Lately, every single brand from startups to well-established phone manufacturers is giving TWS earphones a try. There are more TWS earbuds in the market than the number of pizzas Joey ate in the entire FRIENDS series. Naturally, it is difficult to stand-out in an inundated space. Enters Amazfit PowerBuds, the first TWS earphones by the Chinese company. They are unique in terms of features as they join Jabra Elite Sport in offering heart rate tracking built right into the earphones. But no product is perfect. Hence, in our Amazfit PowerBuds review we find out if these earbuds are good enough to stand out in the already-saturated space.
Design and Fit
The Amazfit PowerBuds take a different approach than the many Apple-AirPods wanna-be. The Buds themselves can be distributed in three parts – the ear tips, the Y-axis part, and the outer X-axis portion, which features a mesh pattern that sports a red accent and helps it stand out from the crowd. Overall, they have a bigger outer part that protrudes a bit. The middle Y-axis bit consists of the heart-rate sensor in the right bud. Unsurprisingly, the left one doesn’t have its own heart-rate sensor, but it is designed to look the same. Talking about functionality, it doesn’t only measure your heart rate but helps to lock the buds in place once twisted, which form a tight seal.
Each earbud weighs about 6g, and I felt the weight initially but even after prolonged usage they never felt heavy. I’ve watched five seasons of The Office and listened to a lot of bands while doing chores, and I’ve gotten so used to these that I’m not bothered by having them in my ears for hours at a time.
These are one of the most comfortable earbuds I’ve tried lately. The fit is excellent. They don’t fall off easily, even when you are exercising. Moreover, you get magnetic hooks right in the case that can be attached to the top of each earbud if you want to be more secure with the fit. The case is so well-built that I almost didn’t notice the hooks placed at the top. Notably, I didn’t feel the need for hooks but you are different, and our ears are not the same either. Hence, it must be noted that the hooks can detach easily if you happen to fiddle a lot with your earbuds.
The Amazfit PowerBuds are also available in white finish with grey accents, and in a grey variant with yellow accents. As for the case, it features a matte finish and is compact in size. The smooth charging case weighs about 70 grams. It doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. I’ve dropped it twice and nothing happened to the earbuds or the outer case – solid build quality. Further, there is a single LED placed on the outside. It indicates charging status, and pairing mode.
Pulling the earbuds out of the charging case is as easy as it gets but placing them back could take some effort. It almost always took me a couple of tries while placing them back in their places.
The Amazfit PowerBuds feature 9mm drivers and offer a frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. The numbers should translate into rich bass and clear treble, and for the most part, they do. Unlke the most popular AirPods and Galaxy Buds Plus, these don’t provide support for high-end audio codecs such as aptX, aptX Low Latency or LDAC. The PowerBuds rely on SBC and AAC
Starting from the lower frequencies, the bass was deep and powerful. I could feel the thumps in my ear, leading to a few dancing moves. Further, bass-rich songs like Another One Bites the Dust by Queen had my head movements tuning in with the beats. That’s exactly what you need to keep you pumped up in the gym.
We could notice the instrument separation. Plus, vocal-heavy tracks were clear too. I loved listening to songs like ‘In The End’ by Kodaline and the clarity was retailed while playing ‘Saving Grace’ that mixes music with vocals. However, with high frequencies, it sounded shrill at times.
If you don’t like a type of sound, it can be tweaked to suit your preference. The Amazfit app comes with a range of presets including 10-band equalizer. By default, the PowerBuds are set to ‘popular’ with a large emphasis on bass. I found myself juggling between ‘jazz’ and ‘vocals’ for my kind of listening. In my experience, ‘jazz’ is the most balanced preset of the lot. However, it focuses lesser on the low frequencies.
Further, listening to podcasts was fun too. Coming to the mic quality, the earbuds feature ENC dual-microphone noise reduction technology. In theory, it reduces the amount of ambient noise when you are on calls. However, mic quality isn’t something writing home about. The listeners said that my voice sounded muddy and I was a lot clearer when I used the phone mic.
While the Amazfit PowerBuds sound very well for the price, if you are an audiophile and like a Hi-Res Audio, these aren’t the right fit for you, and you are better off spending more.
First things first, the Amazfit PowerBuds feature a heart-rate sensor in the right bud. It helps track your heart rate during activities like exercising, jogging, and more. Notably, you will have to be on the Amazfit ecosystem to take advantage of the feature. As for quality, it is consistent. I tested it against the wearables I have that can measure heart rate, and the results had very less margin of error.
Moreover, it notifies you when it’s time to cool down and take a break from the workout if your heart rate is going higher than required. Notably, it is not possible to quickly check your resting heart rate as the feature can only be used when you are exercising.
Coming to the controls, you get two gestures: double-tap and triple-tap on left and right. Hence, you can store up to four commands, and these include:
- Music pause/play
- Thru Mode on/off
- Wake up the voice assistant
Overall, the controls are pretty straight-forward and reliable. I wish there were swipe gestures too. I’d have linked those to volume up and down. It would have allowed the Amazfit PowerBuds to be a standalone device and not depend on the phone to change volume.
There is a Thru-Mode that enables you to hear the outside world with the earbuds still in your ear by using microphone and playing a live feed of the ambient environment along with your music. It could help you hear approaching traffic, and have awareness of the surrounding in public transport. It works fine. Further, the connectivity is solid too.
Amazfit claims that the PowerBuds can last up to eight hours in a single charge. We are happy to report that the claims translate to practical use. They lasted all week for me, thanks to the additional 16 hours of charge provided by the charging case. These can last up to a total of 24 hours before you need to plug them in.
We must specify that our usage included very less exercise, listening to songs and watching TV series at about 60 percent volume. The battery life is subject to change if you use the heart rate feature heavily. But a quick 15-minute charge promises three hours of use. Overall, I’d rate it above average.
Amazfit PowerBuds review: Conclusion
At $99 and Rs 6,999 asking price in the US and India respectively, the Amazfit PowerBuds are a satisfactory deal. They sound well and last long alongside providing heart rate monitoring. Furthermore, the in-case magnetized ear hooks are a welcome addition to the mix. While these features help Amazfit PowerBuds stand out from the crowd, there are a number of other competitors that you can consider, including the OnePlus Buds and Vivo TWS Neo earphones.
However, there is little to fault here. If you are into the Amazfit ecosystem and looking for a pair of TWS earbuds that sound great and have a long-lasting battery life, you can’t go wrong with the Amazfit PowerBuds.