Beats Fit Pro review: AirPods Pro smarts for your workouts-Ready Powerhouses
The Beats Fit Pro builds on a popular recipe to provide a fantastic audio companion to the gym.
When I was reviewing the Beats Fit Pro, I felt a sense of déjà vu. After all, I just tested the Beats Studio Buds, which have many similarities to the Fit Pro. On the surface, at least.
However, if you delve a bit further, you'll discover a largely enhanced experience. Beats has fine-tuned the formula for a new pair of earphones, much as Apple has done with each consecutive AirPods. They not only have longer battery life and a greater transparency mode, but they also include wingtips for a more secure fit. The sound quality is essentially the same, as we'll see later in the review, but it's more than adequate for going for a run or working out in the gym.
There are certain flaws, including as a subpar microphone, but in the sea of possibilities, you could do far worse than Beats Fit Pro. And, because Beats by Dre is owned by Apple, you'll discover even more reasons to enjoy it, from the aforementioned transparency mode and battery life to its exceptionally simple setup and use.
BEATS FIT PRO REVIEW: RELEASE DATE AND PRICE
While wireless earbuds are available at almost any price point these days, something with the quality and features of the Beats Fit Pro will usually put you back a reasonable sum. An older generation of Apple AirPods will set you back more than $100/£100, while a luxury pair like the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 would set you back more than $300/£300.
The Beats Fit Pro, which costs $199/£199/AU$379, will be available in the United States on November 5th, 2021, and in the United Kingdom and Australia on January 28th, 2022. While it is not inexpensive, you get a lot for your money. Though the Beats Studio Buds are a little less expensive, their feature set is a little more limited.
At this price, you might be tempted to compare them to Apple's third-generation AirPods, but the AirPods Pro is a better comparison because they, like the Beats Fit Pro, include active noise canceling and transparency settings.
BEATS FIT PRO REVIEW: FEATURES AND DESIGN
The Beats Fit Pro does not, and should not, reinvent the aesthetic wheel of earphones. Though the squarish charging case appears extremely different, they are remarkably similar to the Beats Studio Buds, with the exception of the wingtips that many sports-focused earbuds come with. They have a squat appearance in comparison to the sleek form of a pair of AirPods, with buttons linked to the outer half of the buds where the wingtips are located.
The Beats Fit Pro is the company's main gym offering, replacing the Powerbeats Pro. The Powerbeats Pro featured adjustable ear hooks that went over the outside of the ear to stay in place, whereas the wingtips sit inside the ear and hook under the fold of the ear to stay in place.
The Beats Fit Pro comes in four colours: black, white, sage grey, and stone purple. In terms of materials, the earbuds' body is constructed of sturdy plastic, but the wingtips have a flexible elastic feel, giving the outer half of the buds a softer feel. For a more tailored fit, the Fit Pro comes with three different sizes of silicon tips.
These, like other sports-oriented earphones, have an IPX4 rating, making them sweat and water-resistant. And I've worked up a sweat with these on without a single performance issue.
While the wingtips don't appear to be as secure as the Powerbeats Pro's over-ear hooks, they will stay in place no matter how tough your workout is. I've worn these while working out on various pieces of equipment, going for a run, or simply shaking my head hard to test whether they would stay in place. They did, in fact.
Unlike other earbuds I've tried, I don't have to adjust or push them in to get a better fit. The disadvantage, of course, is that they are not comfortable for extended periods of time. As a result, these are wonderful for working out but not so great for a plane or road journey in terms of comfort.
The controls on the tablet are simple, straightforward, and quite easy to operate. They're also delicate enough to modify effortlessly even in the middle of a run. They can also detect when you remove the buds and will silence your music automatically.
Because it is an Apple device, "one-touch pairing" with the Beats Fit Pro is as simple as it sounds. All you have to do is open the charging case, and your iPhone will recognize it and ask whether you want to pair. And, while Android users will need the Beats app, one-touch pairing is also accessible.
The Beats Fit Pro is compatible with both Apple and Android and, like the Beats Studio Buds, provides non-iPhone users with the capability of Apple AirPods. As soon as the buds are attached, you can view the battery levels of the buds and case, as well as access noise reduction, transparency mode, and spatial audio in the iOS settings. For the same feature, Android users will need to download the Beats app. Despite this, these buds are exceedingly simple to pair and operate.
The Beats Fit Pro's Apple H1 chip enables automated switching and music sharing. However, I was unable to make that work between my iPhone and my 2017 MacBook Pro.
On the plus side, the Class 1 Bluetooth implementation is quite outstanding. I was able to get moreover 60 feet away from my phone before it dropped. That's wonderful if you're going to perform any kind of workout where you won't be able or want to carry your phone but will be moving around a reasonably sized place.
