There is a lot going on with the Amazfit Powerbuds Pro (opens in new tab). They are the most feature-rich truly wireless buds I’ve come across, offering rarely seen things like automatic exercise tracking and posture alerts, alongside the more common features like active noise cancellation and an awareness mode.
You get all this for just £119.99, a relative snip for truly wireless buds with this many features. That price isn’t achieved by sacrificing sound quality or battery life either. The sound is impressive, as is the battery life: the buds last up to nine hours per charge, or 5hr 45min with active noise cancelling (ANC) on, and the case contains another 21 hours.
These Powerbuds do have an achilles heel, which is the fit. The in-ear tips were simply not secure enough for sport and I barely made it 20 steps into a run without them falling out. The headphones come with four sizes of silicone ear tips, but no wings, which would make a real difference.
Of course, this might not be the case for everyone, and even if you, like me, find that they won’t stay in your ears during exercise there are workarounds. I slipped some generic silicone wings bought off eBay on the buds and that fixed the loose fit for running and other workouts.
It might be worth looking for such a workaround given the overall quality of the Powerbuds Pro, and the value you’re getting for £120. Even if the extra features aren’t that useful, the sound quality, solid ANC and battery life are the equal of far more expensive sets.
You can adjust the EQ on the buds in the partner app and I was impressed by the depth and clarity of the sound, even at high volumes – and these go enjoyably loud. There’s a “hearing health” alert if you turn up the volume too high for an extended period, although you can turn that alert off.
I kept the cervical health reminder on, though (your cervical spine is your neck). If you wear the headphones for long periods at your desk, the alert reminds you to move your neck around and relax your spine.
In the Zepp app you can also see what your normal head-lowering angle is, and how healthy that is. For example my habitual angle is 25°, and this means my cervical vertebrae bear a weight equivalent to that of a cat. A comparison that made me laugh out loud, not least because my cat is pretty plump.(opens in new tab)
Along with these insights, the headphones can track your heart rate during exercise and will automatically detect and record runs, and you can even programme the buds to boost the beats and bass when you’re exercising.
The actual run tracking is completely useless – the distances logged were several kilometres out from what I actually ran – but the heart rate tracking is fairly accurate. That said, it’s still short of accuracy compared with a chest strap or even many optical wrist monitors, so these features don’t add much to the Powerbuds Pro.
You can customise the controls in the app as well. A long press on the stem of either bud will switch the listening mode between ANC, Thru Mode or off. You can also choose what kind of ANC mode you’d like. There are modes for travel, workouts and indoor settings, which each block out certain noises, or you can choose an adaptive mode that filters out sounds depending on your environment.
That long press is a fixed control, but you can change what happens when you single, double and triple press on the stems, although the available options don’t include volume controls, which is annoying.
Also annoying is the way the controls respond when exercising. I found it was all but impossible to get the right amount of presses when running, especially when trying to do the long press. In fact, I have only been able to use the controls when very still.
Furthermore, while I found the ANC useful and effective when travelling or working, during outdoor exercise it let in a lot of wind noise. The same was true of the awareness mode, so when I turned that on to hear traffic coming up behind me when running on a country road, mostly what I heard was wind. Not ideal. I almost always turned both modes off when exercising outdoors, especially since doing so saves a considerable amount of battery life.
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As general headphones I rate the Amazfit Powerbuds Pro highly, especially given the relatively low price, but they fall short on the sports front. The fit isn’t secure enough, and the controls and ANC become more of a frustration than a feature while exercising.
I found that the extra features are generally not that useful either, aside from the posture alerts. If you want to track the distance of your runs or heart rate, I’d recommend investing in a cheap watch or fitness tracker for more accuracy instead.
They are OK for sports use if you don’t have a problem with the fit, but there are better options on that front at a range of prices – the Beats Powerbeats are a similar price if you don’t mind a wire, and there are truly wireless options like the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC or Creative Outlier Air v2 for under £100.
The Amazfit Powerbuds Pro have great sound and impressive ANC (when not running) for the price, plus a host of novel features, but they’d be better sports buds if they swapped all those novel features for easier-to-use controls and some wings to improve the fit.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds, True Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones with 6-Mic, Multi Music Modes, Sports and Health Monitoring, IP55 Waterproof for Gym Workout (opens in new tab)
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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