KEY POINTS

  • Apple recently released the new Beats Flex wireless earbuds
  • The new device replaces the Beats X and UrBeats3
  • It sells for only $50 and comes as an alternative to pricier options like the AirPods

Apple has released the new Beats Flex, a pair of wireless earbuds that have a wire tethering both earbuds to each other. The $50 Beats Flex is designed to appeal to consumers who are looking for a nice pair of earbuds to go with their new iPhones as well as those who just want to buy a great-sounding audio accessory that's cheaper than the $130 AirPods.

Here's a quick review roundup of the new Beats Flex to see how it fares against the AirPods and other earbuds.

Features

The new Beats Flex appears to be a direct successor to the Beats X, which had a neckband style as well. The new audio accessory is definitely cheaper at $50, offers longer battery life (12 hours on a single charge) and is easier to use thanks to redesigned controls.

The Verge noted that the new audio accessory might have an older style, but that will appeal to some who don't want the “anxiety of losing a truly wireless earbud.”

CNet also noted that it is friendlier to Android devices in that it has a USB-C port and the Beats' Android app has already been updated to offer support for the new device.

Ease of use

The Beats Flex's controls are different from the ones on the Beats X. On the left side, there's only one universal control button for pause/skip/back and a separate volume rocker. The microphone is located beneath the universal control button.

The device does not have any sensor to detect if the earbuds are worn. That said, it is still able to pause the music when the earbuds are magnetically attached to each other and hung around the neck. Music resumes playback when the earbuds are separated from one another.

Those who use the Beats Flex with an iOS device will find that it can reroute audio output to the smartphone's speakers when the earbuds are magnetically attached. This feature doesn't work the same way for Android handsets.

The Beats Flex features the W1 chip that allows for easy setup and pairing with iOS devices that are synced to iCloud. It also allows for easy switching between Apple devices.

Audio

Both outlets say the Beats Flex sound better than the Beats X and could be a great alternative to the AirPods in terms of audio and price. It is also good for calls.

Engadget noted, “Compared to the $19 EarPods, Beats Flex is better when it comes to sound.”

Verdict

The Beats Flex is a great audio accessory at $50. Its style might be “passé,” as per CNet, but its basic features and audio performance are not. Those looking for a cheaper alternative to the AirPods and don't have any need for noise cancellation will do well to get one.

Apple Beats Flex Apple's new Beats Flex wireless headphones Photo: Apple