The Truth about the New Beats by Dre!


- Okay, these headphones had the chance to be the best Apple headphones ever made by a mile. They'd be like AirPods Max but lighter weight, actually folding, with a better case, with USB-C, and a longer battery life, and cheaper. So yeah, of course, there's a catch. (mellow drum music) (logo blooping) (logo clicking) What's up? MKBHD here. I have a feeling that most people just don't think about the fact that they kind of forgot that Apple owns Beats. Like they bought Beats for billions of dollars and own and run them as a company now. And that's one of the craziest things About these headphones, is if you took the Beats logo and just erased it from the side of these headphones and replaced it with an Apple logo, These would be insane. They're just so un-Apple-like. But instead, they just seem to operate super separately.

So we'll just call these Beats headphones, but these are their new $350 over-ear noise-canceling headphones. It's right in that premium tier of like, You could get the Sony Mark 5s Or you could get the Bose QC 45s, and this kind of slot right In alongside those. I want you to listen to all of the ways that these new Beats are just straight up better than Apple's flagship AirPods Max. So first of all, with the design, Even though they're not metal everywhere, I would argue that build quality is nicely done and will be probably preferred by most people over the AirPods Max. Most headphones are plastic for a reason, and in this case, that means They are much lighter than the AirPods, and the ear cups are still quite soft. They're a very flexible, comfortable pair of headphones to wear for a long time, for like a flight or something like that. And then they fold up, so they're much easier to travel with, and they fold into this reasonable case

with pockets for cables and even this little zippered pouch inside for, Well, I don't know what that pocket is for. Maybe another cable? Whatever, it's there if you want it. And that's a huge win for these for just daily practicality and usability over this. The overall design is, honestly, You can tell already it's very similar to the previous generation from a few years ago. It's got the physical music controls on the left earcup and a power button with a set of battery indicator lights, which is nice, on the right. But it's also a bit more tame like it's a bit cleaner all the way around. Like they've removed some of the shiny, chrome bits and the Beats branding that used to be a little more obvious. Like the text that used to be on top of the headphones, that's now gone. The only downside I could find is these darker matte colors pick up fingerprints, like, extremely easily, and they're hard to clean. And then the shallower ear cup

might be a little more fatiguing. It doesn't feel quite like on-ear headphones, but they're kind of right in between on-ear and over-ear. So the mesh on the inside is touching your ear. Otherwise, yeah, I'd say these Beats, The design is, dare I say, classy. Then there's the headphone jack on the left side, Another thing AirPods Max doesn't have, and it also does come with a nice little, I think this is a three-foot aux cable. So if you're plugging into your source, These headphones will do that. And on the other side, the right side, a USB-C port, not a Lightning port. And through that USB-C, Again, the most un-Apple-like thing with these, You can plug in, It comes with this USB-C to C cable. It's kind of short, I don't know, maybe two, three feet, but you can plug directly into your source for lossless compressed audio. So I can plug this into my Pixel, it charges them, and that's the highest bitrate audio that these can achieve, which of course won't happen with an iPhone, 'cause that's a Lightning port.

They have longer battery life than the AirPods Max. They're rated for 40 hours with noise cancellation off and 24 hours with ANC on, Plus fast charging will get you like four hours of listening in 10 minutes being plugged in. And the cherry on top is they're, like, $200 cheaper. I think if we stopped right here, this would be the best Apple headphones ever made, certainly the best Beats ever made. But we can't stop right here, because these headphones do have a few interesting, How do I say it, quirks about them? A few quirks. So first of all, there is no on-head detection, which isn't necessarily something I care about, but in the world of all the other $350 over-ear noise-canceling headphones out there, They pretty much all have it, so it was kind of interesting to see that these don't. But then even more interesting, These lack any Apple chips. So these don't have any H1 or H2 chips in them. Which to be fair, is also true about, you know, the Sonys and the Bose of the world.

