The Beats BeatsX are above-average, mixed-usage headphones for everyday casual use. They have a great wireless range and a well-balanced sound. They're lightweight, portable and unlike other around-the-neck designs, they can be crammed into your pockets without damaging the neckband. They also block enough noise to be versatile for loud environments, but their Apple-centric design may be slightly limiting to Android users.
- Portable and stable.
- Good, passive isolation.
- Minimal leakage.
- The in-ear fit and around-the-neck design are not for everyone.
Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Beats X have a unique design that makes them portable and less noticeable as an around-the-neck model. The "Flex Form" neckband is super lightweight, flexible and can easily fit into your pockets. They also have an efficient control scheme, and they're stable enough to work out with or to take to the gym. However, they have the typical in-ear fit, so if you do not find in-ears comfortable, then you may have some of the same issues with the BeatsX.
The BeatsX have a simple around-the-neck style that feels less noticeable than other similarly designed models. The neckband is not much thicker than the flat audio cables, so it seamlessly blends in with the rest of the build quality. This makes them less intrusive once on your neck compared to the QuietControl 30 or the Level U Pro. The earbuds are also pretty standard but have magnetic covers that stick together which is much better for cable management. They also come in a couple of color schemes to suit your preferences and taste.
The Beats X have the standard in-ear design that may not be as comfortable for everyone. They have different sized tips to help you find a better fit, but unfortunately, they do not include any foam tips. On the upside, they're super lightweight, and their neckband (flex form) is a lot more flexible than other similar models like the QuietControl 30 or the Samsung Level U Pro. However, this can also be a bit frustrating as the neckband will easily get tangled when you try to put them on.
The BeatsX have a straightforward and efficient control scheme. The buttons are responsive and give you the essential functions for call/play/pause, track skipping, and volume control.
The BeatsX, like most wireless in-ears, are very breathable headphones. They do not cover the ears so they won't make you sweat more than usual. They do trap a little heat within the ear canal but it's not a very noticeable difference and shouldn't change much to your workout routine.
Thanks to the unique neckband, the BeatsX are a lot more portable than other around-the-neck models. They have a more flexible and portable design than the Sony WI-C400. For our measurements, we did not forcibly compress them into a much smaller format but because they're so flexible they fit into the much smaller pouch that is included in the box and could easily fit into most pockets.
These headphones come with a similar rubber pouch/soft case as the urBeats. It's flexible and portable and should protect your headphones from scratches and minor water exposure, but it will not shield them against impacts or drops.
The build of the Beats X is above-average but not great. They have a nice rubberized design and the flex form cable is flexible enough that the neckband won't get damaged from over-extension. Unlike other similar models. The cables are also rubberized and flat which makes them a bit more durable but they're not as thick as some other models like the Jaybird X3. Also, the inline remote and earbuds feel a bit cheap and plasticky.
The Beats X are stable headphones to take to the gym and to go running with. They have a wireless design that won't get hooked on anything once you have them on, although the flexible headband can sometimes get tangled when they're not around your neck. They also come with differently sized stability tips (wingtips) to prevent them from falling out of your ears. That and the already stable in-ear tips makes these headphones quite stable for casual and sports use.
The Beats BeatsX are a good sounding closed-back in-ear headphones. They have an excellent, deep, and punchy bass, which is also quite well-balanced. They also have a clear, even, and well-balanced mid-range, but it is slightly forward sounding on vocals and leads. Their treble performance is decent, but it lacks a little bit of detail and presence, and does sound a bit sharp and piercing on S and Ts (sibilant). Additionally, they have great imaging, but like most other headphones, don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The bass of the Beats X is excellent. The response is flat and virtually flawless throughout the range, and mostly within 1dB of our neutral target. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is also excellent. Overall, the bass is deep, thumpy, and punchy, while being well-balanced, making them suitable for all genres of music, including the bass-heavy ones.
The mid-range of the Beats X is great. The response is quite flat and even throughout the range. Low-mid and mid-mid, responsible for the warmth and clarity in vocals and lead instruments, are within 0.5dB of our neutral target. High-mid however, is overemphasized by more than 2dB, which adds a subtle amount of intensity and projection to vocals and lead instruments.
