According to NPD.com, in 2016 sales of wireless headphones were greater than their wired counterparts for the very first time.
I myself bought my very first pair, the Beats Solo2’s around this time last year in New York City, U.S. I figured that it was a great way to get rid of my excess holiday cash and make a saving thanks to the exchange rate at the time. It was a straight fifty-fifty choice between these or a pair of wired in-ear RHA’s T20i which in my opinion are without a doubt the best headphones I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, it’s just a shame about the damn wire and if they were available without it, then I suppose this wouldn’t be my second posting. Seriously though, if money isn’t an issue and if you’re after a high-quality listening experience for almost all genres of music you can’t go wrong with RHA T20i’s.
However, to stay on point this was a purchase of convenience, of freedom, of cutting the cord between my iDevice and my ear canals and at a time where there were rumours about the iPhone 7 already circulating and the impending loss of the 3.5mm headphone jack, I was planning ahead, waaaay ahead.
Fast forward to today and Apple has indeed released an iPhone without a headphone port, the iPhone 7, yet another incremental improvement over the previous generation, it’s a little bit faster, it displays a little more colour, it pushes out a little more sound, the battery lasts a little bit longer, and it comes in black. And after a short delay, Apple have released the much anticipated Apple AirPods, a wireless version of the bundled-in EarPods sold with every iDevice, of course, these are sold separately for the oh so low-low price of £159.99/$159.99 with the tagline ‘Wireless. Effortless. Magical’. According to various reviews that you can find anywhere with a click, they’re a little louder, they have a little more bass, and should sit as well in your ears as the EarPods did.
In addition, thanks to Apple’s W1 chip they’ll connect seamlessly to your iDevices, no lag, no delays, you just flip the lid and pop them in your ears and off you go, good for 5-hrs of listening before needing to pop them back into their case for a recharge, which incidentally can give you up to 24-hours of additional battery life.
All in all, this does sound Wireless. Effortless. Magical. Aligned with other features like sensors that are aware when the buds are in your ears for auto-playing your music, or auto-pausing when pulling a bud out for conversation or I guess confirmation usually, “Grande Cappuccino? With chocolate?” out comes an AirPod! Or double tapping a bud to speak to Siri, but in tech, there is always something else just around the corner that’s a little bit better and I feel like we may be about to see that with the impending release of the BeatsX.
Now, let me just say now that my musical tastes vary some days on my commute I’ll be listening to Arctic Monkey’s, others days it’s Electronic mixes or 90’s jams’ I’ve currently got John Legend, The Weekend, Bruno Mars, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Shawn Mendes, and The Chainsmokers saved to my playlists to name a few, (I know! I’ve got awful musical taste!) I’ve had classical albums and singles when the mood takes me and songs purely based on acapella or violins but I’d be hard-pressed to tell you the names of these now. With my experience of listening to Beats headphones, I can say that they are geared hugely towards bass and pounding your eardrums with that beat, great for the lower end, but sacrificing so much from the mids and the highs but after all, that is what the brand is known for, as well as the good looking cans and highly polished marketing by celebrities and sports stars from all around the world.
However, it’s 2017, people and companies change and this is purely speculation on my part but I think things may be about to change with BeatsX, if Beats, guided by Apple since their acquisition in 2014 tweak the sound profile just enough across the range so that mids and highs are not completely drowned out by all the bass then we may be onto a winner here, dare I say it, a pair of wireless headphones that will be more Wireless. Effortless. Magical. then Apple’s own AirPods?
You see for £116.40/$149.95, that’s about £45 LESS than the AirPods in the U.K you’ll be able to pick up a pair of BeatsX in a choice of colours, you can go for the iconic Apple white or the I’d-rather-not-be-noticed on the tube black, with a cord connected between each magnetic bud, in-line controls (something the AirPods lacks), an 8-hour battery life, Fast-Fuel charging which is a fancy name for 5-mins of charging equals 2-hours of playback, the same embedded W1 chip for seamless pairing between iDevices and like the vast majority of other headphones out there, selections of foam and rubber tips for your comfort and wingtips to ensure a snug fit whatever shape of your ears.
Also, they don’t look like mini electronic toothbrush heads sticking out your head. I mean really?!
So I’m holding on until February when the BeatsX are due to be released and will be waiting with eager anticipation to pick up a pair to test out and report my findings.