BeatsX vs. AirPods 2: Which should you buy?

Though neither the BeatsX or AirPods have official noise-cancellation technology, the BeatsX come closest to making noise cancellation a reality: Their super-customized silicone earbuds offer a variety of fits for small and big ears alike, and additional wingtip customization makes for a snug experience no matter your ear shape.

A big win for the AirPods is their Apple-specific features. While Beats has the W1 chip, making pairing easier, only the AirPods offer Auto Pause when you remove an earbud, and that same accelerometer technology lets the AirPods automatically connect when you remove them from their case. Plus, the new H1 chip in the AirPods 2 is more efficient and faster than the W1.

Key differences

The differences between the BeatsX and AirPods aren't too huge, as they both use Apple's custom chips to connect to your iPhone or iPad super fast. Neither pair of headphones has any sweat or water resistance, and both devices can charge up a couple of hours of battery life in mere minutes using fast fuel.

The main differences mostly lie in the functionality and battery life of each device. For example, the AirPods rely on Siri to turn up and down the volume, while the BeatsX has more traditional inline controls. Of course, this also means that the BeatsX aren't entirely wireless, so they do come with a neck cord. The BeatsX also lack the impressive and useful auto pause feature of the AirPods, and don't have a charging case that holds battery life.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 BeatsXAirPods 2
Battery life8 hours5 hours (24 with case)
Fast Fuel5 mins = 2 hours15 mins = 3 hours
Custom fitYesNo
Auto pauseNoYes
SiriSiri with RemoteTalkYes, dual beam-forming mics
Hey, SiriNoYes

For most people, the BeatsX is likely the better choice. While they may not have all the fanciest features of the AirPods, the BeatsX will fit your ears a lot better, and the customized fit offers more sound isolation to prevent outside noise from bleeding into your music. Plus, it's eight hours of battery life is nothing to scoff at — that should get you through the work day — and with only five minutes of charging giving you two hours of play time, that should be enough to get you through 99% of life just fine.

I'm not saying that the AirPods are bad. In fact, they're still probably the most elegantly designed and user-friendly product Apple has ever made. The auto pausing feature is a huge help in everyday life, and all you have to do is pull out one of the AirPods and your audio stops instantly, letting you carry out a quick conversation or phone call. While the five hours of battery life in each AirPod is less than the BeatsX, for long periods away from a power source, the charging case is incredibly handy and keeping your AirPods charged up and ready to go.

The bottom line is you have to decide if the extra functionality and elegance of the AirPods is worth an extra $40 — $80 if you're looking to get the wireless charging case — because the BeatsX do a fantastic job of providing a similar experience for less.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.