- Beats headphones are incredibly popular, and the Solo3 wireless are no exception.
- Beats was kind enough to send me a pair of Solo3 Wireless to see if they live up to the hype.
- While these headphones do have some less attractive features, they justify their $200 cost because of how good they sound.
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If you walk outside, and particularly if you live in a city, there’s a great chance you’ll spot someone wearing Beats’ Solo 3 Wireless headphones.
The Solo3 Wireless are one of Beats’ most popular designs, and for good reason: At $200, they’re some of the most accessible and affordable headphones you can buy from Apple-owned Beats.
But despite their reputation, just how good are they?
I thought I would put the Solo3 Wireless to the test, and see if they live up to the hype. Beats was kind enough to send me a pair, and I’ve been using and testing the Solo3 Wireless for a few weeks now.
Here’s what I love, and don’t love, about the Solo3 Wireless.
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LOVE: These things sound really, really good.
Sound is incredibly crisp and clear on the Solo3 Wireless, especially at higher volumes. The bass is strong, which is no surprise, but it’s not overpowering at all.
LOVE: Battery life is great.
These headphones will last you a long time. They charge via MicroUSB, and give you 40 hours of life off a single charge.
The Solo3 Wireless also come with fast-charging, so five minutes connected to power will give you around three hours of life on your headphones. It’s a nice touch — if you’re rushing out the door in the morning but you forgot to charge your headphones the night before, you can plug them in as you’re putting your shoes on to give you just enough juice for your commute.
LOVE: Controls are intuitive.
Unfortunately, the controls are only on one ear cup — but at least they’re easy to remember.
On the left ear cup, clicking the Beats logo controls play and pause, double-clicking the logo skips a song, and triple-clicking goes back one song.
There’s a plastic ring around the Beats logo — that controls volume. You click above the Beats logo to increase the volume, and under the logo to lower the volume.
LOVE: There are lots of colors and styles to choose from.
Right now, Beats is pushing its “Beats Club” collection, which comes in an array of bold colors. But you can buy the headphones in traditional colors as well — mine came in black-on-black.
LOVE: Instant pairing with iPhones thanks to the W1 chip.
If you have an iPhone, the W1 chip inside the Solo3 will instantly find it when you power the headphones on for the first time. This allows you to pair the two devices with just a single button press on your iPhone. It couldn’t be easier.
This instant-pairing feature is also available on a handful of Beats’ other offerings, including the Beats X, PowerBeats Pro, PowerBeats3 Wireless, and Studio3 Wireless.
If you have an Android phone, or are pairing the Solo3 with any other device like a laptop, you’ll simply find it under your Bluetooth settings.
DON’T LOVE: They’re not very comfortable to wear, especially for long periods of time.
Unlike Beats’ premium Studio3 Wireless headphones, which have an over-ear design, the Solo3 Wireless’ on-ear design feels like they’re squeezing the sides of your head.
As the name implies, these headphones sit on your ears instead of around them, which gives this uncomfortable compression feeling on your ears and head. I would get used to it after maybe five to 10 minutes, but after an hour of listening, I was ready to take these things off and let my head breathe.
DON’T LOVE: I’m not a huge fan of the plasticky look of the Solo3 Wireless.
To be totally honest, the plastic coating on the headphones makes them look cheap — like they’re a toy. Some people might like it, but it’s not for me.
DON’T LOVE: The carrying case is a nice touch, but also feels cheap.
The Solo3 Wireless headphones collapse so they’re easy to carry around in a bag or backpack, but Beats threw in an extra carrying case for storage. I just think the case is totally unnecessary.
Unlike Beats’ carrying case for the more premium Studio3 Wireless headphones, which is a hard, durable shell, the carrying case for the Solo3 Wireless headphones is made of a flimsy material that doesn’t provide much protection for the headphones, though it might save them from surface scuffs and scratches.
Overall, these headphones are a solid choice for $200 — but you can do better, particularly if you like Beats.
You’re getting good value from the Solo3 Wireless because they sound great, pair and charge quickly and easily, and have intuitive controls — even if the make of the design feels a little cheap. But some compromises are to be expected if you’re shopping for headphones at the $200 price point.
At the $300 range, headphones start getting vastly more competitive. If you’re willing to spend more, I’d personally recommend Beats $350 Studio3 Wireless: They have everything the Solo3 Wireless have, but with a gorgeous premium-looking design, significantly improved comfort on and around the ears, and active noise-cancelling. They’re great headphones to have on a plane, or just while lounging at home.
But if you’re dead-set on spending no more than $200 on a pair of headphones, the Beats Solo3 wireless headphones are an excellent pick. Comfort could be better, and the plasticky look may not be your cup of tea, but you can’t deny the sound quality, which is the most important factor to consider.