Beats Studio Wireless Headphones review: A pricey Bluetooth headphone with premium sound
It may seem overpriced at 380, but the Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear is an excellent wireless Bluetooth headphone.
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET’s Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He’s also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
It’s easy to confuse the Beats Studio (2013) headphones with the company’s Studio Wireless over-the-ear headphones. That’s because the two headphones look nearly identical, the big difference being the latter model includes not only active noise-cancelling but Bluetooth technology, which allows for wireless streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled device. Oh, and at 379.95 (AU479), the Studio Wireless costs 80 more.
Beats Studio Wireless Headphones
The Beats Studio Wireless is a very comfortable over-the-ear wireless headphone that offers excellent sound for a Bluetooth headphone and features active noise-canceling technology. The headphones fold up into a more compact form factor and battery life is decent at 12 hours of wireless listening. They also worked well as a wireless headset for making cell-phone calls.
The Bottom Line
While it’ll cost you a hefty 380, the Beats Studio Wireless is an excellent wireless Bluetooth headphone.
Both these headphones are based on a new “re-imagined” design of the original, uber-popular Studio, which didn’t impress audiophiles and had other faults. These new models are lighter and built more sturdily. They also boast softer earcups and seem very comfortable (I know people who run in them), offering a snug fit and a fairly tight seal without feeling too tight.
I tested Studio Wireless for several weeks and came away really liking it. Soundwise, it measures up to many of the top Bluetooth headphones, and it’s a big upgrade over the older on-ear Wireless in every way. The big question, of course, is it worth 379.95?
The answer really depends on whether you’re OK with paying a premium for the Beats brand. But more on that in a minute.
Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear headphone (pictures)
Design and features
The Studio Wireless comes in six colors.- white, blue, red, titanium, and black (matte or glossy).- and is better constructed than the original Beats Studio. For what it’s worth, I like the look of the the matte black and blue models best (I started with a glossy black review sample, which I later swapped for a matte black sample).
While these are premium headphones, they are made mostly of plastic, but their finishes help them seem a little more swanky than the original Studios. The glossy models do attract fingerprints, which is why the headphones come with a small cloth for buffing them (the buff cloth is now becoming a common accessory for this type of high-end plastic headphone).
Like the standard Studio (2013), this model has no “visible” screws, which is good, because those tiny little screws on the headband of the original had a habit of unscrewing themselves and falling out. However, when you break the headphones down.- they fold up (though not flat) to fit in a nice carrying case.- you’ll notice Torx screws on the joints on each side of the headband. That joint does have some metal in it and snaps nicely into place when you unfold the headphones.
Beyond that carrying case, you get a few other extras, including both a straight cord for wired listening and one that integrates an Apple-friendly remote and microphone for cell-phone calls. (The remote features may not work with non-Apple devices, but the microphone will.)
Unfortunately, the cords come in red for all models, so there’s a little bit of color clash when, say, you get the blue model and end up with a red cord. For 379.95, you should probably get cords that match the color of the headphones. Still, these are wireless headphones, and the vast majority of people will stow away those extra cords (except maybe the USB cable) and never use them, so color won’t matter too much. However, it is worth noting that the headphone’ internal battery has to have some charge for the headphones to work, wireless or wired.
On the inside, there’s a new, “improved” DSP (digital signal processor) and software that Beats has, for marketing purposes, dubbed the Beats Acoustic Engine. These are active noise-canceling headphones, and they come equipped with two modes of “adaptive” noise cancellation. According to Beats, one mode is for music listening and offers “balanced” adaptive noise cancellation between your music and your environment, and the other mode offers stronger noise cancellation for when you’re disconnected and just want to shut out the world (you can’t play your music in this mode).
