To sum up this Beats Flex review: you won’t find cheaper Beats headphones than this point-blank - they're a steal. The audio quality may not be top-tier and the battery life is quite average but these are packed full of features, they come with four different sizes of silicone ear tips and the neckband means you won't lose them.
Everyone knows the audio brand Beats, first created by Dr Dre and later sold on to Apple, it’s one of the top dogs in music listening tech. Their devices take some of the top spots across all types of headphones from the best true wireless earbuds to the best noise-cancelling headphones. In the past, products like the Beats Powerbeats Pro and Beats Studio3 Wireless have impressed us here at T3, but you’re looking at spending upwards of $150 on those.
The Beats Flex offer you the iconic Beats style but for a fraction of the price, these are some of the best budget wireless earbuds you can buy. The two tiny buds are connected with a rubber neckband and are quick to pair with your phone using Bluetooth. Read on to find out more about the Beats Flex budget wireless earbuds.
Beats Flex review: price and availability
Available from a number of retailers, you can pick up a pair of Beats Flex wireless earbuds for as little as $39 in the US, £50 in the UK and AU$69 in Australia. They’re the cheapest wireless buds Beats sell. Take a look at the widgets for the best deals on them across the web right now.
Beats Flex review: design and fit
Tiny in-ear headphones, the Beats Flex are wireless earbuds connected by a long rubber cable that sits around your neck, with in-line controls on each side and a built-in microphone for taking calls.
From the get-go, I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of connected earbuds, the cable just seems unnecessary when most wireless earbuds stay in my ears just fine without it. But if you want the extra security from a cable then this one is quite discreet, the cable is thin and the buds themselves are much smaller than true wireless earbuds. However, these headphones measure 86.4 cm with the cable which, to be honest, is too long. It means the extra cable waves around a bit when you run and it can get in the way.
You can buy the Beats Flex in black, blue, yellow and grey. The matte plastic design does look smart and each bud is branded with the famous B in red. To find your perfect fit, they come with four sizes of silicone ear tips. That’s one more than the majority of in-ear headphones so that’s a big plus point. I found they stayed well in my ears, even when I was running around. The one problem with using them for exercise, especially outside, is that they don’t have an official IPX water-resistance rating so they may not cope well with sweat or rain.
The earbuds are magnetic so when you aren’t using them and they’re hanging around your neck, they’ll automatically snap together which also pauses the music so you don’t miss a beat. When you detach them from one another and put them back in your ears, they’ll automatically play the track again.
Sitting nicely on my collar bone, the in-line controls were well-positioned to use. From the round button on the left-hand side, you can pause or play the music and skip through tracks. There’s also a volume rocker on the edge. On the right, you’ll find the power button where you can activate Bluetooth as well.
The Beats Flex will last 12 hours of music in total. A quick 10-minute charge will give you an hour and a half of music. So the battery is okay but you will have to charge them up quite often.
Beats Flex review: performance and features
Because these are just so cheap, you can’t expect them to sound amazing. They hardly compare to their more expensive Beats counterparts. The sound focuses on the high-end and low end while ignoring the mids, which can make some tracks sound a little empty. Because they sit inside your ear canal, they do isolate noise well though which means you can focus on the music without any distractions.
If you own an Apple phone or tablet, you’ll be able to make the most of everything these wireless earbuds have to offer because they use the Apple W1 chip. It’s their older chip but will still seamlessly integrate these headphones into your ecosystem of Apple products. When you power them on they will automatically connect to your iPhone or iPad, and you can then use them with any Apple device that is synced to your iCloud without any extra set-up.
Another cool feature is Audio Sharing which lets you share what you’re listening to with other Beats headphones or Apple AirPods. By bringing them near your Apple device, you’ll just need to tap the pop up to activate it, and each of you will be able to control your own volume. The final Apple-specific benefit is that the Beats Flex will work with Apple’s Find My network which means you'll be able to locate the headphones on a map, or if you’re close to them you’ll be able to play a loud ringing sound to find them.
If you’re an Android user, these connect using Bluetooth but won't give you the features above. You can hook them up to the Beats app where you can switch features on or off. That's limited to automatic pausing and playing of the music as well as automatic call answering which will pick up your calls when you detach the buds from one another and put them in your ears.
The Bluetooth connectivity was actually very strong - I wander away from my phone a lot and they stayed connected even when I was in a different room.
Beats Flex review: verdict
If you’re an Android user then these are simple budget wireless earbuds that will play your music. They have a couple of nifty features like automatically pausing the music when you take them out or answering a call when you detach them. That’s about it though.
But if you are an Apple user then these wireless earbuds have literally loads to offer, from Audio Sharing to being a part of the Find My network, you get tonnes for your money. They’re a great choice for those who don’t want to splash out on the Powerbeats Pro or Apple AirPods for their iPhone. Neither the audio quality nor battery life will blow you away but they’re certainly good enough for buds this cheap.
Beats Flex review: also consider
If you’re hoping to use these wireless earbuds for running or for other workouts, but you’re worried about them getting wet, then you should consider the JAM Audio TWS Athlete instead. Not only are they water-resistant but they also have ear hooks that keep them firmly in place - so they are actually more secure than the Beats Flex.
Another pair of wireless earbuds worth considering if you’re on a tight budget is the Skullcandy Dime. At just $20 / £25 / AU$63, they are seriously cheap. Because they are so affordable, they aren’t going to knock you off your feet but they will give you light, comfortable earphones with decent-enough sound performance.
- These are the best headphones for travel