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Beats has been around for some time as a brand.
The brainchild of Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, beats’ has had a mixed reception from audiophiles and just pure headphone junkies alike.
Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014 in order for apple to gain an entry point into the competitive world of wireless headphones.
The headphones boast active noise cancellation circuitry and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Beats studio 3 wireless headphones are retailing at less than $300 at time of writing.
The Beats Studio 3 Wireless, is the latest addition to the noise canceling headphone complement of Beats by Dre.
These headphones are the successor to the mixed reviewed Beats Studio 2 wireless.
On the right ear cup you have the power on button, and your LED notification which tells you your battery life, and the micro USB slot.
A double tap of the power button activates the active noise cancellation.
On the left ear cup you have a 3.5mm port and an LED which signifies your Bluetooth connectivity or status.
The left ear cup also includes controls for media and calls. A press of the “b” on the headphones will act as your multi function button.
One press of the b will play/pause, double press will skip forward and triple press will skip backward, and you can press and hold to activate the voice assistant.
When a call is coming in, you will simply press the “b” once to take the call and when you want to end a call you will press the “b” once.
You will notice that there are 2 circles on the ear cups. The inner circle with the Beats“b” is for the changing of tracks and making calls.
The outer circle is for adjusting the volume.
The upper portion of the circle is to increase the volume and the bottom portion is for decreasing the volume.
Again much of this is the same as the previous Studio.
To preserve the battery life, you can switch off the noise cancellation.
My battery life tends to last a little longer than most people due to the fact that I do not use active noise cancellation when I am in my home office as it is often very quiet.
With the Beats wireless studio 3 headphones you can get up to 22 hours of battery life with the active noise cancellation and Bluetooth on.
This is competitive as For the price of the headphones you should at least be expecting 20+ hours of battery life with noise cancellation on.
The Beasts studio 3 wireless headphones even give you more battery power than the Bose Quietcomfort 35 II, which only provide you with 20 hours of battery life with ANC on.
I put the battery life claims to the test and it turns out that beats’ where spot on. I could actually play these for 22 hours non-stop before needing to recharge.
The battery life still comes in lower than the Sony, which boats up to 30 hours with noise cancellation on.
Without active noise cancellation, the headphones can give you up to 40 hours of battery life, which is also pretty good.
The quick charge feature on these headphones is pretty good. 10 minutes gives you 3 hours of playback time, which is good, especially considering that the Bose QC35 II gives you 2.5 hours for a 15-minute charge.
In general the sound is easy and pleasant to listen to, and most certainly not overbearing.
When Apple acquired beats’, there was an expectation that Beats would produce consistent high quality sound.
Previous versions where good, but you always felt that something was missing.
When I gave these a try, I was a little let down. Especially given that these are competing for $300 of a consumers share of wallet.
Previously these headphones where designed to get the most out of the bass, especially since DR Dre was involved in the design.
But you will notice that the Wireless 3’s have had the base slightly toned down to give them a more neutral sound.
I feel like the sub base has been toned down a little excessively in my view.
The headphones do not extend as deeply as one would expect.
The base seems to be focused around the mid base region and the upper base region which has the tendency to bleed into the mid range.
The base tightness and the focus, the sense of dynamics and impact is in my view fairly mediocre.
It sounds a bit fat and almost monotone, not quite but almost.
When considering the mid range, the headphones are fairly clear and detailed in that frequency response, but they do suffer from base bleed.
You get the sense of a hefty over emphasized chesty sound and kinda hurts the vocals a little.
With Low frequency music such as Hip Hop and EDM, the studios do hit pretty hard, and do offer slightly more resonating base than bass boosted headphones.
I do reckon that the base is very close to the Sony 1000MX3 in performance.
The headphones Do eventually break in as I found that the base started punching through after about 12 hours of use.
Now mid range frequency is where clarity and detail of most headphones are heard, this is where vocals reside and to the human ear most people determine if audio is good or not within this range.
Some songs where muddy in my view, but overall the beats’ did perform decently.
Vocals and drums came in very clear and distinct in my view as well.
On the high frequency, I like the fact that the beats’ where able to prevent tingy sounds.
The build quality and design does remind me a lot of the Beats Studio 2 headphones.
The speaker, amplifier, digital to analog converter have been redesigned, and the headphones themselves are absolute lookers. The design is very sleek and cool.
Fit and comfort
The clamping pressure is quite high, which I found annoying at first as I would have to take of my headphones every 30 minutes or so.
But every time they do loosen up and become more comfortable.
As far as over ears go, I think that they have not catered for the people with larger ears.
You will notice that the openings in the ear cup are not large at all.
Therefore instead of looking like over ear headphones, they end up feeling like giant on ears, as they will most likely rest on the outer edges of your ears, and combine that with high clamping pressure, your ears could be in for some pain especially in the beginning.
