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(Pocket-lint) - Beats has unveiled a new pair of flexible neckband style earphones, called the Beats Flex, and these are the company's most affordable wireless earbuds yet. 

Flex takes a lot of inspiration from its predecessor - Beats X - building the earphones on a soft flexible collar that sits around your neck and shoulders, while the tips rest inside the ears. 

They share a lot of similar features. For instance, Beats Flex will auto-play and auto-pause when you snap the earbuds together, similar to the OnePlus Bullets Wireless. Snapped together, the music pauses, but detach them and place them in your ears and music resumes. 

BeatsBeats Flex is an affordable follow up to the Beats X photo 3

New acoustic drivers developed at Apple ensure the sound has improved, with an upgraded microphone to ensure any voice calls are clearer too. And there's USB Type-C charging. There's no Lightning port or micro USB port in sight. 

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Beats says the Flex-Form cable is very lightweight, easy to wear and super simple to just coil up and put it in your bag, purse or pocket. 

Of course, they feature Bluetooth, but also the Apple W1 chip that first appeared in Beats products around three years ago. It's not the advanced H1 chip that's made its way into newer AirPods and Beats headphones, but is used for similar optimisations.  

This chip enables the convenient instant pairing feature when you have an iPhone. Simply power them up near your iPhone and you'll get an easy popup graphic on the screen for connecting. What's more, it's automatically paired with any other Apple device linked to the same iCloud account as soon as you do that. 

BeatsBeats Flex is an affordable follow up to the Beats X photo 2

Android users will also be able to use the headphones by pairing via Bluetooth as normal and using the Beats app from the Play Store to keep firmware updated. 

It can go for 12 hours on a full charge, which should be plenty for most people, and with a 10 minute Fast Fuel charge you can get 1.5 hours of usage.  

In its continued focus on renewable packaging, Beats has said that the Flex ships in a package that contains the least amount of plastic of any of its retail boxes to date, and is made up of 87 per cent fibre-based materials. The fibre in the box is made from recycled wood, with the in-box product tray made from paper that's easily recyclable. 

As we mentioned right at the beginning, these are Beats most affordable new wireless headphones to date. Beats Flex goes on sale from 21 October at a price of just $49.99 in the US and £49 in the UK.

They'll initially be available in Beats Black and Citrus Yellow, with Smoke Grey and Flame Blue coming early next year. 


Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 13 October 2020.