When reviewing the Beats Fit Pro, I thought I was experiencing a bit of deja vu. After all, I test drove the Beats Studio Buds not too long ago and the Fit Pro share a lot of similarities. At least, on the surface.
But, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a mostly improved experience.
Just as Apple has done with all their successive AirPods, Beats has fine-tuned the formula for an updated pair of earbuds. They not only come with better battery life and a superior transparency mode but wingtips for a tighter fit. The sound quality is mostly the same, which we’ll dig into later in the review, but it’s still more than good enough while going for a run or working out in the gym.
There are some issues here, such as a lacklustre mic, but among the sea of options, you could do far worse than Beats Fit Pro. And, since Beats by Dre is owned by Apple, you’ll find more to love from the aforementioned transparency mode and battery life to its incredibly intuitive setup and use.
Beats Fit Pro review – Price and release date
While you can find wireless earbuds at just about any price point these days, something with the quality and features of the Beats Fit Pro will typically set you back a decent amount. You’ll have to drop over $100/£100 for an older generation of Apple AirPods while a luxury pair like the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 will have you paying over $300/£300.
At $199/£199/AU$379, the Beats Fit Pro came out in the US on November 5th, 2021, and launch in the UK and Australia on January 28, 2022. While not cheap, you get a lot for the price. Though the Beats Studio Buds are a little cheaper, those are a bit more stripped down in their feature set.
At this price, you might be tempted to compare them to the third-generation Apple AirPods, but the AirPods Pro are a better comparison as they and the Beats Fit Pro come with active noise cancellation and transparency modes.
Beats Fit Pro review – Design and features
The Beats Fit Pro don’t reinvent the aesthetic wheel of earbuds, nor should they. Though the squarish charging case looks very different, they resemble the Beats Studio Buds quite a bit, only adding the wingtips that a lot of sports-focused earbuds tend to come with. They’re somewhat squat looking as opposed to the sleek design of a pair of AirPods, with buttons attached on the outer part of the buds where the wingtips reside.
The Beats Fit Pro replace the Powerbeats Pro as the company’s main gym offering. While the Powerbeats Pro used adjustable ear hooks that went over the outside of the ear, the wingtips sit inside the ear and hook under the fold of your ear to stay in place.
There are four colour options for the Beats Fit Pro: black, white, sage grey and stone purple. As far as materials go, the body of the earbuds is made of durable plastic while the wingtips have a flexible runner feel, letting the outer part of the buds have a softer feel. The Fit Pro also comes with three different sizes of silicone tips for a more customized fit.
Like other sports-focused earbuds, these come with an IPX4 rating, making them sweat and water-resistant. And, I’ve broken quite a sweat with these on without a single issue with performance.
While the wingtips don’t look as secure as the over-ear hooks of the Powerbeats Pro, they will stay in place no matter how intense of a workout you’re doing. I’ve worn these while working out on all sorts of equipment while going for a run, or even just while shaking my head violently to see if they would stay put. And, they did.
Unlike any other earbuds I’ve used, I don’t have to adjust them or push them in for a better fit. The downside of that, of course, is that they’re not comfortable for long periods of time. That makes these great for working out but not so great for a plane or road trip, as far as comfort goes.
The on-device controls are simple, straightforward, and fairly intuitive to use. And, they’re sensitive enough to easily adjust even in the middle of a run. They can also sense when you’ve removed the buds and will automatically pause your music.
Since it is an Apple product, the Beats Fit Pro “one-touch pairing” is as easy as it sounds. All you have to do is open the charging case and your iPhone will automatically detect it and ask if you want to pair. And, though Android users will need the Beats app, one-touch pairing is available to them as well.
The Beats Fit Pro is compatible with both Apple and Android, and like the Beats Studio Buds, offers the functionality of Apple AirPods for non-iPhone users. On an iPhone, you can see battery levels of the buds and case as well as access noise cancellation, transparency mode, and spatial audio in the iOS settings as soon as the buds are paired. Android users will have to grab that Beats app for the same functionality. Nevertheless, these buds are incredibly easy to pair and use.
The Apple H1 chip that powers the Beats Fit Pro allows automatic switching and audio sharing. However, I wasn’t able to make that work between my iPhone and my ancient MacBook Pro from 2017.
On a brighter note, the Class 1 Bluetooth implemented is pretty impressive. I was able to get over 60 feet away from my phone before experiencing a drop. That’s fantastic if you plan on doing any kind of workout where you can’t or don’t want to carry around your phone but will be moving around a decently sized space.
Beats Fit Pro review – Performance
One of the reasons for the regular comparison to the Beats Studio Buds in this review is the fact they sound essentially the same. You get that same very good (but not great) sound with a bass forward profile. The mids are balanced for a fairly rich and rewarding listening experience, while the highs are prominent enough to keep the earbuds from sounding too warm but they are slightly rolled off. Though bright enough, these are not the most detailed earbuds out there. When it comes to buds, that’s a good thing as most buds that are on the bright side end up sounding harsh.
