Beats Solo 3 Wireless full review
Apple's range of Beats by Dre headphones are now in their third-generation and the Solo 3 Wireless provide a good combination of price, design and sound quality. We're most impressed with the amazing battery life, but do you listen to the right music to make the most out of them? Find out in our full review.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless: Price and Availability
The Solo 3 headphones cost £249/$299 which is fairly pricey for on-ear wireless headphones, but they've got decent specs and features so it's not outrageous
At under £200, they're a pretty good value deal.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless: Design and Build
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. Apple even says "Beats Solo3 Wireless stays true to its predecessor".
The Solo 3, like other headphones in the range, is instantly recognisable and that's a big reason to buy and use Beats headphones. It's unsurprising considering how difficult it is to avoid the brand when switching on the TV, especially with sportsmen and women.
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.
The headphones come with a padded case but you might not even feel the need to use it. It might come down to which colour you choose, as our sample is glossy black so more susceptible to scratches.
Even so we haven't seen anything major from having them loose in a rucksack every day, and the headband doesn't adjust from the right setting which makes for a nice change.
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 block 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.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless: Features and Sound Quality
Before we get to sound quality, there are various features that the Solo 3 Wireless offer - they help 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.
That said, this all happened with our iPhone X but the first time we played music it came out of the phone speaker so we had to dive into the settings menu to connect to the headphones.
There are buttons on the side of the left earcup to control playback, volume and calls. They're not 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 an in-line control and mic.
When it comes to sound quality, the Solo 3 Wireless aren'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 Solo 3 Wireless, 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 work properly.
Listen to songs you know, and the 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. When it comes to high-end, the Solo 3 Wireless just aren't as clear and crisp when compared to headphones around this price.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless: Specs
- Class 1 Bluetooth, Wireless
- W1 chip
- 40hr battery life
- Fast Fuel technology - 3 hours usage in 5 min charge
- RemoteTalk Cable