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BeatsX assessment: costly, however possibly nonetheless price it

Beatsx wireless headphones

“Though expensive for what you get, they’re stylish, comfortable, and a pleasure to use.”

Very convenient

Decent sound quality

Excellent call quality

Easy pairing with Apple products

A bit expensive for what you get

The battery life is no longer competitive

Not good for Android users

Apple’s own Beats range of wireless headphones are perhaps best known for their large and bold studio over-ear model and its smaller sibling, the Solo Pro, but Beats offers more than big doses.

Take the $ 100 BeatsX, for example. Since their introduction in 2017, they have been the cheapest, arguably most wearable beats you can buy.

But can the small and simple BeatsX hold its own in a world now dominated by true wireless earbuds (including Beats’ own Powerbeats Pro)?

Time to find out.

What’s in the box?

BeatsX WirtsX earphones Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

BeatsX WirtsX earphones Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

BeatsX WirtsX earphones Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The BeatsX comes in a simple box and sleeve. The only reference to plastic is the small black retail hanging loop and packaging that contains the optional three sizes of silicone earbuds. The rest is easily recyclable.

You will receive paper documentation such as the quick setup guide and a Beats sticker. A short USB to lightning charging cable is the only other accessory.

Apple does not include a travel bag or bag for the BeatsX. You must therefore find a safe way to store them when not in use.

design

BeatsX WirtsX earphones Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

BeatsX WirtsX earphones Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

BeatsX WirtsX earphones Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Beats products are usually flashy things with bold colors, shiny plastics, and wide headbands that are instantly recognizable from a distance.

But unless you go for the bright red and black color scheme, the BeatsX are subtle compared to their cousins. In the other two colors – silver and black – the only shiny surface is on the earbuds themselves, which are essentially hidden when worn.

The BeatsX use a hybrid cable design that combines a flat, tangle-free wire and a thicker, rubberized section around the neck that springs back into its U-shape no matter how hard you twist and flip it.

At both ends of the U there are elongated plastic housings that house the battery, electronics (including the W1 Bluetooth chip developed by Apple), as well as the charging port and power / pairing button.

Thanks to the combination of the rubberized coating and the dimensionally stable properties of the U-profile, the BeatsX stays in position – especially when it comes into contact with bare skin.

With just eight hours of battery life, the BeatsX are slowly showing their age.

The earbuds are closed together with magnets, which makes storage a little easier. However, I found it more useful when I took out the earbuds and used the magnets to prevent the buds from jumping around independently.

Despite the huge popularity of true wireless earbuds (not least thanks to Apple’s other line of personal audio products, AirPods), the BeatsX are a reminder that there is still a reason to buy wired wireless earbuds.

There’s no need to lug around a charging case, worry about where to put the earbuds when they’re not in your ears, and the built-in control buttons on the right cord are easier to use than even the best touch controls.

Battery life

Beats BeatsX wireless earbudsSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

Another benefit of the BeatsX design should be battery life. With a lot more room in these plastic cases for a large battery than real wireless earbuds, the standard for this type of design is now anywhere from 15 hours (Beats Powerbeats 4) to 20 hours (1More Dual Driver ANC Pro). But after just eight hours, the BeatsX show their age.

But it’s also the case that Apple’s true wireless earbuds, the AirPods and AirPods Pro, only take around five hours before they need more juice. So when it comes to the length of a single session, the BeatsX are still an improvement.

With the BeatsX, you don’t get a charging case to extend the battery life, but it only takes five minutes to charge to use another two hours.

I would like it if the BeatsX gave an acoustic feedback about the battery status when switched on. Instead, you get two types of visual ads. The power button on the neckband glows white when you have up to eight hours left (but this can mean 1.5 to a full eight hours) and red when you have an hour or less.

The more informative display is on an iOS device, where you can view the remaining power as a percentage right in the control center. The same information is available to Android users, but only when you open the free Beats app for Android.

Convenience, control and connections

Beats BeatsX wireless earbudsSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

Wired bluetooth earbuds are often more comfortable than their true wireless counterparts because the earbuds are basically just the drivers that produce the sound. So they are much smaller and lighter. For me, this was certainly the case for the BeatsX, which did an admirable job of sitting comfortably and securely in my ears.

The neck portion of the BeatsX is so light it’s easy to forget you’re wearing a wired set of buds in the first place. Except for the actual wires, of course.

These tangle-free flat wires are a pleasure, but you must be careful not to twist them. By default, they stay away from your face, but if you grab an earbud that happened to be twisted the wrong way, the opposite happens and the wires are suddenly very shabby with your cheeks.

