

Third:
You want even more battery life for convenience. The Powerbeats 4 might be the alternative.  These retail for $150. I’ll place my affiliate links above, click on those links for the most updated prices in real-time. Beats did send these in for review, however, my assessment was not altered in anyway, I’ll be of course, going over both pros and cons.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

Going over the physical features, they’re almost identical with the Pros.  You’re not getting a cheaper physical feeling product. Same plastic, same grippy rubber silicone like texture.  The earhooks are identical as well with how they feel and the tolerance of how much these can bend.

The only difference aside from the wire, the Powerbeat’s are bigger than the Pros.  If I didn’t have them both side by side, I honestly didn’t realize there was a difference, but now you guys know.  Knowing is half the battle. I personally prefer the smaller look but it’s not a deal-breaker, not even close. The black version of the PowerBeats 4 were not fully black while the Pros were.

WATER RESISTANCE

On Beats website, it simply says they’re water and sweat resistance.  I contacted Beats to double check and they’re an IP4 rating meaning than can take on splashes from any direction.  It just can’t be sprayed or submerged with water. With my testing, my Powerbeats 4 are still working today.

BUTTON LAYOUT

Getting a closer look, power button is on the left.  The Beats Logo on the left earbud is not a button like the Pros.  The Right earbud has the volume rocker controls which worked fine. The Beats Logo can pause and play, answer phone calls and activate your Google Voice Assistant or Siri.   But oddly in the directions, no indication of skipping or going back on songs. That would’ve been a huge con in my book, but I tested it and we get it here. Two taps on the logo to go forward, triple tap to go back on your music.

PRACTICALITY AND USE

In regards to use and practicality.  The obvious pro are the earhooks. When you first put them on, they might be a little tight or narrow, clamping your ears a little too much, but the earhooks are bendable and you have to shape it to your ears a bit.  After doing so, they’re comfortable for me.  

They feel identical to the Pros and either running, working out, laying flat on the bench, doing bent over rows, these earphones do not fall out.  If you want a secure hold, earhooks are the way to go.  

YOU MIGHT LIKE THE WIRE?

With the included wire, some don’t mind, some do.  One of the pros include taking off one earphone and not thinking about dropping it or storing it is a plus.  Taking off both sides and having it around my neck, it’s convenient. The rubberized silicone texture works great at keeping the earphones on your neck, but while wearing, I do notice it tends to pull to the right shoulder for me.  I would have to push it back from time to time like this. A little bit of a nuisance but that’s sometimes typical for over the neck wired earphones, especially the ones with the microphone on one side. The bigger issues you have to look out for, is there wind-noise while running that’s heard through the wire, and second, is there chatter heard by the wire bouncing on your neck or rubbing against your shirt.  That was notorious on the Beats X and it was such a huge distraction.

IS THE WIRE AN ISSUE

For wired earphones, these did great.  During my runs, just like most other in-ear earphones, most of the wind-noise is heard hitting the earbuds themselves while the wire barely carried any noise into your ears.  Same with rubbing. Simply turning my head, I barely hear the course rubbing when the wire dragged along my shirt. When I’m running, I barely hear the bounce of the wire as well.  I’m kinda shocked they didn’t include a clip but without one, I felt as though they still worked out fine.

COMFORTABLE POWERBEATS 4

There’s a total of four eartips included.  They all felt perfectly comfortably as they sat outside the ear canal instead of being squeezed into your ear canal.  There’s an ok seal around the ears because of that, so you’re not achieving the most noise isolating earphones on the market.  If you’re vigorously working out, clenching your teeth, High-intensity movements, the earphones do slightly lift a bit from time to time and you can really hear your outside environment and your audio might not sound as direct in your ear.  In addition, the passive noise isolation on these are considered on the lower end. Some may be perfect with that, as the non-pro apple airpods sold like crazy, so I assume there’s a market for that. I prefer amazing noise isolation with the option of audio pass-through. 

WHATS MISSING ON POWERBEAT

With the Powerbeats 4 and Powerbeat Pros, the biggest let down is the lack of true audio-pass through where the built-in microphones turns on, and you’re able to hear your environment through the earphones, almost as though you’re not wearing anything at all.  We don’t get that here.  
The other feature I noticed missing was auto-pause for times you take off your earphones.  Second missing feature, these don’t auto turn-off as well, even if you leave this sitting around idle.  Remember to turn them off.

And last, no Active Noise Cancelling. But again, these are not designed to be super isolating earphones.  

