After being leaked in Kim Kardashian's ears, the new Beats Fit Pro earbuds have been officially launched – available to buy today in the US for $199/AU$270 – and you would think they were a laser-targeted missile aimed at Apple's AirPods Pro… if Beats wasn't also, y'know, owned by Apple.
Beats Fit Pro are true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation and Apple's H1 chip, which means they support all the same useful iPhone-specific features such as fast pairing, auto-pairing with your other Apple devices, auto-switching between them, Find My support, audio sharing with other AirPods and Beats buds… and, for the first time, Apple's Adaptive EQ tech and head tracking for Spatial Audio.
This last feature is especially exciting as a first for anything not named 'AirPods'. It was introduced on AirPods Pro a while ago, then came to AirPods Max when that launched, and the new AirPods (3rd Gen) are the latest to include support. Spatial Audio with head tracking is only really necessary for watching movies, where it creates the feeling of sitting inside a cinema sound system… and it does a pretty amazing job of that. Since I tried it, I've become a total snob about watching videos with regular headphones sound.
This means that the Beats Fit Pro support all the same features as Apple's AirPods Pro, which ride high in our list of the best noise-cancelling earbuds, and best wireless earbuds overall for Apple users – except that the Fit Pro offer longer battery life and an exercise-proof build and fit thanks to wing-tip design.
With six hours per bud, and 21 extra hours from the case, it gives you more longevity than the AirPods Pro. And the early reviews say that the noise-cancelling is top-tier and the sound quality is actually better than AirPods Pro… that's according to The Verge (opens in new tab), but seems to be in line with the general verdict. And it charges with USB-C instead of Apple's Lightning connector.
The downsides? The Beats Fit Pro have a larger case than AirPods Pro, the buds themselves are heaver and bigger (though look pretty good in the ear overall), and there's no wireless charging.
However, for $200, I can live with that pretty happily. These undercut the AirPods Pro price, but seem to offer a bunch of extra versatility. The likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds should be looking over their should too…