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Are Beats by Dre worth it, or should you get something else?
If you like the style of Beats and are buying its headphones for that reason, yes, they’re worth it. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that sounds good for the price, then no, they’re not worth it.
Which Beats headphones are worth it?
The BeatsX is recognized as the best all-around Beats headphones by our sister site, SoundGuys. By sporting a minimalist design and including many of the same features as the AirPods sans true wireless technology, the BeatsX is a no-brainer for iOS users in particular because of AAC codec support.
See: Best iPhone earbuds
If you’re an athlete, the Powerbeats3 is your best bet. Sure, the earbuds may appear clunky but that’s because they are clunky. The ear hook design, however, keeps the housings in place and the battery affords 10.5 hours of playback, which is more time than most of us spend working out per week.
Headed to the gym? How long do you typically listen to music while exercising?— Sound Guys (@realsoundguys) September 11, 2018
If you’re keeping Dr. Dre away but want something similar to Beats earbuds, there are plenty of worthwhile, value-packed alternatives.
- Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless. These earbuds provide aptX and AAC support and can connect to two devices simultaneously. Sound and call clarity are both impressive and can be read about in the full review.
- Sony WH-1000XM3. Announced from IFA, these noise canceling headphones allow for 30 hours of playback and are quick charge compatible while improving upon all that was loved about the Sony WH-1000XM2.
- Jaybird Tarah. The Jaybird Tarah is “Made for Google,” IPX7-certified, and provides nearly all of the same features as the Jaybird X4 for $30 less. Don’t take our word for it, read the in-depth review, too.
- Anker Soundcore Vortex. These over-ear headphones are a much cheaper version of the Beats Studio3. It’s aptX supported, provides 20-plus hours of playback, and costs $49.99, with the Amazon $10-off coupon. A full review is available here.
- Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless. These on-ear headphones are far more comfortable than the Beats Solo3 Wireless, are more portable, and feature an effective dual-microphone setup for clear calls. More can be read via the full review.
Who should buy Beats?
Fashion conscious consumers should keep an eye on the Beats lineup. Although Beats catches plenty of flak for manufacturing bass-heavy atrocities, it propped open the door for trendier audio products. So, if you like the statement that a pair of Beats headphones makes, more power to you — just don’t expect them to reproduce a neutral frequency response.
iPhone users benefit from Beats headphones because post-2014 models are compatible with Apple’s AAC codec and feature a W1 chip, ensuring iOS compatibility. This chip, in tandem with Class 1 Bluetooth, means that Beats can maintain a 100-meter Bluetooth range with iOS devices; the convenience and reliability are hard to shrug off.
The rest of us, though, are better off saving our pennies for a higher value product with aptX support, improved durability, and greater comfort.
Looking for more alternatives? Check out these lists.