The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of tech gear

Beats Studio3 Review

Only worth the price if you like the design style
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Price:   $350 List | $350 at Amazon
Pros:  Good sound quality
Cons:  Expensive, not super comfortable
Manufacturer:   Beats by Dre
By Steven Tata, Max Mutter  ⋅  Jan 7, 2018
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • Sound Quality - 30% 7
  • Noise Isolation - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • User Friendliness - 10% 6
  • Portability - 10% 8

The Skinny

While Beats did create a good pair of headphones in the Studio3, they pale in comparison to their main competitor, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Of course, Beats offers a much different style than Bose. 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 your $350 could fetch significantly better sound quality, noise isolation, and comfort in the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Beats Studio3 are priced to be the best headphones on the market. Unfortunately, though they are quite good, they fall well short of this mark. If you want the best headphones available, you should check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.


Performance Comparison


The Beats Studio3 punched a bit below their weight class in our testing, delivering a performance that was just a bit above average. We used five different tests to determine this, which you can read more about below.

Sound Quality


The Beats Studio3 sounds good but not great, which garnered a score of 7 out of 10 in our sound quality testing. This was well behind the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which scored a 9. The Studio3's clarity is quite good, with even complicated melodies sound crisp and defined. However, the Bose is able to lend just a bit more crispness to those same melodies. Somewhat surprisingly, the Studio3 is noticeably lacking in the bass department. The power and definition of its low end is on par with that of the $70 TaoTronics TT-BH22US, and noticeably weaker than that of the Bose. Overall the Studio3 sounds good, but falls well short of the exceptional sound of the Bose.

While the Beats Studio3 sounds good  we don't really feel it lives up to the hype.
While the Beats Studio3 sounds good, we don't really feel it lives up to the hype.

Noise Isolation


The Studio3 earned a score of 7 out of 10 in our noise isolation testing. This was the lowest score we awarded to any model with active noise cancellation, and is on par with the performance of the $70 TaoTronics TT-BH22US. With this level of isolation most low to medium volume nose are blocked out, but some muffled speaking sounds and loud noises are able to make their way through. This again falls well short of the Bose, which can block out all but the loudest sounds.

Comfort


Here again the Studio3 struggles a bit when compared to the Bose, picking up just a 5 out of 10 compared to the Bose's 9. The Studio3 has round ear cups and slightly less padding than the Bose. 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 folds up into a fairly small package.
The Studio3 folds up into a fairly small package.

User Friendliness


The Studio3's user experience is fairly average, earning it a score of 6 out of 10 in this metric. It has standard value and play/pause buttons. Pressing the play/pause button twice or thrice can skip tracks forward and back as well. The controls of the Bose are very similar, but it also includes a dedicated button to summon Google Assistant.

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 Studio3's controls are fairly standard.
The Studio3's controls are fairly standard.

Portability


The Beats Studio3 comes with the sturdiest case of all the models we tested, and fold down quite small. The headphones are slightly on the heavy side at 9.1 ounces, but overall they are very portable, earning a score of 8 out of 10.

The Beats case  the most rugged of them all.
The Beats case, the most rugged of them all.

Value


In terms of performance, the Beats Stuido3 is a very poor value. For a list price of $350 you get performance on par with the $70 TaoTronics TT-BH22US, and well short of the performance of the also $350 Bose QuietComfort 35 II. If you really like the Studio3's styling, then that's a different matter.

Conclusion


The Beats Studio3 is a good pair of headphones, but it does not live up to its high end pedigree. If you're looking for the best headphones, we would suggest the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.


Steven Tata, Max Mutter