Back in July, I got a pair of Beats Solo 3 headphones with our new iPad Air. I wrote a quick 24 hour review and I didn’t have nice things to say about the comfort factor.
I stuck with it, and a month later, they’re my primary headphones in the house. In fact, I’m wearing them instead of my AirPods when I’m inside. Let me back up for a moment, because I almost bought an earlier version of the Beats Solo headphones back in 2016.
I was in the market for new headphones for use at my computer. It was between the Beats Solo (or whatever it was at the time) and the Bose wireless headphones. I went to the Apple Store and tried on the Beats. They hurt, not unlike my most recent experience. So I went with the Bose. They’ve served me well, but I often get bluetooth interference at my desk. Something about my iMac, wireless keyboard/trackpad, would cause scratchy sound or input interference.
Back to today. Despite the initial discomfort, I kept wearing the Beats. After nine days of wear, I noticed the L/R indicators etched on the metal inside the headphones. Not easy to spot, but I did see that I’d been wearing them backwards the entire time. I turned them around, and there was an immediate change in comfort. To be clear, these headphones are very tight. Putting on my Bose headphones is like sitting down on a comfy couch. The Beats are more like sitting on a subway train. My ears have adjusted to them, so they aren’t painful or annoying anymore. I’m just used to the fit.
The sound is awesome. I’m not picky when it comes to sound quality, so I think for most people, they’ll do a good job. I really feel the music, which is great.
The killer feature, and why I won’t be going back to Bose, is the W1 chip. This is Apple’s custom chip that makes the headphones play very nicely with Apple hardware. Bluetooth has always been a struggle for me. The W1 makes wireless headphones work the way that I think they should. Switching between devices is seamless and quick. The connection is rock solid, no interference or dropping. The range is also excellent. I don’t spend any time trying to get the headphones to connect or switching between devices. It’s amazing.
I’m glad that we were able to get these Beats free of charge, because it’s not a risk I’d be willing to take based just on the in-store try on experience. Now that my AirPods are nearing end of life, I’m seriously considering getting the PowerBeats for wearing while exercising and working in the yard.
Beats should do something to improve comfort. But for those willing to push through a week or two of somewhat painful adjustment, a very good set of headphones is waiting on the other side.