A couple of months ago, my Beats X died. Technically, it did not die, everything worked just fine. I just couldn’t switch it off. Ironically, it only much later dawned to me that this incident turned out to my first disappointing experience with an Apple headphone product that did not have a (working) on/off switch, some time before the AirPods Max were released.
The replacement product for the Beats X in Apple’s line-up is called the Beats Flex. These are nearly half the price of the Beats X. The price might have been a contribution to my decision to – although I wasn’t exactly a fan of the Beats X – order a pair of Beats Flex as a replacement on the spot.
The build quality is comparable to the build quality of the Beats X. The play button and the volume control have move to different places, which is not a big deal for me. It just took me a couple of days and then muscle memory finished reprogramming.
Like other Beats products, the Beats Flex integrate very well into the ecosystem. If you pair the Betas Flex with one of your devices, they are instantly available on all devices logged into the same iCloud account.
Pairing is instant and reliable. That’s more than you can expect from other significantly more expensive products. I also can’t complain about battery life, especially in comparison to the Beats X.
And yet, my experience with the Beats Flex is mixed.
I planned to use the Beats Flex for listening to podcast episodes while outside and for this purpose the headphones turned out to be quite good, at least after replacing the original ear pieces with third-party memory-foam tips. These provide a much better sealing and that makes a lot of difference.
I also (briefly) tried the Beats Flex for music, it is not recommended. The sound quality subjectively turned out significantly worse then the already borderline sound quality delivered by the Beats X, and that concluded the experiment.
The bottom line in four words: voice yeah, music meh.