With the release of the AirPods Pro 2, rumored to launch during Apple’s Far Out September event, just around the corner, we've been thinking about what we want from them – including from Apple's other noise-canceling earbuds. No, not the original AirPods Pro: Beats Fit Pro.
The arrival of the Beats Fit Pro was a welcome surprise to AirPods and Beats fans alike. Since being acquired by Apple, the Beats brand has steadily made refinements to its products, especially in terms of sound profile and audio quality. Its latest releases deliver far better audio than their bass-heavy, subpar-sounding predecessors, and has put them in contention for the some of the best wireless headphones and best wireless earbuds around.
The Beats Fit Pro feel like the culmination of the brand’s efforts. Finally, we’ve got a pair of Beats headphones that can, in many ways, rival one of Apple’s flagships. While there are modest differences in their sound, the Beats Fit Pro are only slightly warmer sounding and mildly bass-heavier than the AirPods Pro. Plus, they’re almost on par in terms of active noise cancellation, and bring all the extra features, including head-tracked Spatial Audio support, while being significantly cheaper. And their solid fit means they're among the best running headphones available.
In fact, although the AirPods Pro do have their own set of advantages, the premium wireless earbuds line should also take cues from these Beats earbuds when it comes to fit, design, and battery life.
1. A better, more secure fit
AirPods Pro owners know that despite their best efforts to secure these earbuds during use, they have their limit. Regardless of whether you’re sweating it out at the gym or commuting to work, at least one earbud sometimes gets loose, and if you don’t have fast reflexes, you can only wish it falls somewhere soft and accessible. The last time this happened to me, I was in the process of retrieving my suitcase at the airport baggage claim. Luckily, it didn’t get stuck inside the conveyor belt.
The one big thing that the Beats Fit Pro earbuds do better than AirPods is having an extra secure fit thanks to the winged eartips. These are designed, after all, to be used for workouts and rigorous activities. I’ve run, hiked, and headbanged with these earbuds on, and not once have they popped out of my ears.
The AirPods Pro line should take notes. Not everyone will want this kind of fit, but we’d love to see the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 boast a similar design feature on one of its tip options – one that allows them a more secure fit without straying too far from the line’s original aesthetic.
2. A stemless design
Personally, I’m a fan of the AirPods Pro’s stems, as I prefer using them for media and ANC controls over the Beats Fit Pro’s buttons. I also think that they minimize accidental presses, especially compared to rival earbuds from competing brands.
However, there’s something undeniable about the sleekness of the Beats Fit Pro’s design approach. While their main controls sit on top of the earbuds’ back cases, which may make them susceptible to accidental presses, each earbud also has a tapered outer section that allows users a better grip to limit such presses. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you’ll find that it works well.
If the AirPods Pro 2 took a similar approach, that means that there wouldn’t be any need for stems, giving Apple the opportunity to please those who aren’t big fans of the stem design by eliminating them altogether. And, no stems means a more subtle, less noticeable appearance when worn.
3. Longer battery life
The Beats Fit Pro’s battery life isn’t the best we’ve every seen – we’ve tested cheaper earbuds that offered up to nine hours of playback per full charge – but their six-hour charge with active noise cancelation turned on is still pretty good in the grand scheme. And it soundly beats the AirPods Pro’s four-and-a-half-hour average, which is frustrating since these earbuds cost a lot more.
Rumor has it that the AirPods Pro 2 will have a longer battery life, especially if they utilize Bluetooth 5.2 technology, which is more power efficient. But, how much longer exactly, we have to wait until launch. Fingers crossed, though, that we get at least a Beats-matching six hours on a single charge, which should make the successor a better value for your money.
BONUS: More accessible price tag
If nothing else, we’d love to see the AirPods Pro 2 drop in price. Although we’re not holding our breath on this one, the Beats Fit Pro has shown that Apple is capable of making a pair of high-quality, great-sounding, feature-rich headphones without costing consumers an arm and a leg at $199 / £199 / AU$299. And, we’d love to see Apple’s flagship earbuds follow suit.
Unfortunately, many have speculated that the AirPods Pro 2 will cost the same as their predecessors, asking consumers to shell out $249 / £239 / AU$399 for a pair. And, while those rumors are likely to be true considering Apple’s track record, we’re still hoping for a miracle. Although if that's too much, you should check out why the launch of the AirPods Pro 2 might make the original AirPods Pro the bargain of the year.
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Michelle Rae Uy is the Computing Reviews and Buying Guides Editor here at TechRadar. She's a Los Angeles-based tech, travel and lifestyle writer covering a wide range of topics, from computing to the latest in green commutes to the best hiking trails. She's an ambivert who enjoys communing with nature and traveling for months at a time just as much as watching movies and playing sim games at home. That also means that she has a lot more avenues to explore in terms of understanding how tech can improve the different aspects of our lives.