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Beats Solo3 Headphone Ranking: Type is the important thing

“The price for the Beats Solo3 is geared towards style and compatibility and a bit high for just average sound.”

Multiple color options

Great battery life

Strong compatibility with Apple products

Bad bass

Tight fit leads to hearing fatigue

Beats was about brand and style, as well as sound quality and features. So it’s not surprising that all of the on-ear / over-ear options have more color choices than the pre-audio specs.

The Beats Solo3 are the company’s most accessible headphones in terms of price, but that doesn’t make them cheap. At $ 200, they still hit the high-end personal audio market despite their lower status among the Beats options. Where does the Solo3 end up in a headphone market that has become very competitive in recent years? Let’s take a look.

What’s in the box?

The Beats Solo3 are simply delivered. In a few layers of cardboard packaging you will find the headphones, a soft carrying case, a USB-A-to-USB-Micro-B charging cable and a small carabiner (for grinding onto the soft case and for attaching to things, I. guess). Beats also comes with a number of booklets that clearly explain setup and use, and a sticker in case this is your jam. Although the headphones accept a 3.5mm jack connector that bypasses the power requirement, the Solo3 headphones don’t come with one. For the price, I’d think including such a simple cable would be a breeze, but Apple is for you.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

I’ll say the packaging was free of excess plastic which means you can probably easily recycle most of it anywhere, which is lovely. Here we award points for sustainability.

Build and design

The color of the Beats set that was sent to me for review is Satin Silver which is basically white. They’re straightforward and clean looking, but in my opinion they’re the least interesting options besides maybe the matte black. As for style, Beats nailed it down the line with its headphones as some of the other options look amazing.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The build quality is also solid. The hinges are made of polished chrome, the earcups are well padded, and while the exterior of the cans is plastic, the headphones don’t feel cheap. The headband isn’t particularly sturdy, but the ease of the Solo3s mixed with the strength of the clamping pressure on the ears makes me try that.

Speaking of clamping pressure, it’s significant. The Solo3 headphones are on-ear headphones, not over-ear headphones. Hence, the cups rest right on your ears and press into the sides of your head when you wear them. I don’t have a particularly large head and it’s narrower than round. Nevertheless, the auricles press pretty hard against my ears until wearing the Solo3s becomes uncomfortable even after a short time. I could only wear them for an hour at most before I became significantly tired. In short, these headphones are very small. So if you have a bigger head, chances are that these are even more uncomfortable for you than you are on mine.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The Solo3 weighs only 215 grams, is well distributed and makes it easy to carry or carry. I mentioned that the headband didn’t feel as sturdy, and that’s because the padding over the band that’s on top of my head isn’t very soft. It didn’t bother me too much, but the Beats Solo Pros and Studios have a much more padded headband so it was disappointing to see fewer pillows here.

The soft case that came with the Solo3 is nothing special. You can use the included carabiner to attach it to the inside or outside of a bag if you wish. The case is quite compact, which is a plus, but it just won’t win design awards for its looks.

Beats Solo3 Review headphones Solo 3 5 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

suggests solo3 review headphones solo 3 4 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

In the right auricle there is a micro-USB charging port and the power switch. The left auricle has a 3.5mm jack input on the bottom and on the side of the mug with a button to pause, play and skip tracks and two buttons for volume control. I like the physical buttons on the Solo3s as opposed to a touchpad on other headphones, as the tactile feedback lets me know I’m using the controls correctly while wearing the headphones (since I can’t see what I’m pressing).

Compatibility and battery

As an Apple brand, the Beats headphones provide the best user experience with an iPhone, but are also fully compatible with Android devices. The Solo3s feature Apple’s W1 chip, which provides additional functionality when used with Apple products, including support for “Hey Siri” and multiple headset listening (when using other Beats or Apple products). The headphones and their remaining battery life are also displayed when they are held near the iPhone.

As an iPhone user, the Beats Solo3 headphones slipped straight into my portable library.

As an iPhone user, the Beats Solo3 headphones have slipped into my portable library with no hassle, just like when I added the AirPods Pros and my Apple Watch. Pairing was quick and easy, and jumping to additional sources was quick, even though they don’t support Bluetooth multipoint. I hope that using the Solo3s across multiple Apple products will be even easier when Apple releases auto headphone handover with the next operating system.

The battery life of the Solo3 headphones is very good.

The battery life of the Solo3 headphones is very good: 40 hours between charges. They even offer a quick 10 minute charge for 3 hours of listening. This is some of the best battery performance you can ask for a headphone on the market right now. It would be the best if it weren’t for the recently released Jabra Elite 45H with a 50 hour battery life.

Audio quality

Beats did an excellent job of making the audio from these headphones as appealing as possible. For an audiophile, these are as close as I can imagine. However, they are harmless to the average listener.

It’s a perfect line for a brand like Beats.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The sound from the Solo3 headphones is center-controlled, with the higher registers as well as the lows and bass playing a lesser role. That doesn’t mean the bass isn’t there – it is. The Solo3 headphones just don’t pump bass the way I like it sometimes, or seem to have the ability to present it at any depth.

The sound stage is particularly narrow because the areas are compressed into a small space. On Sias Chandelier, the bass sounds overworked and mushy, but her vocals come through well enough. Similarly, Hans Zimmer’s No Time for Caution doesn’t have the “oomph” it should and can’t boost the drama high enough for my taste due to a weak bass signal. As crescendos, the bass gets a bit choppy and unrefined, which again leads me to believe that these headphones cannot output clear bass when a song demands it.

These headphones cannot output clear bass when a song requires it.

The fact that the bass isn’t strong on the Solo3 is confusing as a punchy bass is pretty much a big part of the typical beats sound. Perhaps it is good that these offer a break from what is usually stronger in the lows, or it would be disappointing if you bought these and expected the same beats sound.

Beats also doesn’t offer a way to optimize the EQ. So you hear what you get out of the Solo3 headphones.

Unless you’re really looking for a powerful bass that will rock your jaw, the tone is easy to hear and generally pleasant. It’s that center-headed audio that’s damn easy to hear. Warm and approachable, most people will like it well.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Our opinion

The Beats Solo3 headphones rely heavily on their style and Apple connectivity for audio quality to make their $ 200 high price tag. For many it will be worth it. But it’s a very competitive market, and Beats might have a hard time convincing the well-informed that these doses are the ones to get.

Are there any better alternatives?

At $ 200, both the Know Calm and Razer Opus are solid options. The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 are also in this price range and are worth considering. If you’re looking to spend less, the Jabra Elite 45H are half the price, but sound much better, despite lacking the firm grip of the Solo3. In all four cases, you may have to sacrifice style and compatibility, but you will get better sound. It depends on your preference.

How long will they last?

When micro-USB is on the way out, it can be annoying to have that extra cable with you when the rest of your technology is set to USB-C, especially if you’re using Apple products and are already using a lighting cable. Apple’s 1-year limited warranty applies to Beats products. The build quality is solid.

Should you buy it?

Maybe. The thing is that they are expensive for average audio performance but they look great and compatibility with Apple products is nice and hard to miss. You need to balance what’s important to you and determine if the Beats Solo3 headphones meet these requirements.

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