Since the inception of the Beats brand back in 2008—before it was swallowed up and transformed into a division of Apple—we’ve come to recognize the lowercase “b” logo and occasionally ostentatious design choices. But the BeatsX are different. These speak confidently with a minimalist design comprised of sleek, uninterrupted lines. Beauty isn’t their main asset, though. They also boast powerful hardware under the hood.

Who are the BeatsX for?

BeatsX review: The BeatsX on an iPhone 8 Plus in rose gold both resting on a green end table.

Listeners using an iOS device will enjoy an optimal listening experience with the BeatsX due to the earbuds’ AAC support and integrated W1 chip.

  • iPhone users. Noted as being one of the best pairs of iPhone earbuds, the BeatsX bring many of the same benefits of the Apple AirPods without the drawbacks of true wireless technology. The integrated W1 chip and Class 1 Bluetooth promotes reliable connectivity with a 100-meter range.
  • Fashion-conscious consumers. Unlike previous Beats models, the BeatsX feature a subdued design and understated all-black or all-white color palette, presenting a more sophisticated style to consumer-friendly earbuds.

What’s inside?

Purchasing the BeatsX affords listeners four pairs of ear tips, an array of secure-fit wing tips, a carrying case, and a Lightning charging cable. Yes, as an Android user, it’s weird seeing Lightning rather than USB-C, but hey, it works.

How are BeatsX built?

BeatsX review: The neckband flexing multiple directions with an unlit candle in the background on a black background.

Connecting the BeatsX cables is a Flex-Form cable, which is comfortable to wear and handles moisture well.

Sporting a mainly plastic construction doesn’t cheapen the feel of the BeatsX. In fact, the plastic neckband caps and earbud housings pair nicely with the rubberized Flex-Form cable, much like how a third-tier Cabernet pairs well with tonight’s TV dinner. Cheap, sure, but surprisingly good.

A discreet power button inlaid in the end of the neckband maintains the low-key aesthetic, while still being functional. The same can be said for the in-line mic and remote, which sports a prototypical layout and allows for virtual assistant access, be it Siri or Google Assistant. To my glee, the volume controls are compatible with Android devices.

BeatsX review: An overhead image of the in-line control module on a set of overlapping white coasters on black table.

Found descending from the BeatsX right earbud is an in-line mic and remote, allowing basic playback control and virtual assistant access.

Ergonomics—a word which might as well have its own department in Home Depot—are excellent and can be attributed to the angled earbud nozzles and varied ear and wing tips. Additionally, the earbud housings are magnetized. Albeit, the magnets could be stronger as it’s easy to separate them if a piece of clothing tugs against the housings.

Are the BeatsX good for working out?

While they’re not officially sweat-resistant as per the official product page, they survived my three-mile run and weight-lifting routines. Although—full disclosure—I detest running with neckband style earbuds and don’t find the neckband bobbing or cable wobbling to enhance my runs. In all fairness, though, there are plenty of popular exercise-oriented neckbuds available.

BeatsX review: PowerBeats wireless on the left and BeatsX on the right on a red surface.

If you’re going to exercise in a pair of Beats earbuds, you may want to try your hand at the PowerBeats3 Wireless.

If you do happen to break a heavy sweat while wearing these, though, be careful. Apple may not help you if the BeatsX malfunction, since they lack an IP-rating. The Powerbeats3 Wireless, however, are a more durable alternative.

Mic quality: A pleasant surprise

The microphone performs exceptionally well in noisy environments. With construction just 50 meters away, the BeatsX attenuated background noise with ease. Not to mention that I was also surrounded by multiple voices in windy Atlanta. Granted, it’s not as if the mic completely isolated my voice, but it was much louder than the following recording leads you to believe.

Just like the flavor of Juicy Fruit gum, the battery life doesn’t last long

Seeing as the battery life is listed at eight hours, it’s a disappointment that our objective testing revealed that the BeatsX provide 5.45 hours of playback before requiring a recharge. Fortunately, a full charge cycle takes just under an hour, which is about half the time of most wireless earbuds. And five minutes of charging provides two hours of playback when the battery is low. Additionally, you’ll likely listen at lower volumes than 75dB(SPL), which should extend the battery life.

BeatsX review: A close-up of the end of the neckband where the Lightning charging port is located.

