Beats Fit Pro Review: AirPods in disguise

The Beats Fit Pro, Beats’/Apple’s latest foray into the wireless earbud space, feature more trade-offs than I expected.

The uniquely designed buds sound fantastic, feature a decent mic and even pack strong active noise cancellation (ANC). However, they’re pretty uncomfortable and their case feels low-quality even for Beats.

Apple’s latest earbuds might fit better for other people’s ears, but if you’re looking at these fitness-focused buds next to the AirPods or the AirPods Pro, I’d argue that isn’t the right comparison. The Beats Fit Pro are designed for being active, unlike the more casual listening shape of the AirPods.

Hey, Listen!

As I have in the past, below is my earbud testing playlist.

SpotifyApple MusicYouTube

While the playlists are more to help give me recurring context across all the wireless earbuds I test, I figured readers might want to check out the tunes too.

Some other new albums I jammed out to while testing the Fit Pros include MØ’s Motordome and Caprisongs by FKA Twigs.

Upperclass sound

These buds look stellar, but if you peer closely, you can see that my nails have marked up the soft plastic after just two weeks of use.

The Beats Fit Pro produced some of the best sound quality I’ve heard from a pair of wireless earbuds. Audio purists might be against Beats’ heavier bass tuning, but for the majority of pop, hip-hop and modern tracks I listen to, they work phenomenally. There’s a real robust sound to the buds that offers a lot of detail.

Since the buds are in the higher-end Apple earbud echelon, they feature the tech giant’s proprietary H1 chip, allowing them to play music in ‘Spatial Audio’ with head tracking. This effect is a subtle addition to a limited (but growing) number of Apple Music tracks that support it. However, the more I use Apple earbuds with Spatial Audio, the more fond I’m becoming of the audio technology.

A good pair of earbuds with Dolby Atmos support can fill the void, and I don’t generally notice the lack of head tracking, but I missed the immersion that surround-sound music provides when I tested the LG Tone Free FP9s. All of this is to say that the speakers in the Beats Fit Pro did a great job of reproducing sound, but what draws me more towards them is their broad soundscape and the addition of Atmos.

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The bass-heavy tuning is a lot more subtle than it has been in the past and I think it’s likely something most people will enjoy. Like most other Apple earbuds, there’s no way to change the buds’ tuning unless you use Apple Music.

The active noise cancellation is also great with these buds. They’re able to block out more noise than the recent LG and OnePlus wireless earbuds I’ve tested. Since they automatically adjust the noise-cancelling on the fly to match each room’s ambient sound, they’re even above the excellent ANC featured in Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2.

A fitness-focused fit

At first glance, the Beats Fit Pro look great. Once you open their surprisingly cheap-feeling case, the buds are presented almost like expensive cufflinks in a jewellery box.

Beats Fit Pro Review: AirPods in disguise

The buds feature a unique shape because they’re designed with a ‘Secure fit wingtip’ to help lock them into your ears. This thin section is made of fairly pliable silicon, so with a gentle twist, it tucks easily into the upper part of your ear. However, this makes it pretty uncomfortable to wear for long periods. Coming from the extremely comfortable LG Tone Free FP9s, my ears didn’t handle the Beats well.

The wingtips work when you’re being active and keep the earbuds in your ears even during some pretty intense headbanging, but they’re less secure than they appear. Since they sit further out of your ears than typical buds, they’re easy to knock out with a mask, winter toque or even when moving overly aggressively.

The constant pressure of the wingtip against my ear’s cartilage proved to be annoying over time, and while you can then slip the wingtip out, the buds get less secure. This is fine when sitting at a desk, but walking around with the Beats Fit Pro in the winter with a hat and a mask wasn’t fun since they kept falling out.

I’ll also mention that I’ve used medium-sized ear tips on about 90 percent of earbuds I’ve ever tested, but with Beats, I’ve always needed to opt for the smallest of the three included tip sizes. Since my ears appear on the smaller side for the Beats brand, I suspect that’s also why I felt some discomfort with the Fit Pro. Other reviewers have touted Beats’ latest earbuds for their comfort, so it likely comes down to ear size.

