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Gadget Review: The ‘Beat’ goes on

Jul 22. 2019
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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

Developed by engineers from Beats and Apple s to ensure a harmonious blend of premium sound, fit and functionality, new wireless earphones, the Powerbeats Pro, are an excellent choice for active people and motivated athletes.

They come with adjustable hooks that can be perfectly fitted around the ear lobes as well as four sizes of ear tips, the former ensuring that the phones won’t fall off no matter how hard your exercise routine and the latter that they remain comfortable throughout. 

Powerbeats Pro is the first in the Powerbeats series to be completely wireless. Its predecessor had a neckband cable linking the two earbuds.

To achieve the best possible fit on the widest array of ears, more than 20 configurations were electronically modelled and physically tested. The result is a completely new, ergonomically angled acoustic housing that nests comfortably in the ear thanks to an off- axis nozzle.

The phones are 23-per-cent smaller than their predecessor, 17- per-cent lighter and sweat- and water-resistant, so you can wear them comfortably during a workout without worrying about damage caused by sweat.

And the Powerbeats Pro are completely re-engineered from the inside out to boast an upgraded linear piston driver that leverages efficient, pressurised airflow to create a powerful acoustic response. Enhanced sound quality means incredibly low distortion and great dynamic range across the entire frequency curve.

During the test, I found the Powerbeats Pro reproduced impressive sound quality with outstanding mids and highs, resulting in good clarity of instrumental details. Amazingly, the small earphones delivered powerful bass too but you do need to properly select the ear tips to fit your ears to really benefit. I enjoyed listening to rock songs for hours during the test and I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all.

The earphones use Class 1 Bluetooth technology that offers extended range and exceptional cross-body performance, meaning fewer dropouts. Each earbud independently connects to your device, so you can choose to use one or both. You may wear both earbuds while you're running on the treadmill at the gym but prefer one earbud at the office for phone calls throughout the day, for example.

The phones are powered by the new Apple H1 chip to deliver a faster and more stable wireless connection to your devices. The chip allows you to activate “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance without having to reach for your iPhone.

The Apple H1 chip makes it easy to set up the earphones with your iPhone or any iOS device and your Mac computer. The earphones come in a charging case. You simply open the lid of the case for the first time and the Powerbeats Pro will automatically enter the pairing mode.

With the lid open, you simply hold the Powerbeats Pro within five centimetres of your unlocked iPhone or iPad and then follow the instructions that appear on your iOS device.

After the Powerbeats Pro are paired to one of your iOS devices, they will automatically be paired with any of your supported devices that are signed in to your iCloud account, including iMac or Macbook. The phones are also compatible with Android so can be connected to your devices even if you don’t use Apple products. 

After the pairing is done, the earphones are ready to use anytime you take them out of the case. When you put them in your ears, your Powerbeats Pro automatically play the audio from your device. If you take one earbud out, audio pauses. When you take them both out, audio stops.

Controlling the music play and volume is easy with the provided buttons. Each of the earbuds come with a volume button. When you change the volume on one earbud, the volume also changes on the other.

And in a first for Beats, a speech-detecting accelerometer in each earbud and two beam-forming microphones per side target your voice and filter out external sounds such as wind and ambient noise. This means you can answer a quick mid-workout call at the gym with clarity and confidence.

You can use either of the Beats logo buttons, which are located on each earbud, to control your music. To pause or play music, you must press the Beats logo button once. To skip to the next track, press twice. To listen to the previous track, press three times.

When wearing the Powerbeats Pro as a headset for your smartphone, you can use either of the Beats logo buttons to answer calls. Press the Beats logo button once to answer or end a call. To answer a second incoming call and put the first call on hold, press the logo button once. When two calls are active, you can switch between the calls by pressing the logo button once. You can also reject an incoming call by pressing and holding the Beats logo button for one second.

Battery life is good too. Each earbud has up to 9 hours of listening time and more than 24 hours of combined playback with the charging case. With Fast Fuel technology, you get 1.5 hours of playback after just 5 minutes of charging and up to 4.5 hours after 15 minutes of charging.

Powerbeats Pro has been available in black since last week and the Ivory, Moss and Navy models will be here soon. The phones retail for Bt8,900,

Key specs:

Connectivity: Apple H1 chip, Class 1 Wireless; Charging case: Lightning connector

Sensors: Dual optical sensors, Motion-detecting accelerometer, Speech-detecting accelerometer

Height: 5.6 cm

Weight: 20.3 g

Form factor: In ear

Power: Rechargeable lithium-ion

Powerbeats Pro case:

Height: 7.7 cm;

Power: Rechargeable lithium-ion

Battery: Powerbeats Pro (single charge): Up to 9 hours listening time; Fast Fuel: A 5-minute charge provides up to 1.5 hours of playback

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