Beats Flex Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Jan 06, 2021 at 10:10 am
Beats Flex Wireless Picture
7.1
Mixed Usage
6.7
Neutral Sound
7.7
Commute/Travel
8.0
Sports/Fitness
6.8
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
5.2
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats Flex Wireless are colorful budget-friendly in-ears with a neck cable. They have a simple, comfortable, and lightweight design. Their bass-heavy sound profile also makes them well-suited for genres with lots of thump and rumble like EDM. However, their companion app lacks a lot of functionality and doesn't have an EQ. That said, thanks to their W1 chip, it's easy to pair them with different Apple devices.

Our Verdict

7.1 Mixed Usage

The Beats Flex are decent for mixed use. They have a comfortable, lightweight fit and are stable enough for moderate exercise. They also have a bass-heavy sound profile to keep you pumped up at the gym or office. While they have a simple design and lack extra features like an EQ, their 11-hour continuous battery life should be more than enough to get you through your workday or commute. However, they struggle to cut down bass-range noise like bus engines. They also have high audio latency on PC.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • Struggles to cut down bass-range noise.
6.7 Neutral Sound

The Beats Flex are okay for neutral sound. They have an overall bass-heavy sound profile with an underemphasized treble range, resulting in veiled vocals and dull sibilants. Unfortunately, their companion app doesn't offer an EQ to help tweak their sound and they have a closed-off soundstage.

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

The Beats Flex are good for commute and travel. They're comfortable, lightweight, and can be worn around your neck when you're on-the-go. Since they're fairly small in size and have a flexible plastic and silicone design, you can easily stash them in most pockets or bags without an issue. On the downside, they struggle to isolate bass-range against noise like bus or plane engines, and their 11-hour continuous battery life may not be enough for long plane rides.

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

The Beats Flex are great for sports and fitness. These in-ears have a comfortable and stable fit, although they don't have ear-hooks or stability fins. They're also lightweight, which makes them very portable, and they have a good build quality. However, they don't have an IP rating for water or dust resistance.

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

The Beats Flex are alright for office use. They're comfortable, lightweight, and offer 11 hours of continuous playback time, which should be more than enough for your daily 9-5. They're also able to cut down a fair bit of ambient chatter around you and barely leak audio.

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

The Beats Flex are Bluetooth-only headphones. While they can be used via Bluetooth on PCs, their latency is likely too high to be recommended for gaming.

5.2 Wired Gaming

The Beats Flex are Bluetooth-only headphones and can't be used wired.

6.3 Phone Calls

The Beats Flex are mediocre for phone calls. Their integrated microphone does a mediocre job capturing speech and your voice sounds thin and slightly muffled. It also struggles to separate ambient noise from speech, even in moderately noisy environments. While these headphones can help cut down office chatter around you, they struggle to reduce deep, low noise like bus engines, which can make it harder to focus on your call.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
Cons
  • Mediocre performing integrated mic.
  • 7.1 Mixed Usage
  • 6.7 Neutral Sound
  • 7.7 Commute/Travel
  • 8.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.8 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.2 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Beats Flex have a sleek and simple design that looks very similar to the Beats BeatsX Wireless. They have a neckband cable that gives them a slightly more sporty look. However, unlike the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless, they don't have ear-hooks. They come in four color variants to better suit your style: 'Black', 'Yuzu Yellow', 'Smoke Grey', and 'Blue'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

The Beats Flex are comfortable, lightweight in-ears. They don't go very deep into your ears, and the cable shouldn't be fatiguing to wear around your neck. However, the ear tips can move out of place if you don't have a good seal.

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 control scheme is alright. There's a button rocker on the left side of the neck cable that allows you to adjust the volume. Next to it is a multi-purpose button. Pressing once lets you play or pause your audio. You can also activate these commands by magnetically clipping the earbuds together. Two presses skip the track forward while three presses skip the track backward. You can also scan through your audio forward by pressing once and then holding the button or scan backward by triple tapping. If you want to activate voice assistant, hold the button until you hear a chime. While they have some audio cues, the multi-purpose button isn't the most clicky.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 3.7 "
W 1.2 "
H 0.4 "
Volume 1.8 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

These headphones are outstandingly portable. They can be folded up to fit into most pockets or be worn around your neck when you're on-the-go.

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

These headphones don't come with a pouch or case.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

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

7.5
Design
Stability

The Beats Flex are stable headphones. While they don't have ear hooks, they shouldn't move around your ears too much once you achieve a good seal. They come with four differently-sized ear tips to help you get the best fit.

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

  • Beats Flex headphones
  • 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 veiled vocals and lead instruments as well as dull sibilants like S and T sounds.

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

These headphones have an outstanding frequency response consistency. Once you achieve a proper fit and seal, you should get consistent bass and treble delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.5
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

The Beats Flex have good bass accuracy. It's overemphasized across the range, which some users may prefer, especially for more thumpy genres like EDM. While this can sound warm and full, mixes also become muddy and boomy.

