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Beats Flex Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Oct 19, 2021 at 09:38 am
Beats Flex Wireless Picture
6.9
Neutral Sound
7.7
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
5.3
Wired Gaming
6.0
Phone Calls
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Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats Flex Wireless are colorful budget-friendly in-ears with a neck cable. They have a simple, comfortable, and lightweight design that feels well-built. Thanks to their W1 chip, it's also easy to seamlessly pair them with different Apple devices. However, while fans of EDM and hip-hop may enjoy their bass-heavy sound profile, they lack an EQ to finetune their sound to your liking. Their companion app also lacks a lot of functionality and doesn't offer that many extra features.

Our Verdict

6.9 Neutral Sound

The Beats Flex are okay for neutral sound. Their bass-heavy sound profile is better-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, especially as their underemphasized treble range veils vocals and dull sibilants. Due to their closed-back, in-ear design, they also don't have a very immersive soundstage. Their companion app is very limited and doesn't have an EQ or presets to allow you to adjust their sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
Cons
  • No EQ.
7.7 Commute/Travel

The Beats Flex are good for commute and travel. They're comfortable, lightweight, and can be worn around your neck when you're on the go. Since they're fairly small in size and have a flexible plastic and silicone design, you can easily stash them in most pockets or bags without an issue. They have an 11-hour continuous battery life, which should be enough for daily commutes. Unfortunately, they struggle to isolate bass range against noise like bus or plane engines.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • Struggles to cut down bass-range noise.
8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Beats Flex are great for sports and fitness. They have a very comfortable fit and should stay in place during workouts, although, unlike some sports-oriented headphones, they don't have stability fins or ear hooks. They're well-built and have a lightweight, portable design. Unfortunately, they lack an IP rating for dust or water resistance.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • No IP rating.
7.0 Office

The Beats Flex are decent for office use. These headphones have a comfortable fit and have over 11 hours of continuous battery life, which should last through long days at the office. While they don't have active noise cancelling (ANC), they can still passively cut down a fair bit of ambient chatter around you. They also don't leak a lot of audio, so you can listen to your audio at a high volume without disturbing others around you.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
  • Reduces mid-range noise like office chatter.
Cons
  • No EQ.
  • No NFC or multi-device pairing.
5.4 Wireless Gaming

The Beats Flex are Bluetooth-only headphones. While you can use them via Bluetooth on PCs, their latency is likely too high to be recommended for gaming.

5.3 Wired Gaming

The Beats Flex are Bluetooth-only headphones, and you can't use them wired.

6.0 Phone Calls

The Beats Flex are passable for phone calls. Their integrated mic has a mediocre recording quality, so your voice sounds muffled and thin over the phone. It struggles to separate your voice from background noise, even in moderately loud environments. They also don't do a very good job isolating you from bass-range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines, although they can passively isolate you from a good amount of mid-range noise like ambient conversation.

Pros
  • Comfortable, stable fit.
Cons
  • Mediocre performing integrated mic.
  • 6.9 Neutral Sound
  • 7.7 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.3 Wired Gaming
  • 6.0 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  2. Updated Jan 06, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Jan 04, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Beats Flex have a sleek and simple design that looks very similar to the Beats BeatsX Wireless. They have a neckband cable that gives them a slightly more sporty look. However, unlike the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless, they don't have ear-hooks. They come in four color variants to better suit your style: 'Black', 'Yuzu Yellow', 'Smoke Grey', and 'Blue'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Beats Flex are comfortable in-ear headphones. They don't have a deep in-ear fit, and the cable is lightweight and shouldn't be tiring to wear. Unfortunately, the ear tips can fall out of your ears if they don't form a good seal, but on the plus side, there are a few different sizes of silicone tips included so you can find the best fit for you.

6.8
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The in-line control scheme is okay. It includes a lot of functions, but isn't the most intuitive. There are audio cues for some commands, but the multi-purpose button on the left module used for most functions isn't very clicky.

Left module:

Rocker

  • Press upper side: Raises volume.
  • Press lower side: Lowers volume.

Multi-purpose button

  • Press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends a call.
  • Double press: Skips a track forward.
  • Triple press: Skips a track backward.
  • Press and hold: Activates voice assistant or rejects an incoming call.
  • Double press and hold: Scans forward through a track.
  • Triple press and hold: Scans backward through a track.

