- ✓Battery life is superb
- ✓Adaptive Noise Cancellation is best I've used
- ✓Comfortable, even after long periods of listening
- ✕Price is in line with comparable headphones, but still steep
Despite having purchased Beats By Dre in 2014, Apple had yet to truly integrate the two company's technology with one another. For the most part, it felt like Beats By Dre was still operating as a standalone company. With the launch of the W1 chip alongside the AirPods, Apple slowly began integrating the technology into Beats headphones. For the past month or so, I've been testing the latest addition to the Beats By Dre lineup -- Studio3 Wireless.
There are a total of six color options for the Beats Studio3 Wireless. I was sent the white color scheme with gold accents. There's also matte black, red porcelain rose, blue, and shadow gray.
The headphones collapse and fit into an included case for easier portability.
The left ear cup has a series of buttons. The "b" logo is pressed to control music playback, with a single press acting as a play/pause, double-press to skip a track, triple-press to go back. Press and hold the button to activate Siri when connected to an Apple device. Above and below the logo are two more buttons for adjusting volume.
On the right ear cup is the power button, that also toggles adaptive noise cancellation with a double-press. A longer press of the button will turn the headphones on or off.
The ear cups themselves are comfortable, with adequate padding to not hurt the side of my head, even where it's pressing against the frame of my glasses.
The magic sauce
For those who own an Apple device, setup of the Beats Studio3 Wireless is a breeze. The easiest way to connect the headphones to all your Apple wares is to use an iPhone or iPad, running iOS 11. Power on the headphones, then place them next to your unlocked iOS device, and wait for a pairing prompt. Tap Connect and you're done.
Because the Beats Studio3 Wireless have Apple's W1 chip built into them, when you pair the headphones with one of your Apple devices, it's paired with all your Apple devices.
It works in the same exact way Apple's AirPods do, only the Stuido3 Wireless headphones are bigger.
In addition to seamless switching, the W1 chip affords better range, longer battery life, and less interference based on the pocket you have your phone in -- a common issue with nearly all Bluetooth headphones.
I've tested various headphones with active noise cancellation over the years, and I have consistently found the feature to be distracting. In some cases, I actually had the feature make me a bit queasy.
Active noise cancellation works in tandem with microphones on the headphones to monitor outside noise, and then play a frequency inside the headphones to cancel out ambient noise. With the Studio3 Wireless, Beats has added more "advanced algorithms," which the company claims do a better job of matching outside noise and the level of Adaptive Noise Cancellation (ANC) applied. The marketing term for this new tech is "Pure ANC," in case you were wondering.
I've yet to experience an uneasy feeling when ANC is active on the Studio3 Wireless. I assume it's due to the way Beats has implemented its noise-canceling technology.
As for actually blocking out ambient noise, when I'm wearing the Studio3 Wireless, I can't hear much outside of the music. I've used them with my kids nearby, playing Xbox and screaming at each other, and I didn't hear it.
I've also used them in a quiet coffee shop, again, without any sort of uneasy feeling, and I couldn't hear the constant hiss of the steam wand or the buzz of the blender.
According to Beats By Dre, the Studio3 Wireless should last around 22 hours when using Bluetooth with ANC turned on. You gain another 18 hours of use if you opt to turn off ANC, for a total of 40 hours of use.
I didn't test the latter scenario, as I can't see using the headphones without ANC for long periods of time. However, the 22-hour estimate is short of real-world use. I consistently went an entire work week, averaging five to six hours of use every day, without having to charge the battery. On the low end, that's 25 hours of use.
It's impressive, given that headphones of this size with noise cancellation tend to die a lot faster. For example, the Bose QC35 headphones provide around 20 hours of use on a full charge.
Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones are a hefty $350. It's a tough price to justify for someone just looking to listen to music and take advantage of Apple's W1 chip for ease of use across multiple Apple devices. There are far cheaper options, including Apple's AirPods, which have the same W1 tech.
For those who travel a lot, or work in a noisy environment, the ANC is what justifies the price on the Studio3.
As fond as I am of Apple's AirPods, over the last few weeks I've consistently picked up the Studio3 and disappeared into my work and the music.
Previous and related coverage
Wireless headphones from a company known for its microphones? It's not as crazy as it sounds.
The ER4XRs aren't cheap, but they offer decent bass and good sound definition. These are tiny, powerful headphones that definitely deliver.
|Headphones Form Factor||Circumaural|
|Sound Output Mode||stereo|
|Active Noise Canceling||Yes|
|In-Cord Volume Control||Yes|
|Audio Controls||answer/end, next/previous track, play/pause, voice assistant, volume|
|Controls||Volume, answer/end, play/pause, next/previous track, voice assistant|
|Connector Type||mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm 4-pole|
|Included Accessories||carrying case|
|Included Accessories||Carrying case|
|Battery||Headphone battery rechargeable - lithium ion|
|Run Time (Up To)||22 hour(s)|
|Product Line||Beats Studio3|
|Battery / Power|
|Run Time (Up To)||22 hour(s)|
|Dimensions & Weight Details|