With Fast Fuel, you can give the BeatsX an extra two hours of playback from just five minutes of charging when the battery is low.

So long as we’re discussing charging methods, you may notice that the Lightning input is completely exposed. While this makes the BeatsX look sleek, it’s a bit worrisome to have such an integral part of the earbuds subject to dirt, dust, and water. Form before function, I suppose.

Connectivity

For optimal connectivity, you’re going to need an iOS device. It allows you to take full advantage of that delicious A1 chip and AAC Bluetooth codec compatibility. If you’re coming from a non-iOS device, you’re going to experience about a half-second of audio-visual lag. While this is bearable, it’s not ideal.

BeatsX review: The right end of the neckband that houses the power button rests on a pair of succulents with red LED lighting facing down.

The BeatsX can connect to two devices simultaneously and alternate between the two.

That said, connection strength and stability is excellent when listening from various Android and Windows devices. I did, however, experience short-lived spotty connectivity when walking around my local park. This shouldn’t cause much pause, though, seeing as most Bluetooth devices struggle in large, open environments.

How do the BeatsX sound?

Generally speaking, the BeatsX reproduce a fairly bass-heavy sound but also place quite a bit of emphasis on midrange frequencies. For the most part, this can be seen as a good thing, because it counteracts vocal masking. It’s still a problem though. Relative to the PowerBeats3, the low-end emphasis could be considered subdued. Treble, on the other hand, is audible, but much of the detail that rings from the instruments’ harmonics are lost in the din.

BeatsX review: An angled, top-down image of the in-line mic resting horizontally (middle) across the image. The top portion of the image features an iPhone 8 Plus in rose gold.

Located on the back of the in-line control module, the microphone performs extremely well in a variety of environments.

Isolation is OK. If you want to improve it, make sure to invest in a pair of memory foam ear tips. Doing so attenuates external noise by creating a more cogent seal. As a result, you’ll enjoy more powerful low-end reproduction.

Lows and mids

In the Latino-inspired I Like It by Cardi B, her animated vocals are often masked by the low-end. As Cardi B raps her way through the intro—which lacks the heavy bass found in later verses—it’s easy to hear her above the claps and background instruments. However, once the sub-bass kicks in at 0:57, it’s hard to hear her.

The masking is even more apparent when Bad Bunny jumps in for the second verse. Since his voice is a much lower register than Cardi B’s, it’s even more difficult for the BeatsX to reproduce a clear differentiation between his vocals, the mariachi, bass line, and supporting vocals. You can clearly hear this at 1:32 when he says, “I spend in the club what you have in the bank.”

Though this can be frustrating if you’re looking for a neutral, accurate listening experience, many consumers won’t notice the distortion and masking. As a matter of fact, it’s quite enjoyable to the consumer ear and preferred in day-to-day situations, say during a noisy commute or while exercising.

Highs

Cory Wong by Vulfpeck, featuring contributing artist Cory Wong, takes full advantage of Wong’s adroit picking and slides. When listening to this funky instrumental through the BeatsX, the guitar solo that begins at 1:33 sounds good as Wong alternates between D, D#/E, and C notes. Midway through the solo, the hi-hats re-enter and resonate between 3.5kHz-5kHz. The subsequent reverb from the harmonics are difficult to hear above the solo and groovy synth noises.

Should you buy them?

Yes. Seeing as these earbuds are just under $100 and feature excellent connectivity—the bane of all Bluetooth headphones’ operational existence—these are a great deal. Admittedly, you won’t be blown away, or perhaps even impressed with the sound quality. But the ease-of-use, comfortable fit, and Fast Fuel charging make them worth it. Plus, if you’re just looking for a pair of versatile, stylish earbuds to get you through your days, the BeatsX are—well—the earbuds to beat.

BeatsX review: An image depicting the angled nozzles of the earbuds on a white surface.

At just under $100 from Amazon, the BeatsX are a great deal and reliable pair of wireless earbuds.

Still looking? Read up on our list of the best wireless earbuds

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BeatsX
Fit for your life, BeatsX earphones are the perfect wireless companion. Experience authentic, clear sound throughout your day with up to 8 hours of battery life. With Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 2 hours of playback. Its unique Flex-Form cable provides all-day comfort and easy pocket portability, while eartip options provide a personalized fit and secure-fit wingtips offer added stability.