Right module:

Power button

  • Press and hold: Turns earbuds on or off.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 °C

Like most in-ear headphones, the Beats Flex Wireless are very breathable. They don't trap very much heat against your ears and shouldn't make you sweat more than usual if you use them during workouts.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 3.7" (9.4 cm)
W 1.2" (3.0 cm)
H 0.4" (1.0 cm)
Volume 1.80 in³ (29.50 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

These are very portable headphones, like most in-ears. Thanks to their flexible design, you can easily fold them up to fit into most pockets or bags. Since they have a neck cable design, you can also wear them around your neck when you're on the move.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have a good build quality. They're mostly made of silicone and plastic, which makes them very flexible. They also feel durable enough to survive a couple of accidental drops. However, the ear tips seem like they could easily rip, and they don't have an IP rating for dust and water resistance.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Beats Flex have good stability. Although they don't have ear hooks or stability fins, once you achieve a good seal, they should stay in place during workouts and casual listening sessions.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Beats Flex Wireless earphones
  • 4x ear tips
  • USB-C to USB-C charging cable
  • Manuals
  • Beats sticker

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
2.91 dB
Treble Amount
-3.39 dB

The Beats Flex have a bass-heavy sound profile, which is well-suited for thumpy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Unfortunately, their treble is underemphasized, resulting in veiled vocals and lead instruments as well as dull sibilants like S and T sounds. Unfortunately, they lack an EQ to help tweak their sound to your liking.

9.1
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.19 dB

These headphones have outstanding frequency response consistency. Once you achieve a proper fit and seal, you should get consistent bass and treble delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.56 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
4.22 dB
Mid-Bass
4.36 dB
High-Bass
3.21 dB

The Beats Flex have good bass accuracy. The entire range is overemphasized, so mixes have extra thump, punch, and boom, which fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop might appreciate. They may sound overly boomy or muddy to some, though.

8.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.85 dB
Low-Mid
1.54 dB
Mid-Mid
0.29 dB
High-Mid
2.2 dB

The Beats Flex have excellent mid accuracy. The range is fairly flat, which keeps vocals and lead instruments present in your mixes. However, the bump in the high-mid can make vocals and lead instruments sound a little honky.

6.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.2 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.9 dB
Low-Treble
-4.19 dB
High-Treble
-3.66 dB

The treble accuracy is acceptable. It's underemphasized across the range, so vocals and lead instruments are veiled while sibilants like S and T sounds are dull and lispy.

7.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.18 dB
Dips
1.58 dB

The Beats Flex have very good peaks and dips performance. There aren't too many peaks and dips overall, but a peak in the high-mid adds harshness to vocals and lead instruments, and a bigger dip in the low-treble veils the upper harmonics of these sounds.

9.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.13
Weighted Phase Mismatch
0.8
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.17
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
0.76

The Beats Flex have outstanding imaging. The group delay is below the audibility threshold for the entire range, ensuring a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers of our unit are also very well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects such as instruments or footprints in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently.

0.8
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.7

The Beats Flex's passive soundstage is bad, which is to be expected for closed-back in-ears. To create a large and out-of-head soundstage, the outer ear needs to be activated by sound resonances. However, by design, in-ears bypass the outer ear altogether. As a result, the soundstage is perceived as small and as if it's coming from inside your head. Since they also have a closed-back design, they won't seem as spacious as open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.189
WHD @ 100
0.139

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. There's a slight peak between the low to mid-treble, but it shouldn't be very noticeable. All ranges fall within acceptable limits, which should result in clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
3.7.2
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones, and our results are only valid when using them with this configuration.

Isolation
7.1
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-20.76 dB
Bass
-10.18 dB
Mid
-15.42 dB
Treble
-36.94 dB

The Beats Flex have a decent noise isolation performance. They reduce some bass-range sounds like bus and plane engines but still aren't ideal for cutting out noise during a trip or commute. Ηowever, they do a good job of reducing mid-range noise like ambient conversations, and they can also cut out a significant amount of higher-pitched noise like the hum of an A/C unit.