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 continuing from the bass-range into the low-mid, which makes mixes sound a bit muddy and cluttered. The mid-mid is pretty well-balanced, though. There's also a bump in the high-mid, so vocals and lead instruments can sound a little honky.

6.1
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.2 dB
Low-Treble
-4.19 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.9 dB
High-Treble
-3.66 dB

The treble accuracy is acceptable. There's underemphasis across the range, which results in veiled vocals and lead instruments as well as dull and lispy sibilants like cymbals.

7.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.18 db
Dips
1.58 db

The Beats Flex have very good peaks and dips performance. The range is well-balanced up to the mid-mids. There's a peak in the high-mids that makes vocals and lead instruments sound honky and harsh. However, a dip in the low-treble veils the upper harmonics of these sounds.

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

The Beats Flex have outstanding imaging. The group delay is below the audibility threshold for the entire range, ensuring a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our unit are also very well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects such as instruments or footprints in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

0.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.7

The Beats Flex's passive soundstage is bad. The outer ear needs to be activated with sound resonances to create a large and spacious soundstage. However, in-ears like these by-pass the outer ear altogether and don't interact with it. As a result, they produce a soundstage that is perceived as small and as if it's coming from inside your head. Since they also have a closed-back design, they won't feel as spacious as open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features.

7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.189
WHD @ 100
0.139

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. All ranges fall within acceptable limits, which should 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, and our results are only valid when using them with this configuration.

Isolation
7.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-20.76 dB
Bass
-10.18 dB
Mid
-15.42 dB
Treble
-36.94 dB

The Beats Flex have decent noise isolation performance. They only reduce a bit of bass-range noise like bus or train engines, which may not be suitable if you commute every day. They do a much better job with mid-range noise such as ambient chatter and can cut down a significant amount of high-pitched noise like the hum of an AC unit.

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

The Beats Flex's leakage performance is outstanding. If you're working at the office, people around you shouldn't be able to hear your audio, even if you're listening to it at a high volume.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The Beats Flex have an integrated microphone.

6.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
459.13 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.67 dB
HFE
3272.31 Hz
Weighted THD
10.161
Gain
23.28 dB

The integrated microphone has a mediocre recording quality. Your voice sounds boxy, thin, and slightly muffled. However, you should still be understandable to whoever's on the other line.

6.2
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
15.03 dB

The integrated microphone's noise handling is acceptable. It struggles to separate your voice from ambient sound around you, even in moderately noisy environments.

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

The Beats Flex's battery performance is passable. They have a continuous battery life of 11 hours and fully charge up in just over an hour. Beats advertises a 'Fast Fuel' feature, which gives you 1.5 hours of playback time on a 10-minute charge. However, we don't currently test this feature. These headphones also don't have any power-saving features and can't be used 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

These headphones have a very limited companion app. You can turn on and off the auto-pause that activates when you remove them from your ears. You can also turn on and off auto-call answering, but 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 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
172 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
48 ms
Android Latency
57 ms

The Beats Flex have decent Bluetooth compatibility. They don't have multi-device or NFC pairing. However, they do have a W1 chip so you can easily pair them with Apple devices. While they have high audio latency on PC, their latency on iOS and Android is a lot lower, which is better suited for streaming video. That said, some apps and devices compensate for latency differently, so your results may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones don't support non-Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

The Beats Flex can't be used wired. They come with a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones aren't compatible with the PS4. Although they can be used on Bluetooth-enabled PCs, they have high audio latency, which makes them less suitable for watching videos or gaming.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones aren't compatible with the Xbox One.

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

These headphones don't have a base/dock.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Beats Flex come in four color variants: 'Black', 'Yuzu Yellow', 'Blue', and 'Smoke Gray'. We tested the Yuzu Yellow variant and you can see its label here. We expect each of these variants to perform similarly to our test unit.

If you come across another variant, please 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 playback time and can be seamlessly paired with any Apple product thanks to their W1 chip. While they're stable enough for light exercise, they don't have ear tips or stability fins to help keep them in place, unlike the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless or the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless. 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 $50.

Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless and the Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless are similarly performing headphones and depending on your usage, you may prefer one pair over the other. The Beats are more comfortable, stable, and have a better build quality. They also isolate more noise and have a W1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices. However, the Sony have a better-balanced sound profile 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-lasting continuous battery life. They also have lower audio latency on iOS and Android. However, the BeatsX have a more stable in-ear fit and come with a case. They also have a better-balanced sound profile.

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 they have a standby mode to help conserve battery life when not in use. However, the Flex can isolate more noise and leak less sound.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless

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

Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless

The Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless are better headphones than the Beats Flex Wireless. The Jaybird 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 depending on your usage, 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 that you can seamlessly pair with Apple devices.

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