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Beats Flex in the test 2021: Apple s cheapest Bluetooth headphones

Beats Flex in the test 2021: Apple s cheapest Bluetooth headphones

"Beats Flex" are Bluetooth in-ear headphones with a neckband that, despite the relatively low price, score points with exclusive Apple technology. xiaomist audio expert Stefan has been using the successor to the "Beats X" for several months.

Update from November 1st, 2021: Attention, price increase! The Beats Flex was already more expensive last month, it now costs 69.95 euros (RRP) instead of 49.95 euros (RRP) at Apple.

Bargain hunters have to hurry before the retail trade goes up in price across the board. You can currently get the Beats Flex very cheaply at Saturn for 39.99 euros in inventory sales or at MediaMarkt (also 39.99 euros).

Original article:

Not every iPhone user can or wants to afford AirPods (Pro). Apple has apparently recognized this and is submitting a model under the in-house label "Beats by Dr.Dre" (bought by Apple in 2014) that surprised many industry observers when it was presented. The Beats Flex costs less than 50 euros (RRP when it was launched in 2020) - that's only a third of the price that was called for the predecessor (149 euros RRP, Beats X from 2016) when it went on sale.

One wonders: Are the over-the-top times with rappers, rock stars, athletes and fat basses finally over? Will Beats become the common sense brand for price-performance fetishists? For my part, I say: Yes, Beats by Dr. Dre has grown up.

Beats Flex in the test: conclusion

The Beats Flex scores with assertive sound, decent battery life (up to 12 hours), fast Bluetooth pairing and a special Apple chip. This means that the neckband model joins a series of recommendable Beats products such as the Powerbeats Pro or the Solo Pro - with the difference that the Beats Flex, with its attractive price, is the first for the entry-level class, without the basic requirements such as sound quality and functions disregard. The takeover by Apple has probably been good for the brand.

My recommendation: The Beats Flex is the right accessory for all iPhone 12 buyers (mini, Pro, Max) - because the 2020 iPhones no longer come with headphones. The Beats Flex is inexpensive without looking "cheap". These headphones cannot fulfill the wishes of fine music enthusiasts and technology fans with the highest demands - but they can save the average buyer from blindly reaching into the fantasy-brand mess on the Amazon rummaging table. In other words: Before you get yourself an undignified 29-euro fake AirPods, you'd better make a few more euros and get the Beats Flex.


rich sound with deep bass and rounded highs good sound quality when making calls (headset function) practical functions: auto-pause and fast Bluetooth pairing with iOS devices competitive price-performance ratio


sound somewhat poor in details not protected against dust, water and sweat (no IPX certification) cable initially somewhat rigid (becomes more flexible over time)

Beats Flex in the test: rating

Sound: 7/10 Carrying comfort: 8/10 Hardware, design & functions: 8/10 Battery: 7/10

Overall: 7.5 / 10

Addendum from March 9th, 2021: Our test sample of the Beats Flex has been in daily use for half a year now and continues to inspire: The battery easily lasts all day, the processing quality of the cable withstands all everyday loads.

Price classification: Beats Flex and his brothers

The Beats Flex is comparatively cheap. Let's take a look at the prices (RRP) of other Apple and Beats headphones:

Beats Flex: 69.95 euros Beats Powerbeats Wireless: 149.95 euros Apple AirPods (2nd gen.): 179 euros Beats Powerbeats Pro: 249 euros Apple AirPods Pro: 279 euros Beats Solo Pro: 299.95 euros

Sound: a touch of power

In terms of Bluetooth headphone sound, a lot has happened in the past: Even extremely cheap China models from brands such as Anker Soundcore or Taotronics offer usable, sometimes even surprisingly good sound. The Beats Flex starts with this now quite high basic standard - but without being able to clearly differentiate itself from it. The bass is deep and a little raised (not too exaggerated), the highs slightly defused, the mids meaningful - all in all, a power setting suitable for everyday use that ensures listening pleasure. Beats plays it safe with this popular sound profile - a strictly neutral interpretation would possibly disappoint the customers.

The Beats Flex is perfect for trap, K-pop, house and much more on the way to work, to university or to the supermarket. I can't see any serious tonal deficiencies. However, if you pay particular attention to fine details, space and atmosphere, you will not be happy with the Beats Flex - I recommend the higher price ranges, where models like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 present their audiophile top performance.

Carrying comfort: the practical strap

The neckband headphones should be worn cool around the neck in everyday life. At this point, I have to admit that I haven't had this design on my screen for a long time because of all the true wireless models. The U-shaped "neck harness" has quite a few advantages. While you always have to concentrate with two hands for a few seconds to insert the completely wireless AirPods (open the case, take it out carefully, just don't drop it into the manhole), you always have the Beats Flex earphones dangling in front of your chest - just like grandpa and his reading glasses. It's really handy.

The housing of the Beats Flex is secure: a jogging lap is definitely possible, but the Powerbeats Pro with their arched retaining clips are more suitable for parcours or trampoline acrobatics. As with all neckband in-ears, running noises can also be heard through the cable with the Beats Flex - but these are limited and do not disturb as soon as music is playing. The passive shielding from outside noise is high and fades out light rain, but cannot keep up with the active noise canceling (ANC) of the AirPods Pro.

Also interesting:

Headphone purchase advice: overview of the types and current recommendations Bluetooth headphones test 2020: Stiftung Warentest winners and recommendations

Hardware and functions: Generous back burner

I remember the predecessor Beats X - but not necessarily positively. The model did a lot of things right, but it suffered from certain quality issues. My copy didn't last long at the time, and other users also reported cable breaks and other annoyances. How the new Beats Flex will fare in this regard is currently difficult to assess. My first impression of the build quality is good, better than the old model. In a press conference, a Beats project manager emphasized that the focus during the development of the Beats Flex was on durability. Time will tell how robust the entry-level headphones really are.

There is no real multipoint Bluetooth with the Beats Flex, but you can still switch quickly between players (iPhone, iPad): You just have to be logged in with the same iCloud account. Features that you have to do without are (officially certified) waterproofness and active noise canceling (ANC). But you get good operation with hardware buttons (including volume), the connection-stable and energy-efficient Apple chip W1 (as in the AirPods, 1st Gen.) and an extremely good sound quality when making calls (the microphone is on the left in the bracket housed) - all in all a useful package at a fair price.


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