Beats Solo 3 Wireless Review
The Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones are the latest update to the beats range, with the focus seeming to be aimed at the new iPhone 7 users which must now use a wireless connection as there is no headphone socket on these new phones. We tried them on apple & android phones & they connect to both in a very straightforward manner with no connection issues.
Beats headphones seem to get a bad press from most ‘audiophile’ headphone users – but we wanted to try them out & give an honest opinion to balance out the poor reviews of older products from Beats. Are they just an over priced fashion product for the un-initiated, or are they really any good?
This generation is the first be released since Beats was aquired by Apple in 2014 & the increase in quality over previous models is apparent as soon as the box is opened. Everything is typical ‘Apple’ with great packaging & the same overall experience you would expect from an Apple house brand.
Build quality on the Solo 3 wireless feels good, the all plastic construction might seem flimsy at first but the previous models have held up well with the test of time so we would expect the Solo 3 to do the same. The headband is metal covered in a squishy rubber, a little firmer on the head than we are used to but the design does keep the headphones in place well when walking around. The earpads are nice & soft, covered with a synthetic leather style material which is soft & pliant. I’m not convinced that the overall build quality is quite up to the standards that you should expect from the price tag to be fair, and other headphones just above this price point seem to manage much nicer materials & construction.
Battery life is stated as being 40 hours – this is the best we have seen in the market so far & makes living with the solo 3 much easier. One less battery that needs charging every day is definitely a strong positive in our book.
Connectivity of the Beats solo 3 wireless is aided on the iPhone 7 by the inclusion of the exclusive W1 chip (apple proprietary) which makes connection on an iPhone super fast, and also shows the battery charge of the solo 3 on the iPhone screen. They still connect up as normal on Android phones using standard bluetooth, just not with that instant snap you get on apple phones & no battery display. W1 chip integration is a nice feature & does make life super easy if you are using an iPhone, but standard bluetooth connections are not really a big problem on all other devices to be honest.
Fit is a little tight, and you notice the pressure that these headphones grip your head with. Over ear models are definitely more comfortable for extended use, but of course they are larger & bulkier – you need to choose which is more important for you. We found the smaller size (we are used to around ear headphones which are always larger) and lighter weight of the solo 3 to be very good when outside walking around, and the clamping pressure just gave a little extra security. We had no comfort issues wearing the solo 3 for a couple of hours at at time, but would probably switch to something more comfortable for around the house / extended listening sessions.
Beats Solo 3 Review – Sound Quality & Performance
So – on to the main event for the Beats Solo 3 review – how do they sound?
On ear closed back headphones are compromised designs (as opposed to over ear models), but the sound quality of the Beats Solo 3 is really fun. Of course they are bass heavy (very heavy), and midrange is also boosted noticeably with a lack in the upper frequencies. This equates to a very punchy, powerful sound – which while not accurate, is definitely fun to listen to.
The Beats Solo 3 is a world away from the first generation Beats Solo headphones which were super bass heavy & muddy sounding – so whilst these do not have the best sound quality we have ever heard, they are in a different league to the previous models which are mostly to blame for the negative connotations that are thrown at anything with a Beats logo on the side. We would never describe the sound as accurate, but at least it is clear & the bass boost is something that you are aware of before purchase. Lots of people will love this sound for what it is – fun!
There is no active noise cancellation on the Beats Solo 3 wireless – a feature that is becoming more commonplace on other brands high end wireless models. This is a big omission in our opinion (may be one of the reasons for the amazing battery life). Also missing is aptX support, which is common for headphone brands which are heavily influenced by Apple (as their devices don’t generally support aptX either). If you are not sure on what all these features mean, we check out the aptX & Sony LDAC protocols here: Best Bluetooth Audio Formats – How to Get the Best Wireless Sound
The sound quality has definitely benefited from the latest version of bluetooth chips, and looks great if you like that sort of thing. They still have the fashion focused looks & brand recognition, are available in more colour ways than you can shake a stick at! We would say that these are now a serious contender & worthy of some listening time – especially if you have an iPhone 7.
So there are lots of positives for the Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones – small & compact size, good build quality, great battery life, super easy iPhone integration, fashion oriented look (love / hate as appropriate), boosted sound.
Don’t listen to those that say Beats are junk – time has moved on & the Beats Solo 3 wireless definitely deserve a listen before making a buying decision. Not the best wireless headphones ever made – but far from the worst!
- Feature Set 70%
- Build Quality 75%
- Sound Quality 72%
- Value for Money 70%
- Overall Rating 72%
Beats Solo 3 Wireless Review – Final Thoughts
Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones have improved vastly for this generation. If you have an iPhone and are under 25 years old, these might be worth adding to the shortlist to consider so long as you are comfortable with paying a little extra for the branding & won’t miss the extra features of some other models out there.