New Powerbeats are the cheapest wireless Apple headphones ever

powerbeats 2019
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has finally lifted the lid on the new Powerbeats, its latest wireless earbuds under the Beats brand, hours after they were spotted on store shelves in some countries. 

The new running headphones – which are simply called Powerbeats, rather than Powerbeats 4 – will be available to buy from March 18, and will cost just $149.95 / £129.95 / AU$219.95. 

That's cheaper than the Powerbeats 3, which cost $199.95 / £169.95 / AU$259.95 – in fact, the new earbuds are the cheapest Powerbeats model we've ever seen. 

While these are a definite step up from the Powerbeats 3, the lower price is somewhat confusing – as is the new earbuds’ name. It could be that we'll still see Powerbeats 4, and that those will be a more premium version of the new Powerbeats, adding in features like active noise cancellation for a higher price.

Coming in red, white, and blue, the new Powerbeats look a lot like their predecessors, albeit with an ear hook design more similar to the Powerbeats Pro. A button furnished with the Beats logo allows you to take calls, skip songs, and adjust the volume of your music without digging out your phone.

Apple says the fourth-gen Powerbeats boast the same sweat and water resistance as the true wireless Powerbeats Pros – that's an IPX4 rating then, which will be fine to get you through a sweaty workout. 

Hey Siri

Like the Powerbeats 3, the new Powerbeats feature a 'neckbud' design (athough the cable now runs behind the ear rather than in front), with a single cable connecting the two buds, and connect to your smartphone or other device over Bluetooth.

They should boast faster pairing speeds than the Powerbeats 3, courtesy of Apple's H1 chip, which is also found in the 2019 AirPods, the new AirPods Pro, and the Beats PowerBeats Pro true wireless earbuds. 

As well as allowing you to summon Siri with your voice alone, the H1 chip provides Apple earbuds with lightning-fast connectivity.

powerbeats 4

(Image credit: Apple)

The new Powerbeats also boast a longer battery life than the Powerbeats 3, up from 12 to 15 hours from a single charge – and there's also a new 'Fast Fuel' feature that will allow 1.5 hours of playback from a five-minute charge.

As for the audio quality on offer, we won't know until we test them out. Apple hasn't revealed any information on the kind of drivers used by the new Powerbeats, simply stating that they deliver "powerful, balanced sound with dynamic range and noise isolation". 

Apple also says that we can expect the "same powerful sound" as the Powerbeats Pro true wireless earbuds, which impressed us with their balanced soundstage and energetic presentation.

There's also no word on support for Hi-Res Audio codecs or low-latency Bluetooth transmission standards; again, we'll have to wait and see how these earbuds perform when we carry out a full review – so far though, the specs look to be pretty impressive.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.