Headphones aimed at the fashionable consumer are not in short supply these days, but one would think that the last place people are concerned about gadget style would be the gym. However, plenty of manufacturers are banking on the belief that you want good-looking tech no matter how sweaty you are, hence the Powerbeats by Dr. Dre Sport Headphones from Monster. These $150 earphones offer a secure fit, integrated iPhone controls, and a sleek look--but they're also pricey for workout headphones, and they don't seem particularly durable or sweat-resistant.
Still, Monster has the style down with the Powerbeats. Anyone who likes the look of the overall Beats by Dr. Dre line will certainly be drawn to these athletic earbuds. Eye-catching chrome earpieces are attached to a sleek black arm adorned with the signature lowercase "b" logo. Rubber hooks are attached to each 'bud, keeping them firmly in place during jogs and aerobics. Monster includes three sizes of silicone tips to help with the comfort and fit of the in-ear portion of the earphones.
That said, the Powerbeats may not be comfortable for all wearers, as they tended to cause this tester pain after resting in the ear for about 45 minutes. Also, there is only one set of ear loops, not removable, which could cause fit problems for some. Finally, we question the durability of the headphones, since the red cable is quite thin and the earpieces don't seem sweat-resistant (nor is that feature mentioned anywhere on the product packaging or site).
The Powerbeats headphones come with a nice, hard-sided carrying case and a shirt clip for attaching the cable on your person. This will come in handy for those who want to use the integrated mic with a mobile phone. The diamond-shaped module also bears volume controls and a single button for answering calls as well as adjusting playback on any iOS device (Play/Pause and Track Forward/Reverse).
In performance testing, we weren't exactly disappointed by the sound offered by the Powerbeats, nor were we blown away. Audio comes through as clear and reasonably warm, with a little oomph on the low end. In fact, the earphones are capable of a decent low-end punch, but only if you shove the earpieces directly into the ear, which is not how they're meant to be worn. These headphones are designed not to block out external noise, which is a good thing for anyone who works out outside. However, the sacrifice here is bass, so if that's what you need to kick your fitness routine up a notch, look elsewhere.