The BeatsX headphones offer a great low-end sound and a more customized fit, which help the earbuds stick in your ears better. However, the longer than necessary neck cord can cause some annoyances while working out or moving around.
- Customized fit
- More low-end sound
- Inline controls
- Great passive noise-canceling
- 8-hour battery life
- Longer than necessary neck cord
With a seamless pairing process, and a case that holds up to 24 hours of charge, there's no reason not to carry the AirPods with you everywhere. The price is a little on the high side, and the design of the earbuds lets a lot of outside sound into your ears while listening.
- Truly wireless
- Automatically pairs
- Charging case with 24 hours of battery life
- Auto pause
- Hey, Siri compatibility
- More expensive
- No sound isolation
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.
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.
|Header Cell - Column 0||BeatsX||AirPods 2|
|Battery life||8 hours||5 hours (24 with case)|
|Fast Fuel||5 mins = 2 hours||15 mins = 3 hours|
|Siri||Siri with RemoteTalk||Yes, dual beam-forming mics|
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.
Best for most people
Noise cancellation and a customized fit
Apple's cheapest wireless W1 headphones are the best option for users who need a more customized fit for their everyday earbuds and don't mind a neck wire. Eight hours of battery life should be more than enough for most daily use, and just five minutes of charge will give you an additional two hours of play.
True wireless bliss
With all the polish and style that only Apple can provide, AirPods offer a fantastic balanced sound and a charging case that can provide you with power for an entire day. With superb voice-control through Siri and excellent microphones for audio calls, you never have to take the AirPods out of your ears.
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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.