BEATS FLEX REVIEW
|Price history for Beats Flex Wireless Earbuds – Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Magnetic Earphones, Class 1 Bluetooth, 12 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Black|
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The BEATS FLEX REVIEW
The new $ 50 Beats Flex is a very smart game from Apple’s Beats division. One reason why is clear: now that the iPhone 12 series no longer comes with included earbuds, this neckband-like option could prove to be a popular replacement. The Beats Flex earbuds are significantly cheaper than the Beats X they replace – not to mention the AirPods. They offer 12 hours of battery life, have a comfortable fit and end the fear of losing a true wireless earbud.
But the other reason the Flex buttons are a major product is, well, Android. Rather than using Apple’s own Lightning connector for charging, as many Beats headphones have since purchase, the Flex has a USB-C port. The Beats Android app has already been updated to support them. These moves show that as Apple puts an increasing emphasis on audio products – with the new HomePod mini and the highly anticipated premium headphones launching soon – Beats realizes it must stand independently of Apple’s ecosystem if the brand is good luck. This is our Beats Flex Review.
Beats Flex Review: Design
While Beats didn’t tell us directly, the Beats Flex appears to be a direct follow-up to the older BeatsX headphones it released in 2016. Both are wireless (but not really wireless like the Powerbeats Pro or Apple AirPods) and look identical. . The earbuds themselves are actually quite light (18.6g), but the cord running between them is about 32 inches and wraps around the back of your neck. It’s a bit cumbersome to have such a long cord wrap around your neck and, admittedly, having the two earbuds connected via cable isn’t exactly what we’d consider the ideal solution in 2020.
That said, the cable has its advantages – first of all, the fact that they’re harder to lose than completely wireless earbuds. The second is that the wire between the two buttons is one home to in-line volume control, a multi-feature button and a larger battery, extending the life of the headphones between charges. How about a play / pause buttonWell, you can use the multi-feature button, but the Beats Flex are also equipped with a sensor that automatically pauses the music when you turn it off and resumes it when you turn it back on. Not only is that handy, but it can also save you a lot of battery life.
The difference between the Beats Flex and more expensive Apple wireless earbuds like the AirPods Pro is that the latter uses the newer H1 Wireless chip that enables hands-free Siri, while the former uses the older W1 chip. In addition to hands-free Siri, the more expensive H1 chip supports Bluetooth 5 versus the W1’s Bluetooth 4.2, which means you also get slightly longer battery life with the H1 chip. But surprisingly, we didn’t find that to be a deal breaker. The W1 chip is less advanced than the H1, but it still gets the job done, and the semi-wireless form factor is manageable, albeit a bit impractical. So far, the biggest design flaw of the Beats Flex has been that they don’t come with a grand piano tips to put them in your ear – without them, getting that perfect seal can be tricky and come off easily. On the plus side, the Beats Flex comes with a few different ear tips, including some large and double flanges tips – that can help make finding the perfect fit a little easier.
Beats Flex review: performance
After trying a few combinations of earbuds, we finally landed on a decent seal and were finally able to test the audio quality of the Beats Flex. What we heard is pretty much what you’d expect – a deep V-shaped sound that accentuates the highs and lows of the audio spectrum at the expense of the mids. In our two weeks with the headphones, we’ve listened to a ton of songs on Amazon Prime Music and Spotify and have a good idea of what to expect in terms of sound quality. What we found was that the sound quality was actually relatively clear for a few in-ear drivers, but they don’t have a very large soundstage for the audio. Fortunately, there was no dropout or lag in the audio during our testing, which can be an issue with wireless models, so that stability is a huge boon for the Beats Flex.
While all songs usually had the same steep V shape, a few examples worth mentioning were bass-heavy classics like Rick James’ Super Freak and the treble-rich Jackson 5’s ABC that really exemplified the rich treble. and solid basses. Unfortunately, these numbers also show how anemic the mids sound, so proceed with caution. On that note, there’s also no real way to adjust the EQ if you’re not happy with the default sound – which is a bit of a shame. The good news here is that people we spoke to with the earbuds on said we sounded great – even better than through speakerphone or other headsets. That’s a huge feather in the Flex’s cap and could make them great – from-home or regular headphones.
You can’t beat them for their battery life either: you get a little less than 12 hours of use per charge, and the charge only takes about an hour or two. That said, if you need some fast charging to get back home from work, Fast Fuel (Beats’ name for fast charge) offers an hour and a half of battery life after just 10 minutes of charging. The last feature worth noting is that the Beats Flex – like all W1 or H1 Chip headphones – will have iOS’s new audio sharing feature that allows you to share music between two headphones. It’s not a great app by any means, but it’s nice if you’re in a house with multiple Apple or Beats headphones and like to share music.
