Headphones Comparison: Jaybird Tarah Pro vs. Beats Powerbeats (2020)
There are plenty of sports headphones on the market. But out of all of them, Jaybird’s Tarah Pro and Apple’s latest Powerbeats model, unofficially called the Powerbeats 4, stand out as two of the very best. Both are equally suitable for casual runners, fitness enthusiasts, and athletes and can be used for outdoor and indoor workouts. Both also sell for around $150 or less.
But unless you have an Apple mobile device and want to stay in the Apple ecosystem, choosing between the Tarah Pro and the Powerbeats 4 is no easy task. That’s because the two earphones have a lot more differences than similarities, not only in design and features but also in performance. If you want a more detailed look into their differences to help you make a more informed decision, this comparison article is for you.
|Jaybird Tarah Pro||Beats Powerbeats (2020)|
|Type||Wireless in-ear||Wireless in-ear|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Battery||14 hours||15 hours|
|Weight||0.61 oz||0.93 oz|
The Tarah Pro are the better-designed sports earphones, beating the Powerbeats 4 in most design categories. Their in-ear design is more comfortable and more versatile, with more fit adjustment and wearing style options. Their build quality and water resistance are also better while their smaller earpieces make them more pocket-friendly. Moreover, they have magnetic earpieces for better cable management and auto-pause.
Although the Jaybird earphones are the overall winner in this section, the Powerbeats 4 are still well-designed sports earphones and also have some advantages. Their ear-hook design is slightly more stable while their Lightning cable and hands-free Siri controls are big pluses if you have an Apple mobile device, with the former reducing the number of charging cables you need to carry. They also include one more ear tip size.
The Tarah Pro and the Powerbeats 4 belong in the same headphone category. They are wireless in-ear headphones with short cables connecting their earpieces, which means they are not completely cable-free like the Jaybird Vista and the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They are worn around your neck, but unlike typical neckband headphones, they lack a thicker collar module.
Both earphones are comfortable to wear for long hours and have excellent stability, but the Tarah Pro are better in the fit category. They are lighter and have a shallower, earbud-like design that makes them more comfortable for extended use. Their ear tips have integrated fins for a more stable and secure fit, with Jaybird including three ear tip sizes in the box.
The Tarah Pro are much more versatile and give you more options to adjust the fit. They come with a shirt clip and a cable clip – the former is for additional security while the latter is for adjusting the cable’s tightness. Furthermore, their rotating earpieces allow them to be worn either under or over your ears. When used in an over-the-ear setup, their stability is even better than normal, with their cable functioning as makeshift ear hooks to keep them more secure in your ears.
Compared to the Tarah Pro, the Powerbeats 4 have a more conventional in-ear fit, with their ear tips entering your ear canals more deeply, which can be uncomfortable during extended use. They are bulkier and heavier and have fewer options to adjust the fit and comfort: although their integrated ear hooks are flexible, they lack a shirt clip and a cable adjustment clip.
On the bright side, their ear-hook design makes for a highly stable and secure fit, which is especially beneficial for intense exercises with plenty of head movement. They are slightly more stable than the Tarah Pro, even when using the Tarah Pro in their more secure over-the-ear setup. Additionally, they include four ear tip sizes instead of three, with one of them being double-flange ear tips, which are not usually included with sports earphones.
If you wear glasses, the ear hooks of the Powerbeats 4 can be awkward at first, especially if your glasses have thick arms. This can also be said for the Tarah Pro when using them in an over-the-ear setup. But their makeshift hooks feel less intrusive and easier to manage compared to the ear hooks of the Powerbeats 4.
The Tarah Pro are some of the best-built sports earphones, with a more rugged build than the Powerbeats 4. Their IPX7 rating for water resistance is significantly better while their braided cable is stronger and has a reflective design, which makes it easier to see in low-light conditions.
If you need more durable sports earphones for outdoor and extreme sports, the Tarah Pro are the better option, especially considering their better water resistance. Their earpieces are also magnetic and can be snapped together for better cable management and to keep them more secure around your neck when not in use.
