Compared with similarly positioned headphones on the market, such as Sony’s WH1000XM4 offering, the studio3 wireless sound quality remains one of Beats’s most marketable qualities. As expected, bass performs tremendously well, with a palpable kick, yet doesn’t muddy the mid-range of the mix. Although, the emphasis is still very much given over to the opposite side of the spectrum.
What’s particularly noticeable is the distinction given to vocal frequencies, which lends itself well to audio tracks that are heavily layered, while still elevating performances above the instrumentals.
Since the studio3 wireless headphones were released in 2017, active noise-cancelling technology has come on leaps and bounds. Simply by listening to the most recent offerings by the likes of Sony and Bose has demonstrated how quickly the tech has evolved in just a matter of a few years, and this is where the studio3s are beginning to show their limitations.
While the ANC does well enough to isolate audio from the outside world when listening to music or podcasts, it’s more noticeable when no music is being played from the speakers, with a subtle dampening that overworks removing noise that isn’t necessarily there – which can be distracting. Granted, it lacks the opposite problem that ANC headphones have a tendency to employ – which can make your ears feel like they’re being pulled through a vacuum – which is just as well when you’re planning on wearing them for an extended period of time.
For an over-ear cup, the Beats studio3 sit rather on the snug side but this does lead to a good seal and weight distribution across the whole headset, rather than feeling squashed across the surface of the ears.
That’s also aided by the padded headband that assists in keeping the weight of the headset primarily across the crown, although the rubbery texture may not be to everyone’s taste, it does offer a sturdy grip that even the most ardent of headbangers would struggle to shake loose.
As with Beats’s other outer-ear designs, button input is nicely integrated within the left cup with the lowercase “b” logo acting as a pause/resume button, with the outer-ring acting as volume control above and below. Playback and skip are controlled by clicking in the logo two or three times.
Voice assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, can be summoned by holding down the same button, making music, podcast and other audio playback as hands-free as possible. It’s a simple enough interface to work with and the tactile clicks needed to input commands, rather than touch controls, work in the studio3’s favour.
When not in use, both arms of the headset can be snapped shut and placed inside its hardshell carry case. While the carry case is protective enough (way more so than the AirPods Max flimsy offering), it’s not custom-fitted to the shape of the folded headset, meaning the plastic arms are ever-so slightly squeezed in order to fit. The snapping hinges on the arms also mean extra care would need to be taken, compared with other headphones of this calibre. As a moving component, there is some concern that over-enthusiastically clicking the arms into position to place on your head could lead to wear and tear.
Listeners most likely to benefit from the studio3 wireless are Apple users, thanks to the integrated W1 chip that allows for near-instant connectivity to Apple devices. Of course, it should be expected that implementing the headphones into an already established ecosystem should come as a no brainer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean Android or other devices lose out on some of its other features.
Syncing the headphones via Bluetooth is as simple as any headphone setup gets, and if you happen to require a wired connection – such as to a laptop – gratefully, the studio3 comes with a decent-quality audio cable with inline mic and volume control.
But regardless of Apple or Android, the studio3 wireless still lacks support for multi-device connectivity, which seems like more of an oversight for iPhone and MacBook users that would stand to gain from adding some decent cans to day-to-day workflow.
As for battery life, the studio3 wireless is commendable not just for holding a relatively decent charge – up to 22 hours, according to Apple – but fast charging means they need no more than a few minutes to make it through the morning commute.