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 slightly heavier than necessary neck cord and low eight-hour battery life can cause some annoyances.
- Lightning cable charging
- Quicker fast charge
- Inline controls
- Great passive noise-canceling
- 8-hour battery life
- Heavier neck cord
You get the same great sounds you would expect from headphones sporting the Beats label, but the Powerbeats3 take it up a notch by including some mild water resistance to ensure your sweaty workouts can stay fueled with sound.
- Water resistant
- Inline controls
- 12-hour battery
- Lighter neck cord
- More expensive
- microUSB charging
The similarities between the BeatsX and Powerbeats3 headphones far outweigh the differences. Both pairs of headphones are equipped with the W1 chip, making the pairing process between your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and your headphones as seamless as possible, and both pairs of headphones even often different sizes of ear tip in the box so you can achieve the best fit possible.
When it comes to controlling the playback, the BeatsX and Powerbeats3 both have inline controls to pause/play and deal with volume control. Plus, both headphones come equipped with a mic for taking calls or using Siri.
A quick breakdown of the differences
The few key differences come down to battery life and charge time. While the BeatsX only has a quoted battery life of eight hours, it does get more playback time out of a quick five minutes of charging than the Powerbeats3 will. Plus, it's important to note that the Powerbeats3 come with a microUSB charging cable rather than a Lightning cable like the BeatsX, meaning you'll have to carry around an extra cord while you're on the go.
|Header Cell - Column 0||BeatsX||Powerbeats3|
|Battery life||8 hours||12 hours|
|W1 connection||Yes, after power on||Yes, after power on|
|Fast Fuel||5 mins = 2 hours||5 mins = 1 hour|
|Siri||Siri with RemoteTalk||Siri with RemoteTalk|
Frankly, the BeatsX and Powerbeats3 are so similar, that you could go with either option. The battery life is definitely something to consider, as on average, you will receive more time on the 12-hour battery of the Powerbeats3, even with the fast top-up capabilities of the BeatsX.
If you need a pair of earbuds that fit well, have some solid noise isolation, and aren't too worried about getting them sweaty, then the BeatsX will do you just fine. Of course, if you plan on working out a lot and need a product that's not going to crap out on you every time you hit the gym, the Powerbeats3 offers everything the BeatsX can and more.
Go for BeatsX if you want to spend less
The bottom line is you have to decide if the mild water resistance, the lighter neck cord, and all-around comfort the Powerbeats3 give you at the gym are worth an extra $20 because the BeatsX does a fantastic job of providing a similar experience for less.
W1 chip for less
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.
Water resistance plus a longer battery might outweigh the lower price
However, if you plan on working out or are worried about getting the BeatsX wet, you might want to consider shelling out the extra money for the Powerbeats3.
Sweat-resistant for workouts
Apple's official sweat- and water-resistant W1 headphones are the only choice for those who have shorted out regular headphones in the past: Their 12-hour battery life should be more than enough for even the hardiest adventurers.
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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.