BeatsX aren't as remarkable as AirPods, but they offer good sound quality and noise-isolation underpinned by some nifty technology.
What Are They?
BeatsX are wired AirPods. Kind of. They're a pair of wireless earbuds that use a neckband-style design, but are driven by the same W1 chip that gives the AirPods their magic. While neckband-style buds can often have a chunky rigid, well, band, the BeatsX just have a thicker cable around your neck. It is however flanked by two bulkier plastic pills, that presumably house the battery and the smarts.
BeatsX are available in four different colours: white, black, blue, and grey.
BeatsX sound a little better than AirPods, and offer quite good noise-isolation thanks to the in-ear design. As you might expect from a Beats-branded pair of headphones, you get a touch more emphasis on bass, but not to the point where it's obnoxious. If anything the main issue with sound quality is an occasionally sharp high-end, which results in some sibilance; overly shrill high-hats, for example. But for the most part, BeatsX sound reasonably balanced.
They don't quite sound $200 good - they're more than adequate for everyday listening - but you're also paying for the W1 technology with these. BeatsX don't have all of the same nifty features that AirPods do, but they'll seamlessly pair with your iPhone after you power them up and turn on the headphones. After you've done this, you'll also have access to them on every other Apple devices associated on your iCloud, whether it's a Mac, Apple Watch, or iPad.
In terms of design, Apple has managed to keep BeatsX slim while being functional. The neckband portion of the earphones isn't excessively bulky, but it's still semi-rigid, which helps keep them in place if you're exercising or hustling. There's also quite a few different "ear sleeve" choices in the box, as well as optional wingtips if you need some extra help keeping them in your ears when on the go. After I found the right size, BeatsX were a pair of in-ear headphones I could comfortably wear all day.
BeatsX offer up to eight hours of continuous battery life (depending on exactly how loud your tunes are), which is pretty good for a slim pair of wireless earbuds. A five-minute charge will give you two hours of extra playback when the battery is low, while a full recharge should take around 45 minutes. BeatsX recharge over a Lightning cable.
What's Not So Good?
While BeatsX might be powered by the same W1 chip as AirPods, they're not quite as smart as AirPods. As aforementioned, pairing is easy, but BeatsX won't pause music when you take out a bud, they won't resume music when you start playing, and they won't automatically go to sleep. The button for powering them on and off isn't very tactile, which can make it hard to tell if you've actually turned off the pair when they're around your neck.
The cables joining the buds to the BeatsX's neckband are quite long, to the point where they sometimes feel awkward. I'm a little vertically challenged though, so this might not be a problem for you, and in the end, will come to down to personal taste.
Who Are They For?
Do you want a good pair of wireless earbuds with a conventional design and some cool tech behind the buds? Then BeatsX are for you. Well, if you've got an iPhone. They're not quite as impressive as AirPods from a tech perspective, but they're a solid all round pair of wireless earbuds with a seamless pairing process for the Apple faithful.
What Else Can I Buy?
While AirPods sound a little worse and don't isolate noise as well as BeatsX, I personally prefer them thanks to ease of use, lack of cables, and helpful features like automatically pausing your music. The $229 you drop will mostly be for technology rather than sound, but if that's what you want, AirPods are the better buy for you.
Meziu's EP51s are the best cheap wireless earbuds I've used. Priced around $55, they sound much better than their budget price tag suggests. The EP51s aren't perfect, but they're easily the best value Bluetooth headphones you can currently get. Their battery lasts for about four hours, they're hard to dislodge from your ears, and they come with a handy little carry case. The only catch is you'll need to import them through either eBay or a reseller like Kogan.
Bose SoundSport Wireless
If you don't mind a slightly higher price-tag and more of a fitness oriented design Bose's SoundSport Wireless are another solid wireless earbud option. They sound great, are comfortable, and as bonus, sweat and water resistant.