The inline controls are instantly familiar to you if you’ve ever used Apple’s wired EarPods. The three-button module (which also contains the microphone) gives you access to all the most frequently used functions: play / pause, volume up / down, answer / end call, skip track forwards / backwards and voice assistant.

It’s a really clever design too, as any button can be pressed with a press of your thumb and forefinger, regardless of which direction the buttons are facing.

Apple fans will love how Bluetooth works on the BeatsX. To pair them, simply turn them on a few inches from an unlocked iOS device with iOS 10 or later and you’ll be instantly notified that your BeatsX are just a tap away from setup.

And while they don’t have a real Bluetooth multipoint (which allows you to connect them to two devices at the same time), Apple’s multipoint version is almost as good, so you can switch between Macs, iPhones, and iPads with just one click.

They deliver a lot of punch from the low and high frequencies, the kind of EQ that compliments rap and hip-hop.

Finally, the BeatsX are also compatible with Apple’s audio sharing feature, which allows two headphones or earphones equipped with W1 or H1 to listen to content from an iOS device at the same time.

Unfortunately, these three Bluetooth functions are not available for Android. Class 1 Bluetooth performance is available to all BeatsX buyers, giving them tremendous range compared to most non-Apple wireless headphones. Class 1 devices can operate up to 328 feet under perfect conditions – almost ten times further than class 2 devices.

The only thing really missing is a wear sensor so your music can automatically pause when you pull out an earbud. However, this is a rarity outside of the real world of wireless earbuds.

Sound quality

Beats BeatsX wireless earbudsSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

The BeatsX may not look like other Beats products, but you can be rest assured that you’re still getting the full bass-forward sound signature that has become the brand’s sound card.

They deliver plenty of punch through the low and high frequencies, just the kind of EQ that compliments rap, hip hop, and a variety of club and EDM subgenres.

They also get impressively loud when that’s your cup of tea (try not to indulge too much, your ears will thank you later).

But the BeatsX, as the price suggests, won’t be everything for everyone, at least from a sound quality standpoint. Your midrange range suffers from a lack of separation and definition, one of the clearest signs that these are not high-end earphones. There is also a flatness and narrowness in the soundstage – a sense that all of the individual elements are huddled together instead of taking up a larger virtual “space” in your head.

For $ 100, this isn’t a deal-breaker, and I don’t think most BeatsX buyers will be put off, but nonetheless, these aren’t the wireless earbuds for you if you want to sit back and relax in the comfort of your own place and immerse yourself in all the details of your favorite songs.

These are great wireless earbuds that you can use to answer calls in all kinds of environments.

For that pursuit, you need to look up the food chain in the $ 150-250 range.

Call quality

Beats BeatsX wireless earbudsSimon Cohen / Digital Trends

If you are unsure whether or not the BeatsX is for you, this may help: The BeatsX offer great call quality. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to the somewhat overwhelming call performance of most true wireless earbuds, but I can’t get over how good these earbuds sound.

I suspect it has everything to do with the microphone placement. The BeatsX position their microphone much closer to the source of your voice (i.e. your mouth) than real radio buds can hope for, and this pays off in two ways.

First, your voice is just clearer. There is no distortion, no wobbly effects that I associate with these devices. Second, because your voice is closer, the headphones’ background noise suppression circuitry doesn’t have to work as hard to amplify it while everything else is diminished.

These are great wireless earbuds that you can use to answer calls in all kinds of environments.

Our opinion

For $ 100 you can get a pretty decent set of true wireless earbuds these days. Still, because of their convenience, good battery life, and great Bluetooth connectivity and call quality, the BeatsX are worth considering, especially if you’ve already invested in the Apple ecosystem.

Is there a better alternative?

If you like the BeatsX design around your neck, there are two great alternatives. The cheaper JLab Epic ANC for $ 79 are comfortable and have incredible battery life, but they won’t impress you with their noise cancellation or sound quality, while the more expensive 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro for $ 150 are a big step up, though You want a significant improvement in sound quality and ANC.

How long will they last?

The BeastX are very well built, with durable materials and connections. They come with an Apple one-year warranty that can be extended with an optional AppleCare purchase. I think they will last for many years with normal use, although you can expect the battery capacity to decrease over time.

Should you buy it?

If you’re an Apple customer, yes. While the BeatsX is a little expensive for what you get, it still has a number of good features and sound quality. Android users should probably look for alternatives.

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