Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: which running headphones should you buy?

Which workout-ready true wireless earbuds should you take to the streets: Beats Powerbeats Pro or Bose Sport Earbuds?

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds
(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre/Bose)

The dawn of the new year always comes with lofty fitness resolutions, and if you’re on the hunt for new workout headphones, you’d be crazy not to consider the Beats by Dr Dre Powerbeats Pro true wireless earbuds. Heck, unless you can convince us otherwise, we’re pretty sure these are the best damn ‘buds you can buy today, no matter what kind of athlete you are.  

That being said, Bose has always been a leader in world-class audio performance, and the Bose Sport Earbuds are a… well, sportier version of the company’s QuietComfort Earbuds. These super-snug buds stay put even during the toughest of HIIT workouts; the silicon winglets cling to your inner earlobe for a tight fit. 

Most importantly, they’re $70 cheaper than the Beats Powerbeats Pro, and they're also newer. With true wireless buds still a developing proposition, you can never underestimate the advantage newer buds often have over older ones, even more expensive older ones.

So, are the Beats Powerbeats Pro worth the extra coin when pitted against the Bose Sport Earbuds? Read on to find out, my friends…

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Bose Sport Earbuds: Specs Compared
Beats Powerbeats ProBose Sport Earbuds
List Price$249$179
True WirelessYesYes
Wireless Charging CaseYesYes
Rated Battery Life9 hours (24 hours with charging case)5 hours (15 hours with charging case)
Water ResistanceIPX4 (for sweat and water, but not fully immersed water sports)IPX4 (for sweat and water, but not fully immersed water sports)
Special FeaturesAudio sharing, announced messages with Siri, adjustable earhook fit, Fast-Fuel Charging, control music and calls on right earbuds, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistanceActive EQ automatically boosts lows and highs for well-balanced audio; flexible StayHear Max silicone eartips; capacitive touch interface on each earbud; fast-charging; Bose Music app connectivity
Earbud Weight (each)0.4 ounces0.2 ounces

Beats by Dr Dre Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Price

First things first: unless you catch the Powerbeats Pro headphones on sale, opting for the Bose Sport Earbuds will save you $70 or £70. And if you’re an Android user, some of the Powerbeats’ extra, Apple-specific perks might not be worth the extra spend. You won’t find much use for Apple's H1 chip, or Siri connectivity if you’re one of those “Hey Google!” types. 

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Design 

While the Beats Powerbeats Pro earbuds weigh 0.4 ounces each to the Bose Sport Earbuds’ 0.2 ounces, the former utilizes earhooks to keep the buds in place, while the latter uses ear fins to accomplish the same task. 

On the whole, the Beats are a little more stable – they are rock solid, in fact – the Bose are a little more comfortable. There's not a lot in it. The slightly greater perceptible bulk of Bose Sport Earbuds is another minor point against them. Not to say that the Beats are compact by any means, but they don't protrude from your ears as much. 

On the other hand, while the Bose Sport Earbuds' case is merely quite large, the Beats Powerbeats Pro one is very large indeed, and too big for most jeans pockets.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Audio Quality + Noise Isolation 

Both earbuds have an in-ear design, but the Powerbeats Pro buds actually fit inside the ear canal, resulting in better noise isolation overall. You won’t find active noise cancellation for either model, but that’s par for the course when it comes to fitness-centric headphones.

Bose achieves an impressively robust soundstage for in-ear headphones (as opposed to bulky cans), but the Powerbeats Pro has a punchier sound and, while Beats headphones no longer push the bass into the red all the time, the Powerbeats Pro do have much more satisfying bass. Midrange frequencies come through well for both buds, though Bose does better with vocals. 

In short, each earbud has the signature sound of the brand behind it, and for our money, the propulsive Beats sound is more enjoyable and better suited to workouts than Bose's more transparent performance. 

Both headphones have IPX4 ratings for sweat and water resistance, but neither is meant for full immersion. 

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Battery Life 

Good workout headphones need at least the same endurance as you, and the Powerbeats Pro headphones are rated for 9 hours of juice per charge, which is plenty long for most sweat sessions. But the Powerbeats Pro has an extra trick up its proverbial sleeve: thanks to the included charging case, you can recharge these buds on the go for up to 24 hours of total playback. 

Bose only offers 5 hours of playback per charge, and an extra 10 more with the charging case.

Both headphones come with rapid-charging technology built in: just 5 minutes of charging will net you 1 whole hour of power for the Powerbeats Pro, whereas a 15-minute charge will net you 2 full hours with the Bose Sport Earbuds.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: Extra Features 

Thanks to the presence of an Apple H1 chip, Powerbeats Pro offers fast initial pairing with your iOS or MacOS devices, and control of Siri. If you're on an Android or Windows device, the feature set of both devices is fairly similar, however.

The Powerbeats Pro offers mirrored controls on each bud; Bose Sport Earbuds employ capacitive touch to raise/lower volume, pause music, and answer calls with the right earbud. 

The Bose Sport Earbuds come with their own Bose Music app, which lets you disable the proximity sensor and enable touch controls on your left earbud. Bose's Active EQ is another handy bonus feature. This automatically boosts lows and highs to supposedly ensure music, videos, and voices are always balanced, at any volume.

Beats Powerbeats Pro vs Bose Sport Earbuds: verdict

We strongly recommend both of these buds, with your decision probably resting on your budget, and whether you prefer Beats' ultra-stable but slightly unorthodox over-ear hooks or Bose's more 'classic' in-ear fins.

Take the price out of the equation and we would plump for Powerbeats Pro, but the lower price of the Bose buds makes them extremely enticing. Although having said that, because the Powerbeats are older they do tend to be on sale more often. Here are today's best deals on Powerbeats Pro and Bose Sport.

TJ Fink
TJ Fink

As a freelance writer, mobile tech journalist, and molecular mixologist, TJ has over a decade of extroverted storytelling under his belt. As a full-time human, he's also passionate about everything outdoors; he'll never stop exploring this beautiful planet. When he’s not coddiwompling through the Catskills, TJ can be found sipping Negronis in his living room and crafting Dr. Seussian poetry inside a tattered moleskin.