How to choose between the AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro

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Some iPhone owners buy Apple’s AirPods Pro without thinking twice and without seriously exploring the competition. Considering how good they are, that’s not the worst. But you may have found yourself comparing the AirPods Pro to another pair of Apple earbuds, the Beats Fit Pro, and can’t decide which one is right for you.

As the name implies, the Fit Pro from the Beats brand is focused on exercise and gym use. But I know friends and colleagues (like deputy editor Dan Seifert) who have used them more casually simply because of their secure, stable fit. Many earbuds on the market have integrated wingtips as part of their design, but Beats really got the Fit Pro’s execution right. The wing tips are pliable and can keep the earbuds comfortably anchored in your ears for long periods of time.

A pair of AirPods in an open charging case$200

Apple’s latest AirPods Pro are based on the last-generation model, but include swipe controls and a new H2 chip that enables improved noise cancellation. They also come with a water-resistant charging case that supports Apple’s robust Find My network.

Both sets of earbuds offer active noise cancellation, water and sweat resistance, and a slew of Apple-only features like hands-free “Hey Siri” voice commands, audio sharing, automatic device switching, and head-tracking spatial audio. Obviously those things go out the window if you’re using an Android phone, though the Beats do a commendable job of supporting both mobile platforms.


The Beats Fit Pro earbuds have integrated wingtips that help keep them in place while running and exercising. They also have excellent noise cancellation and their sound has just the right amount of bass and kick to keep you motivated.

Sound quality

Winner: AirPods Pro

I thought the Beats Fit Pro sounded better than the original AirPods Pro, but the second-generation model has reversed this. Apple has significantly improved audio performance across the entire frequency range. They are more dynamic, the bass is refined and there are other benefits such as better instrument separation. The second generation AirPods Pro offer a superior listening experience in almost every way and are among the best wireless earbuds.

Noise reduction

Winner: AirPods Pro

The newer AirPods Pro offer significantly better active noise cancellation compared to the first-generation pair and the Beats Fit Pro. Apple advertises that it is up to twice as effective, but that depends on your specific use case and environment. I’ve used them on a few flights now and have no complaints. These perform noticeably better than their predecessors in quieting the world around you.

Aside from the more powerful ANC, the AirPods Pro also have an improved “adaptive” transparency mode designed to reduce the loudness of sudden noises like sirens or nearby construction when you’re outside and want to maintain a sense of your surroundings.

Photo by Chris Welch/Acutely

Battery life

Winner: draw

The Beats Fit Pro earbuds have up to seven hours of continuous playback, slightly surpassing the six hours you get from the AirPods Pro (with ANC enabled in both cases). But the AirPods charging case holds more extra energy than the larger Beats case. And it supports wireless charging to boot, which the Fit Pro doesn’t.


Winner: Beats Fit Pro

Whether you’re about to embark on an intense workout or just having issues with other earbuds gradually falling out of your ears, the Beats Fit Pro has nothing to offer. They don’t wrap around your ears, making them more glasses-friendly than the Powerbeats Pro. And the flexible material largely prevents pain that can occur when other wing tips press into the folds of your ear.

Apple does get credit for including four sets of earbuds with the AirPods Pro (now including an extra small set) instead of the three you get from Beats. But if you want the most secure fit from the AirPods Pro, you’ll probably have to swap those silicone tips for foam replacements anyway.

The Beats Fit Pro have flexible wing tips that anchor them securely in your ears. Photo by Chris Welch/Acutely

Water and sweat resistance

Winner: AirPods Pro

You’d think Beats would take this one, but not exactly. Both pairs of earbuds have an IPX4 water resistance rating. That means they should have no problem with heavy sweat or splashes of water (such as rain). Just don’t submerge them.

However, Apple extends that same durability to the second-generation AirPods Pro carrying case, while Beats makes no claims about the Fit Pro case being water resistant. You may not care at all about this, but if your activities expose the case to the elements, it’s worth bearing in mind.


Winner: AirPods Pro

The AirPods get a win here thanks to the new volume controls on the second generation set. This lets you swipe the touchpad on either stem to adjust the volume, while you have to use Siri (or directly your phone) to change anything on the Beats Fit Pro. You can remap the hold action on the Beats to opaque volume, but then you lose switching between ANC and transparency modes. Some people might prefer the physical click button on the Beats, but the AirPods Pro controls are more comprehensive.

The AirPods Pro have built-in volume controls, which the Beats Fit Pro earbuds don’t. Photo by Chris Welch/Acutely

Software features

Winner: AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro go hand in hand with a lot of Apple software tricks. They both do spatial audio, automatic device switching, one-tap setup, syncing between iCloud devices, and audio sharing.

But the second-generation AirPods Pro extend their lead with precise Find My location tracking thanks to the U1 chip built into the case. You can track them down easily, just like an AirTag – and a speaker built into the case helps pinpoint their location. They also support more accessibility features, such as boosting conversations, although you can listen live from the Beats Fit Pro.

Flexibility of the ecosystem

Winner: Beats Fit Pro

Do the AirPods Pro technically work with Android phones? Yeah right. But you better be okay with how Apple’s buds work out of the box – because you can’t tinker much.

Beats takes it a step further with a dedicated Android app for adjusting settings, updating firmware, and checking battery life on both the earbuds and the case. Android is an afterthought for the AirPods team, but Beats is at least trying to extend an olive branch and provide a good experience.


Winner: Beats Fit Pro

Apple’s AirPods Pro cost $249 at regular retail cost, while the Beats Fit Pro costs $199.99. Both models can often be found for less, but you can usually still find the Beats for a lower price than the AirPods. I think the AirPods justify that extra cash with better sound, ANC, and wireless charging, but those improvements may not matter to people who just want a set of reliable earbuds for the gym or while training for a marathon.

The AirPods win in many ways, but the Beats Fit Pro still retains its own unique appeal. Photo by Chris Welch/Acutely

From a pure sound quality and noise reduction standpoint, the AirPods Pro will be the better buy in many cases. They may look similar to the original pair, but Apple has made meaningful improvements with the second-generation model.

But it’s not a clean slate from the Beats Fit Pro. If your ears aren’t a good fit for the AirPods, then all the features and fancy tricks in the world don’t matter. The wingtips on the Beats buttons keep them in place, even during strenuous activity. And while the sound and ANC are a step down from Apple’s newer flagship earbuds, the Fit Pro earbuds are still more than good enough to keep you motivated through the last stretch of a fierce workout.

And hey, at least you actually get some variety when it comes to color.

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