THE Beats Flex is the most affordable Bluetooth headset from Beats today. To reach the mass, the company had to make some cuts, but it guarantees a comfortable design, decent pairing, battery for up to 12 hours of playback and other benefits of the Apple W1 chip from the first Airpods. In the United States, the phone was launched for US $ 50 and in Brazil it came for R $ 579.
Although it was announced on the same day as the iPhone 12 launch, the Beats Flex is not an exclusive headset for Apple customers, on the contrary. This is also a product for Android users, so much so that Apple has adopted USB Type C instead of Lightning (whew!). But does it please? I evaluated the successor to BeatsX and share my impressions below.
Video Beats Flex review
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Design and comfort
Like the Powerbeats, the Beats Flex is a wireless headset, but not quite like the Powerbeats Pro. The most affordable model has the mission of replacing the BeatsX, launched four years ago in Brazil for about R $ 800, much more expensive . Both are very similar and this design designed for the neck has some advantages already known. The main benefit concerns security, you will not lose the phone easily; it is securely attached to the back of the neck and, finally, your pocket thanks you.
The Flex-Form cable from Beats Flex is made from nitinol and gives a feeling of resistance, which is great if you plan to save and use it for years. The lightness also caught my attention: it weighs only 18.6 grams, while the BeatsX is 20g and the Powerbeats, 26 grams, for comparison. Even with two controls built into the cable, there are no hassles and the product remains light and comfortable.
When testing in an intense race at home, I noticed that the Beats Flex can fall from the ear with ease; on the other hand, during a walk, I felt greater stability. This may not be the best phone for the home office, but I had a pleasant experience and I really enjoyed using the gadget in the office. Perhaps, if it went well beyond 18.6 grams, the situation could be different.
Features and connectivity
Beats had to give up some technologies to make this phone cheaper. The main low is in here: he received the Apple W1 chip, which is older and equipped the first AirPods. This means that Beats Flex will not offer automatic shutdown to reduce energy consumption, nor will it allow Siri to be activated by voice (“Hey, Siri”). You will only find these features in headphones like the Powerbeats, Powerbeat Pro, Beats Solo Pro and AirPods Pro, equipped with the most advanced H1 chip.
Would it be cool to have the H1 on this phone? It would be, but I will not consider this a negative point, especially considering the product category. The W1 still does a good job, it has Bluetooth 5.0 and the Beats Flex connectivity is decent. As always, the integration with Apple products is great: as soon as I turned it on for the first time, an animation appeared on the iPhone 11 screen to connect; then, you can view the battery percentage.
And all of that communication remains on the phone’s interface, with Beats icons appearing on the iPhone. In addition, it can connect instantly with your other Apple devices, thanks to the synchronization between devices from your iCloud account. During testing, I easily switched between iPhone 11, 12 and iPad, without having to pair again.
If you use Android, the experience is different and this process can be a little longer the first time, but nothing absurd. The brand even offers an app for customers of the robot, but it only serves for configurations and does not allow equalization.
I was able to use Beats Flex normally in Realme 7 and, after the first contact, the phone started to connect immediately when I turned on the phone’s Bluetooth. The reach on both Android and iOS (with Realme 7 and iPhone 12) was stable: I left the devices in the office and walked around the house and, even with several walls in the way, the connection remained good.
To control their music and podcasts, the company added commands on the cable. The right control only has the off button, also used for pairing; the left control has volume and playback buttons that, at the same time, allows to activate Google Assistant and Siri. Beats added the USB-C port for power there and it could include a protective case, like the JBL Endurance RunBT, to protect against water and sweat.
The headphones still have magnets that are responsible for pausing the music when you unite them. And to play again, just detach them. It is a legal system inherited from BeatsX to compensate for the absence of automatic pause.
The sound quality of the Beats Flex does not match much with my profile, but I managed to like his proposal after several days of use. For those who don’t know, I usually prefer headphones with a fuller sound and this product won’t offer that. The bass sounds, but they don’t get as much emphasis as the other frequencies. In electronics, for example, it is possible to feel the beats, but it is the mediums that stand out.
The trebles, by the same way, are highlighted and sound clearly. It made me realize that Beats Flex will please that consumer who likes pop – the phone matches a lot with this musical genre, I have to reinforce it. In rock, you may miss more bass, yet his performance is good, and you can feel the drums, guitar and vocals with more brilliance.
When raising the volume, it tries to maintain a stability and does not distort aggressively, but it can happen to congest only in agitated parts of the song. I still really enjoyed acting with podcasts: the conversation is clear and without interference or hissing.
Beats did not use any noise cancellation technology, but this is not a problem, the tips sent in the box are well embedded in the ear canal and even isolate from less loud noises. The conversation on phone calls is good and the person on the other end can understand what you say without difficulty; in fact, the microphone is clearly visible on the left control.
Beats promises up to 12 hours of playback, so 6 hours more than Edifier W280BT and 3 hours less than Sony WI-SP510. And the Beats Flex has a fast charging system: a ten-minute power supply guarantees an additional 1.5h of sound.
In fact, the Apple company does what it says on the product packaging. Fully fueled, I connected it to an iPhone 12 and left it playing music: after 9h20min, they still had 24% battery. And he hung up after 2h45min, totaling then 12h5min of reproduction, excellent.
In the box, along with three pairs of tips, the company added a small USB-C to USB-C cable that carries the headphones, no Lightning, – this is the time when the Android user opens a smile.
Beats Flex: is it worth it?
The Beats Flex is not an incredibly affordable headset, but the proposal is interesting. In my opinion, the product paves the way for total brand freedom – Beats gets it right by adopting USB Type C and by trying to get even closer to Android users, without forgetting Apple customers for obvious reasons. The handset has a firm construction, shape that feels safe and comfortable.
The sound quality is very good, but it is not for everyone. I believe Beats could work to emphasize the bass more, but that’s okay. The connectivity, at least, is stable and, even on Android, there were no pairing problems.
I still felt the lack of IP certification for those who want to use the phone during exercise without worry; protection, it is worth mentioning, is present in Sony WI-SP510, JBL Endurance Jump and Jaybird X4.
In summary, I really liked Beats Flex and I see it as a good option for those who want to enter the brand’s ecosystem without spending more than R $ 1,000. If you are unable to pay the R $ 579 that Beats charges, then it is worth analyzing the JBL Endurance RunBT, which has a similar proposal and is much cheaper.
- Light and comfortable design
- Decent connectivity (on iPhone on Android)
- Has USB-C
- No IP certification