A great app for Android, better integration into iOS

Surprisingly, Beats’ Android app is top-notch and offers a few fun quirks. For example, the app colour matches your earbuds, though this is likely only really noticeable if you’re rocking the same ‘Stone Purple’ version of the buds that I have. The other Beats Fit Pro colour options are ‘Sage Gray’ ‘Beats Black’ and ‘Beats White.’

Beyond that, you can check the Fit Pros’ battery life, toggle ANC/transparency mode, rename the buds, explore how to use them and change the press-and-hold function. By default, pressing and holding on either bud switches from ANC to transparency. In the app, you can make that gesture control volume instead.

Finally, you can turn on the option to enable ANC if you’re only using one bud at a time or set the mic to one specific bud or the other. This is handy if you want to hold one earbud up to your face to use it as a little microphone.

These options are also available on iOS, but they’re tucked under the ‘info’ button in the Bluetooth device selection menu. Also, like AirPods and other Beats earbuds, you can control ANC and Spatial Audio by long pressing on the volume control slider in Control Centre.

To be fair, Apple’s take on changing settings makes more sense since the only earbud settings that I change daily are ANC and head tracking. And having these features easily accessible is very handy.

That said, I still really like the design of the Beats’ Android app. Since most earbud users are likely looking to download an app to control features instead of diving into the iOS settings app, it would be great to see a version of the app in the iOS App Store.

This tight integration with Apple products also means that once you pair with one of your Apple devices, it auto-pairs with all of your other products from the company, and it can intelligently switch between devices depending on what you’re doing. This also means that the Fit Pro work with Apple’s cool Audio Sharing feature. This is handy if you and a friend want to both watch a YouTube video in a crowded space and you don’t want to share earbuds.

It’s not as crucial as it once was now that more earbuds are rolling out with multi-point connection specs, but if you have more than two devices and they’re all Apple-branded, the Fit Pro are hard to beat, with Apple’s own AirPods being one of the few exceptions.

Mic Test

The microphone test comparing these earbuds to a bunch of others starts at 3:38 in this full video review of the Beats Fit Pro.

Overall, the buds have a pretty great mic, and they’re much improved over the Beats Studio Buds regarding mic performance. People had no problem hearing me in video calls. The only issue I encountered was some minor discomfort during long calls due to the wingtips.

Other quirks

beats’ Fit Pro alsocome with a three-month free trial to Apple Music and a short USB-C to USB-C cable for charging.

The buds can last for six hours of listening with noise-cancellation on. The case adds another 18 hours, and in a pinch, can add an extra hour of listening time to the buds with a five-minute charge.

“When you look at all the variances of AirPods and Beats earbuds that Apple makes, you can see that the company is working to make Beats’ products stronger in areas where AirPods might not be as popular.”

There’s no wireless charging, which would have been nice to see since the case is much larger than the competitors. I know I’ve mentioned this above, but the case lid feels very cheap for a Beats product. The mushy hinge is nowhere near AirPods or even Galaxy Buds quality, and it’s disappointing to see here.

Each bud features a small button that’s fairly clicky and very similar to the control scheme on the lower-priced Beats Studio Buds. I still found myself mistouching the play/pause controls more often than I’d like when adjusting the buds in my ears. Sadly, that’s pretty much just the nature of using wireless earbuds without stems, and it’s really not the end of the world.

Skin sensors are placed inside each earbud to make sure that they pause the music when you take them off and play when you stick them back in. Since they’re skin sensors, they also make sure the music doesn’t start playing again if you jam them in your pocket without the case. This is the same sensor as the new AirPods and works just as well here.

On Android, they have a fast pairing tech, but it still requires you to press and hold on the pairing button on the case to initiate it. Therefore, it only saves you like two steps in the pairing process. It’s nice to see Apple caring about Android users, but it’s not nearly as seamlessly as simply opening the Beat’s case for the first time near an iPhone to connect.

Finally, there’s an IPX4 rating which is a little weak considering these are supposed to be outdoor fitness buds. They should be ok in some light rain, but if OnePlus was able to IP55 certify the $160 OnePlus Buds Z2, Apple should have done the same here.