Gadgetslab: Beats by Dre Powerbeats 2

I love me some good music when I’m working out a sweat. Yes, I’m out of shape now, but back then, sessions of jogging, power walking, lifting, bowling, basketball, and billiards were weekly occurrences. Pushing me through all these activities were the beats I had pumping out of my regular headset, or rather, headsets. I’ve put to rest many cans and buds because not only did sweat corrode them over time, I’ve tugged and pulled the wires too much during intense sessions.

Learning my lesson, I’ve stopped working out with headphones on. However, our review unit of the athletics-oriented PowerBeats 2 from Dr. Dre’s collection seeks to persuade me to go back to the sweet agony that is fitness.

Specifications:

Type: Stereo earbud with dual driver acoustics

Cable type: RemoteTalk wrap around cable

Connections: Bluetooth 4.0 up to 30 feet, microUSB (for charging)

Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion, up to 6 hours playback

Controls: Volume and microphone

Weight: 24 grams

Length: 500mm

Design: 4/5

The PowerBeats 2 is an on-ear set much more comfortable than any I’ve worn before. The earhooks are flexible and are done in soft rubber to make them pleasant to wear for long periods. Though various silicone tip sizes were included in the box, I couldn’t get one with an air-tight fit. Perhaps it was designed that way to ensure that you’ll always hear what’s around you when working out. Which makes sense; the last thing you want while jogging is to crash into something and wake up in a hospital ward.

Our review unit came in the classic Dr. Dre black and red, and if it weren’t for the Beats logo on the sides, they’d look like a generic pair of on-ears. Minimalistic, yes, but simple is sexy.

Hardware: 4/5

With an IPX4 rating, this headset can pretty much take the gallons of sweat it’ll swim in without having its build deteriorate nor have its colors fade. In fact, the entire build is solid from the hooks all the way to the tangle-free cable. It’s noteworthy that despite my sensitive skin (Yes, you better believe it), I didn’t experience any allergies nor did my ear area feel itchy while I was using these babies. Hypoallergenic stuff right there.

On the left side earhook are the microUSB charging port, LED indicator, and power/connect button; while below it are the audio controls. Everything’s within reach, but the power button was a bit of a pain to locate as well as to press. Luckily, Bluetooth connections were acknowledged with a distinct connect/disconnect sound.

Rounding out its specs are the Bluetooth 4.0 standard for connectivity up to 30 feet, and dual driver acoustics which lessens the bass in favor of a fuller audio experience.

User Experience: 4/5

The PowerBeats 2 boasts of six hours of playback on one full charge, taking only one and a half hours to go from zero to full juice. I timed my charges and up times and I’d say that this battery rating is spot on. Charge times were negligible enough that it felt like I had the Beats running for the whole day.

Now, we here at Gadgets take claims such as scratch- proof, water-resistant, and sweat-resistant very seriously. That’s why I (begrudgingly) laced up my pair of running shoes, wore a smexy sleeveless top and basketball shorts, and relived my glory days of not gasping for air between every flight of stairs to test how the PowerBeats 2 stacks up against what it was made for.

I jogged a few laps around UP Diliman’s Academic Oval; hit the weights at a nearby gym; did jumping jacks, curl ups, push ups, and squats; and laid down panting after all these. Sound quality was superb during these sessions. You’d expect that after a few minutes of working out, audio would be drowned out by my gasps and ambient noise, but no. The bass, although made less intense, was still spot on. This of course gave way to more distinct vocals and mids. Audio is not mind blowing in quality, but hey, if you’re working out, the last thing on your mind would be if the notes are resonating properly.

Light as they are, they never slipped off my ear even once. The cord’s length was just right that I didn’t tangle them in any body part. Thanks to Bluetooth, I was able to leave my phone in a corner somewhere while I did squats and pushups, never worrying that I might drop and crush it. Finally, wiping the PowerBeats 2 with a regular sweat rag proved sufficient enough to wipe away that sweaty, sticky feeling, allowing for immediate, casual use.

Oh, you can take calls with it too. I tried it a few times while I was out and about and the quality was clear on both end-points. Though, it’s a bit awkward to be gasping for air while taking a call.

Value: 3/5

Available in black, white, red, blue, and pink-gray colors, the PowerBeats 2 is tagged at PHP 12,500, a wallet-busting price that will have most people content with audio-less workouts. Still, with its durable, top-notch, and wireless build, it’ll last much longer than your regular headset, saving you money in the long run.

What’s Hot:

  • Very comfortable to wear during workouts
  • Six-hour battery life
  • Doesn’t get icky with sweat
  • Everything’s better with Bluetooth

What’s Not:

  • Price carries the LeBron tax
  • Audio quality is so-so

Bottomline:

What’s that? I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome my workout headset is.

Final Score: 15/20
Rising Star

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