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April 13, 2017

Which Beats headphones are right for you?

by John_A

Beats headphones have gone through various iterations over the years and following the company’s acquisition by Apple, they are more popular than ever. Their signature bass-focused sound has remained a constant throughout the series’ development, too, making them the ideal partner to music libraries full of dance and hip-hop music.

With several pairs available to buy across all different fits though, whether over-ear, on-ear or in-ear, deciding which pair is best for you can be a bit tricky. Luckily for you, we’ve broken down all the pairs available today, covering their size, features and their all-important price.

Quick Summary

There are eight pairs of Beats headphones available, comprising two pairs of over-ears, three pairs of on-ears and three pairs of in-ears.

The Studio Wireless are perhaps the most recognisable pair in Beats’ catalogue. The Studio headphones have been around for some time now and were the pair you would always see in various eye-popping colours walking down the high-street. They’re an over-ear design and as the name suggests, can connect wirelessly to your mobile device. They’re available in a range of more muted colours these days and have active noise cancellation technology.

The Solo 3 Wireless are the pair you’ll most likely be convinced to buy with your shiny new Apple iPhone if you’re buying from an Apple Store. They’re an on-ear design, and feature the new W1 chip that made its first appearance in the Apple AirPods. The chip means the headphones will instantly connect to your iPhone when they’re nearby. They have a long battery life, quick recharge time, and are available in the same colours as the iPhone.

The Beats EP are a portable pair of on-ears and the cheapest way to get into Beats headphones, along with the urBeats in-ears. The urBeats have a rubberised cable that prevents it from getting tangled, and an in-line mic for making and receiving phone calls. 

The Beats Solo 2 are essentially a wired version of the Solo 3 wireless, although they’re available in a different range of colours.

The Beats Pro sit at the very top of the company’s repertoire and are used by artists and producers when making music in the studio. They promise to offer the very best sound from Beats.

The Beats X are unique in the fact that they’re recharged via a Lightning cable, rather than a USB Type-C or miniUSB. They also have Apple’s W1 chip inside to easily connect them to your iPhone, or any other Apple device. They’re therefore a wireless pair of in-ear headphones, but not in the completely wireless sense of the Apple AirPods as there’s still a neckband. 

Finally, the Powerbeats 3 Wireless are a sports-orientated pair of in-ears. They’re wireless, also make use of the W1 chip and they have an ear-hook design to make sure they stay in your ears when exercising. They’re sweat proof, waterproof and weather proof, so no need to fear if you’re out running and get caught in a shower.


Beats Studio Wireless

Price: Buy now at /

  • Headphone style: Over-ear
  • Connection: Bluetooth
  • Colours: Matte Black, Titanium, Gold, Gloss White, Gloss Black, Metallic Sky

The Beats Studio wireless are an over-ear headphone design that encapsulates your whole ear inside the ear cup. This design helps to block out external noises, although it’s aided further by active noise cancellation (ANC). The ANC can be used whether you’re listening to music or not, so they can act as ear defenders, sort-of.

The built-in rechargeable battery claims to last up to 12 hours, and the lightweight build combined with the soft materials used will mean you’ll want to keep them on your head for as long as possible. There are controls on the headphones themselves to skip tracks, change volume and accept phone calls. 

The Beats Studio are not just one of the most iconic pairs of Beats headphones available, but one of the most iconic pairs of headphones full stop. We’ve only heard their wired counterpart and found that if you’re into upbeat dance music, or hip-hop, they’ll suit you down the ground. They can go loud and hard, and the addition of active noise cancellation should only help focus you on the music.

Read more: Beats Studio (2013) review


Beats Solo 3 Wireless

Price: Buy now at /

  • Headphone style: On-ear
  • Connection: Bluetooth with W1 chip
  • Colours: Gloss Black, Gloss White, Rose Gold, Black, Gold, Silver, Ultra Violet, (PRODUCT) Red

The Solo 3 Wireless were introduced around the same time as the iPhone 7 and come with Apple’s new W1 chip. This chip was first rolled out with Apple’s own AirPods wireless in-ear headphones, and promises greater battery life, a greater Bluetooth range and improved connectivity options for iPhone users.

They’re available in the same selection of colours as the iPhone 7 so you can match them up, and touch-sensitive controls are present on the left ear cup for skipping tracks and changing volume. If you happen to run out of battery, Beats claims up to 40 hours of life when connected via the W1 method, after which you can then plug in a 3.5mm – 3.5mm cable for a wired connection to your phone. Or you can charge them up for five minutes to get three hours worth of playback time.

In terms of sound they’re very much a pair of Beats headphones, that means bass in your face. But they do bass very well. So if you’re after a powerful yet portable pair of headphones and want to benefit from W1 connectivity, the Solo 3s are for you.

