It is time to retire my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
I tried once before, in April 2019, but the iPhone XR I bought then was stolen from the table in a pub (right under my nose) just a couple of weeks later and within a week of moving to Manchester in early May, and the S7 had to be dragged back out of retirement until I’d finished paying off the 12 month loan on the iDevice.
Since that happened, I’ve been keeping an eye on the new phone announcements. OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus 8T, Pixel 5, Samsungs, and of course the Apple devices.
Do I stick with Android, or do I switch to iOS? Again. I’d pondered this once before and wanted to keep a foot in both camps, and I was still undecided. Meanwhile my first generation AirPods that I was switching between my laptop and my S7 could barely hold a charge for an hour, the wired earphones on the same phone were losing audio on the right hand side, and Apple launched a set of £50 wireless earphones.
So, with some trepidation, I placed orders for a set of Beats Flex and an iPhone 12 Pro. This time with insurance. The earphones were due to arrive on Thursday 22nd October and the phone on release date, the 23rd.
Through the wonders of the Royal Mail, the earphones actually arrived a day early on the 21st, so there was no reason not to try them with the Samsung on my daily exercise in these times lacking social interaction.
The earphones arrived in a black box (I’d ordered the black earphones, I don’t know if the box matches the colour of the earphones) with a little tear-to-open strip on the rear.
I downloaded the Beats app for Android which promises easy pairing and it lived up to its name, a couple of clicks and a press on the power button on the earphones and they were paired and showing the battery level within the app.
That is all the app offered though. Even with a bit of poking around I could see no options for changing any equalisation settings or … anything else. Maybe it handles firmware updates, but otherwise I don’t see a lot of point for the app.
Pairing done, and the right size of plugs fitted, it was time to head out.
My usual lunchtime listen is The World at One on BBC Radio 4. As soon as it started I was disappointed. The sound was more like the cheap AM transistor radios of my youth. I’ve never owned a pair of Beats phones before, but from reputation I was expecting them to be bass-heavy, and therefore suiting voice quite well, but instead it was fairly thin and raspy, and well below the quality of the AirPods or even the included wired earphones.
Music was exactly the same, and whilst some small part of me relished the nostalgia of that 80s AM sound, it is not what I was expecting from a pair of Bluetooth headphones released in 2020.
The iPhone is still scheduled to arrive on the 23rd, and I am keen to see if the Beats (by Apple) works better with the iPhone than it does with Android 8. Or maybe if the drivers will open up after a few hours of listening. I’ll provide an update if they do, but at the moment, this is not one of my better purchases.