When Beats first unveiled the BeatsX headphones it’s fair to say we were a little excited.
The PowerBeats3 Wireless headphones are already arguably our favourite pair of in-ear wireless headphones because they offered the perfect balance of cost, incredible battery life and genuinely impressive sound quality.
The idea then of having a pair of headphones that offered all these qualities in an even smaller package was tantalising to say the least.
So did they live up to the hype?
For starters there’s the design. Beats have absolutely knocked it out of the park with the BeatsX in that arena. They’re incredibly minimalist, 1000-miles from the loud products that the company used to fire at us.
Instead they’re about simple, clean lines and a single small logo on each earbud. Glance and you’ll barely notice that what you’re looking at are a pair of Beats headphones.
The design cashes in on a new trend for wireless headphones which is to place both the battery and much of the electronics in the neckband, thus allowing a lighter earbud that should in theory feel more comfortable.
There’s an in-line remote and a single Lightning port which is how you charge them. Yes these are the first non-Apple products that use Lightning as their main charging method.
The main neckband is soft, ultra-flexible and feels relatively comfortable around the neck. We found they worked best when you’re wearing sports clothing, anything more formal than that and you end up having an argument with your own clothes about where they should rest.
In most cases we ended up burying them inside our shirt line so the headphones were directly laying between our skin and the shirt. When we tried to rest them on the outside they would move too much, or start to pull.
So how do they sound? Well this is where the BeatsX falter a tad. The sound is indeed impressive but honestly we found it lacking when compared to Beats’ other wireless headphones, the PowerBeats3.
There’s a slightly uneven balance between the bass and treble that keeps them from reaching greatness.
Huge tracks like Moderat’s Bad Kingdom require a perfect balance between a bassline that’s as floor-shaking as it is punchy and a treble that can cut through without sounding too shrill.
While the bass is absolutely fearsome, the treble is what suffers here; it’s just a tad too aggressive and it’s something we found in other tracks as well.
When you consider the sheer size of these earphones what Beats has achieved is nevertheless impressive. They do sound great, just exactly as great as you’d expect, there are no surprises here. Sound isolation is extremely impressive too.
Compare them to what can easily be considered a rival product like the Airpods and the choice for us is easy: They sound better than the Airpods, have a better battery life and they actually look universally stylish so there’s none of that Marmite effect that you have with Apple’s own earphones.
Who should buy the BeatsX?
These are great everyday wireless earphones. They’re better (and cheaper) than the Airpods in our opinion and look better too. Thanks to their design they’re also incredibly portable too making them perfect multi-purpose buds for both the office and the gym.
Who shouldn’t buy the BeatsX?
So if sound quality is of higher concern we’d recommend the PowerBeats3. Yes they’re more expensive but they cost the same as Apple’s Airpods and are, in our humble opinion, better than both the Airpods and the BeatsX. Of course the design isn’t to everyone’s taste so there’s always that to consider.
BeatsX are available now for £129.99
Best Gadgets You Can Buy In 2017:
Xbox One S
If you own a 4K TV and also own an original Xbox One then the Xbox One S is the console for you. It is quite simply Microsoft’s best Xbox ever, it’s also the cheapest 4K Blu-ray player you’ll be able to buy this side of Christmas. Your games collection will look stunning and if you trade in your old console the relatively small cost shouldn’t sting while you wait for Microsoft’s uber-console Project Scorpio to arrive next year.
Apple iPhone 7
This is Apple’s best iPhone ever, and if we’re honest it’s one of their most innovative devices yet. Its exceptional camera, combined with with a slim, water-resistant body mean that while it's not a leap in design it is a leap in just about everything else. No it doesn't have a headphone jack, but wireless audio is finally ready.
Sky Q as a complete package is the future, not just one single feature.It’s knowing that everything you’ve ever recorded is available in every room. It’s knowing that you can download any recorded show onto your iPad. It’s also knowing that every Sky Q box also doubles as a WiFi hotspot.This is where Sky Q makes sense. This is an all-in-one system, it does literally everything. There’s no switching, no painful tinkering, it all neatly fits together and if there’s one thing us humans like it’s everything working just as it should.
This is Google’s iPhone. It’s that simple. As such there are achievements and compromises. If you’re after an incredibly well-built, powerful Android flagship, Google have given you a truly five-star smartphone. If you’re a photographer, the Pixel’s camera and cloud storage option make this a no brainer. This is Google's first 'made by us' smartphone and it's absolutely brilliant.
