Beats Studio3 Wireless review: Can my mind be changed?

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews
Beats Studio3 Wireless

The new Apple backed Beats isn’t the old Beats, but they’re still not for everyone and that’s OK.

TA-ratings-93The Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones are the latest and greatest from Beats. The last time I used Beats headphones was back in the Monster days before Dr. Dre split and went on his own. Back in those days, I felt Beats were far too bass heavy with little balance anywhere else. Everything sounded muddy and overdriven and the build quality and design were, well, over the top.

So it’s been several years since I’ve even put on a pair of Beats headphones. Now that Apple has purchased the company, and amidst many positive reviews, I was keen on trying a pair for myself. I’ve always held a long-standing aversion to Beats simply based on first impressions from so long ago. Can the Beats Studio3 Wireless change my mind about Beats? Let’s find out in the full review of the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones.

Specifications

The Beats Studio3 Wireless has the following features and specifications:

  • Class 1 Bluetooth
  • Apple W1 Chip
  • Adaptive Noise Canceling (ANC)
  • ANC on/off function
  • On-Board Call and Music Controls
  • On-Board Volume Control
  • Noise Isolation
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • Wired playback via RemoteTalk cable
  • RemoteTalk Cable with inline Controls
  • LED Fuel Gauge
  • Charge via Micro-USB cable
  • Available colors: Blue – Matte Black – Red – White – Porcelain Rose – Shadow Gray
  • Height: 7.2″ / 184cm
  • Weight: 9.17oz / 260g

What’s In The Box

  • Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones
  • Carrying case
  • 3.5mm RemoteTalk Cable
  • Universal USB charging cable
  • Carabiner
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty card

Design

From what I’ve gleaned online, the Beats Studio3 Wireless design hasn’t changed much from previous versions. They still retain the same basic shape. As I’ve already said, my familiarity with Beats design goes back to the Monster days. So I remember a glossy cheap plastic build with gaudy over the top colors. This is not that.

This design is much more refined, likely the influence of Apple. Our review unit came in Shadow Gray with a subtle gold accent and they really look amazing. They are slightly weighty, not a bad thing. And while the build is mostly plastic, it’s not cheap feeling as I remember Beats to be.

Even the branding is done well, not over the top and in your face, it’s very symmetrical with purpose. The gold accents along the headband do pick up fingerprints, perhaps they could have made them matte and not glossy? It’s a minor annoyance.

The ear cups fold up and the headphones can be neatly tucked into their included hard shell case. The case is sturdy and well made, the shape reminds me of the old Beats Pill speaker. Not sure that’s intentional or not.

Cushy.

The ear cup padding is soft, supple, cushiony, and very comfortable. The headband padding is sort of a rubbery material, not sure why this was used. I would have preferred a softer leather material. Not a deal breaker just a preference, the headband is comfortable though.

The ear cups do articulate slightly to adjust to your ears. The clamping force on these headphones is a little higher than most headphones I’ve used. They’re not uncomfortable but some users may feel uncomfortable after prolonged use.

On the right ear cup, you’ll find the power/pairing button and LED battery indicator. You will also find the MicroUSB port for charging. Why on earth Apple didn’t use USB-C here is baffling, I would have liked to see that.

Over on the left ear cup, you’ll find the AUX port and playback controls integrated on the Beats logo. This controls Siri, pause/play/calls, volume up/down, and track fwd/back.

Overall these are nicely designed. Far from the chintzy Beats I remember and one of the nicest designed pair of headphones I’ve used.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

The goods.

Ease of Use

With the Apple W1 Chip on board here, pairing to your iOS 10 or better device is seamless. Make sure Bluetooth is on, press power button on Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones for 1-second, then follow prompts on the screen. It literally takes 3-seconds to get connected.

The nice thing for Apple users is, once you’re connected to one device, all of your Apple devices will recognize the headphones and you can connect everywhere. You can even switch from one device to another quickly. Say you’re listening on your iPhone and want to switch to your iPad, just swipe up on Control Center and select the headphones and it instantly switches.

