The Amazfit PowerBuds Pro are a hearable in the truest sense. Aside from streaming music and handling calls from your phone, laptop or wearable, these truly wireless earbuds can automatically track your runs, tell you if you’re slouching too much and can even keep tabs on whether you’ve exposed your ears to too much noise.
It’s a sizeable upgrade in smarts on the Amazfit PowerBuds, which offered heart rate monitoring (that’s still here too), fast charging and pass-through all wrapped up in a radically different design.
The new PowerBuds Pro come in at $149.99, making them pricier than the previous PowerBuds, but an affordable option for anyone looking for truly wireless earbuds that do more than your average pair.
Do these feature-packed buds deliver where it matters? We’ve been putting them to the test to find out. Here’s our comprehensive verdict on the Amazfit PowerBuds Pro.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro: Design, fit and controls
While the PowerBuds had a round, more bulbous look, the Powerbuds Pro are an entirely different prospect. Now it’s a stem-style earbud that come in white, partnered up with a white charging case that gives the set up a very AirPods feel about in looks and in size for both buds and case.
They also come with four different sized sets of silicone earbuds, which is a good thing because this kind of earbud design doesn’t work for everyone. Thankfully it did for us, though while they didn’t fall out, they can have a habit of moving around slightly, particularly during exercise. We’d have liked something like the wing tips you get on the Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds or an earhook design like the Beats Powerbeats Pro, which simply do not budge during workouts.
Staying on the exercise theme, the earbuds carry and IP55 water and dust-resistance rating, which means they’re suitable for getting sweaty and for getting caught in a rain shower too.
Amazfit has also packed these buds with touch controls that are built into the outside of the earbud but mainly lie in the stems of the earbuds. You can press those stems to play/pause music, launch your smartphone’s voice assistant and use the onboard microphone to speak to it or switch between active noise cancellation and thru mode listening modes. A simple tap on the on the earbud can also relay speed, heart rate and other fitness data when you’re paired up to the Zepp Health app.
These controls can also be changed from the companion app if they don’t quite work for you in the current setup, though annoyingly there doesn’t seem to be an option for adjusting volume here though.
If you’re largely stationary, those stem controls work fine. If you’re running and you need to triple tap to launch Google Assistant, we found things a bit trickier.
Physical controls always feel better suited for exercise, but other scenarios like on a train or sitting at your desk, those controls worked perfectly fine.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro: Smart features
These earbuds promise to do a lot. Once you get them paired up to your the Zepp Health app you’ll realise just how much they can do. We’ll get into the nitty gritty of the sound features in the next section and focus on what Amazfit offers on the health and fitness front first.
One new feature is Hearing health, which looks to the World Health Organisation’s hearing protection standards for guidance on helping to protect your ears. Amazfit has created the mode where it recommends not listening to sounds with the buds for more than 40 hours per earbud.
As you listen, you can go to the app to refresh the recommended listening time to see the adjusted time. It’s a really simply implemented feature that like other headphone makers shows a better appreciation of the importance of paying closer attention to exposing your ears to excessive amounts of noise on a regular basis.
Next up is the strangely named Cervical protection, which should probably be called posture tracker. Once you’ve calibrated the earbuds by sitting up straight, the buds will use the onboard motion sensors to assess how much pressure you’re putting on your back from any slouching. It can also fire prompts when you’ve been sitting for too long. Aside from the the odd naming, it’s a nice feature to have if you do the majority of listening at your desk working and you can pay more for dedicated posture tracker to do that too.
Heart rate tracking compared: Amazfit PowerBuds Pro (left) and Garmin HRM-Pro (right)
On the fitness front, Amazfit has retained the heart rate monitor from its previous Buds letting measure effort levels during exercise. That’s delivered via a PPG sensor, which is built into the right ear only. So it’s important that you get a reliable fit for reliable heart rate monitoring. Along with monitoring, you can set up high heart rate alerts, which will send a simple tone to the buds when it detects you’ve hit a heart rate zone you can determine is high within the app.