But once you do get acquainted with the headphones then they do fit very comfortably.
There is no pinching or sharpness at the crumb of the head.
The foam ear cups and leatherette material on the ear pads was good enough to ensure that I did not experience fatigue and definitely did not sweat under the headphones.
The maximum time that I could do consecutively is 2 hours, after which I would need a break from these cans.
This is definitely a case of headphones looking way better than they perform
The beats’ are stylish looking over ear headphones with oval shaped ear cups.
You will notice that the ear pads are somewhat softer than the beats’ Studio 2 wireless.
The ear cushions are made of memory foam and are finished with synthetic leather, and are quite comfortable.
One gripe I have with the stitching on the ear pads is that it looks poorly done.
The leather on the ear pads looks as if it could tear within a few weeks.
I do get the feeling that the headphones are a little fragile for my liking.
The won’t necessarily break easily, but you can tell when playing around with them they do not have the same build quality as the Microsoft Surface headphones have for instance.
I think beats’ opted for cheaper plastics in the design to save costs, but you may find yourself getting another pair next year.
This could be one of those headphones where you may have to tape a few times over the next year.
The headband seems to have been made of plastic as well. One disappointing feature is the lack of padding on the headband, but the materials they have on there are fairly comfortable.
What’s in the box
In the box you get 2 cables, the standard cable with a 3.5mm jack.
The cable also has an inline control which allows you to speak in it as it has a built in microphone.
The center of the cable includes a remote, allowing you play and pause music as well as answer phone calls.
Using the remote you can also access voice assistant by pressing and holding.
You get a micro USB cable with the Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones.
These can be used for charging purposes, whether by connecting to a computer or a power socket.
Again, it seems, in keeping with the cost-cutting theme, the makers of Beats decided to rather go with a micro USB instead of USB-C.
One does expect that since so many devices are moving to USB-C that a good pair of noise canceling headphones would include USB-C.
The case for the studio 3 wireless is a hard shell oval shaped case.
It is the perfect size, being nice and compact. It’s the kind of case that can fit into your luggage without taking any meaningful space.
It does look as though the case is the same as that of the Studio2 wireless, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The headphones come with a hook that allows you to attach your carrying case to your luggage bag.
Honestly at this price range, I would have expected a voice prompt telling me whether my battery is low and also indicating whether my headphones are on or off or have paired to another Bluetooth device.
The studio 3 offers real time audio calibration.
What I do enjoy about the beats’ is that through this feature, your sound will adjust based on the music that you are listening to.
As a result of apples proprietary technology in the W1 chip, you can get a range of up to 100m.
This is similar to the technology in the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 SE which supports class 1 Bluetooth devices. Though for me 100m was very excessive.
Take head of the following when wanting to do a firmware updated.
If you are using an IOS device, then as a result of the W1 chip, you can simply update the firmware of the beats’ Studio 3 Wireless, seamlessly and automatically through the actual operating system.
For Android users you would have to plug the headphones into a computer, using the micro USB cable in order to upgrade the firmware, through the beats’ updater app.
As expected the beats’ studio 3 wireless headphones are equipped with adaptive noise cancellation. Their ANC technology is called Pure ANC.
I was not particularly impressed with the ANC as I felt like there was certainly a bit of noise entering especially at the higher frequencies.
When activating the noise canceling ability of headphones, I would have certain minimum expectations.
I could still here city streets and ambient noise leaking into the headphones. Sometimes I could, although very distinctly make out people’s conversations.
Also, there was a fair amount of hiss on the headphones. Now sometimes this does exist, but it’s almost like Beats paid no attention to it.
One disappointing thing with the beats’ is the build quality.
I feel like in an attempt to save costs, that fairly cheap materials where used, and the headphones feel fragile.
It does seem as if we have been given the Beats Studio 2 wireless, with a tweak in the active noise cancellation.
I felt as if the noise cancellation was actually quite mediocre, especially for a set of headphones that are retailing for around $300.
When you buy a pair of noise canceling headphones you are specifically interested in the noise cancellation feature.
Noise cancellation serves a very specific purpose. Otherwise, I would have simply purchased a quality set of normal Bluetooth headphones.
Reasons to buy
- Multi point technology allows you to connect to 2 devices at a time.
- Adaptive noise cancellation (Pure ANC)
- 10 minute quick charge provides 2.5 hours of battery time
- 22 hours of battery with ANC on and 40 hours with ANC off
- With iOS and the Apple W1 chip, one press and you’re paired with your device
- Class 1 Bluetooth allows connectivity for up to 100m/330ft
- Multiple color selection
- Rich bass and signature boss audio
- Multi functional “b” button lets you take and make calls, control music, and activate Siri.
- Advanced venting
- Ergonomic pivoting ear cups
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