BeatsX is a wireless earphones product from Apple. Arguably it’s not a “pure” wireless because there’s still cable connecting its left and right earpieces, but it’s good enough because anything without any wire between the product to my phone is considered wireless for me. I purchased these earphones mainly because of curiosity. Beats brand is known for delivering strong bass. I never had any Beats product before. Therefore after reading some positive reviews on BeatsX, I decided this would be my first Beats product.
First, let’s start with specs. BeatsX connects to our phones via Bluetooth. It comes with 6 colour options: grey, white, matt silver, matt gold, black and blue. It promises 8 hours of battery life. With Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives us 2 hours of playback. According to Apple’s website, the unique Flex-Form cable provides all-day comfort and easy pocket portability, while eartip options provide a personalised fit and secure-fit wingtips offer added stability. We recharge BeatsX using lightning connector. To fit different sizes and shapes of ears, it comes with 4 sizes of earbuds and 2 sizes of secure-fit wingtips.
As expected from Apple, BeatsX arrived in a nice-looking box with transparent display. Turning it on and initial pairing was easy thanks to its W1 chip allowing super simple connection to other Apple devices. I haven’t tried connecting BeatsX to my Android phone, but I imagine it should be doable because Bluetooth is a universal standard.
The earbuds are reasonably comfortable, even though it’s nowhere near the comfort level of my Bose SoundSport Wireless. First impression of sound quality was somewhat average. I was a bit of let down with my first experience, but then I remembered the standard step with every new earphones purchase: choosing the right size of earbuds. Earbuds sizing greatly impact the kind of sound we hear, so I went ahead and tried all 4 available sizes. Guess what? I ended up with the first size that came attached by default (which I presumed as medium size). Then it got me wondering, is this the real quality of Beats brand?
Out of curiosity, I tested the wingtips. That was when I finally heard something decent from these earphones. No I’m not trying to say that wingtips changed the sound quality of an earphones product. My guess is that the wingtips sorta help me to position my earphones better, hence the discovery of much better sound quality. I can finally get the strong bass and nice details from my music.
For critical listening, I would still rate this BeatsX below my Bose SoundSport Wireless. However, for everyday listening, it’s more than decent, and the fact that it uses lightning connector to charge means one less cable to carry around. I’m happy with that.
The remote works as expected. It took me a while to get used to the fact that my remote buttons are on the left side. All my other headphones with remote on the cable always put it on the right side. The included carrying case is not really useful. It took too much time to fit BeatsX properly inside such case, hence it’s no longer practical and I quickly abandoned it after 3 attempts.
Not everything about BeatsX is a good experience for me. For some weird reason, I seem to struggle with turning it on. After a few days of frustration, I finally understood that it took around 2-3 seconds from the moment I press the power button until I can hear the startup chime. With Bose, the startup chime was almost instant. So I was misled by the absence of any chime and kept pressing power button over and over again, thinking that my previous attempt might had been unsuccessful. I suspect this is because of the “special” W1 chip. It might allow seamless switching between Apple devices, but it seems to make initial connection slower than ordinary Bluetooth connection.
Another frustration was the slightly more rigid cable they call Flex-Form. I mean, I can understand why Apple needs to put such cable. To keep the earpieces small, they must’ve put some of the components on the 2 thicker parts of the cable and the Flex-Form cable needs to deliver more than just audio, hence the more rigid cable. Still, the Flex-Form cable does not feel comfortable around my next, especially the front part where it connects to the thinner cable frequently caused ticklish sensation around my neck.
I’ve been using these earphones for more than 2 weeks and so far it’s a mixed feeling. I rarely have this polarised love-and-hate impressions towards a technology product. I like how it sounds for everyday usage. The bass is indeed slightly stronger than its Bose counterpart. My initial struggle with power button turned into minor annoyance after I learned to be patient and wait 2-3 seconds for connection. It’s the ticklish Flex-Form cable that I couldn’t really get used to. I’ll probably keep these a while longer and use them occasionally. For now, I’m going back to my reliable Bose SoundSport Wireless.