In our experience, heart rate monitoring performed well on steady paced runs with a difference of 1-2BPM for average and maximum heart rate readings from a Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap monitor. Look a little closer to the graphs though, and the Pro show more noticeable drops in heart rate, which we’d put down to that right bud moving around in the ear. For more high intensity training, those discrepancies grew and there was usually a difference a difference of around 5bpm for average and maximum readings. So it’s not a bad performer at all on the heart rate monitoring front, but you need to make sure that fit is right to get the best results.
Run detection compared: Amazfit PowerBuds Pro (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)
Amazfit has also introduced a new running detection feature that can automatically recognise when you’re running and start to record data like distance, pace, average cadence, stride and steps. It also works with third party apps like Runkeeper, MapMyRun and like some Amazfit watches, we were able to fire workouts over to Strava as well. That will let you share heart rate data and moving time only though. For more metrics, you need to go to the Zepp Health app though as far as accuracy is concerned, it’s not great here.
This is accelerometer based run tracking and compared to a Garmin running watch, it was well off on distance tracking and subsequently also on metrics like pace and cadence. The screenshot above gives you an idea of just how much it was off. You do have the option to calibrate the run, but you might end up having to do that on every run based on experience.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro: Sound quality
We’ll start by saying the PowerBuds Pro sound great. They’re loud, there’s plenty in the way of warmth, bass , detail and they offer a nice wide soundstage out of the box. If the sound isn’t quite to your liking, then you have options here. There’s a music equalizer to get something better suited to your ears with a bunch of presets available for different music genres.
There’s also three noise control modes, which offers a Thru Mode to let in more ambient sound. You can also turn on Active Noise Cancellation and turn both of these options off.
With ANC, you have the promise of cancelling out noise up to 40 decibels. You also have dedicated ANC modes that adapt based to sound in your environment, when you’re travelling, exercising and listening indoors. We found the adaptive, travel and workout modes worked well enough, though it’s hard to tell a huge difference between these modes as they are so subtle. The ANC performance on the whole was good out on running by busy roads and battling with train noise.
The last audio feature is called Motion beat mode, which when enabled will automatically boost bass to offer a more lively sound. Again, it’s hard to tell how well this works as the sound profile on these buds on the whole seem pretty bass-heavy anyway.
Overall, for $149.99, the PowerBuds offer solid sound, strong ANC performance and even with ANC off they should satisfy most.
Amazfit PowerBuds Pro: Battery life
What you get from the PowerBuds Pro in terms of battery life really depends on what features are in regular use here, and the Zepp Health app will notify you of the power-sapping features when you turn them on. The numbers say you’ll get 9 hours of listening with ANC turned off. That drops to 5 hours and 45 minutes with ANC on. So quite a sizeable drop, but hugely surprising.
You can also expect 3 hours and 30 minutes of call time (with ANC on), a total of 30 hours from the earbuds and a fully charged charging case when ANC is off and 19 hours in the same scenario with ANC on.
We’d say those numbers pretty much add up. For an hour’s listening with ANC while running and using the automatic run detection, it dropped by 20% on each earbud. In the same scenario but with ANC turned off, it was more like 10% on each bud.
If you compare those numbers to the AirPods Pro with ANC for example, Apple’s buds last 4.5 hours with ANC turned on. So it still fairs well against pricier competition.
If you want to check battery life, you can head to the Zepp Health app to check the status of each bud and the battery on the case. The solitary LED light on the front of the case will also let you know how much battery the case is packing to quickly let you know if it needs charging. That’s done via a USB-C charging cable and takes 2.5 hours to get from 0-100%.
Amazfit once again seeks to go beyond what a pair of truly wireless earbuds can do and not make you pay huge money to experience it. ANC and onboard controls work well and the new health features are nice additions to have here too. The heart rate monitoring can have its good and bad moments while the run detection just didn’t feel reliable enough to be a useful feature to have here. In the quest to bring more interesting smarts to the truly wireless earbud space, Amazfit hasn’t pulled it off entirely. For the money though, these are good sounding earbuds with some interesting smarts that offer great value and are well worth considering.
- Nice, powerful sound
- Good battery life
- Nice health smarts
- Heart rate accuracy good for steady runs
- Controls a bit fiddly to use on the move
- No onboard volume controls
- Run detection very inaccurate
- Basic third party running app support