Travel Tips

Beats Solo 3 Review: The Perfect Noise Isolating Headphones For Travel

As part of a recent Apple promotion, I got a free pair of Beats by Dr. Dre Solo 3 wireless headphones with the purchase of a MacBook Pro. You may remember a few months back, I wrote about the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 noise cancelling headphones. Specifically about how noise cancelling headphones cause ear pain. These have long been a favorite among frequent travelers, but they gave me excruciating ear pain, headaches, and dizziness. I returned the headphones for a full refund and decided my next pair would be the noise isolating kind. The Beats Solo 3 turned out to be the perfect fit.

Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones Review
Beats Solo 3 Headphones – perfect for people who don’t like noise cancelling headphones

Beats By Dr. Dre have been around for about a decade. The first time I came across them was in college, when I interned at Interscope Records. Beats were new back then and during my first week, my boss handed me a pair of Beats and told me to “get familiar” with Interscope’s products. No, I didn’t get to keep them and that was fine because those older models were really bulky and hideous – pretty much the type of headphones you see artists wearing in the recording studio. But Beats have gotten sleeker in the last decade and with Apple buying out the company, they can be seamlessly linked to your MacBook and iPhone. That makes members of The Cult very happy.

Beats Solo 3 Sound Quality

So what are my thoughts on the Beats Solo 3 wireless headphones? I’ve been using them for about two weeks and absolutely love them. They’re not only less bulky than the Bose QC 35’s but, in my opinion, provide better sound quality. While they’re not noise-cancelling headphones, they do a good job of isolating sound. I was testing it out, listening to the latest Taylor Swift song (so much negative energy!) and after about a minute, I realized my sister, who was sitting two rows behind me in the car, had been calling out my name. I didn’t even hear her, that’s how well the Beats Solo 3’s isolate background noise. That being said, you don’t get that underwater silence that the QC 35’s provide. That’s a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Beats Solo 3 Battery Life

The sound quality on the Beats Solo 3’s is really great and the batter life has been impressive too. I read somewhere that the Beats Solo 3 headphones last 9 hours per charge. I think this is pretty accurate, though I haven’t timed it exactly. I’ve used mine for at least an hour a day over the last two weeks and haven’t had to charge them yet. I also like the soft case of the Solo 3’s better that the Bose QC 35’s hard case. It takes up less space and makes the headphones easier to pack. That really makes them perfect for travel. It’s also worth pointing out that the Beats Solo 3 headphones come with 3 months free apple music. I have yet to sign up, but I know a lot of people will appreciate this perk.

Beats Solo 3 Negatives

My only gripe with the Beats Solo 3 headphones? They come with a USB charger, which sadly means I can’t plug it into my new MacBook Pro. The new laptops only have USB-C/lightning chargers. This has been a bit of a hassle because the new iPhone USB cable I picked up a while ago isn’t compatible with my new MacBook Pro. So not only do I have to buy a new charger for my iPhone, I also have to get one for my Beats Solo 3 headphones. It’s not a total necessity, but it is convenient for those times when I don’t want to bring extra wall chargers while traveling.

Beats Solo 3 Headphones: Final Thoughts

The Beats Solo 3 headphones are perfect for people who want a stylish, durable pair of headphones with great sound. As someone who didn’t react well to noise cancelling headphones, I think these are a great alternative. They isolate background noise well without blocking sound completely. They also don’t leave me dizzy and nauseous, so it’s a win! If you want noise cancelling headphones, then the Beats Solo 3 headphones are probably not for you. If you’re on the fence, you can always go to an Apple store and try them out before buying them.

Unfortunately, the Apple promotion is now over so you can no longer get a free pair of Beats with your MacBook Pro purchase. Beats Solo 3 headphones retail for $300 – I don’t know that I’d ever pay that much for a pair of headphones again. That being said, I’m definitely happy with the Beats Solo 3’s and would recommend them if you can buy them at a discount. The good news? The market is currently flooded with people trying to unload Beats Solo 3 headphones they got as part of the Apple promotion. So you can buy them for less than $200 on eBay. You should be aware that a lot of scammers sell fake Beats on eBay. I’m not sue how to spot the difference, but just keep that in mind if you come across an especially cheap pair of Beats.

Have you tried out the Beats Solo 3 headphones? What are your thoughts on this product? Are there any other noise isolating headphones you recommend over Beats?

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  1. I don’t have any of the pain/dizzyness issues with the Bose QC35 that you describe but I do agree that they are surprisingly bulky and take a lot of space in my ‘personal item’ bag. I bought Beats X wireless earbuds and they have replaced the Bose as my go-to travel headphones. However, I still prefer over-the-ear headphones so I think I will give the Solo 3 a try. Thanks for the review.

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