Updated 3 Aug 2017

Beats by Dr. Dre

BeatsX

Snapshot: The Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX wireless-only in-ear headphones don't have player controls and works with virtual assistants (such as Siri). But how do they sound?

BeatsX
Consumer score
SCORE
Avg price

$230

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Test results

Overall score
64
Sound
?/10
Comfort
?/10
Durability
?/10
Classical
?/10

Good points

  • Good sound.
  • Very good durability.
  • Excellent wireless connectivity.
  • Light weight.

But

  • Just OK comfort.
  • No player controls.

Review

The Beats by Dr Dre. Beats X are wireless earbuds designed for listeners on the go. Beats are now owned by Apple, so while they connected quickly and easily to my Android phone, the connection to my iPhone was blindingly fast. The difference is, as both are Apple products, the phone and headphones communicate via the Apple W1 chip. Just holding them close together (in pairing mode) is enough to connect them.

Apple claims the Beats X gives 8 hours of playback and 5 minutes of charging gives 2 hours of playback. After running the battery down I found this to be true.

The Beats X are earbuds (or “ear phones” as Apple calls them), which I usually find uncomfortable and prone to falling out. They come with 3 sets of rubber “ear tips” (the bits that go into the entrance of your ear canal) and 2 sizes of “wing tips”, which can be added to help secure the buds.

I wore the Beats X to the gym and they stayed in place. But I really wanted to try them under stress against a similar pair. I put one in my right ear and then put my old Beats Powerbeats2 in my left ear. The Powerbeats2 have a hook that goes over the ear. But, after some hefty headbanging, the new Beats X stayed put while the Powerbeats2 fell off.

The least comfortable part of the Beats was the thicker section of the cable that sits across the back of your neck. It felt awkward and heavy.

But how did these earbuds sound? When I first tried them, I thought the sound was awful. But after changing ear tips and adding wing tips, I found they fitted better, with improved audio. However, sound quality was still below what I expected. The bass was barely noticeable and the overall sound tinny.

I found pushing the buds in slightly improved the sound. I imagine that, even with the largest ear tips, the seal wasn’t perfect and I needed a tighter fit so sound didn’t escape.

By Hadyn Green
Technology Writer

How we test

Noise-cancelling models

Overall score includes:

Sound (50%)
Comfort (30%)
Noise-cancelling (10%)
Durability (10%)

Other scores don’t count towards the overall score.

Non-noise-cancelling models

Overall score includes:
Sound (60%)
Comfort (30%)
Durability (10%)

Other scores don’t count towards the overall score.

For our test, we get 5 expert testers to wear each pair of headphones for an extended period while listening to a range of content from various audio sources. Each set’s sound quality was also tested using a reference ear, a device with an acoustic input impedance resembling that of an average human ear. This was also done for noise-cancelling if applicable. The scores from the testers and reference ear are then averaged into the final sound quality score.

The same 5 testers allocate the comfort score. Finding the headphone type that’s most comfortable for you can take time, because everyone’s ears are different. Earbuds often come with different-sized rubber nibs to help fit into your ear. Over-ear headphones tend to be bigger and heavier, so you may need to adjust the headband to get the fit right.

Key data

Model

Avg price
$230
Earcup type
In-ear

More test results (/10)

Jazz
6.4
Rock/Pop
6.5
Voice
7.1
Sound leaking
7.3

Specifications

Weight (g)
20
Cable length (cm)
83
Wired
×
Wireless
Yes
Battery
Functions when battery runs out
×

Features

Noise cancelling
No
Supports mobile assistant (Siri, Google, etc.)
Controls on cable
×
Controls on earpiece
×
Foldable earphone
×
Remote for Apple
×
Remote for Android
×
Travel case
USB charging cable
Extra earbuds
×