The Beats Solo3 are almost identical to the Solo2 Wireless except for slight improvements in the active features thanks to the W1 chip. They're comfortable and stable wireless on-ear headphones, with an above-average sound, an excellent battery life, and great wireless range. Unfortunately, they don't have the best isolation, so they won't be ideal in loud environments and they also leak at higher volumes.
- Good audio reproduction.
- Stable and sturdy design.
- Excellent wireless range and battery life.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Leaky at higher volumes.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Beats Solo3 are practically identical to the Solo2. Like the previous model, they have a sleek and sturdy build quality, an efficient and responsive control scheme, as well as a compact design making them somewhat portable. They're above-average comfortable for an on-ear headphone thanks to the ample padding of the ear cups. Their tight fit also makes them stable enough to jog and exercise with. However, this means like the Solo2s they're not as comfortable as the Beats Studio Wireless.
The Solo3 look indistinguishable to the Solo2. You can barely tell them apart even upon closer inspection. The only differences are the available color schemes for which the Solo2 have a bit more options. On the upside, if you liked the previous model then you will be familiar with the sleek design and the small, round, and well-padded earcups of the Solo3. They'll still stand out in a crowd, especially, if you choose one of the flashier color schemes.
The Solo3 are almost identical in design to the Solo2 Wireless. They have the same weight, and they're just as tight on the head. Luckily the ear cups are heavily padded which makes them comfortable enough to wear for decently long periods of time without feeling any listening fatigue.
The control scheme of the Solo3 is efficient and easy to use. Like the Solo2 the buttons feel responsive and are well spaced out on the small earcup. They provided the basic but essential functions: track-skipping, call/music, and volume controls. The buttons are a bit small but they're not much cause for concern.
The Beats Solo 3 are stable enough to run with. They may not be the best headphones for high-intensity exercises that involve a lot of jumping, but they're tight enough to not move around much while on your head. Additionally, they're wireless, so they won't get pulled off your ears because the audio cable got hooked on something.
Comes with a mediocre pouch that will protect the headphones against scratches and scuff when they're in your bag. Unfortunately, the soft case won't shield them from impacts or water damage like a good hard case would which is a little disappointing for their price.
The Solo3 like the Solo2 are well-built, compact headphones that won't break if you accidentally drop them a couple of times. They're made using high-end materials and the headband is reinforced with a metal frame that makes them decently sturdy under physical stress. Unfortunately, the plastic coating is prone to scratches and scuffs and feels a bit rigid, which could crack if you bend them too far.
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless have a good overall sound and plenty of Bass, which is very similar to Solo2 Wireless and more balanced than previous attempts by Beats. They perform consistently across multiple users and produce little distortion. However, they are too heavy on Bass, which tends to sound muddy and overpower the Treble, and lack a bit of Mid Range that can push the lead instruments to the back of the mix a bit. Also, the Soundstage doesn't feel immersive due to the small, shallow and closed ear cups.
Excellent Bass Range performance. Despite having an on-ear design, the Solo3 is able to produce more than enough Bass throughout the range. The low-end is extended down to 10Hz and the rest of the range is also virtually flat, but overemphasized by an average of 3dB, making the sound of these headphones slightly Bass-heavy and muddy.
Good Mid Range performance. The mid is scooped by about 4dB, which tends to push the voice and lead instruments to the back of the mix. This accentuates the bass-heavy and boomy Bass of these headphones.
Excellent Treble Range performance. Low-treble and treble are reproduced very well and the inconsistencies could very well be do to the averaging of multiple re-seats. However, due to the slightly heavy Bass and scooped Mids, Treble on these headphones may not necessarily cut through.
Good Consistency in frequency response. Despite having measured the low-end of these headphones on 5 human subjects, 5 times each, the variance in Bass response is +/-1dB which is very good. However, these headphones perform a bit less consistently in the Treble Range, again due to their on-ear design and different positioning preferences that people tend to have with on-ears.
Poor Soundstage. Due to the on-ear design, these headphones don't activate the pinna like a large over-ear or loudspeakers, therefore the Soundstage may be perceived to be located inside the listener's head. Also, due to the closed-back, the Solo3 won't have an open and immersive Soundstage.
Very good Imaging. The amount of phase error is minimal, especially in the Bass Range. Most of the phase shift in the Mid and Treble Ranges won't be audible. Additionally, the drivers of our unit were decently matched.
Good Harmonic distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is quite low throughout the range, and doesn't increase considerably under heavier load either, which is very good for an on-ear design.
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless have a below-average isolation performance. They don't actively cancel noise like the Studio Wireless, and the small earcups don't create a good enough seal to prevent ambient noise from seeping into your audio. They won't be the ideal headphones to use in loud and noisy environments, and unfortunately, they also leak quite a bit so they may distract the people around you in quieter settings.
Poor isolation. These on-ears provide little isolation in the Bass Range. The passive isolation provided by the ear cups start to kick in at around 300Hz, but the isolation won't get significant until around 1KHz. The overall amount of isolation achieved in the Mid Range is about 10dB, and in the Treble Range is a decent 30dB.
Poor leakage. These headphones leak a bit more than the usual closed-back on-ear headphones. The noticable portion of leakage is between 400Hz and 8KHz, which is rather broad. However, the overall level of leakage is low, except for the sharp peak at 4KHz which could be significant at closer distances.
- 100% SpNR
The main difference between the Beats Solo3 and the Solo2 is the W1 chip. It adds a few improvements to the active features and a better integration into the iOS software similar to the AirPods. They have a more reliable wireless connection that has a longer range and slightly lower latency on both Android and iOS. The battery life has also improved significantly while having fast charge capabilities which is great if you're often on the go. Unfortunately, some features are only available on iOS which may not be ideal for some.
The Solo3 make some improvements in their wireless connection and range compared to the Solo2 Wireless. They have one of the best line-of-sight and obstructed range that we've measured on an on-ear headphone so far. The latency has also slightly improved over the previous model, however, the lack of a low-latency codec means they won't be the ideal headphones for watching movies or gaming but should have no issues streaming music. Unfortunately, they still do not have NFC pairing which makes them a bit frustrating to pair if you're often switching between Bluetooth devices. Once paired though they will quickly reconnect when you turn them on.
The Solo3 have a phenomenal battery life. They can last up to 40 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. They also charge surprisingly fast delivering just above 2.5 hours of playback from a 5-minute charge and a complete charge takes only 1.5 hours. This makes them a great headphone if you're often on the go and do not have a lot of time to charge your headphones. However, they do not have an auto off timer so the battery will continue draining if you do not switch them off.
Like the AirPods that also use the W1 chip to provide some extra features on iOS devices. The Beats Solo3 connect with a pop-up that displays basic battery information. The pop up is not particularly useful as it only shows up on your initial connection with an iOS device, however with the integration into the iOS software you get a constant notification that gives you live feedback on the battery status. Unfortunately this feature is not available on android.
In the box
- Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones
- Carrying case
- Audio cable
- USB cable