BLUETOOTH PERFORMANCE

Moving on, we have excellent levels of Bluetooth performance.  Not sure why Apple does this but they don’t indicate what Bluetooth version, but does classify these as Class 1, indicating the range on these things should be excellent.  Most earphones are considered as Class 2, offering ranges upto 30feet. Although more than 50% of earphones that I personally test usually can achieve 40 to 60 feet. With a Class 1, they’re claiming upto 300 feet. 

So my first test around the house, I’m able to achieve 99% coverage, leaving my phone on one side of the 1100sq. Ft apartment and walking to the other side of the apartment, I was literally this close before to the wall when the signal started to cut out.  With a straight line of site, I was able to achieve about 80 linear feet with my Pixel 4xl.  That’s a rough estimate but the video shows where the signal remained stable for me.  With the iPhone, I achieved about 95 linear feet.  

VIDEO SYNCING DELAYS

As for video, I tested this on Youtube and Netflix on both my Pixel and iphone X and audio played with no syncing delays.  Testing this real quick on Call of Duty mobile, I’m getting delays there.

MULTI-PAIRING BLUETOOTH

This also has multi-pairing.  From my testing, I’m connected to two phones, all I need to do it tap the Powerbeats in my Bluetooth menu and the signal jumps over.  No need to disconnect and reconnect.  

BATTERY PERFORMANCE

Battery life is claimed to be a high 15hrs per use.  I tested this at 50% volume and the same playlist I use on all of audio tests and achieved 18hrs and 16minutes.

As for fast charging, 5 minutes will give you back 1 hour worth of playback.

If you read this far, you should check out my personal social media accounts on Twitter or Instagram.  =D Follow me there at the links on your screen or I’ll place them in my video description as well. I post my personal thoughts, stuff I’m working on, and stuff I’m interested in other than headphones and earphones.  Hope to see you guys there!

AUDIO PERFORMANCE

First up, the Powerbeat Pros and these wired Powerbeats 4 sound practically identical.  From bass, volume, sound imaging, etc. But if you’re not familiar with the Pros, the Pros and Powerbeats 4 will be loud enough for most people.  This does slightly vary between 50 to 60% volume for casual listening to 70 to at times 80% to have it at a jamming level. Again, that seal around your ears is going to be very important.

There is minor sound leaking occuring.  If you’re in a quite area, someone sitting right next to you might hear faintly what you’re listening to.  

BASS

Beats are known for bassy audio and it’s been refined over the years.  There’s been several new products with Apple being part of the picture, and I can see the improvements.  Bass has the ability to hit deep bass levels but on most songs, it’s not that rumbling experience like what you can with headphones.  It’s not a bad thing as you’re still getting a very good amount of bass but the important part here, it’s kept clean, distortion free and the Powerbeats won’t get muddy, suppressed or droning.  If you’re familiar with the Jabra 75t Truly Wireless Earphone review, these have a similar characteristic. If you like bass in your music, or if you’re using these to watch Netflix movies on your phone, they sound really good in my opinion.  

MID-RANGE EXPERIENCE

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t experience any muddiness.  If anything, the mid-range frequencies – that’s where the human ear interprets most vocal work and instruments – it’s clear with a good amount of audio separation and stereo imaging.  I’m able to identify left and right audio channels independently. You can hear snaps happening off to the side to vocal work being more centered and at the forefront. Things to critique, and this is honestly me nitpicking here, but there could be additional resolution and detail in the music.  These could use increased soundstage but most earphones lack this anyways. Music listening, genres of pop, hiphop and EDM which I listen to worked great, but for pod-casts, for some reason voices, especially female voices sound to be a little high on the upper-mid range. That won’t deter from purchasing but nit picking on the quality or experience in this case.

HIGH FREQUENCIES

For the high-frequencies, in my interpretation a very neutral experience.  Nothing ear piercing, nothing tinging, no listening fatigue here. It’s not rolled off at an extreme level.  With everything going on, I’m ok with a neutral level here. I think if there was more, it might be too much considering everything else is going on.  

Overall, the Powerbeat 4 earphones shines at having great bass and the stereo imaging is done really well.  The other features offered are simple, intuitive, and useful. The battery life alone is insane. I know these don’t have the most high tech features, but the features that are offered I think are done really really well.  And at $100 less than the Powerbeat Pros, I think it’s justified.  

Folks, let me know in the comment section below what you guys think.  And don’t forget to signup for the newletter so you’re alerted of the next review!  You guys take care.  I’ll see you on the next one. Bye

– Jimmy Luong