Beats X are better than AirPods in almost every way [Reviews]


I’ve never been a fan of Beats headphones. Whenever I’ve
given them a go, I’ve found the sound quality to be less than
stellar, with far too much bass. So when Apple unveiled Beats X
wireless headphones alongside the AirPods last fall, the
white ones grabbed my attention

Now that I’ve had
a chance to try them both, it’s clear I got that backward. I
give you all the details on Beats X versus AirPods in my Beats
X review below.

Beats X boasts understated design

In terms of
design, the Beats X will be familiar to anyone who’s tried out
PowerBeats 3 or
JayBird wireless earphones
. Thankfully, they’re a lot more
conventional than Apple’s truly wireless AirPods, which I still
think look a little odd to wear when out and about.

All the
commercials for Beats X focus on the phrase “Got no strings,”
but that’s not strictly true. While no wires connect them to
whatever device is feeding your audio, a slender Flex-Form
cable connects the earbuds, letting you blend right into the
crowd. It sits neatly behind your head on your neck and is
flexible enough to fold up into the awkward silicone case it
comes with.

the left Beats X earbud, you’ll find a set of in-line controls
with a built-in microphone for phone calls. The controls allow
you to play and pause music or to answer and end calls with a
single press. A double press skips to the next song; a long press
activates Siri. On either side of the center button, up and down
buttons let you adjust the volume of whatever you’re listening
to. Beats X controlsHaving in-line
controls is a big plus for the Beats X.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

One size doesn’t fit all, Apple

The Beats X
headphones go the opposite route of Apple’s one-size-fits-all
AirPods. Each set of Beats X ships with four different-size
earbuds, which pop on and off. This means everyone should be
able to find  a size comfortable for them. Luckily enough
for me, the size that came installed on the Beats X fit snuggly
into my ears, giving the earbuds a tight fit to block out noise
and sit firmly in my ears without falling out.

If you’re
doing anything more strenuous than sitting around, the included
Beats X wingtips will come in handy. These handy accessories,
which come in two sizes, hook into your ears for extra security
— something you’ll probably want if you go jogging or work out
in the gym.

The Flex-Form cable is comfortable in most situations. However,
when wearing it with a jacket with a collar, the cable can get
in the way. A bit of adjustment takes care of that problem,

In my Beats X
unboxing video
, I incorrectly stated that the headphones
don’t have any indicators to show which earbud is for the left
ear and which is for the right. I’ve since been corrected by
YouTube commenters, who pointed out that there are subtle “L”
and “R” indicators on the cables just underneath the earbuds.

Beats X earbuds The Beats X will
fit nearly anybody thanks to the interchangeable tips that come
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s W1 chip
chips away at the competition

Just as with the AirPods and PowerBeats wireless headphones,
Beats X contains Apple’s W1 chip, which powers the smoothest
and best Bluetooth setup ever. Simply turn on the earphones
near your iPhone, and a prompt will automatically pop up asking
if you’d like to connect. Tap on connect and that’s it! And
checking the battery of the earphones is as easy as swiping up
on my iPhone.

If you’re an Android user, the Beats X will still connect, no
problem, only you’ll need to do it the old-fashioned way by
going through your Bluetooth settings.

Speaking of the battery, Apple claims the Beats X deliver a
battery life of up to eight hours at a moderate volume, which
is actually pretty spot on. I was able to use them on and off
for the best part of a day and still have around 25 percent
left come 9 p.m.

The best part about the battery is Beats’ Fast Fuel charging,
which basically means you can get two hours battery life from a
five-minute top-off. I drained them right down and put them on
charge for exactly five minutes and got back 25 percent
battery. Again, pretty damn impressive.

Beats X bring the bass (in a good way)

The Beats X are definitely bass-rich, as Beats headphones
always are, but not to the point where the low frequencies
overtake the actual music and become distracting. They sound a
lot more balanced than Beats headphones normally do. Also, the
volume is fantastic: Beats X get loud enough for when I want to
blast my favorite tunes, but not to the point where it’s

Beats X reviewBeats X wireless
headphones are some of the best earbuds I’ve ever tried.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The great fit of the earphones cancels out a ton of background
noise, which is great for when I need to drown out the world
for a while.

The only downside I found is when it comes to using the Beats X
for phone calls. While I can hear callers no problem, the
person on the other end of the line complains that I’m hard to
hear — especially if it’s windy.

Also, unlike the AirPods, Beats X earbuds don’t stop playing
music when you remove them from your ears. That would have been
a nice addition, but it’s not the end of the world thanks to
the in-line controls.

Beats X review: Final thoughts

Priced at $149, the Beats X run slightly less than the AirPods
at $159. But in my opinion, they sound better and will
definitely be a better fit for most people, thanks to the
interchangeable buds and wingtips.

This marks the first time I’ve been impressed by Beats
products. And, unlike the AirPods, I think I’ll actually be
keeping the Beats X.

Beats X wireless headphones reviewThe Beats X are definitely going to be staying in my
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Buy from: Apple


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