Beats, the audio monster in the consumer market has released the new BeatsX, in partnership with consumer electronics behemoth Apple. The BeatsX are Beats’ answer to the AirPods, and we’re yet to see how it fares. However, this leaves behind the previous in-ear monitors from beats – the Beats Tour 2.0. Now that they have a usurper, the Beats Tour 2.0 has seen drastic price cuts, around 50% off. To see the exact discounts currently at Amazon.com you can click here. At these cut-throat prices, are the Beats Tour 2.0 worth it, or should you splurge and get the BeatsX?
Sorry iPhone 7 owners
The Beats Tour 2.0 have the ancient the 3.5mm plug of yesteryear. The inclusion of a 3.5mm plug means that your beloved iPhone 7 won’t work properly with it without an adapter. The fact that this IEM relies on a 3.5mm audio jack also means that its sound quality can be bottlenecked by the Digital to Analogue Converter in your phone, so a $15 phone paired with these earphones won’t sound as good as an Oppo H1 connected with them. Complexities aside, these earphones are probably being bought for one thing and one thing only – style.
What’s in the box?
The Beats Tour 2.0 come with the earphones themselves, a shirt clip, and three sets of ear-tips, not including the ones already on the earphones. Small, large, and double flange. They also come with three sets of “wingtips”, which help the earphones to stay in your ears while you exercise.
The Beats Tour 2.0 are made of a polycarbonate (read: plastic) body which encapsulates the drivers, and all the electronics. They come in quite a few colours, as well as the Active+ Collection.
Black and Red
Red and Grey
All of these colours look great, as usual with Beats. My personal favourite is Titanium, as I had the Beats Studio 2.0, also in titanium. It also gives it a bit more a premium look. The Beats Tour 2.0 also features a remote talk module just below the left earpiece. It works fairly well, and the newer Tour 2.0’s are more water resistant. However, the water resistant version has more mushy buttons, which you have to press exactly in the right spot. Still, it’s a good tradeoff.
The Tour 2.0’s are reasonably comfortable and didn’t cause much pain while I was wearing them. Be careful, however, that nobody pulls off your earphones to get your attention – the wingtips will snag on your ear and cause sharp pain. Aside from that, they’re incredibly comfortable, and I didn’t notice any pain at all.
The fit on these earphones is okay, but without the wingtips, it’s difficult to get them to stay in your ears, even while sitting at a desk. I found that I had to keep the wingtips on, whatever I was doing. This gets annoying, as it takes an extra few seconds to get the wingtips in your ears every time you put them on. I have particularly small ears, so none of the included ear tips fit me. The only one that I could get to fit was the double-flange tips, but they cause discomfort as they scratch your ear canal as you pull them out.
I ended up using my own Sony Hybrid Tips, which I found are awesome. If you’re planning to use your own ear tips, keep in mind that these earphones have an extra short nozzle, so unless your ear-tips are incredibly shallow, they might not fit the Beats Tour 2.0’s.
The Beats Tour 2.0 are bass heavy earphones. So bass heavy in fact, that I initially thought something was wrong with the high-end driver. I then remembered there’s only one dynamic driver on these earphones. Personally, I prefer multiple armature drivers over one single dynamic driver, as it usually provides better high end and isolation. These earphones are so incredibly bass heavy that they’re more bass heavy than the Beats Studio 2.0’s. The bass extension on these earphones is also really good, right down to 20hz, without much decrease in volume. If you want a ton of thump, go for these.
These babies really do pack a punch for their size, but they fall flat on the highs and mids. Female vocals in particular sound like they’re in the next room and male vocals are distant. These earphones aren’t clear, and the bass can sometimes sound muddled. The drums and bass guitar are really all that you hear. This sort of sound signature isn’t for me, but if you’re a hardcore bass-head, you’ll love these earphones. I’ve never heard any earphones with as much bass as these. For their target audience, the youth, these earphones are a perfect fit.
These earphones are in-ear monitors, so they completely seal your ear canals, unlike the open design of the EarPods. If you’re coming from the EarPods, you’ll be blown away with the amount of isolation of these ‘phones. However, if you have a collection of IEMs like me, you’ll find the isolation lacklustre. Though you can’t hear people who are far away, you can still hold a conversation with somebody close to you, even with music on. I suspect that since the earphones are made of plastic, external sound passes through more easily. As expected, low tones are better drowned out than high sounds, but I wouldn’t use these as earplugs – there’s next to no isolation without music on.
Should you get the new BeatsX instead?
The BeatsX are $149.99, whereas these can be had for half that if you find the right deals. While they both offer around the same sound, fit, and isolation, the BeatsX have wireless capability. I’m not a fan of the sound or isolation, but if you’re looking to get the Beats Tour 2.0, unless you can’t afford it, I’d recommend getting the BeatsX instead.
The BeatsX are the way of the future. Once you try Bluetooth earphones, you’ll probably never go back to wired earphones for casual use. The freedom and convenience that comes with having “no strings attached:” far outweighs the possible slight loss of quality. The only downside of having Bluetooth earphones is the fact that it’s another thing to charge, but you’ll get used to it. In addition, BeatsX sport 8-hour battery life which is more than enough for day-to-day usage. If you don’t like the idea of a super bass-heavy earphone, check out the Jaybird Freedoms instead, though they can be a bit more expensive.
The Beats Tour 2.0 are a throwback to the past, with that “ancient” 3.5mm jack. However, they have an exciting sound signature and have unlimited playback time. They’re also well designed for active use, and look great. All this combined with the lower price tag, if you want style on a budget, these are the earphones to buy.