The Beats X have a decent treble range performance. The response is relatively even, which is good. The wide dip between 3KHz and 7KHz, negatively affects the detail and brightness of vocals and lead instruments. However, due to the shallow and wide nature of the dip, its effect will be rather subtle. Additionally, the 10dB peak around 10KHz does make the sound of these headphones sibilant (sharp and piercing on S and Ts), if the source material is already bright.
The frequency response consistency of the Beats X is excellent. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.
The Beats X has excellent imaging. Their weighted group delay is at 0.14, which is very good. This suggests that they have a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which ensures a accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image.
The soundstage of the Beats X is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because the Beats have a closed-back design, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods or the Bose SoundSport Free.
The harmonic distortion performance of the Beats X is about average. The amount of harmonic distortion in the Bass Range is low, even at higher volumes, which is great. However, between 500Hz and 3KHz, the distortion response is a little elevated, especially under heavier loads. This could make the sound of this region a bit harsh and brittle, especially on vocals.
The BeatsX have surprisingly good isolation despite only passively blocking ambient noise. Their in-ear fit prevents a lot of noise from seeping into your audio so they're a good option to use while commuting or traveling. The seal they create, once in your ears, also barely leaks any sound even at louder volumes. That combined with their good noise isolation make them versatile headphones to use in both loud environments and quieter settings without distracting those around you.
The passive isolation provided by the Beats X is good. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit, they achieved about 8dB of isolation, which although below-average is impressive for a headphone that isolates passively. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolated by more than 18dB, which is very good. They also did a very well in the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, by achieving more than 42dB of isolation.
The leakage performance of the Beats X is excellent. The significant portion of their leakage is focus in a very narrow range around 3.5KHz. This makes the leakage very thin sounding and mostly consist of S and T sounds. The overall level of the leakage is also very low. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages around 25dB SPL, and peaks at 40dB SPL, which is below the noise floor of most offices.
The in-line microphone of the Beats BeatsX has a below-average quality. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, and noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. However, it will still be relatively easy to understand. In noisy situations, they will struggle to fully separate speech from background noise in moderately loud environments, like a busy street.
The Beats X's microphone has an average recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 293Hz means that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 3.4KHz, suggesting that speech will be noticeably muffled and lacking in detail and presence. However, it will still be decently comprehensible, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4Khz range.
- 100% SpNR
The in-line microphone of the Beats X is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 15dB. This indicates that this mic is best suited for quiet environments, and will have difficulty fully isolating speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud environments.
The Beats X have a decent battery life but lack a good companion app to truly stand out. They can play continuously up to 6.5 hours but charge considerably faster than most similarly designed wireless in-ears. They also have a quick charge feature that gives up to an hour's worth of playtime from a quick 5-minute charge. Unfortunately, they do not have true app support for added customization options like the Jaybird X3. They do however have the W1 chip, which gives a few extra features on iOS like battery data and auto pairing with iOS devices.
The BeatsX have an efficient quick charge mode (Fast Fuel) that gives you a lot of listening time for a relatively short charge. In just 5 minutes, they give you above 1.2 hours' worth of continuous playback depending on the volume level. They also fully charge in 40-45 minutes. However, at full charge, they only delivered about 6.5 hours of continuous playtime which should be enough for casual use but if you're a power user who has long listening sessions then they may not be ideal, especially if you do not have a lightning cable or access to power source. They're good enough for a casual day's use but they won't be the best headphones to take on a long weekend if you're not able to charge them frequently.
Like some of the other recent Beats headphones, the BeatsX makes use of the W1 chip for better integration into the iOS platform. This gives them a simple popup when connecting to an Apple device that displays battery information and a persistent notification that also provides the details about battery life. However, this is not really a functional app as you don't have any equalizers, room effects or additional features.
- 10% Bluetooth
- 32% Wired
- 10% Base/Dock
- 22% Wireless Range
- 25% Latency
The Beats BeatsX are wireless Bluetooth in-ears with no multi-device pairing or NFC support. They are fairly easy to pair with Bluetooth devices and have one of the best wireless range for any wireless in-ear that we've measured so far. Unfortunately, like most Bluetooth headphones, with no low-latency codecs, they won't be ideal for watching a lot of video content due to the relatively high latency. The latency is much better on iOS devices but still won't be the ideal for movie watching movies gaming.
