When Apple’s Beats division unveiled the new Beats Flex back in October, it may not have been obvious at first glance how much of a game-changer the new ultra-affordable in-ear headphones really were, since the $50 price tag belied the features that Apple and Beats had managed to pack in.
Specifically, the Beats Flex were the first sub-$100 earphones to include Apple’s revolutionary W1 chip — the one that was invented for the original 2016 AirPods and still graces many of Beats’ higher-end headphones such as the Beats Studio3.
Before the launch of Beats Flex, the lowest-cost headphones you could buy with Apple’s special iPhone-optimized chip were the $100 BeatsX, and it’s worth keeping in mind that those started at an asking price of $150 when they were first released, making the $50 Beats Flex an even more amazing deal.
The W1 Chip
The W1 chip is the power behind many of the most magical features of how Apple’s own AirPods integrate with the iPhone and iPad, and while it’s been succeeded by the newer H1 chip on all the more recent AirPods models, along with the Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro, there are still many things that the original W1 chip brings to the table.
Chief among these of course is seamless pairing with an iPhone or other Apple devices right out of the box, but quite possibly the greatest advantage that Beats Flex has over non-Apple/Beats headphones is support for Audio Sharing, and at $50 they’re poised to bring the feature into the mainstream.
Since the iPhone 12 no longer packs in any kind of earbuds, the Beats Flex have now become an obvious choice for all but the most extremely budget-conscious customers, and now this is even more true as Beats drops its two newest colour options.
New Beats Flex Colours
When Beats Flex debuted back in October, four colours were announced, however only two were available right out of the gate: the basic Beats Black and the somewhat flamboyant Yuzu Yellow, while two arguably more appealing colours, Smoke Grey and Flame Blue, weren’t expected to arrive until “Winter 2021,” which likely left at some users waiting in anticipation.
The good news is that the wait is over, as they’re now available with shipping times that should have them in your hands by early next week in most cases.
The two new colours otherwise pack in the same features as the rest of the Beats Flex family, including up to 12 hours of listening on a single charge, USB-C recharging with Beats’ “Fast Fuel” feature to give you 1.5 hours of additional playback after a 10-minute charge, and of course Apple’s W1 chip that lets you automatically pair them with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV via iCloud and easily switch between devices, along with Audio Sharing that lets you use any combination of two AirPods or Beats headphones to listen to audio from an iPhone or iPad simultaneously.
While Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro are still the best in-ear headphones for Apple devices, Beats Flex are the best way by far to get iPhone-optimized earphones for those who don’t have a lot of money to spend on the higher-end versions.