Although the Tarah Pro are better-built overall, the build quality of the Powerbeats 4 is still good. Their plastic earpieces are sturdy and can survive minor drops with their electronics intact while their rubber cable is durable. However, their IPX4 rating for water resistance is inferior compared to that of the Tarah Pro and many other sports earphones, including those selling for a much lower price.
Regarding aesthetics, the Powerbeats 4 are much more eye-catching than the Tarah Pro, with their sleek design and easily recognizable “b” logos on the earpieces making them stand out. Their color options are also brighter. They definitely look more like sports earphones, whereas the Jaybird earphones, whose color options are more subdued, can pass off as casual earphones.
There is no clear winner in this category. The Tarah Pro and the Powerbeats 4 both have user-friendly and responsive controls, but their implementations are different: the former has a typical in-line remote while the latter has on-ear controls that are easier to access.
Featuring a three-button setup, the in-line remote of the Tarah Pro allows for call and music controls, volume adjustment, and voice assistant activation. The middle button also serves as a power/Bluetooth button and can be modified on the Jaybird MySound companion app. Although the remote is generally easy to use, it’s more difficult to access when the earphones have a tightened fit and are configured into an over-the-ear setup.
Located on the right earpiece, the Powerbeats 4 have a volume rocker and a multi-function button – called the “b” button – for call and music controls and voice assistant activation. Additionally, the left earpiece has a power/Bluetooth button on the top side, similar to the volume rocker but smaller. These on-ear buttons are easy to use, with the multi-function button only requiring a soft press to register input, preventing the ear tip from going even deeper in your ear.
While their control functions are identical, the two earphones each have an exclusive feature that will play a big part in your decision if you have an Apple mobile device. As mentioned earlier, the Tarah Pro have magnetic earpieces, but this feature is not just for cable management; snapping the earpieces together also automatically stops the audio, conserving power. If you leave the earpieces snapped together for a certain amount of time, they automatically turn off, which is very convenient.
The Powerbeats 4 lack any form of auto-pause. But on the bright side, they allow for hands-free Siri controls on compatible Apple mobile devices, allowing you to set timers, play music, and make calls, among many other things, without touching your mobile device. Obviously, this is a big plus if you have a compatible Apple mobile device. Being able to control your earphones without touching them is especially useful if your hands are occupied during workouts.
Both earphones are highly portable, which makes them easy to carry for daily gym sessions and outdoor runs. But while the two earphones have similar lightweight, compact designs, the Tarah Pro are slightly better in this category. Their smaller earpieces and lack of ear hooks make them more pocket-friendly while their magnetic earpieces allow for better cable management and keep them more secure around your neck when not in use.
Make no mistake: The Powerbeats 4 also have excellent portability and are easy to carry with you at all times. But their bulkier design due to the ear hooks makes them less pocket-friendly while their lack of magnetic earpieces makes them less secure around your neck when not in use; the latter means you have to be more mindful of them when they are hanging around your neck.
Both earphones come with a soft pouch for protection against dust, scratches, and minor water spills. The soft pouch included with the Powerbeats 4 feels cheaper and more generic, giving the Tarah Pro another advantage in this category. But despite the slight difference in their build qualities, the soft pouches of both earphones are similarly not going to provide strong protection against major physical impact. You need to be careful when storing them in your bag with other things. If you’re generally clumsy with your gadgets, you may want to invest in a more protective hard-shell carry case instead.
The Tarah Pro have more accessories, but they are not automatically better in this category, as the Powerbeats 4 are also better in some aspects. They come with three ear tip sizes, a shirt clip, a cable adjustment clip, a soft pouch, and a proprietary charging cradle, which has an integrated USB-A plug. On the other hand, the Powerbeats 4 include four ear tip sizes – including a double-flange option – along with a soft pouch and a Lightning-to-USB-A charging cable.
