Apple has now updated its entire wireless headphone line to take advantage of the company’s new W1 chip: It simplifies the pairing process between your iPhone, Mac, and your headphones, automatically connecting to your devices when powered up.
As a longtime Bluetooth headphones user, I love the simplicity of the W1-chip headphones. Pairing is a snap once you initially connect the headphones to your iPhone, thanks to the iCloud sync technology, and lag is almost always nonexistent. Now that Apple has several in-ear options on the market, however, it’s time to pick which one makes the most sense for me (and you). Which one is best for your needs and wallet? Read on.
Why the Beats X are the best W1 headphones for noise cancellation
Though none of Apple’s W1 headphone options have official noise-cancellation technology, the Beats X come closest to making noise cancellation a reality: Their super-customized silicone earbuds offer a variety of fits for small and big ears alike, and additional wingtip customization makes for a snug experience no matter your ear shape.
Both the Beats X and the PowerBeats have a more concentrated sound than the AirPods because of this fit: You’ll hear a stronger (but not overpowering) bass line, while the highs and mids have a more tinny, direct push. Podcasts and voices in videos come across clearly and crisply, with no major distortion.
The downsides to the Beats X are mostly individual preference: The Beats X have a rather lengthy neck cord and two “weights” (which — spoiler — probably have tiny lithium-ion batteries in them), which sport the On/Off button and Lightning port, respectively.
In daily use, this cord is fairly comfortable and not too distracting to wear, but exercising can be far less enjoyable due to the cord’s microphonics: If you bump the cable against your shirt or other object, you can get an annoying rustle that can distract from your music, podcasts, or other daily activity. You also have to be careful about how you put on the headphones: If the cord gets twisted, the Beats X can easily pop out of your ears as you move your head or body.
The cord’s built-in remote and mic provide for easy volume controls, but the Siri and phone call experience isn’t quite as good as the AirPods — Siri would frequently mishear words during dictation, and my callers told me the conversation wasn’t as crisp as prior (AirPods-equipped) conversations.