Read the full review: Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones review: Bass solo


Beats EP

Price: Buy now at /

  • Headphone style: On-ear
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colours: Blue, White, Black, Red

The Beats EP represent one of the most affordable ways to get your ears on Beats headphones. They are an on-ear pair of headphones, and connect via a conventional cable, no Bluetooth wireless here. Beats says the EP headphones have been tuned to reproduce sound “the way it was meant to be heard”. 

They’re designed for portability and as such, have a lightweight, stainless steel frame and come with a carry pouch. The cable has a RemoteTalk unit which is compatible with iOS devices to take calls and control your music. 

They’re a stylish pair of headphones that will no doubt provide the signature, bass-heavy Beats sound and will be ideal for anyone looking for an affordable headphone upgrade for their phone.


Beats Solo 2

Price: Buy now at /

  • Headphone style: On-ear
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colours: Black, White, Luxe Red, Luxe Blue, Luxe Silver, Luxe Black

The Solo 2 headphones are similar to the EP in that they’re portable on-ears with a constant wired connection, but they add an extra level of comfort thanks to ergonomic, pivoting ear cups.

The extra padding on the ear cups helps to block out the majority of external noise, leaving you to listen to music with “a wide dynamic range of sound and natural clarity”.

The Solo 2 are instantly recognisable, a great looking headphone upgrade and are firmly in the affordable category for headphones of this quality.


Beats Pro

Price: Buy now from Apple 

  • Headphone style: Over-ear
  • Connection: Wired
  • Colours: Infinite Black

The Beats Pro headphones are the company’s top of the range model and are used in recording studios by producers and artists alike. They don’t feature any amplification or noise cancellation as these would add extra frequencies into the sound. Their steel and aluminium build helps to provide a rigid frame to prevent vibrations. 

When they’re plugged into a music source, the other ear cup becomes an output, meaning someone else can plug their own headphones into yours to hear what you’re hearing.

The Beats Pro are an expensive pair of headphones, but unlike other pairs of Beats headphones, they don’t focus entirely on bass, instead delivering a much more balanced sound.

Read more: Beats Pro by Dr Dre (2012)


Beats X

 Price: Buy now at /

  • Headphones style: In-ear
  • Connection: Bluetooth wireless with W1 chip
  • Colours: Black, White, Grey, Blue

The Beats X headphones are wireless in-ears that have Apple’s new W1 chip inside to help instantly connect to iOS devices and MacBooks. They’re not completely wireless like the Apple AirPods as they still have a neckband connecting the two earpieces, but this hosts the battery, power switch and remote control. When you’re not listening to music, you can leave the Beats X dangling around your neck, and the earpieces have magnets in them to connect together to they don’t flail about.

You get up to eight hours of battery life from a single charge, and they’re recharged using a Lightning cable, not Micro-USB. They benefit from Quick Charge technology too, which gives you two hours of life from just five minutes of charge time. The Bluetooth range of the Beats X is incredibly good, which is largely down to the W1 chip. 

They serve up a relatively bass-heavy sound, which is to be expected, and for the most part it doesn’t overly dominate the other frequencies. We did notice it could be a little too heavy with female vocals, but not enough to put us off listening. The Beats X are a great pair of wireless in-ear headphones, the combination of good sound quality and W1 Bluetooth connectivity, for an affordable price, makes them a great addition to your iPhone.

Read the full review: Beats X headphones review: Bass marks the spot


Powerbeats 3 Wireless

Price: Buy now at /

  • Headphone style: In-ear
  • Connection: Bluetooth wireless with W1 chip
  • Colours: Black, White, Flash Blue, Siren Red, Shock Yellow

Sports headphones have become a big business over the last few years, but Beats has always been there with a pair of its own. Sports headphones need to stay snugly fit in your ears, provide a good sound quality to keep you motivated and be weather proof. Fortunately, the Powerbeats 3 Wireless tick all those boxes.

They have an ear hook style fit, which makes sure they stay on your ears when you’re exercising and come with three pairs of ear tips to ensure a tight fit in your ears. The length of the neck cable can be adjusted so you don’t have any extra slack flailing about when you’re running and they’re waterproof, sweat proof and weather proof.

The W1 chip means they connect to your iPhone in an instant and the built-in battery lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge. The sound they produce is big and powerful, and of course, has plenty of bass. When it comes to workouts though, bass can be a good thing to keep you pumping. However they’re not going to be the best pair to use for everyday listening. 

The Powerbeats 3 Wireless are the ideal companion for workouts. Their wireless and lightweight design, W1 chip for longer battery life and a good Bluetooth range, and engaging sound will keep you going for longer.

Read the full review: Powerbeats 3 Wireless review: Beats and bass

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