Beats charges the Flex’s battery life at 12 hours, a step up from its 8-hour estimate for the BeatsX and a solid-if-unspectacular determine typically. The earphones now cost over USB-C as a substitute of Lightning, too, which ought to make them extra accommodating to iPads and Android gadgets.
That mentioned, the Flex nonetheless make the most of Apple’s W1 wi-fi chip, which supplies iPhone and iPad house owners a simplified pairing course of and the flexibility to shortly change between gadgets synced to an iCloud account. The Flex additionally helps Apple’s “Audio Sharing” characteristic when used with AirPods or different latest Beats headphones. Past that, there’s a Class 1 Bluetooth radio that ought to assist maintain a gentle connection over longer ranges. (This was a energy of the BeatsX beforehand.)
It’s price noting that the W1 will not be Apple’s latest wi-fi chip for audio merchandise, although: that may be the H1, which the corporate launched in March 2019 and carried out in the latest AirPods, AirPods Professional, and a number of other different Beats headphones since. The Flex misses out on that chip’s hands-free Siri assist, battery effectivity, and quicker join instances. Likewise, Beats didn’t point out any capability for the Flex to pair with a number of gadgets concurrently, and it didn’t specify any IPX ranking for sweat resistance. So, they is probably not ideally suited for exercises.
Nonetheless, Beats is hoping the Flex’s comparatively low worth can be sufficient to offset any trade-offs. At $50, the earphones are available nicely under the BeatsX’s authentic $150 MSRP and technically stand as the most affordable product with Apple audio silicon. Beats headphones have usually been extra open to Android customers than AirPods, too, resulting from their having a companion app on the platform.
Personally, I reviewed the BeatsX favorably across the time they first launched. I discovered them comfy with a decent bass-first sound and robust passive noise isolation. A smattering of customers did report points with that pair’s reliability over time, nevertheless, and the neckband design is more durable to overlook about than true wi-fi headphones.
On the whole, Beats continues to exist in a considerably awkward place as its dad or mum firm grows more and more invested in private audio. Its headphones stay vastly in style, however its lineup now competes straight with Apple-branded gadgets just like the AirPods and AirPods Professional. The corporate first made its title promoting costly—some would say overpriced—headphones bolstered by high-profile advertising and marketing, however with the Flex, Beats is within the uncommon place of explicitly concentrating on budget-minded patrons. With the newest iPhones ditching their pack-in earbuds, although the Flex could attraction to those that’d like a pair of Apple-made headphones however don’t need to pony up for AirPods.
Itemizing picture by Beats