BeatsX is the cheapest Bluetooth headphone model from the ever-growing Beats line-up. Compared to the AirPods from parent company Apple, these BeatsX in-ears leave a feeling of sturdiness and security. The cable features integrated rechargeable batteries and a remote control, connecting both earpieces with each other. As such, these astonishingly small in-ears link to form something akin to a chain and feel reassuringly locked to your person when wearing them.
There’s nothing to complain about when it comes to how these BeatsX in-ears have been produced. Everything is impeccable and finished to the high levels of quality you’d expect from Beats. The so-called Flex-Form cable could be a little shorter in my opinion, but all the same is extremely robust with a remote control that’s readily accessible. However, only long-term testing will show whether or not the cable is reliably protected against breakage from continued fatigue. That being said, all looks promising, with our test device passing all bend tests with flying colours.
The remote control features an integrated microphone, with volume adjustments readily available, along with the play/pause functionality. If you hold the button a little longer, Siri is activated and ready to receive your usual questions and commands. If you press the same button twice in succession, the next song in your playlist will kick in. A triple click will instead backtrack to the previous song. Should you wish to fast-forward or rewind during a track, you only need to hold down on the third click. That might sound fairly simple and a nifty bit of imitative. Problem is, Beats don’t mention how to do this anywhere within the user manual for the product or on the website. Ultimately, it was left to the support page for the product to provide the insights needed.
W1 Bluetooth Chip
The W1 Bluetooth chip developed by Apple is put to use with these BeatsX in-ears. As with the Apple AirPods, the result is mobile device coupling that’s both quick and uncomplicated. Simply hold down next to iDevice, press and hold the on/of switch for a few seconds, confirm the message on your iPhone or iPad and you’re all good to go. Another big perk of the W1 chip is how economical it is. In our tests, headphones lasted just under 7 hours with playback at moderate volume. There are of course Bluetooth headphones out there with better specs here, but considering the sleeker form of these in-ears, the compromise is more than acceptable. When you reach a battery level of seven percent, a discreet tone sounds to remind you that your headphones will soon be in need of a recharge. BeatsX headphones can then be fully charged again is as little as 45 minutes via Lightning to USB, while a brief five minute fast-charge at a mains socket will give you around two hours of music playback performance. However, why Beats is relying on Lightning here, while the Powerbeats3 Wireless from the same manufacturer is equipped with its own Micro-USB socket remains a mystery.
Thanks to the wiring inside, The Beats by BeatsX aren’t as lightweight as Apple’s AirPods. As such, there’s a little more strain at the two earpieces. Four different silicone earpiece plugs are included with the headphones themselves and it’s recommended you try all of them to find an ideal fit for your listening preferences. In addition, two silicone wings provide support when wearing these in-ears on the go, particularly when you’re jogging or enjoying sports. Since I have issues with in-ear fits in general, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this BeatsX model offered up a better fit than what I usually experience. Another nifty solution here is that if you pull both earplugs out of your ears and leave them to dangle, both ends untie to form a chain thanks to integrated magnets. If only these had integrated the auto-pause function from the AirPods, I’d have given these BeatsX headphones a full five stars for handling and comfort.
Beats seems keen to shake off its reputation for headphones that have suffered from being too overtuned in the bass range. If that’s the case, then the BeatsX might go some way in helping in that respect, with a surprisingly balanced sound. Days of bass dominance seem a thing of the past, which certainly opens up the market for those users who appreciate lower bass and as such, have avoided Beats models in the past. After firing up our Spotify Playlist and spent some time listening through our track archive, I came to a clear conclusion about these in-ear headphones. Modern songs work well, so long as you don’t blast high volumes into the ear canals. What’s more, if there’s too much going on at the same time, these headphones can easily become overwhelmed. The more analytical audiophile will no doubt have plenty to pick out and complain about and, admittedly, I found it hard to identify individual instruments on a busy virtual stage. It would also be nicer to hear a cleaner sound in the highs. As with the Apple AirPods, the BeatX do well in the midrange. It seems as though the manufacturer doesn’t want to attract too much attention with its moderate tuning approach. Although the BeatsX leave a positive enough impression, there’s the underlying lack of liveliness and vibrancy that hold this in-ear model back a little.
The Beats by Dre BeatsX headphones deliver more than just a slick design, premium workmanship and first-rate aesthetics. These in-ears in fact seem a lot closer in technical function and capability to Apple’s new AirPods, rather than their own Beats brothers. Some might think that Beats has intentionally positioned the new BeatsX as an alternative to AirPods, capitalising on the allure of the cheaper price, while still delivering similar sound output, even if the feature set is slightly reduced. The BeatsX are good all-rounders and are particularly suited to the iPhone and iPad owner seeking a new pair of in-ears with plenty to get excited about.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight with cable20 g
- Cable length82 cm
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of silicone ear-tips
- 2 pairs of wingtips
- Lightning to USB cable
- 3 months of Apple Music for free
- available in black and silver