To power the Bluetooth and noise-cancellation circuitry, there’s an integrated rechargeable lithium battery that you juice up via a Micro-USB connection (a cable is included.- again red). Battery life is rated at 12 hours of wireless listening and 20 hours of wired listening. A five-light LED “battery fuel gauge” under the power button on the right earcup indicates how much charge is left, and if you have an iOS device, a tiny battery gauge appears on your device next to the Bluetooth icon in the top right of your screen (as it does with all Bluetooth audio devices).
Like other stereo Bluetooth headphones, this model has a built-in microphone, and I thought the Beats Wireless worked very well as a wireless headset for making cell phone calls. Callers said they could hear me reasonably well, even when I was walking on the noisy streets of New York City on a fairly windy day.
The circular call answer/end button (with the Beats logo on it) is the middle of the left earcup and doubles as a one-button remote for music playback. Tap it once and it pauses your music. Tap it twice quickly and it advances to the next track. Three quick taps sends you back a track. Volume controls are also on the the same earcup, above and below the one-button remote.
Last but not least, there’s an auto on/off feature for automatic shutdown once you unplug the headphones if you have them in corded mode. But beware of leaving them connected to your phone in Bluetooth mode and not turning them off. They will most likely run out of juice overnight.
The original Studio model led to the rise of headphones that overemphasize the bass and wasn’t really true to its name (“studio” headphones are supposed to be accurate). As with the updated 2013 wired Studio model. Beats has gone to a better balanced sound profile that doesn’t overwhelm you with bass.
I described the new standard Studio (2013) as “exciting,” with lots of detail and bass energy. If anything, that headphone has some treble push. That hyped sound can be advantageous for mobile listening, where ambient noise can creep in and compete with your music. (Note: the headphones do leak some sound at higher volumes.)
The Studio Wireless also has some excitement to it, but it’s a little more subdued of a headphone with less push to the treble, which gives it a smooth, fairly accurate sound. The bass is punchy without feeling over accentuated and the midrange (vocals, acoustical material) is forward leaning, though only slightly so.
It’s a pleasant headphone to listen to, and one you can listen to for long periods, but it’s not necessarily one that makes you hear things in your music that you haven’t heard before.
Of course, for those folks who don’t use so-called premium headphone on a regular basis, the experience may be quite different. But having listened to my fair share of high-end headphones, the Beats Studio Wireless isn’t terribly special.- at least when compared to decent wired headphones in the 200-to-400 price range.
But the key here is that this is a wireless Bluetooth headphone, and there isn’t too much out there that sounds really good in the Bluetooth realm. For the money, I like the Harman Kardon BT. but its metal design and fit aren’t for everybody. Another comparable model in this price range is the Nokia Purity Pro by Monster. which offers very good Bluetooth sound for around 350. And then there’s the 250 Bose AE2w, which is arguably the most comfortable of the bunch, though a little gawky from a design perspective. (See CNET’s list of top wireless headphones for the current hierarchy.)
I spent the most time comparing the Studio Wireless to the 400 Parrot Zik. which offers more high-tech features, including touch-sensitive controls, automatic pause when you take the headphones off your ears, and an app that allows you to tweak the sound profile. (Another comparable model in this price range is the Nokia Purity Pro by Monster. which also offers very good Bluetooth sound for around 350).
I like the Ziks’ sound, but I thought the Beats Studio Wireless sounded a little more natural, with tighter bass (all these types of headphones risk making your music sound digitally “processed”). I also thought the lighter Beats headphone was more comfortable to wear. Though it’s a relatively large headphone, it is usable at the gym and is more stable on your head than the Zik, making it better for active wear (no, it isn’t sweat-proof, but it seems to handle a small amount moisture without a problem).
If you’re wondering if this headphone sounds better in wired mode, the answer is no. Headphones that feature active noise canceling and Bluetooth tend to be tuned for listening under those conditions, and I thought these sounded more vibrant in Bluetooth mode.
