Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: Amazfit's first earbuds get a lot of things right. They sound great out of the box, and there's adjustable EQ to further tweak the sound profile. You get up to eight hours of battery life, intuitive gesture controls on each earbud, IP55 water resistance, and heart rate monitoring during workouts. For what you're paying, you're getting a lot of value here.
Great sound quality with adjustable EQ
IP55 water resistance
Eight hours of battery life
Intuitive gesture controls
Built-in heart rate monitoring
Fit may not be comfortable for everyone
No wireless charging
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Amazfit carved out a niche for itself in the wearable category with its affordable fitness bands and smartwatches, with its most recent offering, the T-Rex, offering a great value for under $200. Amazfit is now making its foray into the audio segment with the launch of its first true wireless earbuds, the PowerBuds.
The PowerBuds are designed for workouts, and as a result you'll find IP55 water resistance, magnetic hooks for a secure fit, and easy-to-use gesture controls for music playback. That's all pretty standard fare that you'll find on most workout earbuds these days, but what sets the PowerBuds apart is that there's a PPG heart rate sensor on the right earbud that measures your heart rate during workouts.
Combine that with eight-hour battery life, and the PowerBuds are a pretty great option for $100.
Amazfit PowerBuds What I like
You wouldn't know by looking at the PowerBuds that these are Amazfit's first earbuds. The fit and finish here is excellent, and the mesh pattern on the outer surface along with the red accent makes the earbuds stand out. The earbuds are also available in a white finish with grey accents, and in a grey variant with yellow accents.
The PowerBuds come with four sets of eartips, with the medium tips attached to the earbuds out of the box. The earbuds nestle into your ear canal and form a tight seal, and in my usage I found that they were secure enough even during strenuous activity. But if you're running outdoors or cycling and want a more secure fit, you can attach the magnetic hooks to the top of each earbud. The best part about this is that the hooks are located in the case itself and held down by magnets, so you don't have to worry about losing them.
Pairing the PowerBuds with your phone isn't as straightforward as you imagine: there's a small button on the case, and you have to press it for three seconds to put the buds in pairing mode. You'll see a flashing white light on the front of the case that gives you a visual indicator that the earbuds are available to pair. Then all you have to do is search for nearby Bluetooth devices from your phone, and the PowerBuds show up.
Following the initial pairing, the PowerBuds will connect to your phone as soon as you remove them from the case. Each earbud has a sensor that detects motion, and every time you take an earbud out of your ear, the music automatically pauses — and resumes once you put the earbud back in. It works unerringly well, and you don't have to worry about the feature working with a particular streaming app or phone; because it is baked into the hardware, it works across the board. There's also a Thru Mode that lets ambient sounds pass through, saving you from the hassle of taking off the earbud.
The earbuds are rather bulky, and that's down to the fact that they feature a heart rate sensor. The sensor itself is located on the right earbud, and it comes into contact with the lower portion of the outer ear, called the antitragus. Like all other PPG sensors that you find on smartwatches and fitness bands, the one on the PowerBuds relies on contact with your skin to determine your heart rate with any reasonable accuracy. And because of that, a section of the earbud nestles against your ear.
The sensor itself is pretty accurate all things considered. I measured the PowerBuds against a Fitbit Alta HR, and while the earbuds were off by a few points, they didn't deviate too much from the Fitbit. To get the feature to work, you'll first have to install the Amazfit app from the Play Store. Pair the PowerBuds to the app, and once the buds are connected, you'll need to go into Workout Settings and toggle Activity heart rate sharing to On.
This allows the Amazfit app to pull in information from the sensor during workouts. Once you set it up, you'll need to navigate to the home page of the Amazfit app, and then just swipe up on the bottom bar to pull up the activity list. Launch an activity, and you will be able to see the earbuds measure your heart rate in real-time.
Let's talk about the Amazfit app. You'll be able to view the charge level of the case and the individual earbuds from the app, change the EQ settings, update the firmware, and set up gestures. The outer surface of each earbud serves as a gesture recognition area, and you get two gesture actions on each earbud.
