Beats Fit Pro workout buds slim down size but bulk up features with ANC and Atmos

Powerbeats Pro replacement Beats Fit Pro squeezes noise cancelling and spatial audio into a great-looking pair of true wireless running headphones

Beats by Dr Dre Beats Fit Pro
(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre)

Beats Fit Pro are nearly here and they look a little – how can I put it? – normal, to me. I love my old Beats Powerbeats Pro, the Fit Pro's predecessor. Due to a design that nobody outside of the gym and run community was ever likely to love – spectacles-style hooks over the ears, ahoy! – they were completely unshakeable from your ears. They were also by far the best sounding workout earbuds you could buy at the time and, indeed, they still are, which is why they currently occupy the top slot in T3's best running headphones guide. Battery life was also class-leading at the time for true wireless buds. They are just an all-round tremendous set of buds. 

Beats Fit Pro, by contrast, just look like any old pair of earbuds. If anything, they look a little old fashioned. Jabra's Elite 7 Active and the more affordable Elite 4 Active don't feature those little in-ear hooks, and they stay in your ears perfectly well. However, look closer at Fit Pro and there is clearly innovation at work here. For a start, check out this squeezing action…

Beats by Dr Dre Beats Fit Pro

Ooh yeah…

(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre)

This isn't just a tension-relieving method: the spongey squeeziness could mean the Fit Pro sit perfectly still in your ear, just like the old Powerbeats, but without the big, over-ear hooks. Beats says that thousands of ears were measured and modelled to reach the 'perfect combination' for a 'comfortable and stable fit on any ear shape or size.' 

The absence of big, external hooks makes Fit Pro potentially more appealing to the general lifestyle market, and that is reflected in Beats by Dr Dre's marketing images. Powerbeats Pro featured professional athletes doing extremely vigorous exercise while their Beats remained perfectly in place – Anthony Joshua unleashing a volley of jabs and Simon Biles doing an entire floor routine were particularly memorable. Most, although not all, of the imagery for Fit Pro centres on young people chilling out. 

Beats adds that as well as in-ear stability 'throughout your most rigorous workouts' the secure fit means 'consistent, high-quality acoustic performance' – again just like the Powerbeats Pro. 

You can read all about the features and Beats' performance claims below but I am looking forward to reviewing the Fit Pro – a pair should arrive this week, so fingers crossed. Bottom line is, if Fit Pro sounds a little better than Powerbeats Pro, that will make them de facto the best-sounding workout buds you can buy.

However if Beats has screwed up the fit even a tiny bit by losing the over-ear 'spectacle' hooks, well that's a different matter. While I understand the reasoning for it – to make them more appealing to the lifestyle crowd – I will be pissed. So fingers crossed on that one…

Beats Fit Pro: audio

Beats by Dr Dre Beats Fit Pro

Perfect sound, no matter how hard you push yourself

(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre)

On the Fit Pro, there are three listening modes. That includes the long-awaited addition of active noise cancelling (ANC). Beats has made some of the best noise cancelling cans around for years now. Its ANC is highly underrated in my opinion – it really is up there with Bose and Sony – and it's great to see it added to their true wireless workout buds. Beats says the ANC 'continuously adapts in real time, up to 200 times per second, to account for variances in fit and movement.' 

The other modes available are 'Transparency' – accessed with a push of the 'b' button on either earbud – which lets sound in from the outside world. Then there's Adaptive EQ, which 'automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies to the shape of your ear for superior sound quality and a consistent listening experience.' 

This should mean that audio with ANC on and ANC off have their own distinct qualities and, more importantly, the sound with ANC off shouldn't suffer in comparison, as it does on many noise cancelling headphones.

Beats also promises excellent call quality, with ambient noise filtered out via beam forming mics.

Beats Fit Pro: features 

As Beats is still owned by Apple, its spatial audio is included. This provides highly convincing surround sound for tracks recorded in 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos. Advanced head mapping via gyroscopes and accelerometers in both Beats Fit Pro and your iPhone or iPad actually track the motion of your head and device so the surround effect stays consistent even if you are wiggling your head around. 

As well as movie soundtracks, compatible tunes are available from the likes of Doja Cat, Olivia Rodrigo, Roddy Ricch, J. Balvin, Rauw Alejandro, Selena Gomez and 'many more' on Apple Music.

Optical sensors mean that audio will automatically pause when you take your Fits Pro out of your ears, and resume when you put them back. You can also pause, skip and rewind via the aforementioned 'b' button.

Apple device owners get 'seamless', one-touch pairing, 'an eartip test to ensure best fit' and automatic switching and audio sharing between compatible devices devices. There's also hands-free access to Siri and Find My.

However, Beats is at pains to say that it is also super best pals with Android users. Download the Beats app and you can set up your Fit Pro buds with one touch pairing and carry out a guided fit test. You can then toggle between the three listening modes via the app, or customise the button on either earbud to enable Google Assistant.

Beats Fit Pro: battery life

Beats by Dr Dre Beats Fit Pro

The case still looks kind of chunky, but it has to be smaller than the gargantuan Powerbeats Pro one

(Image credit: Beats by Dr Dre)

When ANC or Transparency are on Beats Fit Pro delivers up to 6 hours of listening time, or 7 hours in Adaptive EQ mode. That's not bad, although not as startling as the Powerbeats Pro's battery life was when that launched three years ago. The 'pocket-sized' USB-C battery case add 21 more hours of battery life. 

A five-minute 'Fast Fuel' charge offers one hour of playback if you find yourself caught short.

Beats Fit Pro: price and availability

In the UK, Beats Fit Pro is available to order from January 24 for £199.99 from Apple.com (opens in new tab). Shipping begins January 28 from Apple.com, John Lewis & Partners, Amazon and Currys.

In the US, the buds will launch on the same dates and for $199.99. In Australia, they'll be priced at. $299.

Beats Fit Pro review

Hopefully I should get my hands and ears on a pair of Dr Dre's latest running headphones this week, and I am speaking to the Beats design team next week. So expect to see a Beats Fit Pro review at T3.com by January 21 2022! 

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Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially Reddit before the invention of Reddit. There was a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."