Beats Solo3 Wireless First Impressions

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by AustinIllini, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Austin, TX
    #1
    I was looking at a nice, non-noise cancelling pair of on the ear headphones for work. The non-noise cancelling and the over the ear are key, because to block out noise is to appear as though I am unavailable in a job where teamwork is commonplace. My current headphone arsenal includes a pair of Powerbeats2 for exercise (mostly for walking dogs, as I have three) and a set of Bose QC15s from when I traveled for work some years ago. Other than those, earbuds (Apple and otherwise) are coming out of every drawer, cabinet, or moderately large crack in the wall of my house. Overall, the Solo3 Wireless offer a good fit between my noise cancellers and my earbuds.

    The positives of the Solo3 Wireless are many. In a room with moderate noise with your iPhone volume medium to medium-high, the headphones shine. Mainstream pop and hip hop sound just as intended. Listening to Beats 1 on Apple Music on the Solo3 Wireless is like completing a complex puzzle. Pop and Hip Hop and their affinity for high high and loud lows lend themselves perfectly to these headphones. In comparison, a more balanced electronic attack a la Tame Impala sounds a little like something is missing. As an armchair bassist myself, the bass emphasis is almost refreshing compared to a number of the speakers on the market, but I can understand how this could be off putting. To me, compared to other devices, the bass was just a great fit for me, but your mileage may vary.

    Beats describes the noise mitigation in the Solo3 Wireless as “passive noise isolation”. For the lay person (read, non-audiophile), this means at a reasonable volume, most pedestrian noises wall to the background. For example, when I tried these in the Apple Store, they completely failed to cover up the crowd noise of 100 people in the Domain store. However, later that day in a thunder storm, the noise isolation was more than enough when the headphones were at the right volume. The isolation lives up to its name: the Solo3 manages to isolate your experience.

    None of this is new though. The Solo2 and Solo3 sound the same. The Solo3 Wireless separates itself in its new pairing technology. The Apple W1 chip, which basically circumvents the headaches of pairing through bluetooth, behaves exactly as advertised. After powering on the device for first time use with my iPhone about 2 feet away, the pairing dialog appeared immediately. Clicking “Connect” not only paired the headphones, they also added “(NAME)’s Solo3 Wireless” to all of my devices under “bluetooth”. My iPad, iPhone, and Mac all connected seamlessly simply by choosing the device from the list of bluetooth devices. The only hiccups were software related. When pairing between devices, iTunes on my Mac didn’t play into the solo3 after pairing and I had to specifically output to Solo3 in iTunes (Ugh, iTunes).

    As is tradition on any Beats device (as far as I can tell), Apple has blessed us with a case that is ALMOST too small for product storage. The box includes the aux cable (which doesn’t work with my iPhone 7) and a USB cable. Of course, getting all the parts into the case is as annoying as imaginable and I feel like the bag, the headphones, or some combination of both are going to break when I put them in my bad. Minor gripe, but come on, for $300, the case should be much better than it is.

    Which segues into the absolute worst feature of the Solo3’s.: the price. These things are EXPENSIVE. Almost embarrassingly expensive (ALMOST…). My QC15’s were $300 new in 2012, but they included active noise cancelling. Buying them at the Apple Store without talking to anyone almost felt wrong because they were $300.

    I still have not been able to take these to work, so I plan on updating this review some after more use. For work, these will likely work for me, which will be great, and while they were steep, I really do like them, I like the way they feel on my head, and the quality overall is significantly better than any of my other headphones.
     
  2. Ds6778 macrumors 6502a

    Ds6778

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  3. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #3
    Over priced and lathargic. I'm sure the quality is good. But I prefer a discreet and more nuanced appeal.
     
  4. matrix07 macrumors 601

    matrix07

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    #4
    Is it 40 hours as advertised? How's the range?
     
  5. lulla01 macrumors 68020

    lulla01

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  6. AustinIllini, Sep 27, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016

    AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Oct 20, 2011
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    Austin, TX
    #6
    Haven't had them long enough to test, i'm afraid. So far, so good, on the battery life, though.

    Other reviews have been pretty clear on the sound quality. Overall, the quality is good but the mids are pretty weak overall. Like I said in the review, these guys are built for a Rhianna song

    A followup on the pairing. It's nice, I guess, but you can connect with bluetooth one time on each device and basically have the same result. The W1 chip is certainly not the "magic" we have come to expect from Apple.
     
