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Beats Studio Pro vs Beats Solo3 Wireless

We got the Beats, we got the Beats.
By
August 30, 2023

The latest Beats Studio Pro active noise canceling (ANC) equipped headphones have landed. However, if you’re perusing the back catalog, the Beats Solo3 Wireless might jump out, too. Let’s see how much has changed in the intervening years between the 2016 release of the Solo3 Wireless and the 2023 Beats Studio Pro.

Editor’s note: this article was published on August 30th, 2023, and is the first version. Updates will follow as the market changes.

What’s it like to use the Beats Studio Pro compared to the Beats Solo3 Wireless?

The back of the Beats Studio Pro's ear cup.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
You’ll have to contend with buttons on the flat of the ear cups on the Beats Studio Pro.

Beats has a strong branding identity, and that’s a core element in the appeal of its products. In this regard, the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Solo3 Wireless share the same basic aesthetics of chunky plastic builds, folding hinges, carry bags, and arguably annoying ‘b’ button controls in the center of the ear cups.

If you’ve got glasses, neither will feel amazing because of the characteristic Beats tight grip, but the on-ear design of the Solo3 Wireless tends to press ears against the arms of glasses more. That said, the Studio Pro have a relatively small footprint (59 x 40mm) for a set of over-ears to fit around your ears, too. This might challenge folks with larger-than-average ears. The Studio Pro weigh more at 270g, versus the 215g of the Solo3 Wireless, but neither pair qualify as hefty.

A picture of the Beats Solo3 Wirless headphones folded atop a bed of flowers with a candle and multitool.
Folding down the Beats Solo3 Wireless keeps them portable, although the long-term headband durability is dubious.

The Studio Pro feature USB-C listening modes with built-in EQ presets for lossless listening with your compatible device. That’s a more premium feature. On that note, the Solo3 Wireless only uses an outdated micro-USB port for charging, but you get an in-line remote with the 3.5mm headphone jack cable. The Beats Studio Pro come with a basic headphone jack cable. Of course, they both have Bluetooth headphones too.

How do you control the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Solo3 Wireless?

The Beats Solo3 Wireless in grey on a green cloth surface.
Plastic builds are a running theme with both Beats, and the buttons are basically in the same spot on both pairs.

You can control either set of Beats headphones using the buttons on the ear cups. When you actuate the buttons, your ears are directly behind, meaning you hear it, which is annoying.

Here are the controls for the Beats Studio Pro.

ButtonSingle tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press
Button
Top area
Single tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press
Volume up
Button
Left logo
Single tap
Play / Pause
Double Tap
Next track
Triple Tap
Previous track
Long press
Voice assistant
Button
Bottom area
Single tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press
Volume down
Button
System button
Single tap
N/A
Double Tap
ANC/Transparency toggle
Triple Tap
N/A
Long press
Power

While you’ve got buttons on the Solo3 Wireless, some are on the ear cups, and some are on the cable. Be advised that the in-line controls disable if you plug the 3.5mm cable into an Android device, but they work if you plug it into an iPhone. However, it seems unlikely that you own an iPhone still equipped with a headphone jack. See below for the controls for the Beats Solo3 Wireless.

Single pressDouble pressTriple pressPress and hold
"b" button
Single press
Play/pause, answer/end call
Double press
Next track (hold on second press to scan forward)
Triple press
Previous track (hold on third press to scan backward)
Press and hold
Reject call, activate voice control
Above "b"
Single press
Volume up
Double press

Triple press

Press and hold
Increase volume continuously
Below "b"
Single press
Volume down
Double press

Triple press

Press and hold
Decrease volume continuously

Should you use Beats Studio Pro or Beats Solo3 Wireless apps?

The LED indicator and USB-C port of the Beats Studio Pro.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
You don’t get any audio cues, so you’ll need to remove the headphones to see the settings indicated on the LEDs. So you might as well just use the app and your phone.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you already have the app for the Beats Studio Pro in your settings. You get equal support on Android if you download the Beats app. Surprise, the same is true of the Beats Solo3 Wireless. The functions are pretty rudimentary in the app, but you’ll want to use it for updates. You get listening mode adjustments, some control remapping, and Find My, but it’s mainly a set-and-forget situation.