In addition to having one more ear tip size, the Powerbeats 4 have a much more convenient charging cable if you have an Apple mobile device. You can simply use the Lightning cable of your iPhone/iPad (or vice versa). This eliminates the need to carry separate charging cables for your mobile device and wireless earphones, which is especially beneficial if you intend to use the Powerbeats 4 not only as sports earphones but also as your primary everyday earphones.
If not for their proprietary charging cradle, the Tarah Pro would also win in this category. Their charging cradle is a glaring downside for two reasons: it means you can’t use the micro USB or USB-C charging cable of your other devices and it’s more expensive to replace if you lose or damage it.
Not being able to use other charging cables is especially disappointing if you also use the Tarah Pro at the office and during commutes. If they run out of battery in the middle of the day, they can’t be recharged without their unique charging cradle, basically rendering them useless for your workout session after your work shift. For many people, carrying two or more charging tools for their gadgets is no big deal, but there are also those who prefer having fewer cables to carry and keep track of.
The Tarah Pro and the Powerbeats 4 also have more differences than similarities in all performance categories. But unlike in the design section, there is no clear winner in this section. The Tarah Pro have a more bass-heavy but customizable sound and are better in sound isolation, with significantly better passive noise isolation. Their fast-charging feature, wireless range, and app support are also better, especially the latter.
In the opposite corner, the Powerbeats 4 have a more neutral sound, a more consistent mic quality, and a slightly longer battery life. Most importantly, their integration with Apple mobile devices is much better due to their Apple H1 chip, which offers a host of benefits, including quick pairing and hands-free Siri activation. On a related note, their Lightning charging port is also convenient if you have an Apple mobile device.
The Tarah Pro and the Powerbeats 4 are both decent-sounding earphones that are suitable for general media consumption, but their sound profiles are unalike. The Tarah Pro have a more bass-heavy sound, which makes them more suitable for music genres that many people listen to for workouts, such as hip hop and rap music. But if you don’t like the default sound, you can customize it using the parametric equalizer on the Jaybird MySound app.
Compared to the Jaybird earphones, the Powerbeats 4 have a more neutral and better-balanced sound that some people will find more pleasant for a variety of music genres. Their bass is more accurate while their mid-range is flatter and more balanced. Their soundstage is also wider while their imaging is more precise. You can’t modify their sound profile, though, as they lack a companion app with sound customization options.
Although their in-ear seal is shallower due to their earbud-like design, the Tarah Pro have better sound isolation than the Powerbeats 4. Their passive noise isolation is significantly better, making them more suitable if you want to block out background noise while working out at the gym or outdoors. They are good at blocking out ambient chatter and high-frequency noises. They also reduce an acceptable amount of low-frequency noises for earphones without active noise cancellation (ANC).
In addition to their better noise isolation, the Tarah Pro also have a lower sound leakage. This means you can listen to loud music without disturbing people around you, which is especially beneficial if you intend to use your earphones in a quiet office. The sound leakage of the Powerbeats 4 is also low, but it’s more audible when listening to music at high volume, which can be undesirable in some situations.
If you prefer to be more aware of your surroundings while exercising, especially in an outdoor setting, the Powerbeats 4 are the better option. Although they do reduce an adequate amount of high-frequency noises, their passive noise isolation is mediocre overall despite their deeper in-ear fit. You need to crank up the volume to increase the noise isolation, which is unhealthy for your ears.
The Tarah Pro and the Powerbeats 4 are similar in mic performance, but they have different mic designs – the former has a typical in-line mic, located on the remote, while the latter has an integrated mic. Their mics are both decent at separating your voice from background noise. But since it’s fixed on your ears and not affected by the cable’s position, the mic of the Powerbeats 4 is more consistent.
With the Tarah Pro, the recording quality depends on the remote’s position. The recording quality is worse when wearing the earphones over your ears, especially with a tightened cable, since the remote is farther from your mouth. In contrast, the recording quality is better when the earphones are in a more casual under-the-ear setup with the cable loosened and the remote positioned closer to your mouth.
