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Same Look, New Features: Beats Solo3 Wireless vs. Beats Solo2

Dec. 2, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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Beats Solo3 Wireless, the latest Beats by Dre headphones, pair sound quality with new, convenient features. Users will get faster iPhone 7 syncing and on-device controls that the Solo2 model doesn’t have. But do Solo3s live up to their $300 price tag?

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We’ve compared the Solo3 and Solo2 models to tell everything you need to know about the two Beats headphones.

 Beats Solo3 WirelessBeats Solo2
Price$299.95 on Apple$199.95 on Apple
Weight7.58 ounces 7.23 ounces
ColorsGloss black, gloss white, silver, gold, rose gold, black, violet, red (on Apple)Black, white (on Apple)
Battery life40 hours12 hours
Fast Fuel chargingYesNo
Wireless capabilities Bluetooth and Apple W1 chipNo
RemoteTalkYesYes
Includes cableYesYes
Buy
Buy

Design

Both the Solo2 and Solo3 models have a streamlined, flexible headband and cushioned earcups for comfortable, all-day wear. Users can adjust each component for a more personalized fit without affecting sound delivery. And both models are foldable for easy carrying and storage.

» MORE: Beats Studio vs. Bose QuietComfort 25: Headphones matchup

FeaturesBeats by Dre Solo3

Beats by Dre headphones have built a reputation on delivering clear, high-quality audio backed by deep, heavy bass. The Solo2 and Solo3 both live up to that standard, making these the go-to headphones for fans of bass-centric music, such as hip-hop and certain subgenres of electronic music.

But if you’re wondering why the Solo3 headphones cost $100 more than the Solo2s, these added features might be a justification:

  • Apple W1 chip. Beats outfitted the Solo3s with an Apple W1 chip to make syncing with the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus easier. Just hold the two devices close together for seamless connecting, including your Apple Watch and other Mac devices running Sierra software. This chip is also responsible for the Solo3’s 40-hour battery life. 
  • RemoteTalk on-ear controls. Previous Beats models (including the Solo2) had the RemoteTalk feature, but the controller was located on the headphone cable. Beats placed the Solo3’s RemoteTalk controls right onto the headphones. 
  • Fast Fuel charging. Fast Fuel ensures you won’t be tied to an outlet for too long when your headphones need a quick recharge. The Beats Solo3 only needs five minutes on the charge dock for three hours of playback.

PriceBeats by Dre Solo2

Let’s be real: A pair of $300 headphones is a luxury. Even the $200 Solo2s might be out of many listeners’ price ranges.

You might be able to find both for less online. We’ve seen older Beats models discounted at retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy.

It’s worth noting that Apple’s site sells only the cabled Beats Solo2 and have discontinued the wireless version. Amazon still sells the Bluetooth-enabled Solo2 for as little as $229.99, depending on the color.

Sound decision

If you’re a Beats, music or tech fanatic — or some combination of the three — the Beats Solo3s might appeal to you. Their compatibility with the iPhone 7 and Fast Fuel charging make them some of the more advanced headphones currently available. But as such with most advanced products, Solo3s come at a higher cost.

If you don’t mind wires, the Solo2 headphones still deliver Beats high-quality audio. They share the same sleek, comfortable design as the Solo3s, and you’ll never miss a phone call with the RemoteTalk feature. Amazon also carries the Solo2 wireless model, which you might find at a more affordable price.

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Nina Tabios is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: ntabios@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @Nina_NerdWallet.