If you’re after a pair of premium wireless earbuds that are equally at home on the street or in the office as they are in the gym, you’ve probably been considering a pair of Apple-owned Beats’ Powerbeats Pro. With great iOS integration, a water-resistant design, these have quickly become popular among sweat-loving iPhone owners around the globe.
With its sleek T5 True Wireless, Klipsch looks to take a bite out of Apple’s gargantuan wireless earbud sales, and, at least based on specs, it should be able to do just that. With equal water resistance and a subtler design, the T5 are a great pair of headphones.
So which pair should you buy? Read on to find out:
Design and fit
The biggest difference between these two headphone models comes in terms of design. The Powerbeats Pro feature a clip-style look, with hooks designed to keep the headphones securely on your ears during strenuous activity, where the T5 True Wireless exhibit a smaller, more compact, in-ear design. Which you prefer is up to personal preference, but we typically prefer smaller true wireless headphones, as they don’t draw as much attention when meandering around town.
The charging cases, too, offer a significant point of differentiation, as the Klipsch model comes in a gorgeous Zippo-like flip-top case that’s made of brushed metal and easily slips into a pocket, where the Powerbeats Pro come in a giant clamshell that seems made to be put in a bag or purse between uses, rather than your jeans.
Some may prefer the larger model, but we’ve got to hand it to the Klipsch here: They look simple and elegant, and they are easier to take with us on the go.
Winner: Klipsch T5 True Wireless
Features, controls, and battery life
One place where you’ll be satisfied with either pair of headphones is battery life: The T5 True Wireless offer an impressive eight hours of listening time, and the Powerbeats Pro offer nine hours — both among the best you’ll find. The charging cases, too, have lots of juice, although this time the Klipsch are the winner, with 24 hours of recharge time compared to the Powerbeats Pro’s 18. Regardless of which pair you choose, you’ll be more than satisfied with how long you have to wait between trips to the wall or USB port.
Controls, likewise, are very similar, with both models offering physical buttons that allow you to control playback and volume easily. That said, the Powerbeats Pro do offer physical rockers to adjust volume, in addition to the single-button controls on the outside of each earphone, making it easier to quickly change volume on the go.
In terms of features, both pairs of headphones offer much the same options, though iOS users will likely enjoy faster pairing and the ability to speak Siri’s name aloud that comes with Apple’s new H1 chip — the same chip used to power AirPods. Android users, though, won’t be so smitten with the Powerbeats Pro, as you won’t even be able to see how much battery is left in the headphones when they’re paired.
Android users will likely prefer the Klipsch T5 True Wireless, which can pull up your voice assistant with a single press of the left earbud, and with an upcoming app that will allow you to adjust equalization and other options.
Both headphones have an IPX4 rating, which makes them water resistant for sweaty workouts and walks around town in the rain. One thing neither have? A “hear through” function, which can pipe in sound from the outside world when desired. It’s not a deal breaker, but definitely something to consider if you work out in public spaces where you might need to hear the world around you.
Frankly, both headphones are so similar in terms of these three categories that we can’t declare a clear winner. We’re gonna call it a tie.
Sound quality is another place that we have a hard time recommending one pair of headphones over the other. The fact is, both pairs of headphones have great silicone eartips that block out much of the outside world, offering above-average sound for true wireless models.
The differences are subtle, but those who enjoy more bass will likely be happier with the Beats Powerbeats Pro, as those lean a bit more on the low end of the sound signature than the Klipsch, which are a bit more balanced overall. Still, both pairs of headphones are more than capable of delivering enjoyable sound while on the go, and we’d be lying if we said there was a clear winner in this category.
Both headphones have very similar connection distance, though the Powerbeats Pro connect quicker to iOS devices thanks to that H1 chip. Something we did notice in testing, which others haven’t been able to replicate, were some sporadic connection blips with the Beats model. We tried two pairs of headphones with multiple phones and had similar issues with both, so we have to note it here. That said, it doesn’t appear to be a widespread issue with the headphones.
Given that these two pairs of headphones are similar in so many ways, price becomes more of a concern than it might with other models with more to differentiate them. At $51 cheaper than the $250 Powerbeats Pro, we’ve got to give it to the $199 Klipsch T5 True Wireless. That said, if you are an iOS user looking for a great pair of workout earbuds, the Powerbeats Pro might be worth the premium.
Winner: Klipsch T5 True Wireless