Apple AirPods v BeatsX review

Apple AirPods and BeatsX headphones are similar in many ways.  Both are ultimately made and owned by Apple, both are in ear headphones and both are leading the way in new wireless headphone technology.  But which set of headphones is the best to buy?  After the success of of our Bose SoundSport V Beats Powerbeats3 review, we thought we’d do the same thing with two newer wireless headphones on the market. This review will look at sound performance, features, design and comfort to help you decide which are best headphones for you.  The Apple AirPods v BeatsX ?

Sound Performance

Let’s start with the Apple AirPods.  Previous Apple earbuds have built up a reputation as a decent sounding headphone for the money.  When the Apple AirPods are snug in your ear, they sound fairly good.  Indeed, they produce rich, balanced, warm tones and impressive levels of bass perfect for a wide range of music.  However, it is in the fine detail that the AirPods are found wanting.  Furthermore, when listening to large ensembles the AirPods struggle to maintain control and the music gets a bit lost.  Apple never claim to be an audio company, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the sound is just ‘fairly good’.

 Now lets get onto the BeatsX.  The sound quality is actually very clear for a pair of in-ear drivers. You won’t find shimmering highs and sparkling mid-ranges here, but the sound is far from flat or hissy.  The headphones are impressively balanced – mids, highs and lows are on the same keel. Highs and lows could’ve been even more pronounced than they are – but given Beats are renowned for being bass heavy, the balanced sound is a nice surprise.
Where the BeatsX falter, similar to the AirPods, is noise cancellation.  When listening to music you can still hear what is going on around you, which is disappointing given their in ear design.  Also, if you’re looking for lots of bass, you won’t find it in the BeatsX, which will be  a nice surprise to audio purists, but maybe a bit disappointing to traditional Beats fans.  Furthermore, the headphones could do with more clarity.  They do not sound dull, but they do lack energy.
However, this is nitpicking.  On the whole the BeatsX are a really good sounding pair of headphones for the price.  In conclusion, they are the best option for sound compared with the AirPods, given their great clarity and balanced sound.

Winner Apple AirPods v BeatsX sound performance: BeatsX

Apple AirPods v BeatsX

Features

The BeatsX makes use of Apples new W1 Chip. It is clearly the brains behind the wireless capability of the BeatsX. It helps the the headset sync up seamlessly to iOS devices and helps preserve battery life. Holding an unpaired BeatsX next to iPhone brings up a prompt asking you if you’d like to pair the headphones. Click yes and it will pull your name from your phone. Pretty simple and a great piece of functionality if you are an iPhone user, or indeed a user of the Apple Watch or iPads. It is certainly a step up from the usual bluetooth pairing.  The Apple AirPods also boast the same capability, so in terms of connectivity, both headphones are on par.

The W1 also helps squeeze extra performance from built-in batteries. The Apple AirPods, which also use the W1 Chip, last for about six hours between charges, while the the BeatsX goes on for about eight hours before it needs to refuel, but that number may drop down after a certain number of Quick Charge sessions. On balance though, the BeatsX are slightly better than the AirPods for battery life.

The Quick Charge feature on the BeatsX allows you to exactly that – charge your headphones quickly.  Quick Charge provides roughly 25% of charge in 5 minutes – very handy if you are in a rush. You’re now forced to use a Lightning Cable to charge instead of something a more universal like a mini USB.

The AirPods have a cool feature in which the case acts as a charger.  Given the headphones could get easily lost the case is needed for safe keeping. The case lets you charge them back up completely about four more times and if you’re running late, 15 minutes in the case will get you 3 hours of playback. Not bad.

In conclusion, both headphones are pretty much level when it comes to features. However, given the longer battery life, the BeatsX just snatches it.

Winner Apple AirPods v BeatsX features: BeatsX

Apple AirPods v BeatsX

Design

Design is all important for headphones. They are a fashion accessory after all.  Let’s start with the BeatsX.

The BeatsX have two earbuds connected via a cable that wraps behind your neck. Whilst this design can weight the earbuds down, it does mean they are harder to loose. The wire can also provide a home to in-line controls and a battery, allowing the headphones to last longer between charges and allow you to communicate with Siri.

The in-line controls on the BeatsX are simple but effective. You can use them the raise and lower the volume, pause the music, skip tracks and rewind. There’s also a built-in microphone that you can use to make calls. If you’re afraid the cable might feel uncomfortable, then you have nothing to be worried about. The headphones re very comfortable and the cable does not get in the way.
The BeatsX are water-resistant, but not fully waterproof. This means you can take the BeatsX with you on a sweaty trip to the gym without fearing for their safety. When they’re outside of your ear and loosely hanging on your chest, the earbuds will snap together thanks to built-in magnets that help keep the wires from getting tangled, which is a nice little feature.
The BeatsX come in four colors: Black, White, Grey and Blue, which allows you a decent choice in order to match your outfit! The BeatsX also come with four sets of eartips so you can find the right fit.
With regard to the Apple Airpods, they are two separate buds, so it does heighten the chances of them getting lost. However, they do come with a handy case to store them in. As mentioned earlier this also charges the headphones, so is a very useful addition.
The main design issue with the Apple AirPods however is the way they look. The long antenna, which also stores the battery and microphone just looks wrong when worn. The best way to describe is that it looks like a pair of cotton buds sticking out your ears!

Design-wise the BeatsX have three advantages over the AirPods. They are much harder to loose. They have in-line controls. Finally, the four sets of ear tips give you a greater chance of finding the right fit compared to the AirPods’ one-size-fits-all approach. Therefore the BeatsX win on design.

Winner Apple AirPods v BeatsX features: BeatsX

Apple AirPods v BeatsX

Comfort

This shouldn’t take long. In short both sets of headphones feel fine when worn. Neither fall out easily and they are not obtrusive. In fact you generally forget you are wearing them.

However, the Apple Airpods, similar to past Apple headphones, only have one ear tip option. Therefore it is harder to find that even better fit for your ears. As mentioned, the BeatsX headphones come with 4 ear tip options and so you have 4 times the chance of getting that better fit.

Purely with that in mind, the winner has to be the BeatsX, which I found very comfortable.

Winner Apple AirPods v BeatsX features: BeatsX

Conclusion

So there you have it, that is the end of the Apple AirPods v BeatsX review. The BeatsX beats the Apple AirPods in all areas. They are comfortable, they have excellent battery life, great connectivity for iPhones via WC1 and Android for NFC, and they look great. What more could you want? It is worth mentioning there are other options in the market. For two other great sets of wireless headphones, check out our Bose SoundSport V Beats Powerbeats3 review.

Winner Apple AirPods v BeatsX features: BeatsX

 

 

 

 

 

 

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