The following review is part of the Back to Business special.

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Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

The headphone market has exploded over the last few years.  With wireless options becoming even more sought after due in part to smartphone manufactures moving away from the traditional headphone jack!

Some travellers, myself included, have a pair of headphones just for travelling.  Yet for business travellers getting the right headphones is an important decision.  They are not just for listening to music or watching that movie during a flight.  Now they are also the wireless headset for those non stop conference calls when not in the office, therefore headphones today need to deliver more than music!

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Hardware

The key inclusion for the Solo3 is the W1 Apple chip.  Back in 2014 Apple acquired Beats and are now stamping their technology into the headphones. Much to the benefit of you and I.

If you had to guess what the battery life on a pair of wireless headphones would be, I think most would go for around the 8 hour mark.  Thanks to the W1 chip the Solo3 provide 40 hours of use in between charges!  I have been using these for the last month, and not once have I run out of power.  I have put them on charge every couple of days or when I remember.  Commuting, conference calls and testing in the evening yet they just keep going.

The W1 Chip brings with it one other noticeable perk for Apple ‘i’ owners.  Seamless pairing between devices.  With any other Bluetooth connection, you need to head on in to settings, discover the device and then pair, usually with a 5 digit code.

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Android and any other users will still need to connect the same way they would for any other Bluetooth device.  Apple users will be greeted with a new display in settings.  Just tap connect, and the headphones become yours.  It took longer to write this sentence than it did to connect these headphones to an iPad and iPhone.

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The headphones are a one size fits all and have 3 adjustable points to get the perfect fit and the cushion cups that sit on your ears are on a ball joint.  This makes them comfortable to wear for long durations and move with your movements.

Using the Solo3 is simple.  On the right ear cup is the only visible button, which powers the Solo3 on/off.  Under this you will find the 5 light LED display.  Give the power button a tap during use and the LEDs will show battery power remaining.

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On the left ear cup there is volume up/down and play/pause, all 4 are hidden in the Beats logo, so as not to ruin the aesthetics of what are, a great pair of headphones to look at!  A double tap skips forward 1 track, and a triple tap goes back one.

I found the built -in Beam-forming microphone performed very well.  I can spend 6-7 hours a day on conference calls and not once did anyone complain about not being able to hear me clearly.  Admittedly, these were all done in an office environment, but even for a wireless headset that is noteworthy!

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Noise Isolation

Rather than the more expensive option of noise cancelling the Solo3 is noise isolation only.  This means the headphone rely on a good, snug fit between the ear and the ear cup.  This fit creates a barrier that reduces outside sound.

Although noise cancelling is considered the best option on the market, I had no issues with outside noise ruining my listening experience.  I did not use them on an aircraft, but for a month of use on the London Underground they performed very well.

 

Specifications

In the box you will get a Micro USB cable for charging and a 3.5mm Headphone jack cable.  So should the unthinkable happen, and you run out of power, you can plug the cable in and use them like a normal wired pair of headphones.

  • Height 19.8cm
  • Weight 215g
  • Class1 Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 40 Hour Battery Life
  • Fast Charge | 5min charge delivers 3 hours of playback
  • Noise Isolation
  • LED Fuel Gauge
  • Beam-Forming Microphone
  • Choice of 10 Colours

Price

Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones are £249.95 direct from Apple.  As they are now considered an Apple product you may well find them on sale at other retailers but the price will be in line with Apple stores.

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Final Thoughts

I know the price alone, puts these headphones directly in line with some Noise Cancelling models.  I’m also aware in this price range Bose are often considered the market leaders.  But here is why I would recommend these and go some way to justifying the price tag!

That W1 Apple chip makes all the difference.  In a big way! If you are an iPhone user then these should be top of your list.  I tested these on both iPhone and the Android powered Blackberry KEYone.  The setup is easier on the iPhone but once up and running, day-to-day usage is the same, so Android owners can still benefit from all the other features the chip offers.

40 hours of battery life is a massive amount.  The Bose On-Ear Wireless alternative, whilst £90 cheaper, only provide 15 hours.

Although the headband is of a plastic finish the overall look, feel and performance of the Solo3 Wireless is premium all the way.  As we all have different shaped ears, headphones can be quiet a personal choice, but you will not regret investing in a pair!

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