Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
Apple’s range of Beats by Dre headphones are now in their third-generation and the Beats Solo 3 Wireless provide a good combination of price, design and sound quality. You’ll no doubt be familiar with the Beat style, which has remained similar through the generations and is unlikely to change any time soon.
Whether you’re a fan or not, the Beats brand is undeniably cool and trendy. Although at this price we’re accustomed to materials like metal, the Solo 3 Wireless stick to a plastic build. It doesn’t feel as premium compared to rival brands but does mean they are lightweight and durable – it’s somewhat astonishing how much you can bend and twist the headband with no sign of breaking.
You’ll probably spend quite a while choosing a colour as the Solo 3 Wireless come in no less than 14 different options. Some are black in colour, while others have a two-tone approach.
So far we’re pretty impressed as long as you don’t mind the plastic design. Our only real complaint is that, despite the soft cushions, the headphones get a little uncomfortable after a while due to the inwards pressure.
Before we get to sound quality, there are various features that the Solo 3 Wireless offer that helps to justify the price. For starters, the headphones have Apple’s W1 chip which means easy pairing. You just need Bluetooth on and the Solo 3 near the device you want to pair. A notification will pop up and you’re away.
There are buttons on the side of the left earcup to control playback, volume and calls. They aren’t touch sensitive but that’s a good thing as good old traditional buttons are far more reliable and they don’t require a hefty push to work. More important is the epic battery life on offer here. Up to a staggering 40 hours, according to Apple and you can get three hours from a quick five-minute charge. This means you’ll be able to use the headphones for days if not weeks without needing to worry, which is a rare thing for wireless headphones.
Should you get caught (you can check battery level via five LEDs by tapping the power button) out and the battery does die, you can simply plug in the RemoteTalk cable to use them with anything that has a 3.5mm jack (not the iPhone X without an adapter). This has in-line control and mic.
When it comes to sound quality, the Beats Solo3 isn’t like a lot of headphones we’ve tested. Whether you’ll like them will come down to your personal taste and largely the type of music you listen to. Beats were well known for being too bass heavy and therefore unbalanced in frequency response. Although things have changed a bit now we’re on the Beats Solo3, it’s still something of an issue for us.
We started off listening to The Prodigy and we were pretty blown away, with no running in the Solo 3 Wireless sounded awesome. However, switching to something completely different means they can sound like a different pair of headphones or like there’s an intermittent issue stopping them working properly.
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless can sound muddy and uncertain in sound, with no care or accord for the intricacies of some music. We found this to be the case when listening to music genres like folk where individual instruments and vocals are integral. You will get somewhat used to how they sound for various genres over time, but compare them to some other decent headphones and you’ll realise what you’re missing out on.
Move towards pop and EDM (electronic dance music) and these sorts of processed tracks are well suited to the headphones. The tuning is much better than original Beats, as there’s far more attention to the mid-range but we still find it often gets pretty drowned out by the bass.
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless are potentially amazing headphones. If you’re happy with the familiar plastic (and durable) design to start with. We are impressed with the features on offer here, particularly the best battery life we’ve ever seen on a pair of wireless headphones. Sound quality is good, but more than most headphones you need to be a fan of bass dominant music for the Solo 3 Wireless to suit you. If you’re likely to listen to other genres far more, then we’d recommend looking elsewhere.