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Beats has excellent name recognition, and with LeBron James’ memorable television ad, the Powerbeats2 wireless headset is fairly well-known. They are promoted as a device for sports enthusiasts and gym rats. They are perfect for anyone who wants to listen to music while moving around. The IPX4 is sweat and water resistance and secure fit which will get you through a heavy workout.

The Powerbeats 2 come in eight colors; all red, all white, all black, or combo colors of black/red, olive drab, lime/gray, red/gray and blue/gray. Set up is easy. The Bluetooth 4 connects quite quickly. Just press and hold power/connect button for 4 seconds to pair device. The range tops out at about 30 feet, which is average for this type of Bluetooth device.

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The silicon ear loops fit over your ears to help keep the ear buds in place. These loops are slightly bendable, so with a little patience and slow bending, you can get a good fit. Although some people don’t like the ear loops, I find that they help keep the headphones in place and are quite comfortable. In fact, once you get used to these lightweight (24 grams or about .5 pound) Powerbeats, you can easily forget that you are wearing them.

The Powerbeats 2 wireless headphones come with a Micro USB charging cable, a nice carrying case, a cable management clip, a quick start guide, and four different-sized sets of ear tips. You can choose the set of ear tips that are the most comfortable for you. Since runners and sports enthusiasts might want to hear approaching cars or other dangers, these headphones are designed to let a small amount of ambient noise in. By using the different sized ear pads you can actually control the amount of ambient noise that comes through.

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These Powerbeats produce a clean, clear sound. I expected the bass to be deeper and more pronounced as it is in some other Beats products. However, the bass seemed to be quite balanced with the treble, more so than in previous Beats products that I’ve tried. The Beats dual-driver acoustics do an excellent job of sending music through each earbud.

A three-button inline remote and microphone are built into the cord for adjusting the volume and answering and ending hands-free calls. The rubberized texture of the remote provides a no-slip grip even if your hands are sweaty.  If you have an Apple device, you can also double-click the center button on the remote to skip tracks. This feature doesn’t work with Android devices.

Phone conversations are quite clear. The ear pieces are attached to each other with a 19.7 inch (500 mm) long cable which is adjustable. A small round cable management clip on the cable can be used to slide the able through the clip to make the cord shorter or longer. The cord can be worn in either the front or back and the inline remote is reachable with the left hand in either position. However, since the microphone is on the inline remote, if you use the telephone function a lot, it is best to keep the cable in the front so the microphone closer to your mouth for talking.

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A small silicone flap on the bottom of the left ear bud opens to reveal a Micro-USB port which is used for charging with a very short (6”) included cable. Unfortunately no power plug is included so you either have to purchase one or charge through a USB device. Also, the silicone flap, while fairly easy to open, can be quite difficult to close.

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The on-off switch is a very small button on the top of the left ear bud. I got five to six hours of play time out of the Powerbeats when fully charged, but I found the battery discharged in as little as two days of inactivity.

The real problem with this headset is that it does not turn off automatically when not in use. As might be expected with such a small device, there is only one small light that indicated that the unit is powered on. A white light indicates that it is on and charged. A red light indicates that there is under one hour of playback left, and a blinking red light indicated that there is less than 15 minutes of playback charge left. It is very easy to forget to turn off the headset. Also you have to be careful to make sure that when you press the on/off button, the light actually goes off. It is easy to press the button without having actually having it turn off. If you forget to turn the headset off, when you try to use them again, you might well find them completely depleted of power. This is a design feature that Beats should correct.

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The headphones are firmware upgradeable which is nice for longevity and problem-solving. When they first came out there was evidently a syncing problem when using them to watch a movie. This was solved through a firmware upgrade.

Although they can be found for a bit less, the $199 retail price of these Powerbeats is a little pricey. You have to remember that you are paying a little extra for the Beats brand. Oh and if you like the olive drab color, be ready to pay a premium and to wait. This color retails for $249 and is often sold out on the Beats website.

 

 

 

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.