While Beats did create a good pair of wireless headphones in the Studio3, they pale in comparison to their main competitors from Bose and Sony. Of course, Beats offers a much different style. The Beats headphones have a bit more flair in their design, while the more austere look of the Bose headphones almost lends an air of formality. If you really prefer the Beats styling, we doubt you'll be disappointed by how the headphones perform, just know that the same amount of money could fetch significantly better sound quality, noise isolation, and comfort from other models.Editor's Note: This review was updated on January 18, 2022 to include more details on what we would choose and why.
Beats Studio3 Review
Pros: Good sound quality
Cons: Expensive, not super comfortable
Manufacturer: Beats by Dre
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|Pros||Good sound quality||Superb active noise cancellation and overall sound quality, multipoint Bluetooth pairing, auto-pause, relatively comfortable for most people||Excellent sound quality, field-leading noise cancellation, comfortable||Great sound quality, great noise cancellation, comfortable, user friendly features||Inexpensive, powerful bass, effective active noise cancellation, comfortable|
|Cons||Expensive, not super comfortable||Expensive||Expensive||Expensive, both sound quality and noise cancellation fall just short of being the best in the field||Lacks some brightness in mid and vocal ranges, headband may be to large for smaller heads|
|Bottom Line||Only worth the price if you like the design style||Top-notch in terms of both noise cancellation and sound quality, it's hard to find a better listening experience||Pillowy comfort and one of the best personal listening experiences we've enjoyed from any device||Premium cans that offer unique features on top of great sound quality and noise cancellation||Impressively inexpensive given the sound quality, active noise-canceling performance, and comfort|
|Rating Categories||Beats Studio3||Sony WH-1000XM4||Bose Noise Cancelli...||Jabra Elite 85h||Soundcore Life Q20|
|Sound Quality (30%)|
|Noise Isolation (25%)|
|User Friendliness (10%)|
|Specs||Beats Studio3||Sony WH-1000XM4||Bose Noise Cancelli...||Jabra Elite 85h||Soundcore Life Q20|
|Manufacturer reported battery life (hours)||22||30||20||36||40|
|Measured weight (ounces)||9.1||8.8||9.2||10.5||9.3|
|Included case||Semi-hard case||Semi-hard case||Semi-hard case||Semi-hard case||Lined drawstring pouch|
|Earcup padding cover material||Leatherette||Foamed urethane/leatherette||Leather||Leatherette||Leatherette|
|Charging cable length (inches)||N/A||7.9"||42"||12"||40"|
|Microphone for voice?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Onboard buttons||Volume, play/pause, forward/back||Volume, change track, take/make calls||Volume, play/pause, forward/back, noise cancelling, voice assistant, power/bluetooth, answer/decline/mute calls||Volume, play/pause, forward/back, noise cancelling, voice assistant, power/bluetooth, answer/decline/mute calls, toggle between sound modes||Volume, multifunction, power, NC|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Studio3 headphones are priced to be one of the best on the market. Unfortunately, though they are quite good, they fall well short of this mark.
The Studio3 sounds good but not great in our sound quality testing. The Studio3's clarity is quite good, with even complicated melodies sound crisp and defined. Somewhat surprisingly, the Studio3 is noticeably lacking in the bass department.
The Studio3 earned one of the lowest scores we awarded to any model with active noise cancellation. With this isolation level, most low to medium volume noise is blocked out, but some muffled speaking sounds and loud noises can make their way through. This again falls well short of the top ANC models.
Here again, the Studio3 struggles a bit. The Studio3 has round ear cups and slightly less padding than the overly comfortable Bose models. This means that even average-sized ears will likely experience a bit of scrunching when wearing these headphones. The Bose has a lot more padding and a more anatomical shape that accepts even large ears.
The Studio3's user experience is fairly average. It has standard value and play/pause buttons. Pressing the play/pause button twice or thrice can also skip tracks forward and back. The Studio3 also contains an Apple W1 chip, which means it will recognize all of your Apple devices once you pair it with just one of them. The second-generation H1 chip has now replaced the W1.
The Studio3 comes with the sturdiest case of all the models we tested and folds down quite small. The headphones are slightly on the heavy side at 9.1 ounces, but overall they are very portable.
Should You Buy the Studio 3?
In terms of performance, the Studio3 is a poor value. The Beats Studio3 is a good pair of wireless headphones, but it does not live up to its high-end and high-priced pedigree it sports, making it an option we don't recommend.
What Other Wireless Headphones Should You Consider?
If the price range of the Studio3 is your budget, you're in luck because the top-performing headphones are in your wheelhouse. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is a high-performing, high-quality option with excellent performance in all test metrics and is superior to the Studio3 in just about every way. We think you'll love the sound quality, noise cancellation, and comfort of the Sony of the similarly priced Studio3s.
— Steven Tata, Max Mutter
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