Audio companies collaborating with fashion houses, automobile brands or even celebrities to release limited-edition headphones and speakers is hardly a new thing – think B&O's collaboration with F1 champ Fernando Alonso, Klipsch's McLaren Sport wireless in-ears and, at the more budget friendly end of the scale, H&M and Urbanista's little limited-edition Bluetooth speaker.
Now, Beats has revealed a joint effort with Tokyo based fashion brand Ambush. Essentially, it's a glow-in-the-dark, Ambush-branded version of its latest spring 2020 release, the Powerbeats wireless earbuds.
The only difference in the Ambush Glow edition compared to the newest 4th-gen Beats Powerbeats (the successors to the very capable Powerbeats3, although Beats decided to drop the numbering system and just call the 2020 update 'Powerbeats') is their colour, the branding, and the pouch to tote them around in.
In the dark, this Powerbeats model glows bright green (in the daylight it’s more of a pastel mint shade). Ambush's branding is stamped across the main part of the earphone near to the iconic Beats “b” logo, and you get a co-branded ripstop pouch too. Aside from said aesthetics, the wireless earbuds are unchanged.
“I live in the middle of Shibuya and I am always inspired by how the city just glows at night time,” Ambush co-founder and creative director Yoon Ahn said. “I thought it would be really cool to design a product that could capture that same city energy when you’re outside late at night listening to music.”
It's a striking aesthetic without doubt, although we'd still recommend a level of caution to anyone walking the streets of big cities alone at night, especially wearing smart new headphones that glow like Belisha beacons – nobody wants a real-life ambush.
Beats' Powerbeats line has historically meant solid sets of sports-focused earbuds in a neckband design (not to be confused with the new true wireless Powerbeats Pro, or the even newer Beats Flex, a model which also utilises a cable between its two buds). The Powerbeats are wireless, but because there's a cable joining the two earpieces, you won’t have to worry about losing one while cycling or running – and other road-users should be able to see them on those dark, early morning bike rides. They’re also IPX4-rated for sweat and water resistance.
For this iteration of the Powerbeats, Beats moved the playback controls from the in-line remote onto the earbuds themselves. These are actual physical buttons too, which should make them easier to locate than touch-sensitive designs.
These Powerbeats include Apple’s H1 headphone chip, thus offering not only hands-free "Hey Siri" access, but easy setup with iOS devices, fast pairing and the ability to quickly switch between iCloud-connected devices. They also boast a 15-hour battery life plus IPX4 rating sweat and water resistance to survive those particularly tough workouts.
The Ambush Glow edition Powerbeats are available now, priced at £169.95 ($199.95, about AU$299, although availability in Australia is yet to be announced). That makes the Ambush Powerbeats £40 (or $50) dearer than the 'regular' black, red or white colourways that were unveiled earlier in 2020 – but remember, you'll never lose them in the dark. A Christmas present for the runner in your life?
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