Beats, aka Beats by Dr. Dre, completely changed the headphone games when they dropped their first products back in the mid-2000s. Since then, a lot has changed. The company was essentially owned by HTC for a while before being bought by Apple for $3 billion. Things have progressed to the current state of wireless technology.
But one thing has stayed the same. Beats has continued to make some of the freshest headphones at the affordable end of the high-quality audio market. And people still want to get their hands, and ears, on these products. So what are the best Beats headphones you can scoop up right now?
That’s what we’re going to find out in my in-depth review of the latest Beats headphones.
Top 5 Best Beats Headphones in 2023
1 Beats EP Wired On-ear Headphones – Best Budget Beats Headphones
We’re going to start things off with the cheapest Beats headphones and work our way up towards the most expensive ones. And trust me, I think you’ll be pretty surprised by the most expensive model.
The Beats EP wired on-ear headphones are the only model on this list that’s still wired. You can pick up the EPs in black, white, red, or blue and start enjoying them right away. They don’t need any charge beforehand – these are your traditional plug-and-play headphones. They still connect via a 3.5mm (1/8”) jack to any standard audio port.
The sound is crucial, and since you’re paying a pretty penny for these headphones, you want to be sure they sound great. Well, if you like some deep driving bass, you’re in luck. That’s what these headphones offer in spades. The bass is strong, loud, and clear. Although, depending on what your style is, you may be in danger of finding it overpowering.
This is true of basically all Beats headphones
The mids and high-end are clear and well-defined, though, at high volumes, the highs can get a teeny bit shrill. Again, it depends on what you listen to. The in-line mic is very clear and picks up minimal background noise when you’re on a call. It gets the job done when you are on the go and want to keep things hands-free.
The construction is robust at first glance, with a lightweight aluminum frame supporting steel sliders and foam ear cups. These are lined on the outside with leatherette for a smooth, high-end look and with a more breathable fabric on the inside for improved comfort.
The headband can be tight on larger heads – if you have a big melon, the clamping force here might make these uncomfortable for you. But regular-sized heads will find them comfy and easy to wear for long periods.
The durability of these headphones is questionable
First, they don’t fold up, which means that when you transport them, you have to worry more about them breaking. The cable is a nice flat tangle-free cable; however, the connection ends seem a bit weak. With a lot of plugging and unplugging, I think this is where they will probably fail first.
- Cheapest Beats headphones.
- Quality, bass-heavy sound, and a good mic.
- Wired, so they don’t need to be charged.
- Questionable durability.
- Not comfortable on larger heads.
- Wired, so the cable can get in your way.
2 Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones – Best Battery Life Beats Headphones
The next pair, and all the following pairs of Beats headphones, has gone wireless for your convenience. The Solo3 headphones are entry level Bluetooth headphones from Beats. You can pick them up for anything between $99-$199, just lookout for a great deal.
First and foremost
It’s important to stress that the Solo3s are “on-ear” and not “over-ear” headphones. This is going to be a big point to focus on in terms of comfort and also size.
While they’re smaller than over-ear headphones, the Solo3s are designed to fit right on your ears. Honestly, some wearers will find these uncomfortable, while others will love them. It’s a matter of how your ears feel when pressed for a long time.
The clamping force is pretty strong here, and the idea is probably that this will help with passive noise isolation. I’d say it does because you can’t hear much outside noise wearing these things. However, the trade-off is that they can get uncomfortable after a moderate period of wearing them.
You’ll find a lot of similarities with the Beats EPs. The frames are aluminum with stainless steel sliders for adjusting your size. The ear cups and fabrics are the same. However, there are a few major differences here.
The Solo3s are hinged for easy storage and transport. While this may seem like a minor feature, I think it’s pretty important. It adds durability and reduces the size of these headphones when you want to travel with them. As a result, they are some of the best travel Beats headphones.
There’s no wire to get in your way
You’re looking at Class1 Bluetooth, which, when combined with an Apple W1 chip, gives you ultra-reliable connectivity for up to 30 feet (10m) from your devices. This, of course, means that you have to keep these headphones powered.
But that’s not so much of a challenge as their lithium-ion battery can store up to 40 hours of playback on a single charge. On top of that, you can get three hours’ worth of playback from a ridiculously short 5-minute charge.
I didn’t notice any real difference between Beats Solo3 and EP models. They’re both bass-heavy, but otherwise, pretty clear and well-balanced headphones that are a pleasure to listen with.
Finally, the earphones have on-ear controls that allow you to take calls (using two very clear built-in mics), change tracks, and even access Siri. Overall, a worthy contender for the best Beats headphones, so long as you don’t mind a fair bit of pressure on your ears.
- Quality bass-heavy sound with a good set of mics.
- Wireless with an incredible 40 hours of playback on a single charge.
- Quite a serious clamping force may be too much for some heads/ears.
- Price can fluctuate, anywhere from the very affordable to the pricey.
3 Beats Studio3 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones – Best Value for the Money Beats Headphones
Next up are the Studio3 over-ear headphones. These flashy phones can run you anything from $170-$290, depending on the kind of deal you can find. They come in seven cool colors, including Matte Black, Blue, Red, White, Shadow Grey, Defiant Black-Red, and Midnight Black. I guess that’s so you can get a pair for each day of the week.
At first glance
These might seem pretty much the same as the Solo3 headphones. They have a similar construction, similar fabrics, and a hinged frame that helps with transport. However, the Studio3s are a fair bit bigger and also have some tricks up their, uh, sleeves?