Beats Flex review: audio quality
Beats has shown great dedication to improving the sound of its audio products, starting with the well-received Studio3 and transferring that momentum to its revamped Powerbeats line-up. The Beats Flex does not follow suit or is not alive up to his claims of “powerful sound,” with a flat signature favoring video content and podcasts over music.
Beats says it has developed new acoustic drivers to produce “accurate bass and precision across the frequency curve,” although the results are more lacking than striking. I often heard some hiss on older recordings, or the reverberation on certain tracks (eg Chaka Demus & Pliers “Murder She Wrote”) created an appearance of distortion. The live bass on A Tribe Called Quest’s’ Black Spasmodic ‘wasn’t the same as on more warm-toned earbuds like the Powerbeats 4 or Jaybird Tarah, and it even cut off clarity, filtering out the rappers’ vocals.
In finding the right songs, these buttons showed me what type of sound quality Beats wanted to develop. To pull up The police are “Roxanne” to hear what I’m talking about. The staccato guitar chords hit their target and will instantly stimulate rhythmic foottaps, while Sting’s steady hi-hat and isolated vocals are superbly reproduced. I was also impressed with how the Beats Flex handed and opened the synthesizer bass lines on Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good” up the soundscape for the singer to bend his harmonizing talents.
Again, the best sound is experienced outside of music, with Beats drivers emphasizing vocals to hear dialogue better. I loved using these earbuds to record my daily dose of political news via CNN clips along with other YouTube content that I normally eat during downtimes. Even poorly recorded podcasts like The Game Informer Show got a boost in clarity. I attribute the cleaner audio presentation and little glimpses of bass resonance to the Beats Flex’s great isolation. A good fit creates a tight seal that prevents ambient noise from entering the soundscape, so you can fully enjoy full sound.
Beats Flex review: battery life
If there’s one thing Beats has done well with any new wireless earbuds, it is battery life. The Beats Flex doesn’t disappoint, estimated at 12 hours on a full charge. Based on my testing, it’s about 11 hours, which is still quite enough for those who want a week of playback before charging. I used the earplugs for about 1.5 hours a day for 5 days and still had 30% power in the tank. That was enough to jump on two very long Skype calls before charging.
Battery management is also impressive. I saw battery life drop from 60% to 55% when using the earbuds sporadically over a two hour period. You can even leave them paired with a device for hours, idle, and the battery level will barely drop. The Beats Flex delivers higher play times than popular models in its price range such as the Jaybird Tarah (6 hours) and Jaybird X4 (8 hours), even the BeatsX (8 hours). Then again, you have newer models like the JLab Epic Sport2 that crush it at 20 hours. This isn’t a deal-breaker, especially since the Beats earbuds come with USB-C and Fast Fuel charging, so you can use it for 1.5 hours after a 10-minute charge. You’ll need to bring either a USB-C charger or a power bank with a USB-C port to charge on the go, but that’s a small compromise.
Beats Flex review: connectivity
Beats’ upgraded microphone array offers improved voice calling, although the call quality of the Beats Flex remains a level below that of all Powerbeats models and the BeatsX. When I took my wife’s calls outside, she heard my voice clearly, but also heard the outside noises around me; construction next door and wind were inevitable. She praised the volume levels and liked that even with such distractions I could still be heard. It was more rewarding to have Zoom calls around the house, with a few customers complimenting how loud and clear I sounded.
Connectivity is a feature of all Apple-related products, and as I mentioned earlier, the W1 chip does a good pairing with devices on multiple platforms. What about wireless range? I’m glad you asked. The standard stable connection for most true wireless earbuds is about 9 to 10 meters from an audio source, and these earbuds surpass that mark by about 3 meters. It felt joyful and liberating to stream music around the house while I was phone was charging in the bedroom. I have not experienced any dropouts during calls, nor was there any stuttering when streaming Spotify.
Beats Flex Review: Final Words
Regardless of its strengths or weaknesses, the reality is that consumers will consider buying the Beats Flex based solely on one factor: price. It’s the truth. So, is the latest Beats release worth the $ 50? Surely. And having said that, you can rest assured that much good will come out of the purchase. This includes a fashionable design with a personalized fit, long battery life, strong microphones for effective call quality and Siri usage, and exceptional connectivity on both iOS and Android. You just have to be aware that while the audio is decent, there are others that sound better, feature-loaded models available for the same price. Still, the Beats Flex’s overall performance should justify you a higher price, so consider these buttons a very generous offering from the trailblazing audio brand.
The Verdict about BEATS FLEX REVIEW
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