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The Sensational Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

  • High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in black
  • Features the Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 Wireless is your perfect everyday headphone
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • With Fast Fuel, 5 minutes of charging gives you 3 hours of playback when the battery is low
  • Adjustable fit with comfort-cushioned ear cups made for everyday use
  • Sleek, streamlined design that’s durable and affordable to go everywhere you do
  • Take calls, control your music, and activate Siri with the multifunction on-ear controls
  • The sound and design you’ve come to love from Beats, with premium playback with fine-tuned acoustics that maximizes clarity, breadth, and balance

The Sensational Beats Solo3 Wireless Onear Headphones

Because Beats hasn’t modified its design, the Solo3 Wireless on-ear Bluetooth headset ($300/£250/AU$400) appears remarkably identical to the Solo 2 Wireless on the exterior. The Solo3 incorporates Apple’s new W1 proprietary Bluetooth chip on the inside, which enhances battery life and makes connecting the headset with Apple devices a breeze. The headphone works just fine with Android and other Bluetooth-enabled devices and the battery life rating is the same for iOS and Android — a whopping 40 hours. That’s a huge jump over the 12 hours that the Beats Solo2 Wireless is rated at and this has the best battery life of any Bluetooth headphone I’ve tested so far (I used it for a week without recharging). It also features Beats’ Fast Fuel feature, which gives you 3 hours of battery life from a 5-minute charge.However, unlike the new BeatsX, which uses a Lightning cable for charging, this model sticks with a Micro-USB charging cable.

On the bright side, the headphone’s wireless connection was rock-solid, and the W1 chip enables switching between Apple devices you’ve linked the headphones to a breeze. Overall, the headset functions admirably, and I’ve always liked its small size and ability to fold up into a little carrying bag (yes, that carrying case is included).

Beats hasn’t improved the sound, for better or worse. The Solo3 Wireless sounds great for an on-ear Bluetooth headset, and it’ll appeal to bass heads who want a sound profile that emphasizes bass without being overly boomy. However, it doesn’t sound as clear as Beats’ more balanced Studio Wireless over-ear variant, which has become more affordable and which I like (the Beats Solo3 Wireless offers a very snug fit — the headphones do stay securely on your head, even while running — they end up pressing down on your ears somewhat firmly).

The Sensational Beats Solo3 Wireless Onear Headphones

This is an outdoor headset, and the extra bass came in helpful as I was wandering through the streets of New York and was battling with a lot of ambient noise, including the train when I went below. The headphones passively block out a lot of sounds, but some ambient noise gets in, and the increased bass doesn’t seem as pronounced outside (though you can notice it in quiet places), and the headphones come across as a little more balanced.

As with all stereo Bluetooth headphones, this model has a built-in microphone for making calls, and call quality was decent, though the step-up Studio Wireless has an advantage in this department. Some headphones in this price range, including the Studio Wireless, feature improved communications performance and noise-canceling features that muffle ambient noise so callers can hear you better. This beat is not in that class.

The Sensational Beats Solo3 Wireless Onear Headphones
Competing models include Bose’s SoundLink Wireless On-ear, Sennheiser’s Momentum 2 On-ear Wireless and Plantronic’s Backbeat Sense. Both the BackBeat Sense and the Bose are more comfortable headphones, applying a little less pressure to your ears, and the Plantronics is clearly the best value at about $125. In its favor, the Solo3 Wireless has that iconic Beats design, and the headphone does come in several attractive finishes. (I personally like the matte black and the silver featured in our photos.)
 
Finally, Beats’ value proposition is that it has enhanced the battery life of the same headphone that so many people are familiar with and made it extremely easy for Apple consumers to connect to their phones and other Apple devices.

That’s OK, but given the headphone’s design and quality haven’t been changed, it would have been wonderful if Beats had lowered the price at the same time. As is, the price of this headset is comparable to the cost of superior over-ear noise-canceling wireless headphones like the Bose Quiet Comfort 25. While the Beats Studio Wireless has a shorter battery life and is a larger headphone, it costs roughly $50 less ($250) after initially costing $379. The long and short of it is that the Beats Solo3 Wireless is a likable on-ear wireless headphone with great battery life, but $300 is a lot to pay for it.

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