If you’re not using an iOS device you can still pair the regular way via Bluetooth. You just won’t be able to switch as seamlessly between devices on non-iOS devices.

Overall, these are probably the easiest headphones I’ve ever paired with iOS and they’re still easy to use without an iOS device.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

The new look of Beats is far more attractive than the old look.

Sound

Alright, here’s the section that matters. My last experience with Beats headphones left me wondering if the company thought the only frequency in music was bass. All I can remember is pure mud with every other frequency being smothered by the overdriven bass. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to like my bottom end slightly thicker but not at the expense of all other frequencies.

Well, it seems Apple’s sound engineers may have given Beats some pointers. First off, these are still very much so headphones for bass lovers. There is no doubt that the soundstage favors the bottom end here. That said, the bottom end is not the only thing in this soundstage.

I will admit, there is a little more bottom end here than I normally like. I would have liked it tuned back just slightly more but I do admit, bass heavier music does sound pristine on these cans. That being said. I was still able to enjoy my Pink Floyd, Coldplay, 77s, Michael Roe, and other less bass heavy music.

LED battery indicators and power.

Mids and highs were balanced well unlike my first Beats experience. Vocals, cymbals, and guitars all come in nice and crisp. It’s like Beats finally invited the rest of the band members to play, not just the drums and bass.

Apple is also touting their “PureANC” technology which is Active Noise Cancelling. It works really well. Not as well as some other ANC’s on the market but not far behind. The seal on the ear cups is tight which also helps keep out the noise.

Overall, these are not the Beats of old. Yes, they still lean to the bass side but everything is much cleaner now. It’s not just the bass I hear. The rest of the frequencies have been given consideration and these are actually now a real pair of headphones.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

These accents pick up fingerprints.

Reception/Call Quality

I am not wasting your time here. Hands down the best Bluetooth reception I’ve seen on a pair of headphones. Apple’s use of the W1 Chip is said to be the reason for this. I was able to get well over 300 feet from my iPhone, in a metal building without losing connection. That is impressive.

Call quality is also spot on, no issues at all here. Although I rarely, if ever, take phone calls on headphones. Overall, great performance in this category.

Battery Life

Apple claims 22-hours of battery life when using ANC and a whopping 40-hours without ANC. I like having ANC on and was able to get around 23-hours with volume at 50% and my iPhone close to the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones. I’m sure you can get the advertised 40 with ANC off.

If you do happen to run out of juice. These have a quick-charge feature that gives you 3-hours of battery with a 10-minute charge. That’s pretty amazing. Overall, another stellar performance in another category.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

Comfortable but the clamping force is strong, some may not like that.

Price/Value

Beats is asking $349.95USD for the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones. Honestly, they’re worth it if you dig your music with a punchier low end. These headphones will stand toe-to-toe with just about any other headphone in this price point. But they certainly aren’t going to satisfy every taste.

Wrap Up

Alright. The new Beats are nothing like the old Beats, that’s for certain. I actually enjoyed all types of music with these headphones and I could even tolerate the bassy soundstage. Apple has really put some thought into tuning these headphones with better balance. They are a bit pricey but the competition is around the same price range and except for some slight soundstage tuning differences, sound around the same.

I do think there are other ANC headphones that do a slightly better job with ANC but the Beats aren’t far off. I also think the Beats actually look better than some other ANC headphones. Overall, I’d say these are worth your dollar if you want an all-around balanced sound with punchy bass. I was very surprised that I enjoyed these as much as I did. I guess I can put my years-long dislike of Beats headphones in a drawer now.

*We were sent a sample of the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones for the purposes of this review.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

$349.95USD
9.3

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Sound

8.5/10

Reception/Call Quality

10.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Clean subtle design
  • Not the sound of the Beats of old
  • Comfortable
  • Solid build quality
  • ANC works well
  • Nice hard shell case included
  • W1 chip and iOS integration is seamless
  • Bluetooth reception is stellar

Needs work

  • Sound leans heavier to the bass side may not be for everyone
  • Clamping pressure is tight, may not set well with some
  • Would have like to seen USB-C for charging
  • Fingerprint magnet accents
Comments
To Top