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Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX Review

Price:   $150 List
Pros:  Incredibly crisp audio, comfortable
Cons:  Bass relatively weak compared to other high end models, not great for athletics
Bottom line:  Top notch clarity makes for a great listening experience, as long as you’re not working out
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Beats

Our Verdict

Opting for a slightly more subdued design, the Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX provide incredible clarity and a very comfortable fit, but aren't great for athletic endeavors and lack the powerful bass most people would associate with the Beats brand. The great clarity made these the earbuds we reached for when listening to podcasts or watching dialogue heavy movies. If you'd rather watch some explosion packed action movies or listen to some bass driven rock and roll you'll likely want something with a bit more punch, like the Powerbeats or the Bose SoundSport.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Tuesday
August 22, 2017

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The Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX produce an incredibly crisp sound that is great for podcasts and talk radio, but its bass is relatively weak. The design is quite comfortable to wear, but doesn't work great for working out and other athletic endeavors.


Performance Comparison


The BeatsX earned a high score in our testing, and was only held back from a top score by a lack of athletic prowess. Below we discuss all the specifics of the BeatsX's performance attributes.

Sound Quality


The BeatsX fill a somewhat odd niche in terms of sound quality. The earbuds shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, but had a much different repertoire than the other top scorers. While the Powerbeats and the Bose SoundSport both earned top scores because of a good balance of clarity and powerful bass that produced a well rounded and full sound, the BeatsX instead produced phenomenal clarity with relatively weak bass. That's not to say it didn't have any bass, songs still sounded great with these earbuds, but they just didn't have the same thump as other models. But everything sounded amazingly crisp, to the point that we felt like we were listening to a large sound system. This made these earbuds perfect for podcasts as we felt like we were sitting right next to Jad Abumrad when he said, "this is RadioLab."

Calls sounded great with these headphones, with both caller and callee treated to crisp audio. We felt comfortable using these headphones for any phone calls.

Paying more can get you a great sounding pair  like the BeatsX.
Paying more can get you a great sounding pair, like the BeatsX.

Comfort


The BeatsX opt for a simple, elegant design that earned a high score of 8 out of 10 in our comfort testing. The earbuds include 4 earpiece sizes and 2 ear fin sizes, and everyone we gave them to was able to find a good fit. The semi rigid section of cable that rests around your neck feels secure and lends confidence that you won't lose the earbuds if they fall out. The earbuds are also magnetic, so if you take them both out of your ears they snap together and form a necklace, again guaranteeing you won't lose them.

The BeatsX features simple controls.
The BeatsX features simple controls.

Athletic Performance


The BeatsX don't excel in athletic performance, nor were they designed to. They earned a relatively low score of 4 out of 10 in this metric. The ear fins don't seem to provide the same stability as other models, but the kicker is the semi rigid wire. While this sits comfortably on your neck and ensures you won't lose the earbuds, it has just enough heft to annoyingly bounce around when running or jumping.

Battery Life


The BeatsX performed a bit above average in our battery life test, and lived up to the manufacturer's claim, lasting a full 8 hours. This is more than enough for most plane journey's and general, everyday use.


Portability


The Beats X earned a 7 out of 10 in our portability testing, just behind the top scorers. The slim profile of the actual earbuds make them fairly packable, but the semi rigid section of cable prevents them from fitting into the smallest pockets.

Value


At a list price of $150, the BeatsX are somewhat reasonably priced considering the high quality audio that they deliver. If you're looking for something for day to day commuting and not something sporty, these earbuds are a good value in terms of their audio performance.

Conclusion


The Beats by Dr. Dre BeatsX aren't great for sports, but they deliver incredibly crisp audio for general use. If you want to hear all the nuances of a Robert Krulwich monologue, these are the earbuds for you.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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