• notebookcomputer
  • 24/08/2022

Beats Fit Pro Review

After releasing the relatively affordable ($149.99) Studio Buds earlier this year, Beats is back with a new pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earphones, the $199.99 Beats Fit Pro. Aptly named, the focus here is on in-ear fit security, with built-in earfins made of a pliable material that truly does help create a more secure seal in your ear. They're also armed with active noise cancellation (ANC), and since Beats is owned by Apple, you get the company's H1 chip, which enables features like Spatial Audio with head tracking, Adaptive EQ, hands-free Siri, and one-touch iOS pairing. The sonic performance here is classic Beats, with intense bass, boosted highs, and a scooped-out midrange. The ANC is better than average, with effective low-frequency noise elimination. For the price, there's plenty to like, but the Beats Fit Pro face stiff competition from Apple's own AirPods Pro, as well as models from Bose, Jabra, and Sony.

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A Focus on Fit

Available in black, gray, lavender, or white models, the Fit Pro's chunky earpieces are housed in a rounded charging case of the same color, with the Beats logo prominently displayed on both the case and earpieces. It’s a bit curious that you only get three pairs of eartips (in small, medium, and large), which is more or less standard, but plenty of pairs ship with more fit options, and these in-ears are actually called the Fit Pro. That said, the fit is exceptionally secure. The earfins do an excellent job of stabilizing the in-ear seal, despite being built into the actual earpieces (most fins are removable and replaceable, often offered in different sizes).

The on-ear controls are simple buttons that are easy to operate without comprising the in-ear fit.A single tap on the Beats logo on the outer panels of either ear controls playback and call management, while a double tap skips forward a track, three taps navigates back a track, and a long press enables or disables ANC. In the Bluetooth settings menu, you can assign volume to be controlled by a long press instead, in which the left ear lowers the volume and the right ear raises it.

Also in the Bluetooth settings menu—the de facto app for the Fit Pro—you can use the Ear Tip Fit test to make sure you have an ideal in-ear seal. This is also where you can adjust mic settings (such as automatically switching to whichever earpiece is in, or only using the left or right ear) and enable/disable automatic ear detection. In the music menu, you can switch through various EQ presets (as well as Lossless Audio playback and automatic Dolby Atmos playback), and in the Siri menu, you can enable or disable “Hey Siri” for hands-free voice commands. You can also use Apple's Find My feature to locate missing earbuds. Because they use the H1 chip, the earphones also support one-touch pairing with iOS devices.

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For Android users, the Beats app comes with some features that you find natively in iOS, like the ear fit test, listening mode controls, and firmware updates. What’s missing on Android is support for Spatial Audio with head tracking, hands-free Siri, Find My compatibility, audio sharing, and automatic switching between paired sound sources.

The IPX4 rating here is a bit underwhelming for a pair so focused on fit, as you might naturally think that a good fit equates to being built for exercise. While IPX4 means the earpieces can handle sweat, light rain, or splashes from any direction, they’re not built to be submerged or placed under a faucet. The most reliable exercise-focused in-ears tend to have an IPX7 rating, which makes the earpiece fully waterproof. Here, the earpieces can still handle some moisture, but that's it.

In addition, the case isn't water resistant, so earpieces need to be thoroughly dried before docking for charging. The case’s flip-top lid opens like a jewelry box, revealing the charging docks and a pairing button. The front panel of the case has a small status LED, and the back panel houses a recessed USB-C port for the included, short USB-C charging cable. No adapter is included for USB-A ports, and unlike the AirPods Pro, wireless charging isn't supported.

The earphones are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0, and support AAC and SBC codecs, but not AptX.

Beats estimates battery life to be roughly 6 to 7 hours (6 hours with ANC or transparency enabled, 7 hours with Adaptive EQ enabled), with an additional 21 to 23 hours in the charging case. Your results will vary with your mix of ANC and Adaptive EQ usage, but also your volume levels. These numbers are slightly above average.

Noise Cancellation and Mic Performance

The earphones deliver solid noise cancellation. You can switch between ANC On, Transparency Mode (which lets you hear your surroundings without removing the earpieces), and Off. With noise cancellation on, Beats does an excellent job of dialing back deep low-frequency rumble, like you might hear on an airplane. The ANC also does a solid job against mids, but it's far less effective against higher frequencies—a recording of a busy restaurant highlights this, as the chatter is dialed back in the low-mids and lows, but a band of higher-frequency noise makes it past the ANC with ease, and perhaps even sounds slightly louder.

Beats Fit Pro Review

Compared with the class-leading Sony WF-1000XM4 ($279.99), both pairs do well against deep low-frequency rumble, although the Sony model does slightly better. The real difference is in the mids and highs, in which the Sony model dials back slightly more in the mids and is far more effective in the highs. This isn’t shocking—few pairs are as successful as the Sony WF-1000XM4 at eliminating higher frequencies, and the Beats model costs $80 less. That said, if noise cancellation is your top priority, you'll be better served by the Sony WF-1000XM4, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, or the AirPods Pro.

