Reviews: Apple

Sure-fit earphones for your iPhone 7

Unlike AirPods' cordless design, the BeatsX looks almost like any neckband-style wireless Bluetooth earphones.
Unlike AirPods' cordless design, the BeatsX looks almost like any neckband-style wireless Bluetooth earphones.PHOTO: BEATS

The BeatsX's battery life is excellent and pairing it with the iPhone 7 Plus is a cinch

The BeatsX is Apple's other wireless earphone set that did not gather much attention, thanks to the AirPods hogging the headlines.

Unlike AirPods' cordless design, the BeatsX looks almost like any neckband-style wireless Bluetooth set of earphones.

It comes with a stiff, but bendable, neckband with two rectangular-shaped plastic protrusions. The one on the right houses the battery (with a Lightning port for charging), while the other holds the electronics and power button.

Linking them to the earbuds are flexible cables, and there is an in-line remote control (with microphone) sited close to the right earbud. The remote allows you to control volume and playback of music, as well as to take calls.

The neckband fits nicely around the back of my neck, but the flexible cables are too long and brush my cheek constantly during runs. But if you tug the neckband under your collar, the cheek-brushing becomes less of a problem.

The earbuds fit my ears pretty snugly. I like the fact that the earbuds magnetically stick to each other to create a "necklace", so you can just wear it when not in use.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $198

    DRIVERS: 8mm driver

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 21g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

The BeatsX comes with four ear-tips of different sizes, so there is definitely a pair to fit you. Furthermore, it comes with two wing-tips of different sizes to ensure the earbuds "stick" into your ears.

I found the fit to be snug enough for runs without the wing-tips. But it is good to have that extra insurance, unlike the one-size-fits- all AirPods.

Like the AirPods, the BeatsX has an Apple W1 chip that provides iOS 10 users with an easy one-step Bluetooth connection process.

Pairing the BeatsX with my iPhone 7 Plus was a cinch. Just power up the BeatsX close to the iPhone and a window showing the BeatsX with a Connect icon will appear on the iPhone.

Tap on Connect to pair. All of that happens in less than 5sec.

But, unlike the AirPods, the BeatsX does not automatically pause music playback when you take out one of the earbuds.

Beats headphones have a reputation of having too much bass. And BeatsX is no exception. But I was pleasantly surprised that the BeatsX's bass, while having that oomph, was not over-powering.

It is the BeatsX's mids and highs that disappoint. The highs tend towards shrieking at some instances, while the mids lack the clarity of its competitors.

But if you are wearing the BeatsX for runs, workouts or commutes, it is good enough. If you want to read a book while listening to classical music on a lazy Sunday afternoon, BeatsX might not be ideal.

But the quality of calls with BeatsX is great. I could hear incoming calls clearly, while my callers reported crystal-clear reception.

Battery life is excellent too. It lasts for nearly 8hr on a full charge. If the BeatsX's battery is flat, a quick 5min charge will ensure 45min of usage.

•Verdict: The BeatsX earphones will fit your ears and provide seamless connection to your iPhone 7, but mind some design issues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Sure-fit earphones for your iPhone 7'. Print Edition | Subscribe