With the iPhone 7 missing a 3.5mm jack, wireless audio is the key to the future. And the numbers speak for themselves. Bluetooth headphones have been flying off the shelf, but for the audiophiles, the transmission format does result in a noticeable loss of quality. Together with Apple, the Beats Solo3 Wireless hopes to address that.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless is designed as the perfect everyday headphone. There’s the usual Beats sound, which most likely won’t appeal to the audiophiles, but sound quality is a matter of personal preference. The bassy, boomy sound and the unmistakable Beats logo are all present. In a way, it delivers what it promises. Heavy bass across the low and midrange, like you are at a party next to the subwoofer cranked way up. It is fun – for the right kind of music.
The Solo3 Wireless also features Fast Fuel, a 5 minute charge gives you 3 hours of playback which is a godsend for those moments when you realise you are out of juice.
The new Beats Solo3 Wireless comes with Apple’s new W1 chip. This chip is supposed to enhance the Bluetooth experience, but Apple isn’t very forthcoming as to the details of the chip. Enhancing of the Bluetooth experience can cover many aspects such as ease of pairing, connection stability, voice control etc etc.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless also comes with with Class 1 Bluetooth®.
I initially thought it would boost audio quality but instead it allows for longer range. Class 1 Bluetooth devices transmit at 100mW, which have a standard range of approximately 100 meters or 328 feet, range is comparable to that of an 802.11b WLAN device. Class 1 devices are most commonly implemented in devices where power is plentiful, such as laptop and desktop systems. Which is a good thing provided battery life is not compromised but I am not sure if this is only possible with an Apple device. Beats Solo3 Wireless delivers up to 40 hours of battery life driven by the efficiency of the Apple W1 chip
I couldn’t really tell if the sound quality improved, but the W1 chip improves the usability aspect. Where pairing Bluetooth devices normally takes several button pushes, menus, and taps, the W1 chip enables pairing in just one tap — with the Solo3 in pairing mode, you need only place it near an iOS 10 device and tap “Connect” on the popup. Where sharing one Bluetooth headphone between multiple devices used to require un-pairing and re-pairing, the Solo3 was instantly paired with all iOS 10 devices, Macs, and Apple Watch. Switching devices is as simple as swiping up and selecting the Solo3 from the list of playback devices. Of course, with an Android phone, things won’t as easy.