See How We Test Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Transparency mode is well implemented. The mics clearly represent your surroundings without making things too loud or tinny.

The beam-forming dual mic array offers solid intelligibility. Using the Voice Memos app on an iPhone, we could understand every word we recorded. The Bluetooth audio artifacts that typically cloud up a recording were only minimally present here, so on a solid mobile signal, callers should be able to understand you clearly.

Sound Quality

Interestingly, Adaptive EQ is only enabled when ANC is off. So if you don’t like what Adaptive EQ does to the audio, you can always try switching to ANC mode. The audio performance descriptions below are with Spatial Audio disabled and ANC off, so that Adaptive EQ is automatically enabled. It’s worth noting that Adaptive EQ seems far more important in the third-generation AirPods, as the interior mics there are measuring how the earbuds are angled into your ear. There’s a lot less variation when you have an in-canal pair like the Fit Pro, and so Adaptive EQ becomes less about the mics, which are still there, and more about what the mics trigger, which is DSP (digital signal processing). Overall, we found the DSP here to be fairly typical of in-canal earphones—bass gets limited at higher volume levels, but it’s relatively smooth.

The main thing to point out about Adaptive EQ, at least as far as the Fit Pro goes: Most people are unlikely to notice the difference between when it’s on and off. Bass depth and high frequencies sounded nearly identical in testing when the ANC was enabled and Adaptive EQ disabled. That’s actually good news—these modes shouldn't make the audio sound wildly different. But it does mean that, in this case, Adaptive EQ feels a bit more like marketing than a real feature you can control. We’ll discuss Spatial Audio in the next section.

On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the earphones deliver serious thump—the low-frequency response is powerful, whether at top, unwise listening levels (where the bass remains clean and undistorted) or at more moderate volumes. This is a bass-lover's sound signature, for certain.

Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the Fit Pro’s general sound signature. The drums on this track are lent some added bass depth and thump, and Callahan’s baritone vocals have a bit of added low-mid richness. The high-mids and highs are dialed up and sculpted as well, lending the vocals some treble edge and the acoustic strums some added brightness. This isn’t an accurate sound signature, as it’s far too sculpted and boosted, but the bass depth sounds full and rich and the high-mids and highs are sculpted to match. The mid-range sounds a little scooped out as a result, which makes the absence of real EQ a bummer (yes, there are listening modes for Apple Music, but no, that's not the same as user-adjustable EQ).

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop receives an ideal amount of high-mid presence, allowing its attack to retain its punchiness. The vinyl crackle and hiss usually relegated to background status also take a step forward in the mix, and the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with full-bodied power. The bass response ends up boosting the drum loop somewhat, too—again, this is a sculpted sound signature with extra lows and highs, and a midrange that steps back a bit. It suits tracks like this well—there’s plenty of room for the vocals to exist, and they’re delivered clearly, with some added high-mid presence, but not much added sibilance, which isn’t always easy to pull off.

Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound rich and crisp—the lower-register instrumentation gets minimal boosting, and plays a lovely anchoring role in the mix. The higher-register brass, strings, and vocals are bright and airy—this may not be a super-accurate portrayal of the mix, but it accentuates the frequencies that make it feel more vibrant.

Spatial Audio

As with the third-generation AirPods, Spatial Audio remains more or less a cool gimmick here rather than an essential feature. Sure, the head tracking functionality is interesting, but it hardly adds an essential element to any listening experience. The best use we’ve found for it thus far is spinning around in a chair so that music sounds like it’s moving around your head. And yes, there are artists mixing tracks specifically for Spatial Audio on Apple Music, but without head tracking, the feature is essentially just some EQ and reverb filters and effects applied to mixes to give them an enhanced spatial feeling—no matter how you slice it, this is still stereo audio, plain and simple. This doesn’t mean that Spatial Audio can't sound cool sometimes, but it’s far from game-changing audio technology.

Solid ANC for Bass Lovers, But Alternatives Abound

The Beats Fit Pro earphones deliver a solid array of features, particularly for bass lovers with Apple devices. When it comes to noise cancellation, the AirPods Pro, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and Sony WF-1000XM4 all do a better job, but they cost more as well. For the price, Jabra's $199.99 Elite 7 Pro earphones are our top pick, with solid noise cancellation and fully waterproof earpieces that are better built for exercise. And if you don't need noise cancellation, the third-generation AirPods deliver a bass-heavy sound and all of the same H1 chip's benefits as the Beats Fit Pro. All of this is to say that there are many good options in this price range, and while the Beats are a solid addition, there are many other pairs that might work better for you. But if you love bass, use an iPhone, and want that Beats logo on your ears, you'll be well served by the Fit Pro.

3.5See It$199.99 at Apple.comMSRP $199.99View More

The true wireless Beats Fit Pro earphones deliver deep bass and crisp highs with above-average noise cancellation in a modestly water-resistant design with a super-secure fit.

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