Bassheads will probably appreciate the sound profile in particular. You can’t help but feel that 808 when listening to something like Run The Jewels’ Walking In The Snow or Tierra Whacks’ Unemployed.
Pop tends to be mixed to sound overly bright so that slightly rolled off high end can actually make some big Top 40 productions sound more pleasant. Acoustic tracks like The Punch Brothers’ Mint Julep also sound good on the Beats Fit Pro, though you do miss some of the detail from that slight high-end roll-off. While rock music sounds good on these buds, they do lack a little of the bite that they would have on brighter headphones.
That boosted bass does come in handy when streaming a show or video, since you’ll experience a little bit of that low-end rumble an actual theatre experience would give you.
When it comes to the Fit Pro’s soundstage, they’re about as good as you can reasonably expect from a set of buds. While they might not wow, they’re wide enough to give you that immersive experience when listening to music or watching a movie. You won’t have trouble hearing that bus swerve back and forth in Shang-Chi and you’ll be able to pinpoint the placement of instruments in your favorite tracks.
Where the Beats Fit Pro really shine is in the implementation of their active noise cancellation (or ANC) and transparency mode. While the ANC on the Beats Studio Buds were good, it’s better here. When on, it easily blocks out the rest of the world, whether it’s ambient noise from a nearby fan or the noisy goings-on of a busy gym. The transparency mode, which wasn’t so great on the Beats Studio Buds is just as good. I can listen to music at reasonable volumes and still hear announcements and hold a conversation.
Something new with Beats Fit Pro is the addition of Spatial Audio. This is essentially Apple’s virtual surround sound tech. Additionally, you can use Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking so that the sound source stays static when you move your head around, as if it’s coming from a physical speaker in front of you or a real concert. While it works well, I wouldn’t suggest turning on the dynamic head tracking when doing a Russian Twist – it’s disorienting. That said, the Spatial Audio itself is a nice way to make music and movies especially more immersive and I’m glad to see it as part of the Beats Fit Pro experience.
The only place where the Beats Fit Pro take a step back is when making calls. Using dual beam-forming mics to pick up a user’s voice, the earbuds are supposed to represent the voice clearly. And, while I could be heard well enough, I sounded like I was in an echo chamber and would have sounded better if I had just picked up the phone. Maybe it’s because of all the digital processing to reject background noise, but the mic’s performance on the Fit Pro is mediocre.
Beats Fit Pro review – Battery life
A lot of top earbuds seem to have similar amounts of battery life. Some might last an hour longer here or there, but you’ll find a lot of them seem to have about five to six hours of playtime on a single charge while offering a total of 24 to 30 hours when the charging case is included.
The Beats Fit Pro are advertised as having up to six hours with ANC turned on and seven hours with it turned off. That’s actually impressive compared to the AirPods Pro, which give you 4.5 hours with ANC on and five hours without it. When you add the case you get a total of up to 24 hours of battery life, which is the same as the AirPods Pro.
When I actually tested the Beats Fit Pro, I was pleasantly surprised to get a full 7 hours and 2 minutes of playtime on one charge. I had music running constantly at a listenable volume with ANC and transparency modes turned off. And, once the charging case fully restored the earbuds, it had 2 full charges left. That means you’ll end up with 28 hours of playtime without ANC and 24 with it on. While that doesn’t blow the competition out of the water, those numbers are hard to beat.
Additionally, like many other new wireless peripherals, you’ll find fast charging among its many features, which Beats calls “Fast Fuel.” If you’ve completely run down the battery, you can get an hour of playback from just five minutes of charging.
Beats Fit Pro review – Verdict
So, are the Beats Fit Pro worth the cost? I think so. They’re not perfect, particularly when it comes to making calls or wearing them for long periods of time. But, these are meant for active use, whether that’s at the gym, going for a run, or something else. In those contexts, these work great.
You have a great fit, easy and intuitive pairing and controls, and they sound good, too. The battery life is about as good as you ask for these days out of a pair of earbuds, and the implementation of the active noise cancellation and transparency mode is phenomenal. You’ll not be left wanting if you grab a pair of these for your next workout.
Beats Fit Pro review – Also consider
If you’re not ready to pay $200/£200 for a pair of earbuds, the Beats Studio Buds might be the way to go. While the Fit Pro have a better implementation of the transparency mode as well as better battery life, the Studio Buds are still an excellent sounding pair of earbuds that work well for the gym. You’ll find them just as sweat-resistant, with excellent sound, and a decent feature set for $150.
If you’re ready to splurge, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Sport will set you back $350 / £300 / AU$500, but they sound phenomenal. They may not come with active noise cancellation like the Beats Fit Pro, but their transparency mode is well executed, and they come with the kind of features you need in the gym or on a run.
Sennheiser came very close to creating the perfect running headphones in the form of its latest in-ear buds, the Sennheiser SPORT True Wireless. The open/closed ear tips system is not without flaws but offers more versatility than standard true wireless earbuds. Buy these buds if you need secure-fitting, well-sounding buds for exercise and running.