But this is made by Apple and previous Beats headphones have already had a H chip in them. So it's just kind of weird that these just don't have it suddenly. So what does that mean to not have the chip? Well, they're still Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth 5. 3 actually, and they still quickly pair with an iPhone and instantly show up in your iCloud so they're available across any of the devices in your account. That's still great. It's on your phone, your iPad, your Mac, All that right away. But they cannot do the instant switching back and forth because they don't have multi-point connectivity. So that, like, magic moment where like you're listening to music on your computer and then you get a phone call on your iPhone and you accept it and instantly you're listening to the phone call on the same headphones. This won't do that. You'll have to take a few taps

go through Bluetooth settings and switch which one it's paired to. It's not quite as seamless. And then there are some also smaller things like there's no wake and instant pair. They're just kind of always on until you turn them off, which can be a bummer if you forget to turn them off And then they're just sitting around draining the battery. And then the Transparency mode, which is new to these, isn't quite as good as AirPods. And I know that's like the highest bar possible, and I don't know exactly how much of that is the chip and the processing on the H chips versus the actual microphones, but what I do know is the AirPods have a superior amazing Transparency mode and these are just a notch behind. Still fine, it's still fine, it's just a little more dull, a little more processed and muted sounding. These headphones also have spatial audio. They can do the head-tracking spatial audio if you're into that.

And they also show up in Find My on the iPhone, but, huge but, They don't stay always like sort of pinging in the background on the Find My network because they don't have that H chip. So when they show up in Find My, They just show up in the last place that they were on and connected. So if I were to go on a trip somewhere and like fold these up and turn 'em off and put 'em on my backpack, and go travel and then I lose my bag And I'm like, "Ah, I gotta find my headphones," It's just gonna show me on the map the last place that I had them on and turn them off, which is not really that helpful. Now, in the grand scheme of things, Maybe these are more luxury features than absolute necessities, you could certainly argue. But again, you're paying in the realm of luxury headphones. Like being able to separate these with ecosystem plug features, Like, that's exactly what I'd expect Apple to do, which is why it's almost funny that they didn't.

All that being said, I'm happy to say this is a pair of Beats that I would be totally happy living with. As for my Android people out there, They have Fast Pair with Android as well, And they do automatically add it to all of your Chrome devices. So if you have a Chromebook, that works great. Same deal for Find My. It works when they're on, but it just shows the point of the last connection, and it will let you mess with all of the same settings as the iPhone. If you just grab the Beats app, Then you just get that same UI. So, as far as sound quality, Look, yes, they are a V-shaped equalizer with strong bass And not that great mids, but it's fine. It's not dramatic, it's not terrible. It's fun. I think for a lot of different genres of music and watching movies and videos and even podcasts and phone calls and things like that, It is completely fine. I mean, I'd never edit videos with these or anything,

But hey, not bad for fun headphones. Just know that if you're after a more neutral, flat EQ, like you were probably never Considering these to begin with, And that's also totally fine. But then here's the last quirk. Here's the last kind of interesting feature with these headphones. There is technically an EQ, but only when you are plugged into the source via USB Type C. So you've got this C to C cable. I can plug into a Pixel, plug into whatever, and then you're getting your lossless audio, and then, and then only then, can you switch between, There are three built-in EQ profiles. So to change them, you plug everything in and press the power button twice. That switches you between the Signature profile, which is the default, Entertainment profile, which is a little more dramatic and even steeper V-shaped with bright highs and a huge boomy bass, and then a Conversation profile, which boosts the frequencies of human voices.

That's just for phone calls or listening to podcasts. There's no bass at all. And they have these little light codes too that indicate which mode you are in. So you can get the most out of The new 40-millimeter drivers in these Apple headphones by plugging in via USB Type C and then going with lossless audio and swapping between three, baked-in, firmware-coded EQ settings. Wild. Do I wish there was more? Do I wish I could just, like, pull up a graph and toggle and make my own custom EQ myself? Yeah. Do I also realize that most Beats customers would never dig in that far, to begin with? Also yes. But the microphone quality is also solid. The Bluetooth latency is fairly minimal, very easy to watch videos and play games with them. And there is technically no IP rating. It doesn't say it's water-resistant anywhere, but I would wager if I was betting,

that these are probably gonna be okay as gym headphones. You can probably sweat in these and they'd be similar to previous Beats. That's not an official IP rating. That's just me going, eh, the way it's built feels like they'd be okay. So well played, Apple/Beats. These aren't complete enough to completely cannibalize AirPods Max, but for people in the know, They are very, very good and almost complete enough and much cheaper enough to be a really good alternative. And I fully expect to start seeing these on flights a lot, 'cause these are gonna be solid, fun, entertaining headphones. It also seems like Beats and Apple just don't talk. I wonder what's up with that. Either way, that's been it. Thanks for watching. Catch you guys in the next one. Peace.

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