Powerbeats 3 Mini-Review & A Better Way to Manage Bluetooth Devices on macOS
This past week, I got a pair of Apple Powerbeats 3. As a mini-review, I have to say I’m very impressed. I have tried around 4–5 different brands of Bluetooth ear buds, and they have all been atrocious in one way or another. Most of them have had connection issues. Some of them have no bass at all, and others were terrible in the battery department. Overall, there were so many compromises that I finally decided to give a higher quality pair of ear buds a shot (plus I really wanted to see the W1 chipset for myself).
Here’s how they fair:
- Sound Quality: I’m not an audiophile. I like things to sound good to my ears, and these sound amazing. Especially in light of the other ear buds that I’ve tried. They surpass the Apple Wired EarPods (which generally sound well rounded to me).
- Microphone: This is the best sounding microphone out of all of the Bluetooth ear buds that I’ve tried. Everyone I’ve had a conversation with can hear me clearly, and there is a good bit of noise reduction when I’m driving or out and about with external noises around me.
- Design: The design is fine. I like that I can loop these around my neck as I listen then pull them out of my ears quickly, let them hang, have a conversation, and put them right back in afterward. I have a slight problem with the power button not giving much feedback when turning on or off. But other than that the design works well for me.
- Comfort: This was initially a knock against the Powerbeats. Generally they were pretty uncomfortable for the first few hours that I wore them. It wasn’t to the point of pain, but it just made my ears a little sore for a minute, or two, after I removed them. This has completely gone away after having wearing them for over 10 hours now.
- W1 Chipset: This is my favorite part of these ear buds. It really is the coup de gras for all of these new audio devices by Apple. The ease of connecting to my various devices is flawless. Jumping back and forth between devices is super simple, and the range is just insane. I can leave my phone in my office and walk to the other end of my house without losing connectivity. I’ve even walked outside and not dropped at all.
It’s no surprise that I would highly recommend these for anyone looking for a great set of Bluetooth ear buds with great audio / mic quality, good battery, amazing range, and generally a well rounded piece of equipment.
There is one thing that I found I wanted while using these with my Macbook though. When the ear buds are connected to my phone and I want to connect them to my computer, I would have to go to the menubar, select the Bluetooth menu, the device, and then select the Connect option. I figured there had to be a better way.
Federico Viticci posted about a small utility app, Tooth Fairy, that allowed you to select one Bluetooth device and control it’s connection status either via it’s own menubar item, or a keyboard shortcut. This looked like exactly what I wanted, but I thought, why shouldn’t I be able to control all of my devices as well?
I found this script that offered exactly that, but it wasn’t updated properly for the latest versions of macOS. I saw there was a slightly different version of this script that did work in Sierra (10.12), so I combined them and came up with this version.
I hope this post has been helpful and informative for anyone looking at the Powerbeats and a slightly better way to manage Bluetooth devices on macOS.