The Beats Flex are Apple’s newest neckband Bluetooth earbuds, and convey most of the fancy options of its AirPods to headphones costing only one third of the worth.
The brand new Beats value £49.99 and substitute the £129 Beats X because the agency’s most cost-effective wi-fi earbuds, sitting under the £129.95 Powerbeats, and Apple’s £129 AirPods.
On this planet of true wi-fi Bluetooth earbuds, the older-style neckband fashions usually occupy the cheaper finish of the market. They’ve wires connecting the earbuds to one another however Bluetooth to the telephone.
The Flex earbuds are effectively designed with a balanced match that includes two pods both facet of a flat, semi-flexible cable that rests on the again of the neck. The earbuds are then related to the pods by way of additional flat, versatile cables.
It’s a tried and examined design, however one which’s like Marmite. Some will love neckbands, whereas others will hate their presence on the again of their neck.
The earbuds are mild at simply 18.6g, which is 7.7g lighter than the Powerbeats, and pretty customary with silicone ear suggestions of which 4 sizes are included within the field. I discovered them snug for an hour or two. The Flex are very a lot designed for day-to-day informal listening in order that’s simply effective. They don’t isolate you from exterior noise all that effectively in contrast with some rivals, nevertheless.
Water resistance: none
Connectivity: Apple W1 chip, Bluetooth 5, USB-C charging
Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC
Battery life: 12 hours
Controls and connectivity
The Flex have Apple’s older W1 Bluetooth chip, not the H1 chip used within the newest AirPods and the dearer Powerbeats. They nonetheless assist Bluetooth 5, seamless pairing with an iPhone, battery standing popups on iOS, seamless switching between units and audio sharing on Apple units.
The Beats app on Android provides most of the identical options as obtainable on an iPhone, together with help with pairing and battery standing popups, in addition to dealing with updates and numerous settings.
However the Flex don’t assist Apple’s newest computerized switching between Apple units, which swaps to whichever machine – iPhone, iPad or Mac – that’s at present lively. Nor do they assist the always-listening hands-free Siri mode, which means it’s important to press and maintain a button to speak to Apple’s voice assistant (or Google Assistant on an Android telephone).
The left facet of the neck band has a lot of the controls, plus the USB-C port for charging and the microphone for calls. There’s a quantity rocker and a multi-function button, which you press as soon as for pause/play, twice and 3 times to skip monitor or press and maintain for the voice assistant. The best facet has the facility button.
The earbuds magnetically connect to one another when not in use, which pauses the music too.
The Flex sound good for the cash. They dealt with most music genres very effectively, producing surprisingly deep bass, good treble and tender highs, which make for straightforward listening.
They handle to sound pretty uncooked and grungy for Nirvana, whereas nonetheless blasting out electronica at a suitably excessive power ranges. The bass can generally dominate slightly, however the Flex handle to provide the actually deep notes wanted for one thing reminiscent of Lindsey Stirling’s Crystallise. They’re additionally punchy sufficient to offer a correct rendition of My Morning Jacket’s Extremely Suspicious.
You received’t be listening to new particulars in effectively worn tracks, however they sound nice for a less expensive set of earbuds with a stability typically misplaced in rivals.
The battery within the Flex lasts for simply shy of 12 hours between costs. A ten-minute fast cost when the battery is low supplies about 90 minutes of playback. A full cost takes about 90 minutes.
Apple doesn’t present a score for the variety of cost cycles anticipated from the battery within the Beats Flex. The battery shouldn’t be replaceable, nor are the earbuds repairable, in the end making them disposable.
The earbuds include recycled elements the place doable and recycled plastic for inside items. Additionally they include fewer and extra sturdy parts than predecessors and are designed to last more, whereas the packaging is each smaller and accommodates much less plastic.
Apple provides trade-in and free recycling schemes, together with for non-Apple merchandise.
The magnets maintain the earbuds from getting tangled, however they don’t coil up very effectively leaving them a little bit of a multitude in a bag.
Voice high quality on each ends of a name was fairly good, though not fairly as clear as with AirPods.
Substitute ear suggestions can be found free of charge on request.
Having cables to the earbuds means you received’t lose them fairly as simply as true wi-fi fashions.
The Beats Flex value £49.99 and are available in 4 colors.
The Beats Flex are a set of excellent worth, feature-rich Bluetooth earbuds from Apple.
They’re considerably cheaper than their predecessors and Apple’s AirPods, however little has been sacrificed in sound or perform. The headphones have easy pairing, seamless switching and a powerful Bluetooth connection. They work simply as effectively with Android units, due to the Beats app, as they do Apple ones.
However they’re neckband buds, which implies there’s a band that sits in your neck and cables to the earbuds, not the actually wi-fi design that’s grow to be fashionable prior to now few years. It’s additionally disappointing that the earbuds can’t be repaired or have the battery changed, partly attributable to the price of restore being increased than the price of buy.
General, the Beats Flex are a superb set of on a regular basis Bluetooth earbuds from a reputation model.
Professionals: lengthy battery life, good sound, W1 chip, good with Android or iPhone, seamless machine switching, immediate pairing, good controls, USB-C charging, good worth for premium earbuds.
Cons: not waterproof, W1 older than H1 and lacks computerized switching between Apple units, neckband design might not swimsuit everybody, not repairable, battery not replaceable.