  7. matrix07 macrumors 601

    matrix07

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    #7
    Can you switch devices on a fly?
     
  8. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Austin, TX
    #8
    Yes. BeatsSolo3 shows up in all of your devices under the list of bluetooth items.
     
  9. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    Mar 30, 2004
    #9
    That's my other quibble with Beats Solo3 and Powerbeats 3. USB (Micro-B) charging instead of Lightning (like AirPods and BeatsX) or USB-C.

    It's just another cable to carry.
     
  10. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #10
    Yeah, it doesn't bother me a ton. What does kind of bothers me is the sound isn't a lot better (read: not better), but the battery life is pretty phenomenal. Not sure if it's $140 more phenomenal than the Solo2s
     
  11. michael31986 macrumors 68040

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    #11
    this may not be the right place, but is their going to be beats with w1 chip that are noise cancelling?
     
  12. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #12
    A recent news post has suggested that a replacement for the Studio will not be released in 2016.

    IMHO, the w1 chip isn't really worth an upgrade.
     
  13. AppleRobert macrumors 603

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    Nov 12, 2012
    #13
    Well I have them and I feel they are great (I left my opinion on other threads which I am sure some read). It was an impulse buy at Apple with no risk because of return policy.

    The price is the kicker, I usually wait till headphones are out there on the market for quite awhile and pick ones up I am interested when the price drops. I have too many to list at great prices.

    I more than likely will return them as a result especially with new W1 headphones on the way and much cheaper that I want to sample.

    The range is phenomenal, basement to top floor of my house was no problem. I was at a library with my GF and she held unto my iPhone as I roamed around. Really great, I cannot estimate the distance I was away but no dropouts or lost connection.
     
  14. michael31986 macrumors 68040

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #14
    The problem is. I have wired studio beats. I want to go wireless but also noise canceling with the w1 chip. Might as well get all the befits
     
  15. damiensmunki macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    #15
    Strange question... I have the Solo2 Wireless, and the light on the left ear cup illuminates all the time. The light on the left ear cup of my Solo3 hasn't illuminated once that I've noticed. For those who have the Solo3... Does the small LED on your left ear cup illuminate?
     
  16. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #16
    My Solo3 does all the time I think. I don't look that often, though
     
  17. MrXiro macrumors 68040

    MrXiro

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    Los Angeles
    #17
    Probably not worth an upgrade but maybe worth it for first time buyers. 40 hours and 100 ft range sounds amazing. I have the Solo 2 and I find them too clampy on my head though so I probably won't get a pair unless I am able to find them for about $150 though. I have too many sets of headphones. :p
     
  18. damiensmunki macrumors newbie

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    Apr 17, 2010
    #18
    When you have a minute, do you mind checking yours and confirming? I don't really care about the light, but it makes me worry there's some kind of short or something that might lead to problems down the road. Thanks!
     
  19. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #19
    yeah mine is on now

    If you power cycle, does the light ever light up?
     
  20. damiensmunki macrumors newbie

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    Apr 17, 2010
    #20
    Nope. And I just reset the headphones and still nothing. Weird. Thanks for checking yours.

    Rob
     
  21. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #21
    Yeah, if you're fortunate enough to have a store nearby, I would take it to Apple.
     
  22. damiensmunki macrumors newbie

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    Apr 17, 2010
    #22
    Yep. Going over lunch today. I realize I'm really anal, but this will drive me crazy. Thanks again for your help!

    Rob
     
  23. AustinIllini thread starter macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #23
    If your device doesn't behave as expected, return it and get one that does behave appropriately. Nothing anal about it, really.
     
  24. damiensmunki macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    #24
    Well, I exchanged for another pair, and the light on the left cup of the new pair also doesn't light up. I don't mean the light in the power button. On the other cup, you'll see there's a small hole where the silver (or whatever color you got) plastic meets the white interior plastic. On the Solo 2, this is in LED that lights up when the headphones are in use. It doesn't light up on either pair of the Solo 3's I've had.
     
  25. michael31986 macrumors 68040

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #25
    So are these actually noise canceling or no? I have the old school studio beats with the button that turns them on and also turns on the noise cancelling feature. It's
     

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