Hive Active Heating 2 Review
If your boiler is compatible and you’re willing to spend the initial £249 (including installation) then Hive is one of the most complete smart home systems we’ve ever seen. While Nest offers third-party accessories like Philips Hue, Hive almost fights back by keeping things simple: If it’s got the Hive logo on it you know it works. Components are reasonably priced and the entire system has been utterly rock solid, we haven’t had a single issue since installation.
Amazon Echo works best when you have other gadgets that it can utilise such as Hive, Nest or Philips Hue. On its own its an incredibly smart speaker, paired with these other gadgets though and it becomes the fully fledged conduit to your home. It’s also really good at doing homework. Alexa really is the first gadget we actually felt comfortable talking to.
Roli Lightpad Block
Don't be alarmed by its alien appearance. This is actually one of the most innovative music-making gadgets we've used all year. A large transparent gel-like surface is both touch and pressure sensitive allowing you to create music in a way that's both utterly unique and incredibly intuitive. The accompanying app is properly easy to use and once mastered the Lightpad can become the only tool you need to create an entire song.
Apple Watch Series 2
The Series 2 is the complete package. It’s the smartwatch that we feel Apple always wanted to make. It’s a fitness tracker, health monitor and wellness device that’ll help you stay fit and, just as importantly, calm in mind.
BeoPlay A2 Active By B&O Play
At £299 this is not a cheap option, however for that money you’ll get a product that’s just as happy being your main living room speaker as it is keeping you company on a road trip. The sound quality is truly room-filling and at the high standard you would expect for a Bang & Olufson product. The A2 Active is quite simply one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is powerful but won’t run out of battery, beautiful yet able to work underwater and capable of transporting you to alien worlds through the medium of virtual reality. If there’s a product that encapsulates all the of the best technologies on offer today it’s this one. Oh and it won't catch fire, so that's nice.
At the moment, if you own a PS4 and are desperately excited to get into virtual reality, PlayStation VR is the only place to start. It’s comfortable, gloriously easy to use and when the hardware and software work in harmony it’s an utterly breathtaking experience. Visceral, emotional and yet entirely accessible, it’s a technological marvel.
Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature
Anyone who wants an industry-leading sound but without the usually eye-watering price tag. Yes, these are £699, but when you think that the average audiophile will spend upwards of £1000 on a pair of HiFi-quality headphones these make every bit of sense. They’re B&W’s best headphones ever and they’re quite frankly one of the best pairs of headphones we’ve ever used.
PlayStation 4 Pro
If you’re looking for an affordable (it costs as much as the original PS4) entry into the world of 4K gaming then the PS4 Pro is a no brainer. Pair it with a 4K HDR TV and games look absolutely astonishing. At present most games are simply being given a new coat of paint but going forward there will be an army of titles designed with this console in mind.
The OnePlus 3T is simply a continuation of the ethos that makes OnePlus phones so good. It’s exceptionally well-built, powerful and offers you everything you could want in an affordable and meaningful package. No smartphone will give you more value for money.
Beats by Dre Powerbeats3 Wireless
Beats by Dre
While Apple's AirPods might have got most of the limelight in the post-iPhone 7 world it's actually Apple-owned Beats who have given us the ultimate solution to the lack of a headphone jack.The Powerbeats3 are ultra-portable, durable, wireless headphones that are a doddle to set up and last for days then we’ve found the pair for you. They sound great, they’re comfy, they’re perfect for sports and they last for days. These are very, very good.
TVs are massive these days. They're also really really expensive. The KS9000 then has a very special place in our hearts because at a very sane 49-inches it's the most living room-friendly TV we've seen in recent years. Oh and because it's part of Samsung's flagship range you're still getting probably one of the best 4K TVs on the market.
Sonos Play:5 (2nd Gen)
While it was released in December of 2015, Sonos' newest speaker has played an undisputedly important role in how we consume music in 2016. This was the year of wireless and Sonos continued to show us that when it comes to ditching those wires, they were one of the best.
Withings Activite Pop
This is the anti-fitness tracker of fitness trackers. Boasting a beautifully minimalist design the Pop is all about getting the job done without shouting about it. A simple measurement dial at the bottom shows you varying metrics for how active you're being while Withings' app reveals just how much data is actually being collected. While Fitbit has led the way in Fitness trackers, Withings has been offering even the most resistant consumer a change to start taking better care of themselves./