The first of these is, of course, that they are over-ear headphones and not on-ear phones like the Solo3s. This can help with the comfort as they don’t apply pressure to your ears but instead envelop them. Unless you’ve got great big ears, of course.
The clamping force is still strong, but less than we saw with the Solo3s. This is because the Studio3s are also hiding a little secret called Active Noise Cancellation.
Focus on the music
This ANC blocks out monotonous noises and works well for that. However, sudden loud noises, like screams or bangs or barks, will still get through and grab your attention. Maybe that’s a good thing.
With that ANC on, you only get 22 hours of playback because it uses power. However, when it’s off, you get 40 hours like the Solo3s.
You’re getting the signature Beats sound here – a strong bass-heavy focus and otherwise fairly flat mid and high response. However, at high volume, things remain very consistent here and not screechy. You also get the same W1 chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, great mics, and wireless controls as we saw in the Solo3s.
In the end, the differences are improved comfort and ANC, and these may justify the higher price for some of the best Beats headphones you can buy.
- Come in many colors and look great.
- Bluetooth is excellent and rarely drops out.
- ANC works well for general consistent background noise.
- Can get expensive.
- Clamping force can still be strong for some heads.
4 Beats Solo Pro On-Ear Wireless Headphones – Best Noise Cancelling Beats Headphones
The final pair of large headphones we’re going to look at is the Solo Pros. These headphones look just like the Solo3 but don’t be deceived. They’re an improved model for sure.
They come in Blue, Red, and Dark Blue and look slick, just like the Solo3s. Again, we see the folding frames that help with storage in their travel case. The finishes and materials here are all the same as the Solo3s.
So what’s the difference?
The price is one difference. These guys run at about $170, which is a bit or a lot more than the SSolo3s, depending on the deal you can find.
The other big difference is that they have ANC on board. This ANC works just as well as the Studio3s and also includes a “transparency mode,” which intentionally allows loud and potentially dangerous noises through to your ears. If you’re out walking or jogging with these on, you might use transparency mode when you need to be aware of traffic and other dangers.
As for fit
These are on-ear phones like the Solo3 model. The clamping force here is again high and may be uncomfortable for some wearers, especially the big-headed among us. They go on your ears, not over, so the ANC isn’t quite as effective as the Studio3s, but it’s pretty darned close. You get the same 22 hours of playback with ANC activated and 40 hours without.
Otherwise, we’ve got the same Beats sound here – bassy and otherwise level and even. The two onboard mics are very clear and great for calls on the go.
Like the other wireless models, the B button is your only control button and has multiple functions that you have to learn. But once you do, it’s easy to take calls, change your music, or activate Siri with these headphones.
- Fantastic ANC with ‘transparency mode’.
- Good option if you take and make a lot of calls.
- Excellent Bluetooth that rarely drops out.
- Great modern design.
- Clamping force may be too strong for some people.
5 Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds – Best Lightweight Beats Headphones
The last wireless headphones on my list are the Powerbeats Pro wireless earbuds. These are true wireless earbuds that are primarily aimed at workouts and active use, but you can use them for music anytime.
We’re looking at a different product here than the other four headphones we saw already. These buds fit into your ear canals and have adjustable curved ear hooks that go over the tops of your ears to hold them very securely. They seriously don’t go anywhere even when you’re running like a maniac.
Durability replaces power
With a rating of IPX4, these earbuds are sweat-proof and can probably withstand light rain if necessary. Therefore, they are a great pair of Beats headphones for running. They produce a surprisingly solid sound as well. Once again, there’s a lot of bass here, although not as powerful as the other headphones we’ve seen.
They just don’t have the same size and power to deliver bone-shaking bass. Still, it’s strong enough to keep you moving. The high-end is fairly pronounced, leading to a somewhat scooped mid-range. It’s OK, but after listening with the other models, this is a hard pair of headphones to love.
The battery life is only nine hours, though you get a storage/charging case that can store another 24 hours in it before it needs to be plugged in again. That 9-hour playback is enough for a day’s use but does mean that you have to keep track of your charging.
But with an Apple W1 chip and Class 1 Bluetooth, on-ear controls for both buds, and the ability to pair two sets to a single device, they’re certainly convenient. These wireless earbuds can run you up to $250, but you can sometimes find them at great sale prices.
If you’re looking for something that is going to stay in place and be sweat-proof and lightweight while providing you with great sound for your workouts, this might be the pair of buds for you.
- Lightweight and stay in place perfectly.
- The IPX4 rating means they’re sweat-proof.
- Available in eight cool colors to match your style.
- Scooped mid-range.
- Can be pricey.
- Only nine hours of charge on board, but can be supplemented by the 24-hour charge in the case.
Looking for a Great Pair of Headphones?
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What are the Best Beats Headphones?
We just got the chance to look at five models of Beats headphones that each have their pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. If you want an affordable, high-quality pair of headphones and don’t mind a wire, the EPS can be a good choice. If you want to wear lightweight wireless earbuds to pump up your workouts, you might want to pick up the Powerbeats Pros.
But if I have to choose the best pair of Beats headphones to recommend, I’m going to have to go with the…
This is Beats’ flagship model right now anyway, so I’m very confident calling it their overall best headphone. They’re just the most comfortable model. The ANC is very effective, and the overall sound gives you Beats’ big bass boost.
Although they can get up to pretty high prices, you can find them on sale for a great deal if you play your cards right. Sounds pretty good to me.
Until next time, happy listening.