It is worth mentioning that, just like most of the other noise-canceling headphones we’ve tried, the Studio Wireless’ built-in electronics introduce a small amount of hiss to the sound that’s barely audible in quiet rooms. Of course, you don’t need noise cancellation in quiet rooms, but you can’t turn the noise-canceling circuitry off and get any sound out of the headphones; it has to be engaged for them to work.
I should also add that the noise canceling isn’t as effective as that in the Bose QuietComfort 15, which is better suited for airplane use. The noise canceling in the Beats offers more modest muffling (while you’re listening to music). It worked well for me when I was on the noisy streets of New York, providing a little extra layer of noise cancellation on top of the passive noise cancellation that its snug over-the-ear design provides.
I don’t know too many people who would call the Beats Wireless a bargain at 379.95. For what they are, they should probably cost less, but the market is what it is, and plenty of people seem willing to ante up the dough for Beats-branded headphones (and Bose headphones, for that matter).
On a positive note, these Beats are significantly better than the original (circa 2010) Studio and the old 279.95 Wireless on-ear. So while you’re paying a premium for the brand, I think the majority of people will be very pleased with both the sound and fit of these headphones. And if I were choosing between this and the standard Studio (2013), I’d pay the extra 80 to get the wireless option. You don’t lose anything on the performance front, and the convenience of cutting the cord is worth it, even if the price seems steep.
Beats Studio 3 Wireless over-ear headphones review
Beats is back. Last year was a pretty big year for the company, which launched the Powerbeats, Solo, and Beats X headphones. 2017 is shaping up to be just as big of a year for the company — it just launched a new flagship pair of headphones, called the Beats Studio 3 Wireless.
Of course, Beats has a reputation. Beats headphones are generally very high quality and have always been very stylish, and of course there’s the classic Beats sound quality. But they’re not cheap — the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones come in at 349.95. Are they worth the cash? We put them to the test to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones is their design, and they look pretty great. Of course, that’s what you would expect from a pair of Beats headphones — they’ve always been built to look great.
The headphones look extremely similar to the previous Beats Wireless headphones, and that’s not a bad thing. You’ll get a mostly plastic build, but that build is complimented by metal where it counts — like on the hinges, for example.
We’re reviewing the white and gold headphones, but they actually come in quite a range of colors — including grey, black, blue, rose, and red. That’s quite a selection of colors — and it means you’ll be able to choose the pair that will best suit your style.
On the left ear cup is where you’ll get all your playback controls, including volume up, volume down, and a central button that controls playing/pausing, rewinding, fast-forwarding, and even incoming calls. On the right ear cup is where you’ll find the power button — which also controls turning on or off the active noise cancellation. The buttons are pretty well-placed, and while it will take some time to get used to the controls, you’ll get used to them eventually.
In the box, you’ll find the headphones themselves, along with a hard case, microUSB charging cable, aux cable, and even a carabiner. It’s quite a good selection of accessories, and we didn’t find ourselves needing anything extra.
In general, the headphones are quite well designed. The build-quality is good, and there are plenty of included accessories too, which is great news for would-be buyers.
So the headphones are well-designed — but are they comfortable? They’re certainly not bad. The first thing we noticed about the comfort-level when we put the headphones on was how hard it clamped. They clamp a little harder than you might expect — not uncomfortably so, but still something to take note of.
To combat that, there is plenty of padding in the ear cups, and the padding seems to be relatively high quality too. We would have liked a little more padding under the headband — if the headphones get uncomfortable, that’s where the problem will be, and the plastic covering doesn’t really help — but again, it’s not a deal breaker and the comfort-level of the headphones is still above par.
Sound is the most important thing to consider when it comes to buying new headphones. There are plenty of opinions about Beats headphones and how they sound, and they’re not all good — but it’s important to consider who these headphones are built for. Despite the name, the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones are not built for studio use. They’re built for consumers. If you’re an audiophile with an expectation of total accuracy, these probably aren’t the right headphones for you. If, however, you’re a consumer that simply wants a great pair of headphones, these may well do the job.
