Beats Fit Pro Are Good Alternatives to Third-Gen AirPods

Originally published at: Beats Fit Pro Are Good Alternatives to Third-Gen AirPods - TidBITS

A week after the release of the third-generation AirPods, Apple subsidiary Beats By Dre unveiled Fit Pro earbuds that offer a compelling alternative thanks to a more secure fit, H1 chip, and active noise cancellation.

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I am getting these ear buds for Christmas (one of the few expensive Apple products I feel that I can ask my wife to get me) - so I haven’t used them yet. Regarding the note that the noise reduction is not very good. I am currently using the Apple AirPods Pro, and my experience has been that their noise reduction is also poor. (It was great until after the first firmware update.). My AirPods Pro batteries are weakening so I figured I would get something new.


I am a long-time user of Apple’s wired earbuds, including some that I got for way less than Apple’s list price from Newegg and other online vendors. (I now think that some may have been counterfeits but they looked and sounded good to me, especially for 1/3 or less cost.) I even got a new iPhone 6S a few years ago mainly because it was the last model that doesn’t require a Lightening port version or adapter.

But recently I have been considering trying Bluetooth earbuds. Even though I can afford Apple’s price, I have trouble paying so much for a device with such a short usable life. And I use my earbuds a lot mainly listening to podcasts.

I am considering trying the Nothing ear 1. They are only $99 and a reviewer that I consider to be reputable says that while they don’t sound quite as good as Apple’s AirPods, they are darn close and comfortable too. I am not nearly as hesitant to risk $99 vs. $179 or more for my decidedly non-audiophile requirements.

Does anyone have first-hand experience with the ear 1?

I wanted to like these, but the wing tip hurt my very small ears. Glad that there’s a return policy (in my case, 30 days from Target).

No experience with the ear(1), aside from reading iFixit’s teardown.

How wireless do you require? My wife has been very happy with the Beats Flex headphones. They are Bluetooth, but the left and right earpieces are wired together. It has pretty good battery life, and they’re relatively inexpensive for a Bluetooth headset that isn’t an el-cheapo knockoff.

The potential gotcha is that they charge via a USB-C connector. A short cord (USB C-to-C) is included, but no charger. If you don’t have a charger (or computer) with a USB-C port, you’ll need to buy one or get a USB A-to-C cable/adapter.

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I have Beats Flex as well and they are fine. Not my favorite sounding earbuds, but they do the job.

One other benefit: like AirPods and some other Beats devices, they are simple to pair, and pairing with one device automatically pairs them to all other Apple devices using the same Apple ID (so they instantly paired to my iPad, my watch, and all of my Apple TV’s). Unlike AirPods, though, they won’t automatically switch devices. You have to choose to make them active with a particular device.

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David, I don’t know how much wireless I need because whatever I choose will be my first wireless audio ear devices. . .

I really appreciate the iFixit link. The main thing I noticed about the ear (1) is that the button battery may actually be replaceable, except it requires an owner who has the dexterity, tools and cajones to give it a go.

On the other hand, the AirPods 2 battery is probably unavailable to the public. And I, for one, would not endeavor to tear apart those over-priced babies.

Here is an article about the short life of modern electronic devices featuring Apple’s AirPods : Your AirPods Probably Have Terrible Battery Life - The Atlantic

What I mean is whether you want something like the AirPods, where the two earpieces are completely detached from any kind of wire or something like the Flex, where they are connected to each other with a wire, but have a wireless connection to your phone.

Similarly, devices like AirPods charge wirelessly when they are placed in their case (which, in turn may charge wirelessly or via a USB cable), whereas the Flex charges via a USB cable directly to the headset.

This is, of course, a personal preference. If you don’t know which you’d prefer, then see if you can try out each style (possibly if you know anybody else that owns some). Otherwise, you’ll have to take a guess and see how much you like it.

I’m interested in the Fit Pro for exactly the reasons mentioned: a more fitness focused AirPod Pro. I don’t care about the Pro features, but the old apple hard plastic wired earbuds always hurt after 20 min of use, so I have been hesitant to try any of the AirPod models. The main appeal of the pros was the multi-sized soft inserts, vs hard plastic.

One feature on the Pros that seems to be missing on the Fit Pros that I rarely see mentioned is the pressure valve. Does anyone have any experience with this, as in it’s actually useful? I’m asking because as a long-time scuba diver, the idea of having a system to equalize when the buds have sealed the ear tightly seems useful to me, but no idea if it actually is helpful. It’s the only missing feature on the Fit Pros that I wonder about.


I’m thinking of replacing my 1st gen AirPods with these or the 3rd gen AirPods, and the big reason is battery life and particularly how they do in frigid conditions – mine die quite quickly in the cold, even stuck in my nice warm ear canals. I can work around it by sticking them back in the case and stuffing the case in my pocket (alternating pods for continuous listening) but if one of the new models will work better on my cold runs/walks I’d go with that one… anyone regularly in the minus teens or twenties Celsius have some insights? A quick search of reviews didn’t turn up much mention of “cold.”

The battery on your 1st gen AirPods is in the stems. Those are outside of your ear where they don’t get warmed up by your body and hence the reduction in battery life.

3rd gen AirPods like the 1st gen Air Pods Pro have a battery up around the earbuds (x-ray image courtesy of iFixit below), much closer to your ear and body heat. I would expect these to therefore perform better in cold environments.

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Thanks, that gives me hope :slight_smile:

Still going to have to see about fit in a store when it seems safe, but that does look good. I guess there is no stem for the battery to be hidden in for the Beats Fit…

Sorry for reviving an old thread, but I just bought a pair last week after the Plantronics earbuds (BT with a wire that runs behind your head connecting the two buds) that I’ve been using for workouts lost battery capacity after 5 years (the battery once lasted about 7 hours; now they last about two hours.) The insulation over the wire is starting to fray as well. I loved those Plantronics; too bad they don’t make them anymore.

Anyway, Beats Fit Pro - fantastic replacement so far. One thing that I loved about the Plantronics is that they were relatively open-ear, so sounds like cars coming from behind while walking or running were easy to distinguish. Transparency mode on the BFP is even better. I hear birds singing, I even hear neighbors in their driveways 35’ away saying hello as I walk by. The two roads that cross at the ends of my road are very busy, and I can quickly put on noise cancellation so that the trucks and cars going by don’t drown out the podcasts I am listening to when I get there for the few seconds I am near the traffic. The wingtips are very comfortable - I can wear these for hours with absolutely no discomfort. Seamless transition among my devices, including to my Apple Watch, is also great; I walked this morning without my phone for the first time in a long time and the watch played podcasts just fine.

I haven’t used the microphone (except for Siri) yet, but I’m planning to use them for a Zoom meeting I have on Saturday morning. And “hey Siri, volume up” - works great.

Noise cancelation isn’t perfect, but it’s more than good enough. On the exercise bike it makes the sound of the bike almost disappear, and because of that I’m able to keep the volume lower. And, as I said, it makes traffic noise so faint that I again no longer need to volume up when I encounter it. I won’t be flying again until August, so I won’t be able to compare them to my old Bose noise cancelling earbuds unti then.

I’ve had one issue, and it was just yesterday morning - I put the buds in and went to play from phone and the Beats weren’t connected, and weren’t even in the list of devices in Settings / Bluetooth. I had to long-press the button in the case to re-pair them to my phone (which then said that they weren’t mine and asked if I wanted to pair them). I hope that doesn’t happen again.

Despite that glitch, I’m very happy that I bought these.

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