In this Beats Solo 3 Wireless Review we deep dive into these well-regarded Beats Travel Headphones. Do they live up to their spendy price tag? Are the Beats Solo 3 headphones good for travel? These questions and more are answered in our Beats 3 Wireless Review.
Note: We were not compensated for this article or review. We procured the Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones on our own (they were on sale…yay!) and conducted this unbiased Beats Solo 3 Wireless Review. Enjoy!
Beats 3 Wireless review – a detailed look
The Beats Solo 3’s are the next evolution in on the ear headphones from the Beats family (now owned by Apple). There is not a huge departure from the Solo 2’s with the major changes being support for the W1 chip (more on this below), some minor cosmetic changes and some calibration/improvement of the sound – but minor, in our opinion.
Beats Solo 3 Specifications
- 40 hours of battery life
- 5-minute Fast Fuel, 3 Hours of Playback
- Height: 7.8in (19.8cm)
- Weight: 7.58oz (215g)
- Form Factor: On Ear
- Connections: Bluetooth or Wired
- Battery type: Â Rechargeable lithium-ion
- Colors: 15 (yes! 15 unique colors some more wild than others…like these guys).
- Noise canceling? No…these headphones are not noise canceling. But they do a good job of keeping excess noise out.
Key Features for the Beats Solo 3 Headphones
- On-board call and music controls
- On-board volume control
- Beamforming mic for optimal call clarity
- Apple W1 chip included* (see below for explanation)
- Noise Isolation
- Stereo Bluetooth
- Passive playback via RemoteTalk cable
- RemoteTalk cable with inline controls
- LED fuel gauge
- Charge via Micro-USB cable
According to the manufacturer’s specs, “This headphone delivers premium playback with fine-tuned acoustics that maximize clarity, breadth, and balance.Â The comfort-cushion ear cups buffer outside noise for immersive sound, so you can experience music the way it was meant to be heard.”
What comes in the box?
- Beats Solo 3Â Wireless headphones
- Carrying case (soft)
- 3.5mm RemoteTalk cable
- Universal USB charging cable (USB-A to USB Micro-B)
- Quick Start Guide &Â Warranty Card
What is the Apple w1 Chip?
For those unfamiliar with the Apple W1 chip, this piece of technology provides an easier Bluetooth experience across the Apple ecosystem (and ONLY the Apple ecosystem…as usual).
Android Authority explains the technology for us:
“Appleâ€™s W1 chipÂ is an Apple-exclusive system-in-package chip that optimizes audio streaming for listeners usingÂ AirPods, or more recentÂ BeatsÂ headphones, and offers three main benefits:
- Users with compatible devices experience immediate device pairing and re-connecting.
- Bluetooth connectivity is stable and reliable. Per theÂ SoundGuysÂ review, the AirPodsâ€™ connectivity seemsÂ immune to stuttering, a rare feat forÂ true wireless earbuds.
- Devices with an integrated W1 chip are less power-hungry, meaning listeners can worry less about finding the nearest outlet and spend more time enjoying their music.”
One important thing to note about the Apple W1 chip is that it requires an iCloud account and macOS Sierra, iOS 10, watchOS 3 or later versions.
The Beats Solo 3 Fast Fuel Feature – overview
Ever been in a bind with a battery powered device and you only have time for a few minutes of charging? Yeah, we’ve been there too. However, the Fast Fuel feature, which is native to the Beats Solo 3 headphones, solves that problem.
Fast Fuel will give your headphones a full 3 hours of battery life in only 5 minutes time. Bam. Not a bad feature if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare or you were tardy in getting ’em charged.
Our Beats Solo 3 Wireless review
We’ve been using the Beats Solo 3’s extensively now for several business trips as well for conference calls out of our home office. Here are our findings.
How we reviewed the Beats Solo 3’s
Our review stretched over the course of 4 weeks, 5 flights, multiple hotel stays, conference call after conference call, and some serious head bumping Metallica as I deplaned. We attempted to run the battery down (failed and gave up) and repeatedly placed them in and out of their carrying case, connected them to different phones, alternated between Bluetooth and wired, etc. In other words. Exhaustive.
