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Beats Flex Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Review updated Nov 04, 2022 at 09:54 am
Latest change: Writing modified Nov 04, 2022 at 09:54 am
Beats Flex Wireless Picture
6.9
Neutral Sound
7.7
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
5.3
Wired Gaming
6.0
Phone Calls

The Beats Flex Wireless are colorful budget-friendly in-ears with a neckband cable. They have a minimalist design that feels comfortable and well-built for all-day casual use. Thanks to their W1 chip, they pair seamlessly with different Apple devices. Like most Beats Models, like the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, the Flex have a thumpy, bass-heavy sound profile. Ultimately, these wireless headphones are designed as a plug-and-play option for casual use, meaning they lack an EQ function to fine-tune audio to your liking.

Our Verdict

6.9 Neutral Sound

The Beats Flex are adequate for neutral sound. Their bass-heavy sound profile is well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, but their underemphasized treble range veils vocals and dulls sibilants across all genres. Like most closed-back earbuds, sound feels like it's coming from inside your head, which doesn't feel very natural or immersive. Their companion app is lackluster and doesn't have an EQ or presets to allow you to adjust their sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
Cons
  • No EQ.
7.7 Commute/Travel

The Beats Flex are very good for commute and travel. They're lightweight and can be worn comfortably around your neck. Since they're relatively small and have a flexible design, you can easily stash them in your pocket or bag without issue. They also have an 11-hour continuous battery life, which will be enough for daily commutes. Unfortunately, they struggle to block the bass range from bus or plane engines during transit.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • Struggles to cut down bass-range noise.
8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Beats Flex are great for sports and fitness. They're well-built, have a comfortable fit, and stay in place during workouts. However, unlike other sports earbuds, they don't have stability fins or ear hooks. They also lack an IP rating for dust and water resistance.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • No IP rating.
7.0 Office

The Beats Flex are decent for office use. They're comfortable and have 11 hours of continuous battery life, which will last well through the workday. While they don't have active noise cancelling (ANC), they still passively cut down a fair bit of ambient chatter around you. They also don't leak a lot of audio, so you can listen at a high volume without disturbing coworkers.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Reduces mid-range noise like office chatter.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • No NFC or multi-device pairing.
5.4 Wireless Gaming

The Beats Flex are Bluetooth-only headphones. While you can use them via Bluetooth on PCs, their latency is too high for gaming.

5.3 Wired Gaming

The Beats Flex are Bluetooth-only headphones. You can't use them wired.

6.0 Phone Calls

The Beats Flex are mediocre for phone calls. Their integrated mic makes your voice sound muffled and thin over the phone. It struggles to filter out background noise, even in moderate-volume environments. They can passively isolate you from a good amount of mid-range noise like ambient conversations, but they don't do a very good job blocking out the bass range of rumbling engines.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
Cons
  • Mediocre performing integrated mic.
  • 6.9 Neutral Sound
  • 7.7 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.3 Wired Gaming
  • 6.0 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Nov 04, 2022: Updated review to ensure quality, consistency, and relevance in the current market.
  2. Updated Oct 19, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  3. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  4. Updated May 07, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  5. Updated Jan 06, 2021: Review published.
  6. Updated Jan 04, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Beats Flex come in four color variants: 'Black', 'Yuzu Yellow', 'Flame Blue', 'Smoke Gray', and the 2021 limited-release 'Fragment Black'. We tested the Yuzu Yellow variant, and you can see its label here. We expect all color variants to perform similarly.

If you come across another variant, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Beats Flex are simple, colorful in-ears with a neck cable design. They have 11 hours of continuous battery life and you can seamlessly pair them with any Apple product. Unlike the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless or the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, they don't have ear tips or stability fins to help keep them in place, making them better suited for light exercise. Their companion app also doesn't offer a lot of extra features either.

Check out our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the best wireless earbuds for iPhone, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100.

Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless and the Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless perform similarly. The Beats are more comfortable, stable, and have a better build quality. They also isolate more noise and pair seamlessly with Apple devices. However, the Sony headphones have a better-balanced sound profile, which some users may prefer, and longer continuous battery life of 19.5 hours.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless and the Sony WI-C310 Wireless are similarly performing headphones and you may prefer one pair over the other. The Flex are more comfortable, better built, and have a more stable fit. They also have a W1 chip so you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices. However, the Sony headphones have a better-balanced sound profile, which some users may prefer, and longer continuous battery life.

