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Beats Studio 3 wireless noise-cancelling headphones review

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Beats Studio 3 Wireless is Apple’s premier full-size wireless headphones. They have been the brand’s most beloved over-ear headphones ever since they were released in 2017.

These over-ear headphones offer great comfort and wireless connectivity. However, for exceptional noise cancellation and sound quality, you may want to consider other options.

They are no longer competitive at a price that is comparable to the $349/PS299 launch price. You can find better noise-cancelling headphones (like, the Sony WH-1000XM3) on regular sales. We recommend that you only purchase the Beats Studio 3 Wireless when the price drops to half of their original price or less. They are still worth a look if they can be found for this price.

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Design

Beats Studio 3 Wireless looks very similar to previous Studio Wireless headphones. They can be easily spotted by those who are experienced at spotting them from 20m. The brand’s design is abstracted, but it’s still tasteful.

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The Beats headphones are very close to your head. This is a key factor in keeping full-size pairs from looking ridiculous. Some Beats headphones are monotone, unlike the early Beats.

This all-black pair of Beats headphones is as simple as they get. You can get a more dramatic or bolder look with the addition of white with gold trim and classic Beats red with silver highlights.

These Beats headphones can make you feel like a extra in a rap video, if that’s your goal.

In terms of construction, there’s nothing new. The Beats Studio 3 Wireless frame is mainly made of plastic. The pads are made from synthetic leather, which, although soft, appears fake from 2 feet away.

It doesn’t really matter if you don’t need headphones made from Alcantara or aluminum, but it’s not essential. Beats headphones have been criticised over the years for their build quality, but we find the Beats Studio 3 Wireless to be perfectly built.

Plastics don’t creak much. The headband has a good amount of resistance thanks to the fold-up hinge. This prevents the stems and leaves from flapping about like broken arms during normal use.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones are very comfortable. The pads have a rounded cutout that allows for enough space for most ears. Over-ear headphones such as the Beats Studio 3 Wireless are also very comfortable.

Connectivity and battery life

Beats Studio 3 Wireless features Apple’s W1 Chip. This wireless chipset is custom-designed to simplify the process of connecting with an iPhone or iPad.

You’ll notice a prompt pop up on your iPhone when you turn on Beats Studio 3 Wireless. It will display a spinning 3D model. To connect, you just need to tap the button in this pop-up. iOS13 has an excellent interface for connecting to regular Bluetooth headphones. However, the W1 chip makes it easier.

Apple’s wireless technology has been improved since the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones launched. This can be seen in the new AirPods Pro as well as the Powerbeats Pro.

The H1 chip works well, but it is not perfect. It also allows you to see the headphones’ percent battery from the app that you are using to stream.

Although the battery life is excellent, with all features activated stamina is comparable to the Bose QuickComfort 35. With wireless and ANC, you’ll get 22 hours. Bose will give you 20. The Studio 3 Wireless can be switched off to disable active noise cancellation. It will last for up to 40 hours.

The Studio Wireless pair also has a 5-LED indicator at the power button. This will let you know how much juice you have left before you put them on.

Wireless performance is almost perfect regardless of whether you’re using an Android or iPhone, as has been the norm with Beats headphones. This isn’t something Beats/Apple can only get. It’s worth celebrating the amazing blip-free wireless from Sony and other manufacturers.

You can use the controls on the left cup for both Androids and iPhones. One Android 8.0 phone had problems, but it’s probably Android’s fault. The central Beats logo button acts like play pause and can be used to change tracks by multiple taps. The buttons above and below also alter volume. Beats has wisely resisted capacitive or fancy gesture controls. They can be fiddly, and they can also stop working if it rains.

Noise cancelation

Beats Studio 3 wireless also offers Pure ANC (Active noise cancellation). Active noise cancellation has been a feature of the Studio series since 2014. However, this latest version promises to add an extra layer between noise and your ears.

It appears to be designed to prevent distortion from noise cancelling headphones. While we have heard distortion from other noise cancelling headphones while riding the London Tube, and were standing right next to them, we have not heard any distortion from the Bose QuietComfort 35.

Pure ANC doesn’t address the problem of ANC headphones in the real world. Wind noise is another issue. Wind noise is created when the mic is in close proximity to the pinhole microphone. This noise cancellation attempt to cancel the wind noise only creates more noise. Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones are more sensitive to wind noise than others, but they affect all ANC headphones in some way.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless’s noise cancelling is quite effective. It has the main benefits of making cities more peaceful and preventing engine noises from ruining your music. The Bose QuietComfort 35 cancels noise better.

The effect of passing cars isn’t “turned electrical”, a reduced sound that emits a faint whoosh and doesn’t seem to be as detaching as Bose’s. It’s good to know that the volume doesn’t need to be turned up in noisy areas.

These headphones also have a low-mid frequency noise layer due to Pure ANC. While some headphones with active noise cancellation sound like digital tinnitus (or even worse), the Beats Studio 3 Wireless is more like a recorder for its background noise.

Some pairs may be quieter than others, but it isn’t distracting as long as the audio is coming through the drivers. It doesn’t matter if your ears are really anal.

Beats claims that “Pure ANC”, sounds better than any other music. Although it isn’t perfect, it sounds great.

Sound quality

The Beats Studio 3 Wireless sound has some of this effect. You can buy them, put them on and play a few tunes. Very few people will be disappointed.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless don’t sound too juvenile or bassy. Beats pair are not the headphones of choice for people who use reality TV slang, which changes too fast to be able to translate into Oxford English Dictionary.

Studio 3 Wireless headphones have a sound width that is comparable to the best travel-friendly headphones. The Studio 3 Wireless also present a very forward design. The sound is not too relaxed because you can hear the key elements of the mix.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless’s sub-bass is a surprise. The Plantronics backbeat Pro 2 and Sennheiser Momentum2.0 are more aggressive, making kick drums standout and appear more powerful.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless is more “in da Starbucks” or “in the club”? Not quite.

These headphones feature a different type of bass emphasis. This is a thickening in the lower bass and mids, rather than a subbass punch.

It could be described as a full, rich, or fat tone. This is why Beats Studio 3 Wireless leave a distinct bassy aftertaste, even though they aren’t overloaded with low frequencies. This works well in many situations. Podcasts don’t have a bass rumble, but the voices sound strong.

You can see why switching to vocal-lead songs, especially with a crooner like Leonard Cohen isn’t always a good idea. Some Beats Studio 3 Wireless’ low mids become saturated and lack texture.

This can cause music to sound distorted and muddy, preventing it from being properly separated. This can make certain songs sound resonant, which can be irritating to the ears.

This mid failure has been seen before with Beats headphones. We noticed how it makes the soundstage feel constrained even though the problem is at the “middle”, and not the top or bottom.

This effect is absent from the Sennheiser and Plantronics alternatives, Bose, Bose, and, most importantly, the $99/PS85 Urbanista Seattle Wireless. Although the Beats Studio 3 Wireless sounds better than Urbanistas in all other aspects, it is disappointing that a headphone at a third of the price offers more coherent mids.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless has a slightly safer treble, but it lacks some bite when compared to other models. This is a minor issue compared to the rather cloyingly low mids.

Verdict

Beats Studio 3 Wireless is a great option if you don’t care too much about audio. They look great, sound good, and are comfortable. Active noise cancellation helps to relieve the stress of urban life.

You get headphones with great battery life and Apple W1 chips. This makes them very user-friendly, especially if you have an iPhone.

There are some sound issues that you won’t find in headphones of the same price. The Beats Studio 3 Wireless is not a loud, distorted pair of headphones. Instead, it has a dull, muddy sound that sits between the mids and bass.

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