Apple’s new Beats Powerbeats offer pro audio for just $149

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Almost exactly like Powerbeats Pro, only $100 cheaper.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Tuesday made its new Beats Powerbeats headphones official after a series of big leaks. The $149 wireless buds pack the same technology as Powerbeats Pro, including the newest H1 chip, and last up to 15 hours in between charges.

You can order yours this Wednesday, March 18.

Powerbeats are a successor to Powerbeats3 (Apple is dropping the numbers) and a more affordable alternative to Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro. Despite being $100 cheaper, however, they promise high-end features and an improved design.

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Powerbeats vs. Powerbeats Pro.
Photo: Apple

Other than the lack of wireless charging, and the small cable that connects both buds, they’re virtually identical to their flagship sibling. That means you get a great set of almost-completely-wireless headphones for under $150.

Beats Powerbeats pack serious sound

Powerbeats sport a more ergonomic design that’s very similar to that of Powerbeats Pro. The connecting cable has been repositioned so that it sits more comfortably around the neck, while the hooks remain for a secure fit. You can get yours in white, black, and red.

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A more comfortable fit and much better sound.
Photo: Apple

Apple ships a carrying case that keeps the buds protected when they’re not in use, but it’s not required for charging. A built-in Lightning connector on the underside of the left earpiece takes care of that. A full charge gets you up to 15 hours of use, while a five-minute “Fast Fuel” keeps you going for an hour.

The improved Powerbeats design is IPX4 water-resistant, like Powerbeats Pro. It doesn’t mind sweat and the odd splash of water, but you won’t want to wear them swimming or in the shower.

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Powerbeats use a familiar Lightning cable for charging.
Photo: Apple

What makes Powerbeats really interesting is what’s on the inside. You get Apple’s latest H1 chip — the same one that powers Powerbeats Pro and AirPods Pro. It gives you hands-free “Hey Siri,” as well as features like quick syncing between Apple devices signed into the same iCloud account.

Powerbeats also feature the same audio components. Apple promises clean sound reproduction with low distortion, and enhanced clarity and dynamic range. Dual beam forming microphones help provide stellar call quality, too.

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Order yours on March 18.
Photo: Apple

Powerbeats are a huge improvement over Powerbeats3, which are still on sale today for $199.95. The older models offer just 12 hours of battery life, an older W1 chip that lacks features like “Hey Siri,” and aging internals that don’t sound anywhere near as good.

You can order your Powerbeats this Wednesday, March 18, through the Apple Online Store.