Review: Powerbeats 3 headphones with Apple w1 chip

Review

Overall, I am a huge fan of these headphones.  The only issues I’ve run into are fairly minor and probably won’t impact most people.  They sync to my iDevices quite quickly in all cases but one.  I’ve only had issues when switching from one iPhone to the other (personal vs work) where I’ve been forced to turn the headphones off and back on again before they will pair successfully.  This usually fixes it.  I’ve run into similar issues when trying to switch from iPhone to laptop, which tends to be a bit more of a challenge to resolve.  It took me a few tries to actually understand that the most efficient way to pair them is to have them in a “powered down” state and then hold the ‘button’ down and stare at my iOS device until the pairing window pops up on my phone.   In my experience, it works just as well if the iOS device is locked or in an app.

Let me also say that I am constantly losing headphones… the same applies for sunglasses. Anything that doesn’t have a nice neat-and-pocket-friendly container will quickly disappear or be left behind somewhere.  In the case of these headphones, I decided I’d attach a Tile tracker. This works really well, however, whenever I’ve got the headphones resting on my shoulders (instead of in my ears) I am inevitably stopped by a helpful friend to tell me I’ve got a tag sticking out of my shirt. (I may end up spray painting the tile black to address this because I don’t want to give the impression that friends shouldn’t tell me when I do actually have a tag sticking out.)  This only becomes a frequent thing because the headphones rest so naturally on your shoulders when you take them out, that you forget you’ve got them there.

The headphones are quite comfortable for many hours of use, and with the ear grabby things, they are unlikely to ever come off accidentally.   These grabby things Grappling Hook Clip Artdo mean they tend to anchor themselves to every other cable in your backpack like a grappling hook.  They come with a soft rubbery carrying case which wouldn’t protect them from the kind of roughness that happens to things once they get stuffed into my pockets, so I don’t use the case.

It would be nice if they used the lightning adapter instead of micro-USB, but I have plenty of both types of cables plugged in at various charging locations, so it’s more about the USB cables always being oriented the wrong way than anything else.

These headphones are quite good at noise cancelling, so when I’m wearing them at work, I am able to isolate out the conversations and noise around me.  I have to be a little careful though when I’m out and about in the neighborhood because it means I’m not going to hear cars, bikes, or other pedestrians around me.  This is both handy for people who would otherwise interrupt me mid-thought and dangerous for faster moving (and more massive) vehicles.

I also use these frequently for calls, and I’ve found that when I have the cable which connects each end located behind my head, it is often difficult for the other person to hear me if I speak at a normal volume.  Relocating the inline mic to the front (so that it dangles under my chin like a paper birthday hat) seems to reliably fix this.

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Trivial to connect to a device
  • Comfortable in your ears or around your neck
  • Good for making calls (as long as the mic is in front)
  • Easy to attach a Tile so you don’t lose them
  • Good isolation from environment noise
  • MicroUSB instead of Lightning
    • Both a pro and a con because you probably have other devices that use microUSB already

Cons

  • Challenging to un-pair and repair in a hurry depending on the device
    • Still much easier than normal bluetooth devices though
  • Carrying case isn’t going to protect them
  • MicroUSB instead of lightning

Verdict?

 Yep, I’m happy with my purchase