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The headphone jack is gone so truly wireless headsets are standard fare today. While earbuds from Samsung and Apple range from $150 to $250, there are compelling options for a much more affordable price.
The Amazfit PowerBuds arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've been pleasantly surprised by their performance, reliability, and unique solution to stay securely in place during active workouts.
Truly wireless earbuds often have a similar look, but the Amazfit PowerBuds are a bit larger than most due to the on board heart rate sensor found at the bottom of the right earbud. In addition to the heart rate sensor, Amazfit's magnetic ear hooks are unique for wireless earbuds.
Speaker size: 9 mm
Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
Supported codecs: AAC and SBC
Dust and water resistance: IP55
Battery life: 55 mAh in each earbud and 450 mAh in the case. Up to eight hours of play with the charging case providing 16 more hours of battery life. A 15-minute charge provides up to three hours of battery life.
Headphone weight: 6 grams each
Box contents: Earbuds, charging case, two ear hooks, USB-C charging cable, silicone eartips (S, M, L)
The charging case has a matte soft touch finish and is colored to match the earbuds. Open up the charging case to reveal the two PowerBuds. Look at the underside of the lid to find an innovative element of the PowerBuds, magnetic ear hooks. They magnetically attach inside the case so you never have to worry about leaving them behind when you need them.
The magnetic ear hooks are designed to secure the earbuds during workouts with excessive movement. I wore them on every run and found the PowerBuds to remain comfortably secure in my ears. The ear hook attaches magnetically to a small flat spot on the top of the outer earbud and loops around your ear.
The heart rate sensor module is positioned between the outer part of the earbud and the eartip that goes into your ear. This module is what makes the earbud larger than competing earbuds, but the entire earbud assembly remains fairly light at just six grams.
There is another small sensor on the inside of the heart rate module, used to detect removal of the headset from the case or your ear for auto connection after pairing and setup.
Multiple silicone eartips are included in the case so you can try out the one that fits your ear best. Thru-mode is present as a gesture option so you can hear your surroundings while wearing the earbuds.
Amazfit PowerBuds review: in pictures
The Zepp smartphone app, previously Amazfit, is available for iOS and Android phones. The Zepp app is a rather comprehensive app with a Home panel that shows all sorts of data, such as steps, calories, sleep, weight, heart rate, and much more.
To optimize the PowerBuds headset for use, tap on the Profile screen to view the PowerBuds under the My devices section. Tap on the earbuds name to then customize the gestures, music equalizer, and workout settings. Updates for the earbuds will also appear in the application.
Double tap and triple tap gestures are available with options to play/pause music, move to the next song, move to a previous song, toggle Thru Mode, wake up your selected voice assistant, and disable the gesture. So in total you can have up to four options selected.
In the music equalizer, there are 10 preset settings and a custom option to control the spectrum to your preferred audio setup.
Two workout settings are available; motion beat mode and heart rate sharing. The first toggle is for bass boost and to be honest these earbuds have some of the best bass I have heard on a pair of wireless earbuds.
Heart rate sharing is an interesting option, but it is a bit limited. With this function enabled, your heart rate is recorded in the Zepp application. You can connect Apple Health, Strava, and other applications to share the data captured by the Zepp app. If you do not have a GPS watch or smartwatch, it can be very useful to run with your phone and have your heart rate recorded by the PowerBuds. I tested out the heart rate capability and found the results to be fairly accurate, but I run with my watch too often so I can see my running status on my wrist.
The Amazfit PowerBuds are available now for $99 from places such as Amazon. Three color options are available; Dynamic Black, Active White, and Racing Yellow.
Daily usage experiences and conclusion
While I did take a couple of calls with the Amazfit PowerBuds, they are primarily designed to serve as earbuds for exercise. Call performance was acceptable, but there are better options for high call quality.
Music sounded great on the headphones, with outstanding volume, clarity, and bass. Sometimes I test a pair of headphones a few times and never want to use them again, but a couple weeks later and I'm still running with the PowerBuds each time. The magnetic ear hooks are an excellent design innovation I greatly appreciated. The earbuds were held very securely during my runs and I love that the ear hooks store right in the charging case.
Battery life matched what is advertised and eight hours is longer than most of the more expensive earbuds available today.
The smartphone app is a bit overwhelming if you just have the Amazfit PowerBuds as the app is designed for those with watches and other gear to connect to a central application. Despite the app, the Amazfit PowerBuds are an excellent option for truly wireless earbuds and for $99 you can't go wrong with them even if you never use the heart rate functionality.