While the Beats Studio Pro advertises an onboard equalizer, it’s only accessible when using the USB-C audio connection.

How do the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Solo3 Wireless connect?

The contents of the Beats Studio Pro packaging.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
Beats includes all your basics with the Beats Studio Pro.

The Beats Studio Pro offer users Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity (AAC and SBC codecs) and a headphone jack, and when connected to a device with the included USB-C cable, you get a lossless digital path from your source. While you don’t get Apple-exclusive silicon, the headphones connect quickly and remain stable.

Given that they’re older, the Beats Solo3 Wireless utilize the aged Bluetooth 4.0 with AAC and SBC codecs only. The Solo3 Wireless use an Apple W1 Chip, the precursor to the H1 and H2 Chips. These only make a difference with Apple devices. You also get a cable to use the headphone jack.

We give the Studio Pro a win here for the updated Bluetooth 5.3 and additional USB-C connectivity.

Beats is good at making things simple, and pairing is no exception.

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your device.
  2. When you power on the Studio Pro, they’ll try to connect to whatever they were connected to last.
  3. If you’re pairing a new device, press and hold for a couple of seconds, and the Studio Pro enters pairing mode. You’ll see the LED slowly blink to indicate pairing mode.
  4. iPhones will fast pair with the Studio Pro.
  5. Select the headphones from your list of available devices in Bluetooth Settings on Android.

The process to pair the Beats Solo3 Wireless is quite simple.

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your device.
  2. Press and hold the Power button (1 second with an iPhone, 5 seconds with Android).
  3. Confirm the card that pops up. If no card appears, select the Beats Solo3 Wireless from the list of available devices in Bluetooth settings.

Is battery life better on the Beats Studio Pro or Beats Solo3 Wireless?

A picture of the Beats Solo3 Wirless headphones battery LEDs lit up.
The battery level LED indicators reside below the right ear cup and charge with a micro-USB.

Our standardized battery test shows that the Beats Studio Pro reaches 31 hours 25 minutes with ANC enabled. Your mileage may vary depending on your battery hygiene, whether you disable ANC, and how loudly you play music. In contrast, the Beats Solo3 Wireless reached 45 hours, 8 minutes. This difference is unsurprising given that the Beats Studio Pro have ANC — a battery hog — and the Solo3 Wireless do not.

Yes, impressively, the Beats Studio Pro yields up to 4 hours of battery life with only 10 minutes of charging.

The Beats Solo3 Wireless have fast charging: 5 minutes supplies roughly 180 minutes of battery power.

Do the Beats Studio Pro or Beats Solo3 Wireless block noise better?

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One of the defining points of difference between the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Solo3 Wireless is that the Studio Pro boast ANC. While the noise canceling on the Studio Pro isn’t the best, it’s pretty decent, filtering roughly 25dB at 100Hz. Meanwhile, the isolation properties of the Studio Pro are excellent if they fit around your ears correctly. They can provide an impressive 50dB of attenuation when handling high-pitched noises.

A chart depicting the Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones isolation performance.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless provide only conventional passive isolation, so they don’t affect low-pitched noise.

An absence of ANC already means the Solo3 Wireless don’t attenuate noise as well as the Studio Pro.

Considering that the Beats Solo3 Wireless rely only on passive isolation, they’re also on-ear headphones, which puts them at a disadvantage. The Solo3 Wireless can block up to 40dB of high-pitched noise thanks to their tight clamping force. That’s good for on-ear headphones, but isolation tends to work best on high-pitched sounds while doing little or nothing to block out low-pitched noise, as with the Solo3 Wireless.

While imperfect, due to fit concerns for some folks, the Studio Pro win this handily. Considering the benefits of noise canceling headphones for your hearing health, it’s no small thing to separate your environment from your ears to listen to music at a safe volume.

Hold up! Something’s different:

The Beats Solo3 Wireless frequency response, isolation, and microphone frequency response charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and ANC performance plots. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white). Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.

Do the Beats Studio Pro sound better than the Beats Solo3 Wireless?

