The Beats Powerbeats 3 is essentially a Powerbeats 2 with heavier makeup and much sexier underwear, and you set squarely in its sight. It’s astoundingly good at what it does, but so are its rivals and they happen to cost much less.
If you were expecting a thorough overhaul of the still immensely capable Powerbeats 2 you are sadly going to go home disappointed. According to an easy to believe lore, the Powerbeats 2 was essentially conceived and designed in heaven, and hence so good nothing much could be done to improve it, and trying to was deemed heresy. But Beats decided to give it a makeover anyways and so here we are. The result of their effort is the new Beats Powerbeats 3, essentially a Powerbeats 2 with extra coats of paint splashed on and some barely noticeable design tweaks. For starters, the earbud has been redesigned for a tighter and more comfortable fit for your audio excursions, capably aided by the very adjustable ear hooks. The remote talk inline has also been redesigned and its buttons made much more responsive and intuitive, with volume adjustment, track skipping, making and ending calls and the like all supremely enabled. The new Beats wireless earphones also come sweat and water resistant, shamelessly begging to get taken on the morning jog or while pumping serious iron in the gym.
The sound has not however been upgraded from the predecessor, and in truth it doesn’t need to be. Sound quality is simply fabulous as always and an ear-tingling, toe-curling, mind-bending pleasure. The new Powerbeats 3 however does come with the extraordinarily revolutionary W1 Bluetooth chip from the big, bad Apple, which is presently to be found only in just a few of the more premium offerings in the market. With the Powerbeats 3 rocking the W1 chip, connecting to and pairing with Apple devices is as difficult as moaning in pleasure while spooning in gobs of chocolate ice cream. Bluetooth connection with other devices sporting other operating systems are also great, but definitely not in the Apple class. When connected, the connection was invariably rock-solid and near unbreakable. The W1 also offers other benefits which the Powerbeats 3 mercilessly exploits, like drastically improved range and battery life. Which comes to around 12 hours at medium volume with some change and a range to be measured with a laser range finder rather than a tape measure. Especially when paired with a class 1 Bluetooth smartphone for class 1 experiences. Charging is done via micro-USB rather than Lightening, and with the ‘Fast-Fuel’ feature just 5 minutes of charging allows you to experience real live angels sweetly chorusing in your ear for around an hour.
Colors are black, siren red, white, shock yellow and flash blue, while the price is $200, the same as its predecessor, and steep if we say so. With the market crammed chock-full of rivals offering the same -or nearly so- performance in a cheaper package, Beats will be hard pressed to make much of an impact with its new product. Still, it’s hard to argue with the prestige, performance and premium feel of the Powerbeats 3. While others do come cheaper, none manages to perform so effortlessly and with so much aplomb. My recommendation? Get it before stocks run out.