Let’s start with the bass response, which is, as you might expect, quite good. Kick drums punch through a mix, while bass guitars and synth basses are smooth and powerful. Bass response also extends quite low, which is always nice.
The mid-range is certainly tuned, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are a good amount of low mids to help make the music sound nice and warm. We would have liked some more high mid response, which would have helped things like vocals shine through a mix.
The high-end could use a little more response to it as well, but the highs are still tuned better than you’ll find on plenty of other headphones. The high-end that is there is nice and clear, and offers plenty of detail for most music genres.
Of course, these headphones offer noise cancellation too, which is great news for those that want to cut out some of the outside noise. That noise cancellation isn’t as high-quality as you might find on the likes of the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones, but it’s still pretty good, and works intelligently depending on your environment, which we liked.
In general, the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones offered a pretty nice sound profile with a decent soundstage too.
As wireless headphones, the performance is a pretty important aspect to consider — and these perform excellently. The headphones can connect to most devices through Bluetooth, but they feature Apple’s W1 chip found in the iPhone 7 and later iPhone models. That’s a good thing — we experienced excellent connectivity, and while your results will vary depending on things like range, you won’t experience many, if any at all, skips under normal use.
The battery life on these headphones is pretty spectacular as well. Beats says they’ll last up to 22 hours with active noise cancellation turned on, or a massive 40 hours with it off. That’s huge — it’s far more than what the vast majority of headphones have on offer.
The Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones perform far better than most other headphones out there, both in connectivity and in battery.
Apple, and Beats, have hit a home run. The Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones look good, are reasonably comfortable, and sound good too. On top of that, they offer excellent performance, when it comes to connectivity and battery life. Sure, nothing’s perfect — but cons like the slight dip in highs and the somewhat hard clamp are certainly things we can deal with given the pros.
Of course, the headphones don’t come cheap. At 349.95, you’ll want to think long and hard before pulling the trigger, and there are some serious competitors to consider buying buying. For example, if you’re looking for top noise cancellation, the Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are still the cans to beat, and if you’re looking for a more accurate sound profile, then perhaps the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones are a better choice. If, however, you want an overall great listening experience with an excellent battery life and great connectivity, then the new Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones are the headphones for you.
Because of their top quality, we’ve awarded the headphones our Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Beats by Dre||349.95|
Beats Studio3 Wireless vs Bose QuietComfort 45
The Bose QuietComfort 45 is the company’s latest attempt to conquer the active noise canceling (ANC) headphones niche. Excellent ANC, great design, and impressive battery life command a hefty price tag. If you’re looking for a good deal and loud bass, you might be wondering how the Beats Studio3 Wireless stacks up against the Bose QuietComfort 45.
Released in late 2017, the Beats Studio3 Wireless is now available at a significant discount. Let’s see whether you should consider it over the competition.
Editor’s note: this versus article was updated on May 30, 2023, to address the Bose Music in-app EQ, replace the Sennheiser PXC 550-II with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, and address frequently asked questions.
Beats Studio3 Wireless vs Bose QuietComfort 45: Which headset has the better design?
True to its name, you can comfortably wear the Bose QuietComfort 45 for many hours. Bose went with a classic black design, featuring a plastic build, large synthetic leather ear pads, and a padded headband. Given its over-ear footprint, the headset is fairly light at 260 grams.
The Beats Studio3 Wireless has an impressive finish with its soft, matte plastic that’s smooth to the touch. While the ear pads are comfortable, your ears might get hot after a few hours. The headband lacks padding and the plastic might stick to your hair, and at 260 grams, it’s a bit heavier than the Bose headset. On the bright side, you can choose from a range of colors, in addition to black.
Although the Studio3 Wireless headphones fold at the hinges for travel, the ear cups don’t rotate 90 degrees which can be awkward.
