Top positive review
No-Compromise Wireless Simplicity and Sound
October 21, 2016
Heads-up - this is a lengthy review - but when you are considering a headphone at this price you deserve as much review as you can get to help you decide! I will rate by topic so you can also focus on what is most important to you. Let's start with context. These are my first Beats headphones - wired or wireless. They are not of course my first wireless or wired headphones. I have several wireless headphones including Jabra Move and Jaybird BlueBuds X. I also have several wired headphones with my favorites being KEF M500 (on ear) and Oppo PM-2 (over ear). My sound preference in a headphone is crisp and clear highs and mids with a presence and "definition" of bass - but not over done. Yea, I'm not a bass-head. So here we go...
WIRELESS (5 / 5):
Right off the bat, this is where these headphone excel, and why I considered and bought them in the first place. They are by far the easiest bluetooth headphones I have used to pair and manage with multiple devices. This of course assumes you are very deep in the Apple eco-system - which I am. I use these headphones with an iPhone, iPad and MacBook. Initial pairing was simple and automatic with my iPhone - place it next to it, turned it on, hit accept and done. Then in seconds the headphone showed up in all my Apple devices! And switching between what device is connected and active is just as easy. I could never get previous wireless headphones I owned to play nice with multiple devices even though they supposedly supported this feature. One wireless headphone always went back and forth between my iPhone and iPad even when I was in the middle of listening to music on my iPhone. Not so with the Solo3! And the range and battery life are incredible. I have owned my Solo3 for over a week and I am still on the initial charge. So hands down wireless performance is the best feature of these headphones.
COMFORT (4 / 5):
The Solo3 is an on-ear headphone and for me they are actually quite comfortable. The leather pads are comfortable and seal well - though they are not as soft as the pads on my KEFs. But maybe they will soften over time. The "clamping" of the Solo3 is firm and keeps the headphones very stable during moderate activity but not so tight that they bother my ears at all. The headband liner is comfortable for me too - I don't seem to have the rubbing problem some people have mentioned. And the plastic construction (see again under quality) actually has one plus in that it keeps the headphones light. I almost don't notice they are on my head until... The good seal and firm/thick pads cause my ears to heat up after about 30 mins so I do have to take them off for short "cool-down" breaks.
QUALITY (3 / 5):
This is a hard one to judge short term so my rating here is certainly preliminary. Bottom line - admittedly there is a lot of plastic here. Yes, it is a plus under comfort as it keeps the headphones light. But when you get in to this price range you defiantly see more metals and leathers and less plastic. And some wired headphones I have are so solid they have lasted me over a decade! I am not sure I will be able to say that about these headphones. And a 1 year warranty is not very confident - some headphones starting at this price point offer up to 3 years. It would certainly inspire confidence if Beats backed these a bit more and made me feel like the plastic construction was solid and truly there for comfort (weight). That said its too early to bash longevity yet.
SOUND (4 / 5):
Ok now the final and most subjective topic - the sound quality. Recall my sound preference - not a bass-head. When I first heard about these headphones with the new wireless chip - I was interested because of all the hassles I had before with bluetooth headphones. But because they were Beats I struggled to decide to purchase or not. I have not owned Beats because Beats headphones I listened to in the past were definitely too much bass for me - thudding and muffled. But I decided to give it a try - I could always return them. They are not going back! The sound is actually a pleasant surprise. Yes, they are more bass then what I own now - but they sound more balanced then what I remember. You can hear good mids and highs - though they are certainly more reserved. And the spatial separation is very good - these give a full and well spaced sound that makes you feel like you are indeed in the middle of the studio or concert. They excel with more Rock then Classical, so there still is a place for my wired headphones, but I also don't feel like I have to sacrifice sound quality to get wireless convenience.
OVERALL (4 / 5):
Overall, these are very good wireless headphones - they are now my primary go to wireless headphones for sound quality and convenience across all my Apple devices - though I am keeping my set of wireless Jaybirds for intense workouts only. They are even what I turn to now over my wired headphones for most music/podcasts unless I want to immerse myself in some Acoustic, Classical or Jazz where I still prefer my wired options. Value is good - plastic to price ratio is not ideal - but it is offset by the wireless simplicity and sound. If you want a no-compromise wireless experience, you should at least consider these headphones.