9.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
24.73 dB

The Beats Flex's leakage performance is outstanding. If you're working at the office, people around you shouldn't be able to hear your audio, even if you're listening to it at a high volume.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
6.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
459.13 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.67 dB
HFE
3,272.31 Hz
Weighted THD
10.161
Gain
23.28 dB

The integrated microphone has a mediocre recording quality. Your voice sounds boxy, thin, and slightly muffled. However, you should still be understandable to whoever's on the other end of the line.

5.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
15.03 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated microphone's noise handling is disappointing. The mic struggles to separate your voice from background noise, even in a moderately loud environment like a busy street.

Active Features
6.2
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
11 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
11 hrs
Charge Time
1.2 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Beats Flex's battery performance is passable. They have a continuous battery life of 11 hours and fully charge up in just over an hour. Beats also advertise a 'Fast Fuel' feature, which gives you 1.5 hours of playback time on a 10-minute charge. Ηowever, battery performance can vary with real-life usage, so your experience may vary. These headphones also don't have any power-saving features and can't be used while charging.

5.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Beats
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones have a disappointing companion app. You can turn on and off the auto-pause that activates when you remove them from your ears. You can also turn on and off auto-call answering, but that's about it.

Connectivity
7.3
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0+W1 chip
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
305.00 ft (92.96 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
173 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
30 ms
Android Latency
96 ms

The Beats Flex have decent Bluetooth compatibility. They don't have multi-device or NFC pairing. However, unlike the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless, they have a W1 chip so you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices. While they have high audio latency on PC, their latency on iOS and Android is a lot lower, making them better suited for streaming video. That said, some apps and devices compensate for latency differently, so your results may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use the Beats Flex wired. They come with a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can use these headphones wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, but can't connect any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

They aren't compatible with PlayStation consoles.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones aren't compatible with the Xbox consoles.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Beats Flex come in four color variants: 'Black', 'Yuzu Yellow', 'Blue', and 'Smoke Gray'. We tested the Yuzu Yellow variant, and you can see its label here. We expect each of these variants to perform similarly to our test unit.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Beats Flex are simple, colorful in-ears with a neck cable design. They have 11 hours of continuous playback time and can be seamlessly paired with any Apple product, thanks to their W1 chip. While they're stable enough for light exercise, they don't have ear tips or stability fins to help keep them in place, unlike the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless or the Beats Powerbeats 4 Wireless. Their companion app also doesn't offer a lot of extra features either.

Check out our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the best wireless earbuds for iPhone, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $50.

Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless and the Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless are similarly performing headphones, and depending on your usage, you may prefer one pair over the other. The Beats are more comfortable, stable, and have a better build quality. They also isolate more noise and have a W1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices. However, the Sony have a better-balanced sound profile, which some users may prefer, and longer continuous battery life.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless and the Sony WI-C310 Wireless are similarly performing headphones, and depending on your usage, you may prefer one pair over the other. The Beats are more comfortable, better-built, and have a more stable fit. They also have a W1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with Apple devices. However, the Sony have a better-balanced sound profile, which some users may prefer, and longer continuous battery life.

Beats BeatsX Wireless

The Beats Flex Wireless are better in-ears for most uses than the Beats BeatsX Wireless. The Flex are more comfortable, feel better built, and have longer-lasting continuous battery life. They also have lower audio latency on iOS and Android. However, the BeatsX have a more stable in-ear fit and come with a case. They also have a better-balanced sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are better wireless headphones for sports and fitness than the Beats Flex Wireless. The Powerbeats Pro have a more stable fit and a better-balanced sound profile. Their carrying case also offers an additional charge, giving them over 22 hours of continuous battery life, and they have a standby mode to help conserve battery life when not in use. However, the Flex can isolate against more noise and leak less sound.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Beat Flex Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Flex have a more stable in-ear fit, a longer continuous battery life, and have a W1 chip for seamless pairing with your Apple devices. However, the Studio Buds have a truly wireless design, which some users may prefer. 

Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless

The Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless are better headphones than the Beats Flex Wireless. The Jaybird are better built and have a more neutral sound profile. They also have longer-lasting battery life, and their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets to help tweak their sound. However, the Beats are more comfortable.

Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019

The Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 and the Beats Flex Wireless offer similar performances, and depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. The Anker come with a hard case and are more stable. They also have a better-balanced sound profile and a longer-lasting continuous battery life. However, the Beats feel better-built and have a W1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair with Apple devices.

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