The BoseQuiet Comfort 45 is incredibly flexible, with rotating hinges for each ear cup and a folding mechanism that lets you pack it down into a super compact shape. The Beats Studio3 Wireless also folds down, but not quite as nicely. Notably, the Beats ear cups don’t rotate, so it may feel awkward to wear these headphones around your neck. We also don’t put much trust in its durability as the Studio3 Wireless headband is much more rigid than its Bose counterpart.
The headphones are made entirely of a stiff plastic, though the matte finish feels good in the hand.
Playback controls can be found on the back of the headphones.
Both headphones carry the power button on the right ear cup. The Beats logo on the left ear cup is a button that controls playback, and to toggle the volume, use the buttons above and below the Beats logo button. Bose added a multi-function button to the rim of the right ear cup; it controls playback, volume, and calls. The Action button on the left side toggles ANC mode, activates the voice assistant, and mutes calls.
Does the Beats Studio3 Wireless or the Bose QuietComfort 45 have better features?
The app doesn’t offer much in the way of features, so those looking to EQ their headphones will be disappointed.
Both Beats and Bose offer apps for their headphones. When you use the Beats Studio3 Wireless on an iPhone, you can use the iOS Settings app. Android owners, however, need to download the Beats app to rename the Beats and check its charge level. You can toggle ANC on or off with the Beats app but it doesn’t feature an EQ. Bose, on the other hand, updated its Music app to add an EQ, meaning you can now adjust your headphones sound profile to your preferences.
Speaking of ANC, let’s discuss your options here. The Bose QuietComfort 45 doesn’t let you turn ANC off, unless you power off and use the headphones in wired mode. You can, however, switch from Quiet to Aware Mode, which lets some outside sounds pass through. The Beats Studio3 Wireless offers two ways to turn off the ANC: double-click the power button or enter Bluetooth settings (iOS) or use the Beats app (Android).
Does the Bose QC 45 have better battery life than the Beats Studio3 Wireless?
Beats promises a battery life of 22 hours with ANC turned on and 40 hours if you turn noise canceling off. In our tests, the Beats Studio3 Wireless lasted for 10 hours, 12 minutes at 100% volume, and 23 hours, 31 minutes at 50% volume — each with ANC enabled.
In our new standardized battery life test, the Bose QuietComfort 45 lasted for 24 hours, 49 minutes at 75dB(SPL), which is more than the 24 hours that Bose advertises. Since you can’t turn the ANC off, however, you won’t be able to push the battery life much further, though you could crack 25 hours at lower volumes.
What sets the two headphones apart is the charging port. The QuietComfort 45 sports a USB-C port, while the Studio3 Wireless is equipped with a microUSB port. A 15-minute fast charge will give you about three hours of playtime on either pair of headphones.
Which connection modes do the Beats Studio3 Wireless and Bose QC 45 support?
They come with an audio cable that you can plug into the 3.5mm input at the bottom of the left ear cup.
Both headphones support SBC and AAC. The latter doesn’t quite achieve CD quality, but it’s the standard code for iOS. Android has become better at handling AAC, but its performance is still less stable than aptX. Audiophiles might still prefer high-bitrate Bluetooth codecs, though most people won’t notice the difference.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 runs on Bluetooth 5.1. The Beats Studio3 Wireless is a few years older and hence doesn’t run on the latest Bluetooth generation. It does, however, offer Class 1 Bluetooth via the Apple W1 chip. This tech makes the Beats headset an excellent choice for Apple users, permitting seamless pairing with all your iCloud devices. You’ll get Bluetooth multipoint with just Bose’s headphones.
You also won’t have to give up on wired audio with either of these headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 45 comes with a 2.5-to-3.5mm cable, and you’ll get a standard 3.5mm RemoteTalk cable with the Beats Studio3 Wireless.
Is the Bose QuietComfort 45 noise canceling that much better than the Beats Studio3 Wireless ANC?
Well one thing’s for sure, the headphones definitely are decent isolators.
A worthy upgrade to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, the Bose QuietComfort 45 has an outstanding ANC system.
