Apple’s Beats Fit Pro is coming to Canada, and triathletes will want to take note
While many triathletes are probably familiar with Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro headphones, many may not realize that Apple also owns Beats, which also offers some pretty spectacular headphones for sports. Although many may remember the company as “Beats by Dre” (or Beats by Dr. Dre.) since it was founded by hip-hop star and sound engineer Jimmy Iovine in 2007 (the company’s first headphones were released in 2008), Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014 (for $3.2 billion, no less).
So what does all of this mean for us triathletes? Well, while Apple might have been more interested in the Beats Music service (which became Apple Music), they didn’t abandon Beats headphones and earphones, which were considered some of the best on the market. If you’re part of the Apple universe, the fact that some of Beats’ best new products feature the Apple H1 chip means you get features like one-touch pairing, ear tip testing to help to get the perfect fit, automatic switching between Apple devices, audio sharing and hands-free access to “Siri”. (If you’re an Android phone user, never fear, there’s a Beats app for Android that will do the same for you, too.)
I always wonder why a triathlete should give a…hold on. I’m almost there. As well as a long history of developing music-focused products, Beats also had headphones you’ve no doubt seen a lot at the gym – the Powerbeats Pro, which are wireless headphones with secure ear hooks. that won’t budge while you push to the limit. Add sweat and water resistance to these Powerbeats and you’ll be able to fully enjoy your music even during your toughest sessions.
Fitness meets health on the Apple Watch
Apple also has some pretty amazing headphones for working out — the AirPods Pro, which cost $329. For those who want to save a little money, the new third-generation AirPods have many of the same features as the Pro and retail for $239. So where the hell do these new $250 Beats Fit Pro headphones fit into the mix?
What you get with the new Beats Fit Pro are headphones with many of the same features as the AirPods Pro, but use an innovative wingtip design that ensures they won’t fall out of your ears while you you train. While this wasn’t exactly an issue we’ve seen ourselves or heard from other AirPods Pro earphone users, once we put the Beats Fit Pro earphones in our ears, we knew exactly what Beats engineers had achieved – a secure fit in a very compact earbud. These are much smaller than the Powerbeats Pro, even smaller than the AirPods Pro, but still managed to maintain impressive sound quality and are also sweat and water resistant. At just 5.6g per earbud, these headphones pack a lot of punch into a small package.
With the company’s long history on the music front, Beats engineers were sure to keep the Beats Fit Pros sonically balanced. Play some of your favorite music and you can really hear the difference – the custom acoustic platform is derived from a proprietary transducer designed specifically for these headphones. Add to that the same Spatial Audio you’ll find in Apple AirPods models and you’ve got an incredible listening experience. The sound adjusts as you turn your head, providing a true “surround sound” experience.
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There are three listening modes – Active noise cancellation (ANC), Transparency – a must-have as far as I’m concerned for use when walking, running and other outdoor activities, and, when you have those two, Adaptive equalizer, which “automatically tunes low and mid frequencies to the store or your ear for superior sound quality and a consistent listening experience”. The noise-canceling capabilities here are strong, and when you’re able to enjoy your music in a quiet place, the adaptive EQ mode sounds pretty impressive too.
Talk time, commands and power
Those who don’t plan on just listening with the Beats Fit Pros will be happy to hear that they also work great when it comes to speaking. There are three microphones per earbud and an accelerometer that detects when you’re talking and helps filter out any noise around you. The controls are really easy to use – just tap on either earbud to handle calls, control music and adjust listening modes. It’s really nice to have a button that clicks – it’s an area where the Beats Fit Pro leads the AirPods models.
In terms of power, Beats says you should get six hours from each bud on a single charge, with an additional 21 hours from the charging case. We haven’t had a chance to really test those numbers, but based on just under a week of playing with them, those times seem pretty accurate.
AirPods vs. Beats Fit Pro
Yeah, I knew you would ask. This is a difficult question. If you’re the primary use for your headphones, you’ll probably want to go with the Beats Fit Pro. The wingtip design really works – these things didn’t budge even during the toughest bike and weight training sessions I put them through. (Sorry – a hip injury means I haven’t put them through their paces on that front, but our sister post, Canadian Running Magazine, claims these are “the brand’s best running headphones yet”.)
This wingtip design, however, makes them a little less comfortable than AirPods, especially AirPods Pros. If you plan to wear your earbuds for very long periods of time, you might want to spend the extra cash and stick with Apple’s top-end product. Also, remember that “custom acoustic platform” I was talking about earlier? The Beats Fit Pro is definitely a bit more bass-heavy. Some will prefer the sound of the AirPods, that’s for sure. The AirPods (both models) also have a much sleeker case and support wireless charging. This is a big plus for many people.
Those looking for color options, however, will be drawn to the sportier Beats Fit Pro, which comes in four colors, Beats Black, Beats White, Stone Purple and Sage Grey, all with a color-matched case. This case is also much more prone to scratches than AirPods cases, which might be a consideration for some.
Does it help to make a decision? The bottom line is that you won’t go wrong with any of the Apple products here, whether you stick with the Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro, or Beats Fit Pro. For work, the Beats Fit Pro is definitely an awesome set of headphones, and they’re still extremely comfortable for just about any other use. For triathletes looking for something a little different that also meets their rigorous training demands, these headphones are definitely worth a look.
The Beats Fit Pro are now available for pre-order here in Canada and will ship on January 28th.