The Beats Powerbeats2 sports earphones are a wired offering from the hugely popular company. Except for the Powerbeats 2 Wireless, they are the most expensive product in the Beats line-up, and that’s saying something. Beats are notorious for their brand mark-up and the Powerbeat2 is no exception in this regard. The earphones feature a mic, three-button remote and flexible over-ear hooks that keep them held firmly in place. They are also sweat and water resistant, after a fashion. Are they worth the outlay in the crowded sports headphones market though?
Powerbeats2 stay put
The over-ear hooks are key to the design of the Powerbeats2 and they are one of the best features. They can be moulded to help find a secure fit, and they do the job of keeping the earpieces in place very well. This element of the design is comfortable but unfortunately it’s not the full story. The earpiece chassis sits in the curve of the ear and the plastic can result in discomfort as it rubs against the ear. The eartips are angled to enter the ear canal, although they don’t enter quite as far as the Beats Tour 2.
The earphones have a 1.2m cable, which has a Y-shaped split and terminates in an angled jack. The jack leaves enough clearance for a phone case. The cable is thick and tangle-free. There’s a cable tie along the split section which allows you to customise the length for comfort during workouts. The mic and three-button remote is located along the split cable leading to the left earpiece. The headset arrangement is the standard Beats design, shared by the Tour 2 and urBeats, and it works quite well. At 26.7g the earphones are a little on the heavy side.
The Powerbeats2 are designed for compatibility for iOS devices, and there is no corresponding Android version. You’ll be able to listen to music and take calls with the central button while using an Android device but you won’t be able to change tracks.
Powerbeats2 audio performance
Beats is well-known for is bass-focused products. The Powerbeats2 continues this trend, although they aren’t quite as bass-heavy as earlier generations of Beats earphones, which is a smart move. There’s a bump in the treble, although it’s not as prominent as the bass. The treble is more emphasized here than with the Beats Tour 2. With such accentuated lows and highs, the Powerbeats2 don’t offer clear mid-range representation. The audio response will likely suit the average consumer who wants to listen to popular contemporary music. I doubt any audiophiles will even be considering Beats and if they did, these earphones wouldn’t convert them. Unfortunately Beats don’t offer technical specifications for their products.
Poor durability lets sports design down
On paper the Beats Powerbeats2 are well-suited as sports headphones. They have the right feature-set. Unfortunately sports earphones tend to get knocked around a bit, and this is where the earphones fall flat. Common issues include remote malfunction, earpieces dropping out or components breaking. Some users have also found the earphones malfunction due to sweat and moisture during regular use, despite Beats claiming the product is sweat and water resistant. With these issues present it’s hard to recommend the product as a sports model, despite the feature-set. Adding to these issues is the fact that Apple (of which Beats is a subsidiary) can be rather unforgiving in their interpretation of the warranty conditions.
The earphones ship with a hard shell carrying case, four pairs of eartips and a cable clip. The oval-shaped case is a nice inclusion and does help keep the pricey earphones out of danger in the gym bag. The eartips feature three standard designs (S, M and L) and a single dual-layer medium eartip. The eartips provide little in the way of noise isolation. This isn’t a requirement for sports earphones though, as many users want to remain aware of their surroundings.
One element that Beats got right is the look. The model is available in four colours: Black, red, white and blue. The Powerbeats 2 wireless offers double the number of colour options, but four choices still isn’t a bad field. The instantly-recognisable b logo and Powerbeats design are featured on the earpieces. With the over-ear hooks present, the Powerbeats2 doesn’t look quite as sharp as the Beats urBeats or Tour 2, but it still makes a statement.
Wired vs wireless
Using the Beats Powerbeats2 you won’t have the experience of having your earphones powering down mid-work out due to low battery, unlike the wireless option. The wired version also has the advantage of being $30 cheaper. It does have more cable length to catch on things while working out however. For an earphone with durability issues, that is a significant downside.
Are the Beats Powerbeats2 worth it?
The Powerbeats2 look good and have a range of sports features. The ear hooks work well and keep them firmly in place, while the hard case helps protect the earphones. The tangle-free cable lets get into your workout without any hassles. The ear hooks are comfortable, although the accompanying earpiece design won’t suit everyone.
The Beats bass-focused response is here, but it’s not completely out of hand. The earphones will work for average consumers, although more discerning listeners will likely want to go for a more balanced option. The price and the poor durability are major sticking points however. Paired together, it makes it hard to recommend the Powerbeats2. More affordable earphones can be easily replaced, but who wants to shell out $100 repeatedly?