The Beats Studio3 Wireless’ ANC is good, especially for 2017 when it came out, but it just can’t keep up with its contemporaries. Low frequencies sound one-quarter as loud as they would without the Beats headphones, but the affected frequency range (125-200Hz) is much narrower compared to the QC 45.
Bose’s noise canceling tends to be state-of-the-art and the QuietComfort45 is no exception. Compared to previous models, the passive isolation is better, so when you achieve a good ear cup fit, you can expect great results in the 2-11kHz range. The ANC effectively attenuates noise in the bass and midrange (30-800Hz), so you can take the QC 45 on a plane and enjoy near silence.
If you’re going to get either pair of headphones exclusively for ANC performance, the Bose QuietComfort 45 is unquestionably better than Beats.
Does the Bose QC 45 or Beats Studio3 Wireless sound better?
Though the plush ear pads are comfortable, the grippy plastic on the bottom of the headband can tug at hair.
In this category, Beats and Bose each has a reputation opposite the other. While Beats traditionally favors the bass notes, Bose headphones have a reputation for boosting treble notes. This holds up in our testing as the QC 45 boosts treble notes anywhere from 6-13dB louder than our consumer curve (pink) suggests. A sound like this can be good for well-mixed vocal-heavy tracks, but can make poorly mixed tracks sound very bad. High-pitched instruments, like cymbals, will drown out vocals, while bass elements will sound a bit too quiet.
The Studio3 Wireless (cyan) has an interesting midrange boost, while the Bose QC 45 (yellow dash) treble response may be a bit too loud for most ears.
As you might expect, the Studio3 Wireless sounds fairly bass-heavy. Relative to the Bose QC 45, the Studio3 Wireless reproduces less deviation across the entire frequency range and the treble notes are more pleasant. Still, the Bose QuietComfort 45 hews far closer to our consumer curve when it comes to bass and midrange notes; it’s just the treble response that tanks Bose’s sound quality score.
Does the Bose QuietComfort 45 and the Beats Studio3 Wireless have a microphone?
Both headphones come with built-in microphones and the Bose QuietComfort 45 is a bit better than the Beats Studio3 Wireless in ideal conditions. The gap widens between the two headsets when you compare their microphones in windy conditions (Bose wind microphone demo; Beats wind microphone demo).
These top-of-the-line Beats Studio3 headphones are 51% off on Amazon
Thanks for contacting us. We’ve received your submission.
New York Post may be compensated and/or receive an affiliate commission if you buy through our links.
What does the cheapest ticket cost to see Bruno Mars on tour?
They had a good run, but in our opinion, headphones that don’t have a noise-cancelling feature are on their way out.
Noise-cancelling is just one of those features that changes the game forever. Would you buy a cell-phone that didn’t have a built-in camera anymore? We don’t think so. It would be sort of like picking up a store-bought loaf of bread and finding it un-sliced.
It’s not the future anymore, it’s the norm now. Once a significant enough amount of the population got onto an airplane with noise cancelling headphones, and testified to their friends and family about the vast gulf in quality between their experience and the experience of their standard-issue headphone-owning friends, the whole thing got sewed up. Case closed.
One thing that never goes out of style, however? A great deal. Such as this one on Beats Studio3 Wireless Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones, available today for a whopping 51% off on Amazon.
Enjoy high-quality audio, maximal comfort, and pure adaptive noise cancellation, which actively blocks external noise from interfering with your listening experience, all for just 170 today from Amazon.
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones, 170, original price: 350
Available at this price in either Matte Black (pictured), Blue, Red, Midnight Black, White, and more colorway options, this deal on top-of-the-line Beats is a must-have for any audiophile. Enjoy up to 22 hours of battery life (including up to 3 hours of play off of just 10 minutes of charge), audio powered by Apple’s W1 chip, and industry leading adaptive bluetooth technology, all for 150 off.
Check out the New York Post Shopping section for more content.