It’s the battle of the “Pro” earbuds. Both true wireless series are owned by Apple, but the Beats Fit Pro and the AirPods Pro still differ in a number of ways when it comes to design, features and sound.
Read on to find out more about which earbuds are right for you…
Pricing and availability
The Beats Fit Pro are the more recent of the two, having launched in the UK in January 2022. The AirPods Pro, meanwhile, have been around since October 2019.
As far as price goes, the Beats Fit Pro are the more affordable if you’re shopping on Apple or Beats’ websites. The Fit Pro retail for £199, while the AirPods Pro will set you back £239 – that’s a £40 difference.
That said, the AirPods Pro do receive regular discounts. Right now, you can nab them on Amazon with the MagSafe charging case for just £189, making the AirPods the cheaper option if you catch them on sale.
Beats are owned by Apple, but that doesn’t mean they take design tips from the brand. In fact, the Fit Pro look very little like Apple’s AirPod line.
In our review we compared the earbuds to a “tiny, sculpted boot”. They come with silicone ear tips and there’s a fit test in the app to limit any sound leakage. The Fit Pro also feature flexible wings that tuck into the upper ear and take advantage of a water resistance rating of IPX4, making them a great choice for workouts, as their name would suggest.
The earbuds have physical buttons – well-suited to those with active lifestyles – and come in a range of matte colours, including black, white, sage grey and a vibrant stone purple. The case matches the colour of the buds and while there’s no wireless charging support, but the case does work with USB-C.
The AirPods Pro, meanwhile, have a glossy white appearance and stem-shaped design that has come to be synonymous with Apple’s earbuds.
Like the Fit Pro, the AirPods Pro come with silicone ear tips for a tight seal and secure fit and include a water resistance rating of IPX4, meaning they can handle a sweaty workout or wet weather. There’s also a test available to ensure you’re using the correct size ear tips for your ears.
However, there are no wing-tips and playback is only via touch controls, so if you’re an avid gym-goer the Fit Pro will be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer touch controls, you might prefer the AirPods.
The AirPods Pro come in matching glossy white case, with a MagSafe version having launched in 2021. Unlike the Fit Pro, the AirPods support wireless charging and charge via Lightning instead of USB-C.
Both the AirPods Pro and the Beats Fit Pro both pack a number of iOS-exclusive features.
These include on-touch pairing, automatic switching on iOS devices, dynamic head tracking when Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos is in use and hands-free “Hey, Siri” voice activation. There’s no need to download a separate app on your Apple devices, and both pairs also take advantage of Find My to help you track down your earbuds when you misplace them.
Both earbuds are also compatible with non-iOS devices, including Android phones. The Beats’ have their own app, which allows Android users to customise their controls, view battery levels, install firmware updates and use the Ear Tip Fit Test, but other Apple exclusive features, such as Spatial Audio, Find My and easy switching between devices, are missing. There’s one-touch pairing, but no Google Fast Pair support.
The AirPods Pro are powered by Apple’s H1 chip and, like the Beats, feature a sound test to ensure you’re using the right ear tips, along with Apple’s adaptive EQ. However, Android users can’t access these features and, unlike the Beats, there’s no downloadable app for Android users.
Both earbuds offer adaptive noise cancellation (ANC). We found that the Beats Fit Pro did a good job of minimising voices during train journeys and background noise at the gym, but cars and bigger vehicles were able to break through.
The AirPods Pro’s ANC is also strong, managing to cut out the majority of the rattling of the tube during a morning commute, though neither pair allows you to adjust the level of noise cancellation yourself.
As far as battery life goes, the Beats Fit Pro take the lead with six hours in each earbud, or 24 including the case with ANC on. The AirPods Pro, meanwhile, offer 4.5 hours in each earbud, or 24 hours including the case with ANC on.
The Beats Fit Pro pack 9.5mm dual diaphragm drivers for a sound that’s balanced across the frequency range. The bass, in particular, has a good sense of weight to it and mids and highs are crisp and details with little sibilance or harshness. The vocals aren’t as rich or assertive at the high end as those on some true wireless earbuds, like the Sony WF-100XM4, but it’s a good performance.
The AirPods Pro offer deep bass, detailed vocals and clear strings in comparison to the standard AirPods. The sound is warmer and the soundstage wider. Compared with the (relevant at the time) Sony WF-1000XM3, the audio isn’t quite as full-sounding but the difference isn’t obvious.
We found that both earbuds offered deep bass and clarity thanks in part to their snug in-ear fit and ANC, however they lacked the punch achieved by other competitors.
The Beats Fit Pro and the AirPods Pro have plenty in common – particularly when it comes to sound and their iOS-feature sets.
Design is where the two set themselves apart. The Beats come in a wider range of colours and offer a tighter fit and physical controls for workouts. The AirPods can also be used in the gym, with a snug fit and the same IP rating as the Beats, but Apple has opted for touch controls and there are no wings to keep them more securely in place. If you’re a gym-goer or a runner, the Beats are the better option.
The Beats also boast a longer battery life, but the AirPods support wireless charging, which may be more convenient for many users.
The choice comes down to what design and battery features you prioritise and where you plan to use the earbuds. We gave the AirPods half a star more in our review and you can check out our individual reviews to find out more about our in-depth experiences with each pair of earbuds.