Los Angeles Gadgets Rating: D+
On Monday, Apple stores throughout the United States will start receiving shipments of the PowerBeats2 wireless Bluetooth earbuds. They have been available in small quantities at select Apple stores throughout the country for the past three weeks and people have been going crazy trying to locate a pair. After spending time with them this weekend, we can safely say that you should avoid the PowerBeats2 at all costs.
The Beats brand, which used to be all style over substance, has recently changed for the better after being acquired by Apple. The Beats Studio Wireless headphones proved that Bluetooth headphones can really work. Instead of concentrating on the low ranges of audio with increased artificial bass, newer Beats products have struck a balance. Unfortunately, the Powerbeats2 doesn't fit into that category.
The first thing you will notice when putting on the stylish earbuds is that they sound is hollow and tinny. That's because they automatically put on small earbuds that don't necessarily fit most people's ears. Once you change to larger earbuds, you will notice that the bass becomes alive. However, it sounds very artificial and like earlier Beats audio products, the high and middle ranges barely exist. Listening to the PowerBeats2 for just over 15 minutes gave us a headache and hurt our ears.
Of course, those who purchase the PowerBeats2 use them for phone calls as well, right? Unfortunately, the audio quality for phone calls sounds like a compressed audio file from 2001. People on the other end can easily tell we are talking on a low-quality Bluetooth set. Yes, we do sound audible. However, at the high price of $199, we should sound great.
The PowerBeats2 were meant for listening at the gym while doing heavy exercise. While the earbuds do stay in the ears, there is no active noise cancellation--a big mistake for this caliber of a product. Unless you turn the volume all the way up, you will easily hear the music coming from the gym's loudspeakers. You will also hear the sound of weights clamping. In other words, the PowerBeats2 are practically useless at the gym.
We have to give credit to Beats for trying to come up with something innovative. However, the PowerBeats2 fail in almost every aspect. Your turn, Bose!