The two earphones are also similar in battery performance, but their battery-related features and charging ports are different. The Tarah Pro can run up to 14 hours per charge while the Powerbeats 4 are only slightly better, capable of lasting up to 15 hours on a single charge.
Both charge fast, requiring less than two hours for a full recharge. Both also have quick-charging features: the Tarah Pro get two hours of playback after a five-minute charge while the Powerbeats 4 get one hour after the same amount of charging time. Their quick-charging features are especially useful if they run out of battery in the middle of your workout.
Unlike the Powerbeats 4, the Tarah Pro have an auto-off feature. Snapping their magnetic earpieces together automatically stops the audio, conserving power; if you leave them in this inactive state for a certain amount of time, they will automatically turn off. You can adjust the auto-off feature on the companion app, with the option to disable it if you find it more annoying than useful.
On the other hand, the Powerbeats 4 have a more convenient charging port if you also have an Apple mobile device. Like other recent Beats headphones, they have a Lightning charging port, which makes them compatible with the Lightning cable of your iPhone/iPad. A Lightning cable is also more widely available and easier to replace compared to the proprietary charging cradle of the Tarah Pro.
The two earphones are tied in this category, with each having different strengths. The Tarah Pro have a better wireless range and come with a companion app – the Jaybird MySound app – for customization. Available on iOS and Android, the user-friendly app allows you to customize the sound, modify the controls, and adjust the auto-off timer, among other things.
Although they lack a real companion app, the Powerbeats 4 have much better integration with Apple mobile devices, with faster pairing and device switching, thanks to their Apple H1 chip. Their connection stability and latency are better when connected to Apple mobile devices. Additionally, they support hands-free Siri activation and Apple’s audio sharing feature; the latter allows you to connect two compatible Apple/Beats wireless headphones to one compatible iPhone/iPad and enjoy the same music, podcast, or movie, with independent volume controls for each.
Both earphones support Bluetooth 5.0, but their connectivity features are similarly limited overall. In addition to lacking the option to switch to wired mode, both lack NFC pairing and multipoint. The lack of multipoint support means only one connection can be active at any given time, preventing you from listening to music and taking calls from two different devices. While hardly an issue for most people for sports use, the lack of multipoint can be inconvenient if you also intend to use your sports earphones for general media consumption at home or in the office.
|Jaybird Tarah Pro|
|The Tarah Pro are well-designed sports earphones that are better-built and more versatile than the Powerbeats 4. Their IPX7 water resistance rating is better while their rotating earpieces, shirt clip, and cable adjustment clip give you more wearing style options. They also come with a companion app for customization, with the option to modify the sound. Moreover, their passive noise isolation is better, making them more suitable if you prefer to block out ambient noise while working out.|
With their better water resistance, more durable braided cable, and generally more rugged build, the Tarah Pro are also better for outdoor sports. Furthermore, they are better for non-sports use; their more discreet design and better noise isolation make them more suitable for office use and commuting than the Beats earphones. Overall, they are some of the best sports headphones currently out and are also decent earphones for casual everyday use.
|Beats Powerbeats (2020)|
|If you have an Apple mobile device, the Powerbeats 4 are a much better option than the Tarah Pro, with their Apple H1 chip unlocking more features and improving performance. They allow for seamless pairing and faster switching between Apple mobile devices, and they support hands-free Siri controls. In addition, their connection stability and latency with Apple products are better while their Lightning charging port makes them compatible with your iPhone’s or iPad’s cable.|
Compared to the Tarah Pro, the Powerbeats 4 have more convenient on-ear controls and a more stable ear-hook design. Additionally, their battery life is a bit longer while their sound profile is better-balanced. Their noise isolation is worse, but this makes them a better option if you want better awareness while working out. Although they are not as versatile as the Tarah Pro, the Powerbeats 4 are still great sports earphones that are worth buying even if you don’t use an Apple mobile device.