The Beats W1 chip means that the functionality of its headphones continues to impress. Battery life is good, it’s easy to connect them to your phone and is straightforward and build-quality strong. Even their noise-canceling is decent, if not class-leading. The only problem we have with headphones is their overall sound quality, which lags behind in the same price competition.
- Solid construction
- Comfortable fit
- Excellent connectivity (with Apple)
- Great battery life (with Apple)
- Effective noise cancellation
- W1 battery/connection boost only for Apple
- Lower-mids could do with more separation
The Bottom Line :
Beats has taken a good wireless noise-canceling headphone and significantly increased its performance.
- Review Price: £199
- Class 1 Bluetooth
- Seamless switching (iOS 10 and iOS 11 only)
- Micro-USB charging
- Up to 22 hours’ battery (40 with ANC off)
What is the Beats Studio 3?
Noise-canceling headphones are more popular than ever and this is the latest strategy taken by Beats. Okay – the box says Beats Studio 3, but these are actually Apple headphones.
There have been some changes since the company took over, most notably the use of Apple’s W1 chip, which is also available on the company’s AirPods. Its inclusion gives Beats Studio 3 some technical advantages over some of the best sound-canceling headphones in any case.
The only issue? These benefits are limited to iOS excluding Android users. This means that Beats Studio 3 will prove very good headphones or completely generic depending on the OS you prefer. If you are an Apple user you can add half stars to the score.
Beats Studio 3 – Design
Beats Studio 3 may be Apple headphones but they do not sign the Apple look. They are not shiny white and have no fruit logo. Beats branding and aesthetics remain – and in addition they have street-cred.
Apparently, the tough hard construction, which is different from the Beats Studio 3K Studio 2 and the original Studio Wireless models, is still primarily plastic, with a prominent ‘B’ logo in each ear. The overall aesthetic is more flowing and flatter in your head than the Monster-created Clanky First-Gen Beats.
I was sent for testing in the Red-Will-Silver-Accent version of Beats Studio 3. The Matt Black version is more described as “Batman”: perfectly black and subdued enough to attract no attention. Headphones are also available in Shadow Gray, Blue, Porcelain Rose and White.
There is no cracking when you fold the headphones or twist them; Studio 3 seems to be able to withstand reasonable wear and tear. That said, the market has grown a bit since the launch of first-gen studios, and similar money can buy you a more luxurious finish. The Sony WH-1000XM2 combines metallic and pseudo leather with plastic; Bowlers & Wilkins PX fuses anodized aluminum with ballistic nylon.
I do not mind the use of plastic as it helps to lose weight, it is also suitable for Bose Quiet-Discomfort III II only when pressing the left ear button in Studio 3 seems a bit daunting – the click is annoyingly loud.
Although they are very comfortable. Foam ear cushions give your ears a good boost, floating flat on the side of your head like a pillow. Some will prefer the way these headphones are in full contact with the ears, while others will prefer the B&W PX method, where the ear cup goes around the ear and is in the head. I’ve found the bits to be more comfortable for a long time, the only downside being the larger buildup of heat
Beats Studio 3 – Features
Beats Studio 3 lacks any fancy ‘smart’ features on straight-up wireless and listening-canceling headphones, such as Sony WH-1000XM2’s Motion-Tracked Automatic Serving Compatibility or B&W PX’s Proximity Sensor for Endo Play / Pause. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind: I’ve rather got the headphones makers basics right. To me, this comes via a Bluetooth connection and active noise cancellation (ANC) blocking the other person’s racket.
Battery life is varied, and this is where Apple’s W1 chip comes with AN non-iOS gadgets, with Beats Studio 3 gaining about half. Meanwhile, the Sony WH-1000XM2 offers up to 30 hours (ONC ON) at full charge, no matter which device you are using.
This is the same deal when it comes to connection. Pairing is almost instantaneous on an iPhone or iPad. When you’re done, the connection is rock-solid, and even a ‘seamless switching’ feature: People on iOS 10 and iOS 11 can use Beats Studio 3 to get calls on the iPhone without the usual dancing of a pairing / redundant device.
There was a problem with even an Apple device. In my MacBook Air, Beats Studio 3 was trying to get me to iTunes whenever I tried to play a break or something on Spotify.
Basically, Beats Studio 3 treats Apple-lovers like VIPs. For anyone else, the experience is mediocre at best – and at worst frustrating.
Beats Studio 3 – Sound quality
Thanks to the sound quality and sound cancellation performance you are in iOS or Android camp.
If silence is important to you, and if you are considering sound-canceling headphones, so be it, you will not be disappointed.
The audio acting is pretty decent as well, and the sound profile is a lot more mature and accessible as the bits than the bus-dominant approach. There is a strong sense of mobility and rhythm. It’s an exciting performance, clear enough that the music doesn’t get stuck in the basement. The threesome is beautifully pronounced – it can do with more bite, but it is never harsh or tiring.
The bus is no longer almighty, but it has not been fully dialed. The extension is decent, and I’d still say that these headphones are in the lower-end, but it’s clear that a lot of effort has been made to prevent things from getting muddy. The kick-drums sound powerful and tantalizing.
Overall, most Beats Studio 3’s will enjoy an enjoyable listen, especially with pop, hip-hop and rock being called lively things, not necessarily audiophile headphones, and people with hi-fi tendencies to B&W PX’s music and details or the Sony WA-1000. Would prefer the neutral agility of the XM2.
Why buy the Beats Studio 3?
If you’re a fan of Apple devices, Beats Studio 3 might be for you. For Android users, who do not have the benefit of encouraging the Apple W1 chip, their experience is just average, meaning you can buy better options. The Sony WH-1000XM2 or Bowers and Wilkins PX also offers a larger number of features and better sound.
However, for those who own iPhones, iPads and iMacs and use these devices to listen to iTunes, these wireless sound-canceling headphones will serve you well. You will benefit from great connection and battery life. You cannot blame Apple for taking care of itself.
Trusted Score: ∗∗∗∗∗