BEATS FIT PRO REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
One of the reasons for this review's frequent comparison to the Beats Studio Buds is because they sound essentially the same. With a bass-forward profile, you get the same very good (but not fantastic) sound. The mids are well-balanced for a rather rich and pleasant listening experience, while the highs are present but somewhat rolled off to keep the earbuds from sounding overly warm. Despite being quite bright, these are not the most detailed earphones available. When it comes to buds, this is a positive thing because most bright buds wind up sounding harsh.
Bassheads will most likely enjoy the sound profile in particular. When listening to songs like Run The Jewels' Walking In The Snow or Tierra Whacks' Unemployed, you can't help but feel that 808.
Pop is sometimes very brightly mixed, so a slightly rolled-off high end can actually make some large Top 40 productions seem more pleasant. Acoustic music like The Punch Brothers' Mint Julep sounds fine on the Beats Fit Pro, however, the minor high-end roll-off takes away some of the detail. While rock music sounds excellent on these buds, it lacks the bite that brighter headphones would have.
When streaming a performance or film, the enhanced bass comes in helpful because you'll get a taste of the low-end rumble that an actual theatre experience would provide.
The Fit Pro's soundstage is about as nice as you can reasonably expect from a pair of earbuds. While they may not dazzle, they are large enough to provide an immersive experience when listening to music or viewing a movie. You'll be able to hear the bus swerving back and forth in Shang-Chi and pinpoint the placement of instruments in your favorite tracks.
The addition of active noise cancellation (or ANC) and transparency mode is where the Beats Fit Pro really shines. The ANC on the Beats Studio Buds was nice, but it's even better here. When turned on, it effortlessly blocks out the rest of the world, whether it's ambient noise from a nearby fan or the raucous activity of a full gym. The transparency mode is equally as excellent as it was on the Beats Studio Buds. I can listen to music at a decent volume while also hearing announcements and conversing.
The integration of Spatial Audio to Beats Fit Pro is a new feature. This is, in essence, Apple's simulated surround sound technology. You can also combine Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking so that the sound source remains static while you move your head around as if it were coming from an actual speaker in front of you or a real concert. While it works great, I wouldn't recommend using dynamic head tracking when doing a Russian Twist because it's disorienting. That said, Spatial Audio is a fantastic approach to making music and movies more immersive, and I'm delighted to see it included in the Beats Fit Pro experience.
The only time the Beats Fit Pro falls short is when making phone calls. The earphones are designed to clearly portray a user's voice by using two beam-forming mics to pick up the user's voice. And, while I could be heard, I sounded as if I were in an echo chamber and would have sounded better if I had simply picked up the phone. Perhaps it's because of all the digital processing to reject background noise, but the Fit Pro's microphone performance is mediocre.
BEATS FIT PRO REVIEW: BATTERY LIFE
Many of the best earphones appear to have comparable battery life. Some may last an hour longer here and there, but most of them appear to have roughly five to six hours of fun on a single charge, with a total of 24 to 30 hours when the charging case is included.
The Beats Fit Pro is said to have a battery life of up to six hours with ANC turned on and seven hours without it. That's actually quite good when compared to the AirPods Pro, which has a battery life of 4.5 hours with ANC on and five hours without. In this case, you get up to 24 hours of battery life, which is the same as the AirPods Pro.
When I put the Beats Fit Pro to the test, I was pleasantly surprised to obtain a full 7 hours and 2 minutes of playtime on a single charge. I had music playing at a reasonable volume all the while, with the ANC and transparency modes switched off. And, once the charging case had fully charged the earbuds, it still had two full charges left. That implies you'll have 28 hours of gaming without ANC and 24 hours with it turned on. While these figures do not blast the competitors out of the water, they are difficult to beat.
Furthermore, like many other recent wireless peripherals, it includes fast charging, which Beats refers to as "Fast Fuel." If you've entirely depleted the battery, five minutes of charging can provide an hour of playback.
BEATS FIT PRO REVIEW: VERDICT
So, is the Beats Fit Pro worth it? I believe so. They aren't perfect, especially when it comes to making phone conversations or wearing them for extended periods of time. However, these are intended for active use, such as heading to the gym or going for a run. These are excellent in certain situations.
You have a wonderful fit, simple and intuitive pairing and controls, and they sound amazing as too. The battery life is about as excellent as you can get out of a pair of earbuds these days, and the implementation of the active noise suppression and transparency mode is fantastic. If you get a pair of them for your next workout, you won't be disappointed.
BEATS FIT PRO REVIEW: ALSO THINK ABOUT
If you don't want to invest $200/£200 for a pair of earbuds, the Beats Studio Buds are a good option. While the Fit Pro has a better implementation of the transparency mode as well as a longer battery life, the Studio Buds are still a great pair of earbuds for the gym. They're just as sweat-resistant, have great sound, and a solid feature set for $150.
If you're willing to invest, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport will cost you $350 / £300 / AU$500, but they sound incredible. They don't have active noise cancellation like the Beats Fit Pro, but their transparency mode is beautifully handled and they have the capabilities you need in the gym or on a run.