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Are Beats by Dre worth it, or should you get something else?

Fashion headphones have their place, but if you're looking for good sound quality, Beats may not be the brand to turn to.

Published onOctober 15, 2018

Beats Studio3 in blue on a wooden desk.
The Beats Studio3 headphones are huge cans with a steep asking price.

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

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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


Are Beats worth it? Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless earbuds on a wooden table with a Swiss Army Knife in the foreground and sunglasses in the background.
An alternative to the BeatsX is the Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless; it also supports AAC.

If you’re keeping Dr. Dre away but want something similar to Beats earbuds, there are plenty of worthwhile, value-packed alternatives.

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.

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