Live Science Verdict
The Treblab X3 Pro earbuds are a direct competitor to the Powerbeats Pro earbuds, and well worth a look for budget-conscious fitness enthusiasts.
Solid audio quality, if unspectacular
No noise cancellation
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The best running headphones always need to be viewed through the lens of value, and with such a drastic range of price points there’s a whole host of options for almost every budget.
Still, that doesn’t mean that cheaper earbuds should feel cheap, and in that regard, the Treblab X3 Pros are well worth a look. They wear their influences on their sleeve, with a bulbous case and ear hooks on each bud that mean they could pass for Powerbeats Pros if you looked quickly.
Driver Size: 11mm
Battery life: 9-hours per earbud, 36 hours with case
Charge time: Around 2 hours (including case)
Includes: Earbuds, Charging Case, Ear tips, Charging Cable (USB A - USB-C), cleaning kit
Those Apple earbuds launched a few years back, but are still ideal candidates for runners, so there are definitely worse options to piggyback off of. The rub, though, is that the X3 Pros can be found for just $70 - making them much more affordable than their clear inspiration.
Are they any good, though? To summarize, yes - while they’re naturally not as great-sounding as the bass-heavy Powerbeats Pro, they do offer solid battery life, a great fit, and USB-C charging - something the Powerbeats don’t offer.
If you’re looking for a pair of running earphones to keep you pushing up that hill towards a PB, but that won’t break the bank, the Treblab X3 Pro are well worth a look.
Treblab X3 Pro: How we tested
We used the Treblab X3 Pro over the course of a couple of weeks, powering through workouts and long walks, with some desk-based work in the middle, too.
We also connected them to an iPhone 13 Pro Max, an M1 MacBook Pro, and a Windows PC for testing.
Treblab X3 Pro: Functionality
As we’ve already touched on, it’s impossible not to spot the design similarities with the Powerbeats Pro from Apple, and the basic functionality remains the same as many earbuds in 2023. That means you connect through Bluetooth, use them, and then put them in the case when done.
Sadly, the case drags the whole package down a little - it’s tall and wide, and is certainly not pocketable for many people. It’ll be fine in a gym bag, but try and be careful with it - it’s the one part of the X3 Pro that feels cheaper than the rest.
Still, we appreciated the inclusion of a mini cleaning kit - something we’d like to see from more manufacturers.
Treblab X3 Pro: Set-up and design
The Treblab X3 Pro offer 11mm drivers and in-ear tips, with a sort of “bridge” that holds the controls (more on those shortly) and ear hooks that go behind your ears, as opposed to the in-ear “fins” found on some alternatives.
Our review unit is black, but they do come in white, too. Regardless of color, setup is easy - simply connect using Bluetooth (the X3 Pro support Bluetooth 5, offering a stable connection) and you’re away.
There’s no companion app, though, which is a shame given the audio quality feels like it could be better - we’d have liked to have tweaked some settings for more consistent audio, but for the price it’s hard to argue.
You’ll also find a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and while there’s no fast charging, if you were eyeing up Powerbeats but didn’t fancy carrying a Lightning cable, it’s something worth considering.
Treblab X3 Pro: Controls
We’re very pleased to see controls that are easy to use on the buds, though, something many manufacturers have moved away from in the pursuit of sleeker designs. The capacitive buttons aren’t the most satisfying to press, but they do a decent job even in sweaty scenarios.
Almost everything can be triggered with the buttons, including summoning your voice assistant of choice, answering calls, or just skipping songs and adjusting the volume of your tracks.
Treblab X3 Pro: Fit
There are four earbud sizes included, with three in the box and then another set attached to the buds by default, meaning there are plenty of options. It’s worth noting that you may require differently-sized buds in each ear, but when we used the Treblab X3 Pros we had no issues with the default option.
The ear hooks also help avoid the feeling of dread if they fall out of your ears, too.
Treblab X3 Pro: Sound quality
With such a gallant effort, it’s a shame that sound quality is where it becomes clear some corners had to be cut to hit that $70 price point.
It’s not that the X3 Pro buds offer poor audio quality, it just lacks dynamism - mids and lows tend to blend together, and while the high-pitched vocals of mid-2000s post-hardcore ring quite nicely in the mix, everything behind it can feel a little flat.
Aside from the treble, elements can feel mixed together and a little sludgy. We actually found it improved at higher volumes, though, so if you’re really looking to blow the cobwebs out on your morning run you may have a lot of fun.
Spoken word fares better, and we enjoyed plenty of podcasts on the X3 Pro buds. We also made a few calls and were told audio from the mics was solid, although not quite as clear as holding the phone up ourselves.
Treblab X3 Pro: Performance
Treblab says there’s enough juice in a full charge for nine hours of playback, and while in our testing we only got to eight and a bit, that’s still mighty impressive. That means they can help push you over the finish line of a full marathon, but you’ll also find them ready for a full day of work, too.
The case offers more charging for on-the-go users, and that means you can feasibly keep going for well over a day - up to 36 hours in fact, making them one of the easiest earbuds to recommend for hikers.
Should you buy Treblab X3 Pros
If noise cancellation isn’t for you, and you’re looking for a comfortable-fitting pair of running or fitness earphones on a budget, you can do a lot worse than the Treblab X3 Pro.
While we’d have liked better audio quality, the overall package is an easy one to recommend.
Treblab X3 Pro: User reviews
Amazon reviewers are mostly positive on the Treblab X3 Pro, with 76% of reviews on 4 or 5 stars.
A couple of reviewers have questioned their long-term durability, however, with one reviewer stating they were excellent for two years and then stopped working.
Treblab X3 Pro: If this product isn't for you
If you’re an iPhone user, the instant pairing of the Beats Fit Pro or AirPods Pro are always an option.
The Powerbeats Pro are also well worth a look, especially since their case is a little smaller and audio quality is much better. Still, they are considerably more expensive.
Lloyd Coombes freelance tech and fitness writer for Live Science. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as in computer and gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, Dexerto and TechRadar. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games as Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com. He also covers board games and virtual reality, just to round out the nerdy pursuits.