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Hands-on with the Amazfit PowerBuds
Hands-on with the Amazfit PowerBuds IBTimes / Jeff Li

Who is the Amazfit PowerBud for?

  • With IP55 water resistance and magnetic earhooks, the PowerBuds offers even more features than premium sports earphones like the Powerbeats pro - at a small fraction of the price
  • If massive bass lines is what's important for you, the PowerBuds has strong low-end drivers and is customizable through software equalizer made for itself
  • Those who wants a heart rate monitor when on the run but prefers not wearing the wrist strap - these true wireless earbuds monitors your heart rate via its ear pieces
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Amazfit's first entry into the earphone market came unexpectedly, as it is a brand name that has been known mainly for their line of smartwatch/fitness trackers. But as a tech company that has a strong track record of making products with impressive core features at jaw-dropping affordable prices.

The GTR watch for example is still my pick as the most wearable smartwatch on the market 9 months after reviewing it, because it gets the features that matters most right. A polished stainless steel casing, insane battery life (My highest record was not charging it for 3 months with occasional wear and still finding its power at 30%) and it's customizable watch face are exactly how smartwatches should be.

The Amazfit team obviously have a gift in identifying features that really matters to users, getting them right and pushing down the price by making the rest of the device as lean as possible. So it's exciting to see what they will do in the earphone space with the Amazfit PowerBud.

With so many TWS earbuds flooding the market from both established and new brands, differentiating one from another is more difficult than ever. Can Amazfit's first entry into the true wireless space succeed in standing out in the crowd? That's the question we're going to answer here.


Unique build that's familiar but revolutionary

Taking a first look at the PowerBuds, it immediately stands out from other TWS earbuds in that it has 3 sections to it instead of the normal 2. Most earbuds have the main body extending to the earbud, but the PowerBud has sandwiched an extra section in between, and this extra section looks curiously familiar - and it took me a second to realize it resembles the shape of the revolutionary Apple Earpod. Though the extra section makes the overall size of the bud bigger, after inserting into the ears, the PowerBuds does not stick out any more than other earbuds.


The overall finish of the PowerBuds is a matte black finish (there's also a white version), with an interesting red pattern on the surface - which also acts as the touch area for onboard controls. What is missing on the PowerBuds compared with most TWS buds is the presence of any sort of LED lighting which gives off a low-key, serious vibe to the whole device.


On top of the earbud there is a flat area which I initially mistakenly took as the touch control area, but is actually where the magnetic ear hooks attach. This is another feature that is unique to the PowerBud. One of the most well-known sports oriented earbuds on the market right now has to be the Beats Powerbeats Pro which features huge ear hooks - which holds the whole apparatus securely on the ear. But that security comes at the price of a much bulkier body. The PowerBuds ear hooks are instead only attached when the extra security is needed, and is a much smaller implementation that can be magnetically tucked away in the charging box lid in its own dedicated slots.


Bringing the bass when it matters

When it comes to TWS earbuds, especially fitness-centric buds, a balanced audiophile sound is generally not pursued by the users. Rather, an energetic characteristic - especially in the low end is sought after, and the PowerBuds team knew this. Armed with a composite diaphragm driver, it delivers bass that will stay bassy during a rigorous workout. The highs and mids also have a good presence that doesn't get overpowered by the low end, giving the PowerBuds a sound that will satisfy most musical tastes.


But the driver's capability is only half the story. What really completes the PowerBud sound system is its software support. Amazfit's App (now rebranded to Zepp) which is what I've been using to control the Amazfit Smartwatches, also has the ability to customize the PowerBud experience. Other than touch control customization, Zepp includes a built-in 10-band equalizer that allows you to tweak the sound to your liking. For bass-heads out there, once you boost the bass in here, the PowerBud is capable of producing some really extraordinary low-end compared with other TWS earbuds in the market.


Top notch connectivity and sensors

When it comes to Bluetooth earphones or headphones, no matter how good it sounds, if the connection is weak and easily cuts out: all bets are off. Amazfit impressively gets this right on their first try, and has one of the strongest connectivity for TWS earbuds. Even though most Bluetooth products claim a 30 feet connection distance, that connectivity is rarely stable when walls or even the user's body. I found that the PowerBuds can even maintain stable connectivity even when separated by a few office rooms, which is the kind of connectivity I've only found on very few headphones, and a first for TWS earbuds.


Together with an excellent Bluetooth chipset, the Amazfit PowerBuds is also equipped with a built-in heart monitor, with the sensor in the aforementioned 'mid-section' of the earbud. The sensor is only built in the right earbud, so it will work even if you're only wearing the right ear piece, and will start tracking your heart rate as soon as you activate an exercise in the Zepp app.


Final Remarks

If you're someone who loves music on your exercise runs, the Amazfit PowerBuds will take it to another level by incorporating a heart rate monitor, magnetic ear hooks and a powerful bass driver. If you're in the market for a Powerbeats Pro, these TWS earphones should definitely weigh into your decision as promising alternatives. When its functionality matches and even surpasses that of the Beats breed while costing less than $100, why not keep a significant amount of hard-earned cash in your pocket while upping your running game?

Sam is a production engineer turned tech writer who specializes in seeking out gadgets that enhances productivity while still looking sharp. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travelers.