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Much has changed in the intervening years between the release of the Beats Solo3 Wireless and the Beats Studio Pro, including our testing methods and charts at SoundGuys. We can say that the Beats Studio Pro have a more reasonable, consumer-friendly sounding frequency response by default than the overly bassy Beats counterparts of the past, including the Beats Solo3 Wireless.

You may seek out that bassy sound, but remember that the closer a headphone’s frequency response mirrors our headphone preference curve, the more likely you’ll enjoy all kinds of music and media.

A chart depicting the Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones' frequency response.
Notice how much louder the bass and mids are compared to the treble frequencies.

Think bass emphasis. Most listeners will miss the under-represented treble frequencies on the Solo3 Wireless compared to the (arguably exaggerated) treble on the Studio Pro.

In addition to the default frequency response on the Beats Studio Pro, listeners also gain access to additional EQ presets when they listen using the USB-C connection. These broadly follow similar profiles to the default tuning. The Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones come with a single frequency response. You may want to experiment with a third-party equalizer app in both cases.

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If you like the Beats Studio Pro’s exaggerated treble and sub-bass tuning, the three other EQ presets stand as variations on a theme. “Signature EQ” is slightly more restrained than the others.

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“Entertainment EQ” scoops the mids and blasts the treble and bass.

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Lastly, “Conversation EQ” strongly rolls off the bass for your calls and podcasts.

Do the Beats Studio Pro or Beats Solo3 Wireless have a better microphone?

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If there’s one criticism of the Beats Studio Pro’s microphone system, it’s the low output. Even so, the quality of the audio improves over the Beats Solo3 Wireless mic. Frankly, neither set of headphones is the one to choose if a good mic is your priority.

Over the years, readers have voted the Solo3 Wireless mic as “bad” (at 35% as of August 2023, with the rest of the vote mainly split between “awful” and “okay”).

Still, it’s worth acknowledging that our mic demo for the Solo3 Wireless predates our standardized microphone demonstration recording method, so listen for yourself and consider that when voting.

Beats Studio Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Beats Solo3 Wireless microphone demo (Non-standardized):

Beats Studio Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Which microphone sounds best to you?

449 votes

Beats Studio Pro vs Beats Solo3 Wireless: Price and availability

The Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones standing on a couch against a warm-tinted wall.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Unfortunately, on-ear headphones like the Solo3 Wireless don’t feel comfortable for long.

The Beats Solo3 Wireless are cheaper than the Beats Studio Pro. When the Solo3 Wireless debuted, they cost $300 but dropped substantially in price. Meanwhile, the Beats Studio Pro sell for about $349, and they’re newer, so don’t expect many discounts.

Should you get the Beats Studio Pro or Beats Solo3 Wireless?

The Beats Studio Pro lay flat on a wooden surface.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The Beats Studio Pro aren’t perfect, but you get decent ANC.

If you’re absolutely set on getting Beats headphones, the Beats Studio Pro are better than the Solo3 Wireless. The choice is easy with updated Bluetooth connectivity, USB-C listening, and an over-ear style fit for improved isolation. Besides a lower price, better battery life, and the in-line remote on the Beats Solo3 Wireless, nearly every critical aspect sees an upgrade on the Studio Pro.

The Studio Pro sport the better frequency response and is the only pair that offers noise canceling. You’ll have to deal with a heavy-handed bass, and you won’t get any ANC on the Solo3 Wireless. They also use an outdated micro-USB port to charge, although, with 45 hours of battery life, you won’t have to use it often.

Both headphones work well with iOS and Android, share similar aesthetics, and have buttons directly on your ears. Ultimately, most people will appreciate the active noise canceling on the Studio Pro. Of course, you might want to try some of our preferred noise canceling headphones instead.

See price at Amazon
Beats Studio Pro
Beats Studio Pro
Enhanced smartphone integration
Lossless and Spatial Audio
Big battery life
See price at Amazon
Beats Solo 3 Wireless
35%off
Beats Solo 3 Wireless
Long-lasting battery
Stable Bluetooth
Versatile

Frequently asked questions

If you look at the other Beats headphones in the line, you’ll see the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. We’ve broken down a comparison between the Beats Studio Pro and the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. The short answer is to pick the Beats Studio Pro.