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Beats Flex vs Powerbeats (2021): Which Headphones Are Better For Your Lifestyle?

While true wireless earbuds are all the rage these days, there are still plenty of users out there who prefer earbuds with neckbands. This feature allows for greater peace of mind, especially for those who like to move around a lot while listening to music. If you’re one of these people, the Beats Flex and the Beats Powerbeats are two new models from Apple that you might enjoy using. To help you decide between the two, here’s an in-depth comparison that takes their design, audio quality, and additional features into consideration.

Beats Flex vs Powerbeats Comparison Chart

ModelBeats Flex Beats Powerbeats
 Beats Flex Wireless Earbuds – Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Magnetic Earphones, Class 1 Bluetooth, 12...Powerbeats High-Performance Wireless Earbuds - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
NeckbandFlat cableRound cable
Ear HooksNoYes
Sweat and Water ResistantNoYes (IPX4 rating)
Active Noise CancellationNoNo
ChipApple’s W1 chipApple’s H1 chip
Audio SharingYesYes
Hands-Free Siri AccessNoYes
Easy iOS Set-UpYesYes
Android CompatibleYesYes
Battery LifeUp to 12 hoursUp to 15 hours
Weight18.6g26.3g

Design

The Beats Flex are for everyday use while the Beats Powerbeats are designed for sports and exercise.

Beats Flex vs Powerbeats design
The Beats Flex (left) have a flat cable while the Beats Powerbeats (right) have a round cable.

While the Beats Flex and the Beats Powerbeats both sport a neckband, the intention behind their overall designs are quite different. With the Flex, the two earbuds are attached to a flat piece of cable. Also fixed to the cable are the two battery components which sit securely on your shoulders once you wear the earbuds. This means that there’s less weight pulling down on the earbuds, allowing them to stay securely inside your ears. The controls are found on the cable as well to further lessen the weight of the earbuds. As for the earbuds themselves, they’re covered with silicone tips which come in four different sizes. Overall, it’s a pretty basic design but well-thought-out nonetheless.

While the Flex are more for everyday use, the design of the Powerbeats caters more to the sporty users out there. The most obvious proof of this are the secure and adjustable ear hooks. Not only do they keep the ear buds in place while you’re working out, but they’re also quite comfortable to wear even if you have them on for a long time. Another design element that fitness nuts will appreciate is the rounded cable which won’t stick or rub on your skin while you’re moving around and sweating. To add to that, the rounded cable runs behind the ear which means that there’s zero chance of them flapping around while you’re running. Finally, the Powerbeats are sweat and water resistant, boasting of an IPX4 rating.

Audio

The Beats Powerbeats deliver a stronger audio performance than the Beats Flex.

Beats Flex vs Powerbeats audio
The Beats Flex (left) lack the fidelity and depth of the Beats Powerbeats (right).

The Beats Powerbeats are priced much higher than the Beats Flex so that should give you a good idea of which sounds better. The Powerbeats are equipped with the same 12mm pistonic drivers found on the Powerbeats Pro, which is great because the Pro has garnered a lot of praise for the way they sound. You can expect the same punchy, impactful bass on the Powerbeats which should serve you well during your workouts. While the bass comes across as powerful, it still manages to sound tight and is able to let the mids and highs shine through. To help you get the most of the Powerbeats’ bass, make sure to find the correct ear tip size for you to avoid any leakage.

While the Flex can’t complete with the Powerbeats audio-wise, that doesn’t mean they’re bad. In fact, the Flex’s sound signature is very enjoyable and it would take a lot of time before you get tired of it. The Flex’s bass comes through with a lot of oomph as well, something you can expect from all Beats headphones. That said, the Flex don’t have the same kind of fidelity and depth that you get with pricier models such as the Powerbeats. But given their affordable price point, you really can’t complain.

Additional Features

The Beats Powerbeats are more impressive than the Beats Flex in terms of hardware and battery life.

The Beats Flex have Apple’s W1 chip while the Beats Powerbeats have Apple’s H1 chip.

The Beats Powerbeats have the same Apple H1 chip that’s found in the AirPods, giving them a handful of useful features of iOS users. For starters, pairing them with your iPhone or iPad has never been easier or faster. In addition, you don’t need to use your hands to access Siri anymore. Just say her name and she’ll come to your assistance right away. The H1 chip allows for audio sharing and automatic syncing across all of your iCloud devices too. As for the Beats Flex, they have Apple’s W1 chip which isn’t as advanced as the H1. It doesn’t have hands-free Siri access but at least it allows for easy iOS set-up and audio sharing.

When it comes to battery life, the Powerbeats and the Flex go way beyond expectations, both able to outlast the Apple AirPods. However, the Powerbeats win this round because while the Flex have an impressive 12-hour battery life, the Powerbeats are able to last up to a whopping 15 hours on a single charge. That’s a good assurance that you’re never going run out of juice while you’re out on a long run or putting in your hours at the gym.

Verdict

The Beats Powerbeats are for users with an active lifestyle while the Beats Flex are for casual listening.

The Beats Powerbeats and the Beats Flex are meant to cater to very different needs and they both accomplish their respective roles well. The Powerbeats are designed for users who have an active lifestyle, as seen from their well-thought-out elements such as water resistance, adjustable and comfortable ear hooks, a rounded cable that doesn’t get in the way, and a long-lasting battery life. To add to that, they have a thumping bass that will give you the motivation you need to power through your workouts. As for the Beats Flex, they’re great for casual, everyday listening. If you want quality headphones but don’t want to spend an awful lot of money, they’ll definitely be right up your alley.

If you’re wondering how the Apple AirPods match up, you can check out our Beats Flex vs Apple AirPods comparison.

FAQs

📌 Are the Beats Flex noise cancelling?

No, the Beats Flex aren’t noise cancelling and that’s expected from their affordable price point. To get the most out of your Beats Flex, make sure that you choose the right ear tip size for you.

📌 Are the Beats Powerbeats waterproof?

The Beats Powerbeats are sweat and water resistant with an IPX4 rating. This means that you don’t have to worry about getting splashes of water on them.

📌 Are the Beats Powerbeats good for working out?

Yes, the Beats Powerbeats are designed for users with an active lifestyle and like to workout. They’re sweat and water resistant, they have adjustable ear hooks, and they have a rounded cable that won’t stick to your skin while you’re sweating.

📌 Which one should you buy, the Beats Powerbeats or the Beats Flex?

Go for the Beats Powerbeats if you want headphones that you can bring with you to your workouts at the gym or your running sessions outside. As for the Beats Flex, they’re more for casual, everyday listening.

Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.