I set them up the following way: tap twice on the left earbud to play or pause music and tap thrice to invoke Google Assistant or Alexa. Tap twice on the right earbud to go to the next track, and tap thrice to go to the previous song. Other options include setting up Thru Mode, and you can also answer incoming calls by tapping two times on either earbud, and do the same to end a current call.
The PowerBuds have a balanced sound signature, with a clean low-end along with clear mids and decent highs. The bass isn't overwhelming, but there is a bass boost mode that you can enable from the Amazfit app; doing so will increase the bass during workouts, adding some level of excitement to the sound profile.
The audio quality is pretty decent for workout earbuds, and I tested the PowerBuds against Creative's Outlier Gold and Jabra's Elite 65h. The PowerBuds held their own in this regard, and you're not going to be let down by what the earbuds have to offer. Oh, and you also get environmental noise isolation during calls, and I didn't see any issues with the few calls I made using the PowerBuds.
The case for the PowerBuds has a matte finish, and while it is on the bulky side, it is still pocketable. The case charges over USB-C, and takes over two hours to fully charge.
Each earbud houses a 55mAh battery, with Amazfit touting eight hours of battery life between charges. I got close to those figures in real-world use, and they managed to last over seven hours from a full charge. The charging case is good for charging the earbuds twice over, so you get a total of 24 hours of usage. As I said earlier, there's no charge level indicator on the case, so you'll have to use the Amazfit app to get an idea on just how much charge the case has left.
Amazfit PowerBuds What needs work
The PowerBuds have a lot going for them, but the one issue is that the unique design makes them uncomfortable to use for an extended duration. This isn't a problem if you're only going to use these for an hour or two at a time for workouts, but if you're looking for earbuds for all-day use, they may not be ideal.
The only other omission is wireless charging. A lot of the $100 earbuds these days offer wireless charging for the case, and it would made the PowerBuds just that little bit more enticing.
Amazfit PowerBuds Alternatives
There are a lot of great TWS options for under $100 these days. Anker's $80 Soundcore Liberty Air 2 immediately stand out for the sound quality and seven-hour battery life. You also get IPX5 dust and water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX, and a comfortable fit with a pocketable case.
Samsung's $105 Galaxy Buds are another option to consider in this category. The first-gen model has a six-hour battery life, IPX2 water resistance, and great sound quality.
My favorite $100 TWS earbuds is the Creative Outlier Gold. The sound quality is sublime, you get 14 hours of battery life, IPX5 water resistance, Bluetooth 5.0 with AptX, and virtual surround sound.
Amazfit PowerBuds Should you buy it?
Who it's for
- The earbuds are ideal for those looking for workout earbuds with long battery life
- If you need the convenience of built-in heart rate monitoring without having to wear a fitness band
- If you want easy-to-use gesture controls, adjustable EQ, and IP55 water resistance
Who it isn't for
- These aren't the most comfortable earbuds to wear all day, so you may run into fit issues
- If you want earbuds that charge wirelessly, look elsewhere
Overall, the Amazfit PowerBuds tick all the right boxes. They combine a sturdy design with all the features you care about in this segment. You get IP55 dust and water resistance, at least seven hours of battery life between charges, great sound quality with adjustable EQ, and a case that charges over USB-C.
The magnetic hooks go a long way in providing a secure fit, and the only downside in terms of design is that the PowerBuds may not be comfortable for extended use if you have smaller ears.
Then there's the fact that you get built-in heart rate monitoring. Sure, you're not going to get as accurate a result as a fitness band, but you can't beat the convenience on offer here. So even if you don't care about this particular feature, the PowerBuds have plenty to offer in other areas, and they hold up very well in the TWS workouts category.
4 out of 5
If you're in the market for $100 workout earbuds with an IP55 rating and seven-hour battery life, you'll love what the PowerBuds have to offer.
Boost your workouts
Workout earbuds that tick all the boxes
Amazfit's first earbuds get a lot of things right. They sound great out of the box, and there's adjustable EQ to further tweak the sound profile. You get up to eight hours of battery life, intuitive gesture controls on each earbud, IP55 water resistance, and heart rate monitoring during workouts. For what you're paying, you're getting a lot of value here.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.