For many listeners, the Beats Fit Pro was a better buy than the AirPods Pro: They had all the essential technology of Apple’s best wireless earbuds, but they were cheaper, more stylish and also fit a lot better. But now Apple has widened the gap between the AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro with the launch of the AirPods Pro 2, which promise to deliver better audio and better noise cancellation. Does that mean they are a better buy than the Beats? Let’s find out.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Fit Pro: price and release date
The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are available to order now and will be available from September 23. They are $249 / £249 / AU$399.
The Beats Fit Pro launched in November 2021 with a suggested retail price of $199 / £199 / AU$299.95.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Fit Pro: Features
We’ve described the Beats Fit Pro as an AirPods Pro-like experience at a lower price, and that means active noise cancellation, spatial audio, and hands-free Siri. They have the same H1 chip as the first-generation AirPods Pro. Battery life is approximately six hours with ANC on and 18 hours from the charging case.
The AirPods Pro 2 have slightly better battery life than before – 6 hours on their own and 30 hours including the charging case – and the case now works with the Apple Watch charger.
The new case now also has a lanyard loop attachment, making it less easy to lose. The chip here is the newer H2, which Apple claims delivers improved sound quality and improved noise cancellation. Plus, the case now also has a speaker in the base so it’s easier to find – and the capacitive touch controls on the earbuds let you swipe up and down the length of the stems to adjust the volume.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Fit Pro: Sound
Beats had a reputation for making overly bassy headphones for a while, but the Beats Fit Pro is much more subtle and better. They deliver excellent clarity without overwhelming the bass, and they sound very similar, if not identical, to the first-generation AirPods Pro. Their noise cancellation is also on the same level, providing fairly good results without scaling the heights of the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, which currently lead the way in noise cancellation.
We haven’t been able to test the AirPods Pro 2 yet, but Apple promises improved sound quality thanks to their new H2 chip inclusion, plus a new driver and low-distortion amplifier. There’s the same camera-based personalized spatial audio setup we’ve already seen in the AirPods Max, and a new adaptive transparency mode promises to filter out invasive noises like road exercises while canceling up to twice as much ambient noise.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Fit Pro: Design and Fit
The Beats Fit Pro is aimed at active typing, so there’s IPX4 water resistance (like now with the AirPods Pro 2), plus easy-to-find touch controls and wingtip-style fittings (which AirPods Pro 2 certainly don’t have) to tuck them in more securely. your ear. The Beats buttons don’t have the same menacing pop-out feeling you sometimes get with the AirPods Pro. There are three sets of ear tips in the box to help you get the best fit and seal. Oh, and you can make them match your skin tone, thanks to a collaboration with Kim Kardashian.
The AirPods Pro 2 look identical to their predecessors, with the exception of the new extra-small silicone tip, which should be more comfortable for those with smaller ears. Reports that the stems would sorter or disappear altogether have proved unfounded, so if you don’t like the fit of the first-generation Pros, you won’t like the new ones either – although those stems can now offer volume control for the first time.
AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Fit Pro: Conclusion
If the Beats Fit Pro was a slightly less impressive AirPods Pro, then the arrival of the AirPods Pro 2 will clearly widen the gap between the Apple earbuds and the very similar Beats earbuds. Apple has kept the original AirPods Pro design and made few changes, although the H2 chip should deliver better sound quality and noise cancellation than before.
The downside is that the price gap is also wider, especially in the near term when AirPods Pro 2 deals will be rarer than chicken teeth. Here in the UK the Beats are widely available for £179, a good £70 less than the AirPods Pro 2 will cost. If you’re not too concerned about the improved noise cancellation, the Beats looks a lot more attractive.