Beats Studio3 Wireless review: Great pair of headphones for iOS devices

The Beats Studio3 Wireless over-ear headphones improves on 2015's Studio2 headphones. PHOTO: BEATS
The Beats Studio3 Wireless over-ear headphones improves on 2015's Studio2 headphones. PHOTO: BEATS

The Beats Studio3 Wireless over-ear headphones is the successor to the Studio2, which was launched in 2015, and it comes with a few improvements.

They include the Apple W1 chip, which allows the headphones to be easily paired with iOS devices. With the W1 chip, battery life is also said to be improved to 22 hours on a full charge - nearly doubling that of its predecessor.

There is also the Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology, which uses advanced algorithms to continuously monitor your listening environment to block out ambient noise, whether you are in an airplane or office.

Pure ANC is supposed to even evaluate fit and adjust for leakage caused by your hair, glasses and head movement. It also applies noise cancelling against the music content to adjust and ensure optimal audio fidelity.

Design wise, the Studio3 Wireless looks exactly like its predecessor. This is a good thing, as it inherits its sleek, seamless and minimalist design. It comes in a wide range of colours, including black (the version reviewed), white, blue, red, grey and pink.

The right ear-cup holds the power button, LED battery indicator and micro-USB charging port, while the left ear-cup has the 35mm headphone jack.

The Beats logo on the left ear-cup is also a button to pause and skip tracks. The hidden buttons above and below the Beats logo let you adjust volume. Pressing and holding the Beats logo activates the voice assistant Siri when connected to an iPhone.

Pairing the Studio3 Wireless with my iPhone X is a breeze. Power up the headphones near the iPhone, and you will see a window showing the Studio3 Wireless with a Connect icon appearing on the iPhone. Tap on Connect to pair and it is done. It is a 5-second pairing process.

Once the Studio3 Wireless is paired with your iPhone, you will see the headphones available for connection on your Apple devices logged into the same Apple iCloud account. I was able to connect the headphones easily to my iMac and MacBook Pro.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $478

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack

    WEIGHT: 260g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

On the downside, manual Bluetooth pairing with Android devices can be a pain. It just does not want to play nice with non-Apple devices. It took nearly 10 minutes for me to connect it to a Samsung Galaxy Note8 via Bluetooth. And disconnections happened frequently. For Android devices, I recommend using the wired connection.

But unlike some headphones I've tried before, the Studio3's adjustable headband fits my head snugly and the ear-cups cover my ears comfortably. It does not induce headaches that I had with some over-ear headphones.

Furthermore, even without powering up the headphones, the ear-cups' leather cushions have a muffling effect when I wore them. They work almost like a pair of ear-plugs.

They also make a great pair of earmuffs if you are in winter conditions. However, they did make my ears sweat in Singapore's sweltering heat.

Pure ANC is automatically enabled each time you power on the Studio3 Wireless. You can manually turn it off by double-pressing the power button, when you need to save battery.

But why do that? The noise-cancelling works great, and it is almost comparable to my Bose QuietComfort 25. Whether I was strolling in a busy shopping mall or working in the office, music quality was consistent and uninhibited by external noise. That said, I did not get the chance to use it on a plane which would have been the best gauge.

The audio output is great with strong bass and clear treble. The mid-range sounds richer with more details than previous Beats headphones I tested. Also, there are no jitters during music playback in wireless mode with iOS devices.

Battery life is as advertised, lasting over 22 hours when used with my iPhone X. But its battery life dropped to half at around 10 hours when used with the Note8.

Verdict: The Beats Studio3 Wireless works perfectly and superbly when paired with your iPhone, iPod or even a Mac computer. However, Android smartphone users might want to give it a pass.