So I’m sitting at my desk here in my home office listening to a podcast through my Matte Black Solo 3 Wireless bluetooth headphones that I purchased here on Amazon and it made me wonder… After owning these pair for a little over two years are they still worth it? This influenced me to create a long-term review on these. Let’s dive in!
Before I get into the nitty gritty of this review, I first want to lay out that YES, these are totally worth the investment in my opinion even at its current price between $145 to $179 (depending on colors and limited editions), and have been completely surprised at how well they have held up and stay relevant against the competition to this day. The sound and build quality are much improved over previous generations and are one of my favorite headphones to bring with me to the gym for a great workout or on longer travel trips due to their overall comfort, portability, and sound depth.
My First Gen Beats Woes
Back in 2011 I was just about to get ready for my sophomore year in college and was looking for a new pair of headphones that I could study at the library with and jam to some music while walking between classes. It was about this time the Beats line of products were making their way onto the streets and before I knew it the signature shiny black and red cans seemed to be on everyone’s noggins.
So what did I do? Of course I caved in to the social buzz and bought myself a pair at my local Best Buy. Without trying them on or listening to them I didn’t hesitate to rip open that beautiful packaging and see what all the hype was about. First test: see how they held up at the library after a long study session.
Well, needless to say, it seemed like a blink of an eye before I had them stuffed back in the box and returned to that same local Best Buy with quite a bit of frustration on my face. Why? Because the first generation Beats headphones felt of extremely cheap bendable plastic, lacked sound quality, and the ear cups got hot and extremely uncomfortable after only 30 mins of usage. Test failed.
A Welcome Change for the Beats Solo 3
Fast forward to 2017, I was getting ready to purchase a new laptop at the Apple Store and couldn’t help but keep noticing that beautiful clean display along the wall of Solo 3 Wireless headphones that Apple is so good at, all lined up in all its available colors. I was apprehensive to ever look at a new pair of Beats headphones since that horrible college flashback of the first gen models, but knew that things might be different since they are the first pair designed and produced under the Apple ecosystem of products so things could be different. I figured to give the Beats my one last shot.
As I picked up the gold and white pair of Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones for the first time, they seemed noticeably heavier and more sturdy than the outgoing model. Welcome change indeed. So I adjusted the headband to my size and placed them on my ears. Immediately I noticed just how soft and premium the leather was along the ear cups, feeling no doubt that they would last longer than a half hour of listening. Finally, the sound quality was rich, with deep bass notes and warm highs, perfect for the kind of music and video dialogue I was listening to. So I decided to pull out my credit card once again and purchase my new pair of Beats headphones.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless Battery Longevity
Boy was I glad I made that purchase two years ago, because to this day these are a great pair of wireless bluetooth headphones. I was shocked that these headphones had up to 40 hours of battery life, but I believe it since these are the first pair that I find myself not having to reach for the charging cable after an extended time of usage. I’ll wear these for most of my days watching Youtube videos, weightlifting and running at the gym, listening to music while writing a blog post, or catching up on a series of podcasts, and not have to charge them until the end of the week. Watch out battery range anxiety!
The addition of Apple’s W1 chip technology, also found in the Powerbeats 3 and AirPods, is a welcome one as I don’t find myself reaching for the power button since it knows when you are not actively listening to something through the headphones, and thus goes into a battery saving sleep mode.
I was just on a 4 and a half hour long cross country flight and was watching movies through my Solo 3 headphones wirelessly the entire time. When I flipped down the control center on my iPhone to see how much battery was remaining on them it read that there was still 75% remaining. Note this is two years after I purchased these headphones, so through all of this use I have to say that the battery has held up extremely well, and you should not be worried at all about battery range anxiety with this model.
Although I felt surprised that the materials used along the headband, earcups, and foldable hinges were a major upgrade over the existing generation of Beats headphones, I still wondered how long they would hold up for. Now I don’t normally beat my Beats up during daily use (see what I did there! :D) but I have had the occasional drop, head bump against the airplane window, or toss around in the gym.
Even after these split-second scary events the headband and ear cups are still extremely sturdy and in great cosmetic shape. The unit still feels as sturdy as when I first purchased it and the hinge still snaps and stays in place while flexed out. The headband size adjustment is still tight and the notches stay in their desired position. Actually this has been very unexpected but great, the ear cups were somewhat soft when I first got them, but after using them for a while at my office and in the gym they have gotten even softer, more comfortable, and the cups have even started to form around my ears, sort of like a memory foam mattress.
Just to note here: The Solo 3 Wireless is an “on-the-ear” headset, meaning the ear cup rests on the ear when worn, so the ear cushion does get warm but only after wearing them for several hours straight. After taking them off for a few minutes and putting them back on, it’s usually comfortable for even a few more hours of listening.
Beats in general are known for having a warmer, bassier sound compared to its rivals, and the same has been true for this model. It’s especially great when listening to music that favors bass, such as hip-hop and electronic, and at higher volumes I’m hard pressed to find little, if any, distortion even after listening to them all this time. In the gym, sound quality is still great and there is no sound skipping or connection issues while running. These headphones have quality sound drivers in them and have been reliable through two years of ownership.
If there is one downside to the Beats Solo 3 Wireless it’s that there can be some outside noise that gets in and affects the quality of the sound since they are on-ear headphones, but I have found that the longer I have worn them and the more the ear cushion has formed to my ears, the more these Beats have been able to isolate outside noise, even without active noise cancellation. I have had no trouble turning them up through droning environments like the weights clanging in the gym, the foot pounds heard from a gang of treadmills, or the deep hum of an airplane engine and still receiving deep, clear, distortion-free sound from the sound drivers.
Now like I said before, these do not have active noise cancellation since they are an on-the-ear setup, so if that is a feature you need but still want Beats then I would suggest checking out it’s larger sibling the Studio 3 Wireless. However, the lighter weight, smaller footprint, and substantially longer battery life make its lack of active noise cancellation a non-deal breaker.
The Final Verdict
Overall the Beats Solo 3 Wireless have held up extremely well to two full years of fairly regular usage both in and out of the gym, and have no doubts that it could hold up for another two years. At a current price of between $145 to $179 (depending on colors and limited editions) these are still well worth the money today. There have been no issues electronically to date, and pairing between multiple iOS devices is a complete breeze by just holding it close to the one you’re currently listening from. The included carrying case with carabiner, although I wish had a little more room for storing the headset, are still nice bonus accessories that keep these Beats tight and quite compact for traveling in smaller bags and backpacks. But at the end of it all, it is clear that these are not the same Beats that the college-aged me bought, and stand to be a contender for best wireless headphones even all these years later.
Order your Beats Solo 3 Wireless below for the lowest price available (No need to pay retail):
Beats Solo3 Wireless – Black (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2Hra3KW
Beats Solo3 Wireless – Gold (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2ZpxMS3
Beats Solo3 Wireless – White (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2KUYY7
NOTE: These are exclusive affiliate links which may save on the regular retail pricing. If you use my link, I may earn commission. PS. These links will NEVER add to your cost, only save you money. I only promote products that I use myself and stand behind 100%. Thank you for your support!