Beats Studio Wireless vs Solo 3: Comparison of the Best Bluetooth Headphones in 2020

Looking at Beats by Dr. Dre’s existing headphone line up, it’s impossible to miss two nearly identical models: the Solo 3 Wireless and the Studio 3 Wireless. How come then that the least expensive of the two, the Solo 3, is newer, lasts longer on a single charge, and features Apple’s new W1 chip that promises to offer significant performance and connectivity benefits?

ProductBrandNamePrice
BeatsBeats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear HeadphonesCheck Price on Amazon
BeatsBeats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear HeadphonesCheck Price on Amazon

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The answer has a lot to do with marketing and not much to do with the actual performance of the headphones. If you’re trying to establish yourself as a music producer, you better be ready to spend big money to get started.

However, with both headphones packing Apple’s high-end W1 chip, the choice becomes even harder. Not to mention the fact that the Beats Solo3 is somewhat cheaper than the Studio 3. Naturally, there’s some confusion with regard to the features as well as the performance, and we’re going to make sure those are clarified in this article.

Beats Solo 3 vs Beats Studio 3

Design

Apart from the form factor, the second most significant difference between the Beats Solo3 and the Studio Wireless headphones is that the Solo 3 ear cups rest against the ear while the Studio 3 Wireless wraps entirely around the ear. Both are suitable for any ear design, which is the first thing that customers want to know about headphones.

This construction difference has several implications. Given that the Studio 3 belongs to the over-the-ear headphones segment, it can isolate the outer noise better no matter your ear design. On the other hand, the Solo3 are standard on-the-ear headphones, though not the best in terms of noise isolation or suppression.

Controls

Both feature invisible control buttons around the Beats logo, with the logo acting as the pairing button. Both have soft padding on the inside of the headband and plush ear cups that feel great against the skin.

To us, a serious listener is anyone who keeps up with the music industry or at least follows a few favorite artists, and who actively tries to find the time to listen to music, be it while traveling to work or school, working, or when just chilling in the evening.

We’re willing to bet that most serious listeners don’t wear headphones for more than an hour at a time. For those people, the Beats Solo3 will work great. But if you’re someone who basically lives with headphones on, the Studio 3 Wireless will likely be a better choice.

Connectivity and Pairing

Perhaps the biggest advantage that Apple-made headphones like the Beats Solo3 and the Studio Wireless have is the inclusion of Apple’s new W1 processor. This chipset is also found on the Apple AirPods. As Apple puts it, “the headphone can tell when you’re talking and listening,” making it an extremely capable piece of hardware built with the modern customer in mind.

This chipset also makes the pairing process easier, particularly if you own an Apple iPhone. Unfortunately, Android users are out of luck, though it is still possible to use both headphones with Android phones, albeit using the traditional Bluetooth pairing method.

So, how does pairing with the W1 chip work? Think of this as an NFC chip but with better range. As soon as you turn the headphones on close to your iPhone, the pairing card pops out, and all you need to do is hit the confirm button. It’s a minor usability improvement, but one that’s easy to get used to and hard to live without once you have it for a while.

It’s also worth pointing out that the W1 processor also has a positive impact on the battery life of the two headphones, but we’ll get to that later.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of Beats headphones and earbuds is so unique that it often is mentioned even when talking about headphones from other manufacturers. It implies accentuated lows, forward mids, and decent highs—the ideal combination for listening to hip hop, dubstep, and pop. It doesn’t, however, imply that headphones with “the Beats sound” are great for classical music, rock, or jazz, just to give a few examples.

Apple is clearly trying to change this image to make Beats headphones more neutral. The on-ear model does have tamer lows as compared to the Beats Studio 3, but the difference is, for the most part, not even worth mentioning. You could easily achieve the same result by playing with the EQ settings on your phone. Hopefully, future versions of these headphones will improve the level of detail and the overall tonal balance even further.

For the time being, you get the expected Beats experience with both headphones—great, pumping bass, and warm sound. While the over-ear construction of the Studio 3 Wireless can keep most of the bass contained, the Solo3 on-ear headphones struggle at above 60% volume.

The range of these wireless headphones should not be a concern for prospective buyers as both come equipped with Apple’s W1 chip, offering a range of up to 80 feet.

Noise Cancellation

Both headphones come with ANC or active noise cancellation enabled, allowing for excellent suppression of background noise when you’re deeply involved with your music. Active Noise Cancellation is a common feature among wireless headphones today, so it’s not really a surprise to find it on these two offerings.

The two headphones also come with Apple’s Transparency Mode, compatible only with Apple devices such as the iPhones, allowing you to quickly disable active noise cancellation and listen in to what’s happening in the background. However, Apple notes that

Battery Life

The sound leakage on the Beats Solo3 is redeemed by the fantastic battery life. It can offer up to 40 hours of playback as per the manufacturer while the Studio 3 can merely play for 22 hours. The Studio Wireless can provide up to 22 hours of playback thanks to the new and upgraded chipset inside. So as far as battery life is concerned, it’s clear that the Solo3 has a distinct advantage over the Studio 3 Wireless. However, using features like Transparency Mode can take a toll on battery life.

It’s likely that using transparency mode or noise cancellation may bring down the hours of playback significantly, if not halved.

Conclusion

It’s clear that there’s isn’t a significant gulf between the Beats Solo3 and the Studio 3 in terms of onboard hardware, especially after Apple included the W1 processor on both models. However, if we were to pick one aspect where the latter shines, it’s with the 40 hours of battery life.

Is cheaper actually better in this case?

These aspects make the Solo 3 an excellent choice over the Studio Wireless mostly for the price, and as we’ve pointed at above, this is not suitable for prolonged audio listening. If you intend to use your headphones for hours of playback, the Studio 3 is certainly worth considering, though you will naturally shell out more.

We also like the fact that the Studio 3 offers an impressive contoured ear design, allowing it to fit snugly with any ear shape. Noise cancellation tech also appears to work better with the Studio 3 Wireless as compared to its sibling. We highly recommend getting either variant if you own Apple devices.

Do you have anything to add to the Solo 3 vs Studio 3 Wireless comparison?

ProductBrandNamePrice
BeatsBeats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear HeadphonesCheck Price on Amazon
BeatsBeats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear HeadphonesCheck Price on Amazon

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