What we liked
- Audio quality. The most important feature that headphones need (especially expensive headphones) is badass, next-level, super-incredible audio and the Beats Solo 3’s do not disappoint. Deep basses with highs that were not trilly make for a good listening experience. Clarity of sound is important too and often headphones can muddle through low dialogue or music, but not the case here. Whether blasting some Enter Sandman, Snoop Dogg or watching another episode of Breaking Bad, the headphones absolutely delivered on their core feature.
- Battery life. Apple claims these headphones have 40 hours of life. They may be underselling it. I went several days without charging the headphones (and with consistent use for hours and hours). They never seemed to run out. Impressive and more than adequate for the traveler looking to use them on a lengthy flight.
- Fast Fuel feature. As noted earlier, the Beats Solo 3’s come with the Fast Fuel feature. We love this feature, and while the battery life is pretty long to begin with, the idea that in 5 short minutes I can get 3 hours of life is pretty darn awesome.
- Comfort.Â With over the ear headphones you never really know how comfortable they are going to be. This is pretty subjective and often based on things like ear size and tolerance for things sitting on your ears. However, the Beats Solo 3’s are, in fact, pretty comfortable. We enjoyed wearing them for many hours on a flight at a time or working on the yard.
- Ease of Bluetooth connectivity (to my phone). Sometimes Bluetooth can be a real pain the butt. Not the case here though. My Android phone immediately and consistently found it and re-found it time and time again. This may seem small, but it matters. See below for when I tried to connect it to my PC.
What we didn’t like
With all products there’s always a few things you don’t love. Sometimes these are deal breakers. Sometimes they are just minor nits. And in many cases they are subjective. Here’s what we didn’t love about the Beats Solo 3 in our review.
- Price. The Beats Solo 3’s are not cheap (check the price). In fact, nothing Apple makes is cheap. Typically you get great quality and that is certainly the case here, but it’s still a pricey item.
- Occasional Ear Sweat. Because the Solo 3’s ride directly on the ear (instead of over the year) you can get some ear heat and sweat after extended use. This is likely a little dependent on the physiology of the wearer, but we experienced a little after wearing them into the 2nd hour straight on a flight. Resolution? Take them and give your ears a breather every 45 mins or so.
- Earpads are not replaceable. Far as we can tell the ear pads are not able to be replaced. That’s a bummer.
- The soft case. Totally useless, IMO. First off, it’s soft which doesn’t fit the rigors of regular and sustained business travel. Second (and infuriatingly, I might add!) I couldn’t get the headphones into the case very easily. Felt like the case was a few milimeters too small! Instead, opted to purchaseÂ the Geekria UltraShell Case for Beats Solo3 Headphones which has proven much better!
Things that were so-so
There were a few things that were just so-so. We didn’t love ’em or hate ’em.
- Controls. I’ll be honest, I usually use my phone to control my music and sound, but the Beats Solo 3’s include some simple to use buttons that are not overly complex. But…it does take a few minutes to figure them out. Once you got ’em, you are fine, but at first it wasn’t overly intuitive.
- Bluetooth connectivity to my PC. Some of this might be on the shoulder of my Windows laptop…but dang it was hard to get the headphones connected to my PC. It’s cool now, but required some finagling.
We always provide our readers a buying recommendation with any products we review. After our review of the Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones we can confidently say these headphones are a buy.
For a true audiophile these are not going to deliver the sound you so desperately want (but you already knew that because Beats Solo 3’s are not targeted at you…). For travelers, commuters and regular folks that are looking for a higher-end sound experience and have the coin to dish out, the Beats Solo 3 are a very solid option.
For the super duper high end audio-snobs…check out the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 SonicPro Over-Ear Headphones.Â
Where to buy to Beats Solo 3 Headphones?
You can purchase the Beats Solo 3 Headphones directly from Apple or on Amazon and typically they are the same price in most instances. Occasionally Amazon will have them on sale (which is how I bought mine!).
If you are looking for other travel headphones, consider these
Final Thoughts from our Beats 3 Wireless Review
Did you enjoy this Beats 3 Wireless review? If so, please do us a favor share it on social media and/orÂ click the “like” button below and don’t forget to follow us on social media including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.
If you are looking for a cheaper headphone option, check out the FX Vikataria’s and our product review.Â
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