Beats BeatsX Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless are better in-ears for most uses than the Beats BeatsX Wireless. The Flex are more comfortable, feel better built, and have longer continuous battery life. They also have lower audio latency on iOS and Android. However, the BeatsX are more stable in-ear come with a case. They also have a better-balanced sound profile with less bass boost, which may be a better choice if you don't listen to a lot of hip-hop or EDM.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless are better in-ears for their cost than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Flex are more stable in-ear, have a longer continuous battery life, and have a W1 chip for seamless pairing to Apple devices. However, the Studio Buds have a truly wireless design, which some users may prefer.

Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are better wireless headphones for sports and fitness than the Beats Flex Wireless. The Powerbeats Pro have a more stable fit and a better-balanced sound profile. Their carrying case also offers an additional charge, giving them over 22 hours of continuous battery life, and feature a standby mode to conserve battery life when not in use. However, the Flex isolate against more noise and leak less sound.

Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless

The Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless are better headphones than the Beats Flex Wireless. The Jaybirds are better built and have a more neutral sound profile. They also have longer-lasting battery life, and their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets to help tweak their sound. However, the Beats are more comfortable.

Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019

The Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 and the Beats Flex Wireless offer similar performances, and you may prefer one over the other. The Anker come with a hard case and are more stable. They also have a better-balanced sound profile and a longer-lasting continuous battery life. However, the Beats feel better built and have a W1 chip, so you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats Flex have a similar design to the Beats BeatsX Wireless. While they don't have ear hooks, they feature an integrated neckband cable that lets you wear them comfortably around your neck when not in use. They come in four color variants to better suit your style: 'Black', 'Yuzu Yellow', 'Smoke Grey', and 'Flame Blue'. Beats also rereleases their products with limited edition colors like 'Fragment Black', which look nearly identical to their 'Black' model but have a special logo on the modules and an all-black color scheme.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Beats Flex are comfortable. They don't have a deep in-ear fit, and the cable is lightweight, meaning they're not tiring to wear. There are a few sizes of silicone tips included so you can find the best fit for you.

6.8
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Beats Flex have okay controls. All the controls are on the neck band's left and right modules, but they aren't very intuitive as they can require a combination of presses to register the right commands. The multi-purpose button on the left module doesn't have a strong click, making it difficult to know if you've pushed or held it properly. There are audio cues for some commands, which help overcome the controls' shortcomings.

Left module:

Rocker

  • Single press upper side: Raises volume.
  • Single press lower side: Lowers volume.

Multi-purpose button

  • Single press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends a call.
  • Double press: Skips a track forward.
  • Triple press: Skips a track backward.
  • Single press and hold: Activates voice assistant or rejects an incoming call.
  • Double press and hold: Scans forward through a track.
  • Triple press and hold: Scans backward through a track.

Right module:

Power button

  • Single press and hold: Turns earbuds on or off.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 °C

Like most in-ear headphones, these wireless buds are very breathable. While they trap a bit of heat in the ear canal, it isn't noticeable, especially during exercise.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 3.7" (9.4 cm)
W 1.2" (3.0 cm)
H 0.4" (1.0 cm)
Volume 1.80 in³ (29.50 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

These are very portable headphones. Thanks to their flexible design, they can easily fit into most pockets or bags, and the earbuds have magnets on the back of their housing, which allows them to stay together and reduce tangling. You can also wear them around your neck when you're on the move.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Beats Flex have a good build quality. They're mostly made of silicone and plastic, making them very flexible and durable enough to survive a couple of accidental drops. However, the ear tips feel like they could easily rip, and they don't have an IP rating for dust and water resistance.

7.5
Design
Stability

These headphones have good stability. Once you get a good seal, the angled bud design rests firmly in your ear and stays in place during light or intense exercise. However, the buds can fall out of your ears if the neckband gets caught on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Beats Flex Wireless earphones
  • 4x ear tips
  • USB-C to USB-C charging cable
  • Manuals
  • Beats sticker

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
2.91 dB
Treble Amount
-3.39 dB

The Beats Flex have a bass-heavy sound profile, which is well-suited for thumpy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Unfortunately, their treble is underemphasized, resulting in thin vocals and lead instruments as well as dull sibilants like cymbals. Unfortunately, these headphones don't come with an EQ or presets, meaning you can't adjust the sound to your liking.

9.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.19 dB

The Beats Flex have outstanding frequency response consistency. It's easy to achieve consistent bass and treble delivery thanks to the assortment of ear tips to help you get a proper fit and seal.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.56 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
4.22 dB
Mid-Bass
4.36 dB
High-Bass
3.21 dB

These in-ears have good bass accuracy. The range is overemphasized, which gives extra thump and boom to mixes and is especially good for genres like EDM. In bass-heavy tracks like 'Genesis' by Justice, this bass makes the drop around the 0:40 second mark sound full and intense. However, the extra bass can also muddy vocals and instruments.

