13 Feb Beats X for Gym & Fitness junkies – A hands on review
Wireless headphones are a refreshing change to the gym-goer who has lived in a world of tangled cords.
The Beats X by
Dre Apple has finally hit Australian stores; at $199, they’re not a cheap piece of luxury.
For those who have tolerated the corded headphones since – forever – these are a refreshing change. The true sense of freedom is liberating without having to make any of the sacrifices that once came with owning wireless headphones.
We’re going to do our BeatsX review on:
- Their performance
- The build quality
- Ear fit while exercising (especially running)
- Battery life
Performance for wireless headphones means many things for the average gym-goer. Not only should they sound great, but they should also do a great job at blocking out any background noise. If your gym is anything like mine, the ambient sound is usually a little high. Blaring dance or pop music can often kill your jam, so a set of good noise cancelling headphones are a must.
The BeatsX do not disappoint. The noise cancellation is great, although not perfect.
BeatsX uses passive noise cancellation, which does not do as well compared to active noise cancellation. However once you put your music at over 90%, any background noise will be impossible to hear. I even tried them on while using a vacuum cleaner – couldn’t hear a thing.
Let me answer the question on everyone’s mind. Do the BeatsX sound better that then supplied Apple headphones? Yes, they do.
That’s simply because of the noise cancelation. The Earpods by Apple are not designed to cancel out background noise, and because of that, you can’t really get a great audio experience.
Wireless headphones have had a average reputation for audio quality. The sound quality for BeatsX is good, but not great. I’m sure both you and I can find a cheaper, wired headphone that would outperform BeatsX.
The BeatsX does not feel typically Beats. Beats are notorious for huge amounts of bass – BeatsX is definitely not bass-y. In fact, I would say they are seriously lacking in bass. For someone who enjoys a gratuitous amount of bass, these are not the headphones for you.
For someone who enjoys a gratuitous amount of Bass, these are not the headphones for you.
For some people, this actually might be a good thing. Additionally, the call quality is fantastic because of the balance of the headphones.
Tip: For those who do like a lot of bass, Beats X does sound better with the Hip Hop equaliser turned on via the iPhone Music Settings. If you’re using Spotify, you will need to change the equaliser settings in the Spotify app
The wireless range is quite impressive. In my tests, I was able to continue using Beats X while approx. 50 meters away from my iPhone, with many people and equipment in between. I did notice that the audio controls would begin to suffer in responsiveness when I would use the pause, forward or rewind commands. If you were training at a smaller, one room gym, you could even get away with leaving your device in the lockers or bag storage and enjoy true freedom.
The call quality is fantastic. I’ve now replaced all my other handsfree devices at work too as I find the BeatsX to be really comfortable and the microphone sitting perfectly in front of my mouth. The mic noise cancellation is respectable, but the other party will likely hear background music and ambient gym-noises (like the guy that’s always grunting).
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BeatsX feels great, it’s made of high quality materials and it’s cleverly structure into two distinguished sections. The centre part of the of the headphones are made of a thicker ridged and lightweight material that conforms to your neck. Attached on either sides of the ridged wires are the loose hanging headphones, mic and audio controls. As other reviewers have mentioned, this can either fit really well on you, or be too long. Unfortunately there is no way to adjust the length of the cable.
1 Year on:
Over time the center part of the headphones have become less ridged and more relaxed, causing the headphones to droop down when doing exercises like bench press. This is a minor inconvenience and I’m finding myself readjusting the headphones multiple times throughout my workout.
I really dislike the power button. It’s tiny and really hard to find and when you press it, there’s no tactile feedback. You have to take off BeatsX to find it.
That being said, it’s quite functional however, as it has a LED light to tell you if it’s turned on (white solid light) or charging (red solid light) which turns white when it’s fully charged.
The pairing is absolutely amazing, just as Apple has claimed. Within 3 seconds of turning on, the BeatsX appeared on my iPhone 7 (running iOS10) and voila; connected, paired, ready to go. It’s quite magical really.
Just as Apple has claimed, the pairing is absolutely unbelievable. It’s quite magical really.
Beats has not claimed that these are sweat or waterproof, and at this stage, I’m not game enough to try. I would suspect a small amount of water wouldn’t cause a great deal of damage, however if it get’s into the thunderbolt port, it may cause something to go wrong.
The travel case
BeatsX also comes with a handy travel case. It’s great in concept, but I cannot figure out how to jam these things into there without tangling them up. The video makes it look so easy – trust me, it takes practise. Plus these things are made of material that could double as a dust-buster (if you can see in the photos, this thing collects and holds on to dust!)
The audio controls
The audio controls are
spot on OK. The tactile feedback is perfect, the buttons are big and easy to find with just your sense of touch.
Tap once to pause, tap twice to skip tracks, tap three times to go back. Holding the button also activates Siri (on iOS) which allows you to do pretty much everything from texting someone to changing your playlist.
Update: After using the audio controls for nearly a month, I found that the centre button does not register double or triple taps every time. Additional, ending and accepting calls using the single tap function is hit and miss. I hope that Apple can fix this problem with a firmware upgrade. This is a very, very frustrating thing while at the gym.
Ear fit while exercising
Ear fit is important for the fitness junky – it can turn an enjoyable workout and very frustrating workout.
Luckily the beats do not disappoint. In fact, these are one of the nicest fitting in-ear headphones I’ve used. I was lucky enough to fit right into the earbuds that come standard, however there are many, many options that come included in the box.
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Some users (via Reddit) have reported that lying down exercises causes the wire to tug and eventually causing the headphones to come out of your ear.
This happened to me if the ridged-part of Beats X is lower on my trap and upon lying down, my back applies pressure to the cable. With some readjusting, this isn’t a problem, but can get quite frustrating!
Update: After using the headphones for about 6 months now, the ridged part of the headphones are starting to lax and I’m finding myself adjusting the headphones more frequently after doing exercises that require me to lay down.
No problems here. The Beats X could handle intensive sprints and inclines without a problem. There were some issues with the treadmill however, this get’s covered below:
OK, so this was an issue. The Beats X really doesn’t do a great job when you’re applying hard power to the ground. This was most noticeable while jogging up hills.
This is where the Wings come in handy. Beats comes with these nifty wings that attach onto the headphones. These wings swivel into your ear and add additional support so your headphones do not pop out. They do help, although sometimes I did find myself adjusting and pushing in the headphones.
Out of the box, BeatsX comes with 90% charge. In my test, I managed to squeeze about 7 hours of battery life with a mix of listening and talking on the phone.
The 5 minute fast charge is spot on. 5 minutes gives over 2 hours of playback, and in my experience, it worked perfectly.
The best thing about BeatsX is that it’s charged via Thunderbolt. So the thunderbolt cable sitting in your car makes your trip to the gym the perfect time to charge your headphones – never will you arrive with a flat battery.
In summary, the Beats X is a fantastic wireless headphone
In summary, BeatsX is a fantastic wireless headphone. They are very comfortable, powerful and extremely functional. They are a great companion to any gym or fitness junky. With its snuggly fit, noise cancelation, and decent audio quality, you cannot look past these as a new set of headphones, especially if you’re considering Apple’s AirPods. However, if you’re looking for a typical high-bass Beats headset, these are not for you.
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