The Beats By Dre brand of headphones have always drawn polarising opinions to their products.
But ever since the brand was acquired by Apple, it’s been getting better user reviews. Clearly, the philosophy brought in from Cupertino is having a positive influence.
Another benefit of the Apple acquisition is the access to all their tech to integrate them into our products, and today I have one that embodies the partnership.
In December, I shared what it’s like living with the Apple AirPods; and now this is my hands-on with one of the new generation of Beats products – the Beats X.
Meet The Beats X
Gone are the gaudy black and red boxes of old. Now, it’s all about the clean white aesthetic to keep things consistent with the rest of Apple.
On the surface, the Beats X looks awfully similar to the competition out in the market today. Here’s what to expect in the box.
You get the Beats X headset itself, a silicon case, 3 extra pairs of tips of varying sizes to fit your ears, wingtips for better support the earphones in your ears, some paperwork and quick start guide (along with a Beats sticker), and a Lightning cable.
Yes, the Beats X charges via a Lightning cable. So if you are already an iPhone user, you will not have to invest in other types of USB cables.
The Beats X is a Bluetooth-enabled wireless headset, and the earphones are joined by a single cable to be slung across the back of your neck.
This is good news for users who have been put off by truly wireless earphones like the AirPods, for fear of losing a side.
Both earbuds of the Beats X have a fairly strong magnet inside. Put it near each other far enough and it will stick together, giving you some Beats bling if you are not listening to music.
With the Beats X, pairing it to your iPhone is as seamless as it is on the AirPods. This is because the Beats X also has the W1 wireless chip from the AirPods built into it.
While there are no fancy cases here for you to flip open and pair, it is taken care of by the power button found on the right battery “pod”, with the left being where you will find a lightning port for charging.
Your iPhone will automatically detect the Beats X, and after confirmation to connect, you are good to go. After pairing, you can change the name of your headset in the bluetooth settings.
One thing to note though is that while it looks like one of those sports bluetooth headsets that can withstand the rain, the Beats X is actually neither waterproof nor sweatproof.
Unlike the iPhone 7 which has a rating of IP67 that allows it to withstand water, the Beats X has zero indication that it carries the same rating.
I would guess that a run out or sessions in the gym might not faze it, but just don’t go wearing it out in the rain.
Also, get some of those cheap lightning port rubber covers off sites like eBay, to insert into the Beats X’s lightning port for added protection.
Of course if you’d like a piece of mind (and the ear hooks), feel free to opt for the PowerBeats3 which is sweat and water-resistant.
Lastly the battery life, it’s close to the advertised 8 hours. From full charge, I will usually run it dry at just over 7.5 hours of continuous music playback.
Being a mainstream brand, and bearing that Beats logo, many in the “audiophile” circles will have definitely dismissed it as a consideration. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the Beats X are actually pretty decent.
For the everyday person such as myself, listening to songs on Apple Music while using the Beats X is a decently enjoyable experience.
Vocals were clear, you can hear the instruments playing, and the bass wasn’t overwhelming. Also, since this is an in-ear design, you will get far better noise isolation than the AirPods.
While you can’t hide the fact that the Beats X is on the pricey side, consider this: the Apple AirPods costs $40 more and still has a delivery estimate of 6 weeks.
For the Beats X at $198, you can waltz into any Apple retailer to get one today or get it delivered to your doorstep tomorrow if you order through Apple’s online store.
I’ll be going back to the AirPods after this – I miss the feeling of not having cables dangling out of my ears. And I’m looking forward to the day when Beats outs their own version of the AirPods.
Now that’s a match made in heaven.