8.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.85 dB
Low-Mid
1.54 dB
Mid-Mid
0.29 dB
High-Mid
2.2 dB

The Beats Flex have excellent mid accuracy. There's some overemphasis coming from the bass range into the low-mids, which can slightly clutter your mix. However, the rest of the range is fairly flat, so vocals and instruments still sound present. The bump in the high-mid also helps add clarity and intensity to these sounds.

6.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.2 dB
Low-Treble
-4.19 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.9 dB
High-Treble
-3.66 dB

These headphones have passable treble accuracy. It's underemphasized across the range, so the higher ends of vocals and instruments don't come through as clearly, while sibilants like S and T sounds are dull and lispy. In vocal-centric songs like Taylor Swift's 'Anti-Hero', the upper harmonics of her voice, including S and T sounds, are veiled throughout the track.

7.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.18 dB
Dips
1.58 dB

The Beats Flex have very good peaks and dips performance. There aren't too many deviations in response overall, but a peak in the high-mid adds harshness to vocals and lead instruments. A dip in the low-treble veils the upper harmonics.

9.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.13
Weighted Phase Mismatch
0.8
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.17
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
0.76

The Beats Flex have outstanding imaging. This manufacturer tends to have good quality control and ergonomics with other in-ear models like the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. As a result, our unit has well-matched L/R drivers, which is important for the accurate reproduction of sound objects like voices in the stereo image. However, keep in mind that imaging can vary across units.

0.8
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.7

The Beats Flex's passive soundstage is bad, which is normal for closed-back in-ears. Headphones need to bounce sound off the outside of your ear in order to produce an immersive, out-of-head soundstage. As a result, their soundstage feels small, closed-off, and unnatural.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.189
WHD @ 100
0.139

The Beats Flex Wireless have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. There's a slight peak between the low to mid-treble at normal and high volumes. However, it isn't very noticeable with real-life content. All ranges fall within acceptable limits, which will result in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
3.7.2
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using them with this configuration.

Isolation
7.1
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-20.76 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
-10.18 dB
Mid
-15.42 dB
Treble
-36.94 dB

The Beats Flex have a decent noise isolation performance. They aren't an ideal choice for commuting as they don't reduce much sound in the bass range, meaning sounds like bus and plane engines are still quite audible. However, they can cut out a significant amount of office chatter and the hum of AC units.

9.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
24.73 dB

The leakage performance is outstanding. If you're working at the office, people won't hear your audio, even at a high volume. Leakage stays in the low-treble range, meaning escaping audio sounds thin and isn't very noticeable to others unless you're somewhere quiet, like at home.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
6.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
459.13 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.67 dB
HFE
3,272.31 Hz
Weighted THD
10.161
Gain
23.28 dB

The Beats Flex's integrated microphone recording quality is mediocre. Your voice sounds boxy, thin, and slightly muffled. However, you'll still sound understandable on the other end of the line.

5.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
15.03 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated microphone's noise handling is disappointing. If you're somewhere with a lot of loud sounds, like a subway, your voice will be drowned out by background noise. However, it won't be as much of a problem if you're taking a call from a quiet space like your home.

Active Features
6.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
11 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
11 hrs
Charge Time
1.2 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The battery performance is passable. The manufacturer advertises them to last 12 hours continuously, and we measured just under that, at 11 hours. Beats also advertise a 'Fast Fuel' feature, which gives you 1.5 hours of playback time on a 10-minute charge. However, battery performance can vary with real-life usage. These headphones also don't have any power-saving features, and you can't use them while charging.

5.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Beats
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Beats Flex have a disappointing companion app. You can toggle auto-call answering and an auto-pause feature that activates when you remove them from your ears. That's about it.

Connectivity
7.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0+W1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
305.00 ft (92.96 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
173 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
30 ms
Android Latency
96 ms

The Beats Flex have decent Bluetooth compatibility. They don't have multi-device or NFC pairing. However, unlike the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless, they have a W1 chip, so you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices. While they have high audio latency on PC, their latency on iOS and Android is a lot lower, making them better suited for streaming on mobile devices. However, latency can vary as devices and apps compensate for latency differently.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use the Beats Flex wired. They come with a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Beats Flex have full audio and mic compatibility with Bluetooth-enabled PCs. However, you can't connect these buds to your PC in any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock