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The New $50 Beats Flex Promises an AirPods-Like Experience for Less

Illustration for article titled The New $50 Beats Flex Promises an AirPods-Like Experience for Less

Photograph: Beats

In all the joy of Apple’s iPhone 12 announcement, you’ll be forgiven for lacking a small element: The brand new iPhones will ship with out a pair of wired earbuds within the field. Which means in the event you don’t have have already got a pair laying round, you’ll have to purchase some ‘buds. Conveniently, Apple-owned headphone maker Beats simply took the wraps off its newest earbuds, the $50 Beats Flex, that are formally the most affordable pair of earbuds that Apple makes—they usually supply the identical sort of iPhone compatibility you get with the a lot pricier AirPods. With the vacations simply across the nook, properly, it appears fairly clear what Apple’s technique is right here.

However Beats Flex appears to have rather a lot to supply. The brand new earbuds are the following technology of the traditional neckband design of Beats X, which price $150 once they launched. And whereas utterly wi-fi appears normal now, not everybody needs (or needs to spend cash on) a pair of tiny earbuds that may be simply separated or misplaced.

After all, Bluetooth neckband earbuds are a dime a dozen. What units Beats Flex aside is its compatibility with iPhones. The Flex contains Apple’s W1 chip, which implies all it’s important to do is energy up the earbuds subsequent to your iPhone and they’ll pair immediately. You additionally get AirPods options like the flexibility to simply change the Apple machine you’re listening from, share audio with pals who’re utilizing one other pair of Beats ‘buds or AirPods, and test the Flex’s battery standing in your iPhone.

Not like AirPods, nevertheless, Beats Flex sports activities a USB-C port as an alternative of Lightning (hallelujah!). The Flex guarantees 12-hour battery life and a 10-minute fast cost that provides 1.5 hours of playback if the battery is almost lifeless.

On the audio entrance, Beats has upgraded Flex with a brand new acoustic driver and microphone for higher sound, and a few digital processing within the background will additional enhance the audio. The ‘buds themselves are magnetic, they usually pause your music playback when snapped collectively and start taking part in once more when in your ears.

These earbuds will not be free with buy like Apple’s previous earbuds have been, which can understandably make some folks irate. I not often used the included earbuds, however simply having them available in case of Bluetooth emergencies was at all times reassuring. This tough shove to Bluetooth—whereas a very long time coming—can also be slightly annoying! However for the cash, these new earbuds appear to be a fairly whole lot.

Beats Flex can be found to preorder at this time in Beats Black and Yuzu Yellow, and go on sale Oct. 21 at Apple. They’ll be obtainable by way of third-party retailers Nov. 20. We plan to check out them out to see if these earbuds really supply the benefit of AirPods for a lot much less, so keep tuned for a full overview.

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Caitlin McGarry