- 79% Multi-Device Pairing
- 20% NFC
- 0% PS4 Compatible
- 0% Xbox One Compatible
These headphones do not have multi-device pairing or no NFC support. On the upside, their hold-to-pair procedure is fairly easy to use and pairs easily with most Bluetooth devices.
- 13% Analog
- 9% USB
- 26% PS4 Compatible
- 26% Xbox One Compatible
- 26% PC Compatible
They have no wired option. If you want a good sounding wired in-ear, check the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.
- 4% Optical Input
- 22% Line In
- 4% Line Out
- 22% USB Input
- 4% RCA Input
- 9% PS4 Compatible
- 9% Xbox One Compatible
- 9% PC Compatible
- 2% Power Supply
- 13% Dock Charging
These headphones do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, they won't be as compact or as portable as the BeatsX.
The BeatsX have an excellent wireless range especially considering their compact format. In direct line of sight, you will rarely get any connection drops up to 200 ft, and when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room and obstructed by walls, they still managed to maintain a steady and reliable connection up to 40 ft.
The BeatsX have quite a bit of latency but perform a bit better when paired with iOS devices. This makes them poorly suited for watching videos and gaming although it's about average for most Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, they do not have any built-in low latency codecs to help reduce the lag when watching videos or gaming on your non-Apple devices.
In the box
- BeatsX Headphones
- Earbud tips (x4)
- Stability Tips (x3)
- USB charging cable
- Carrying pouch
Compared to other Headphones
The Beats X are decent mixed usage headphones with a great wireless range and an above-average sound quality. They're one of the better sounding wireless in-ears, and they're versatile enough for sports and most casual uses. They also have a decent battery life with a convenient quick charge feature. However, they have a few more features for iOS devices that are not optimized for Android so they may not be the best choice for all users. They also lack a fully featured app which means they won't be as customizable as some of the other in-ears below.
The Apple AirPods are truly wireless headphones with a decent sound and good active features. Like the BeatsX, they have the W1 chip, so they're more optimized for iOS and won't be as good for Android users. They have an open fit that lets you monitor your surroundings which could be useful for joggers. However, it makes them considerably worse than the BeatsX for commuting and also makes their bass sound a bit weak. If you do not mind the less comfortable in-ear fit of the Beats X, then they are the better option overall with a more balanced sound quality. However, if you want a truly wireless design for portability and convenience, then the AirPods are also a good alternative, especially for iOS users.
The Beats urBeats are straightforward in-ears with a mediocre sound quality but decent isolation for commuting. They have a typical in-ear fit which might not be comfortable for everyone and they do not have any additional features since they are simple, wired headphones. The Beats X perform better in almost all categories except latency since they have a wireless Bluetooth connection. If you watch a lot of youtube videos and do not want to spend much, the Urbeats could be a decent option although there are other cheaper in-ears that perform better like the Mee Audio M6 Pro. If you have the budget, then get the BeatsX instead.
The Jaybird X3 are versatile wireless in-ears and the best alternative for the BeatsX, especially on Android. They do not sound as good as the Beats out-of-the-box, but they come with a good companion app that provides a great equalizer. You can customize their sound profile to sound just the way you like (although they might still be a bit sharp on some tracks) and they're a bit more optimized for sports. However, they do not have the range and quick charge feature of the BeatsX which may make them the better choice for some users, but if you like to EQ your headphones, then the get X3 instead.
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are good sports headphones with more comfortable fit than the BeatsX. They also sound a bit more balanced too especially in the treble range. Unfortunately, they have a semi-open fit that won't be as good for commuting but does allow runners to monitor their environment for traffic and obstacles. They have a slightly lower range and a bit more latency, but overall they perform as well as the BeatsX. If you do not mind the in-ear fit of the Beats, then their short charge time and greater isolation make them slightly more versatile. However, you will lack a few features if you're an Android user.