Hands-on: Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones with Apple’s magical new W1 chip

“Apple made a big, polarizing splash when it announced its new wireless AirPods during last week’s iPhone 7 keynote. The AirPods, which are completely devoid of any wires, were met with plenty of mixed reactions online,” Jeff Benjamin reports for 9to5Mac. “Whether or not you agree with the design of the AirPods is one thing, but the new W1 wireless chip, Apple’s first, is promising to bring a better overall wireless audio experience to the masses.”

“Unfortunately, the AirPods don’t ship until late October… [but] the W1 wireless chip is not only embedded in Apple’s AirPods, you’ll find the same chip tucked away in several pairs of new Beats-branded headphones as well,” Benjamin reports. “The just-released Beats Solo3 On-Ear Wireless Headphones, for instance, has the distinction of being the first product to hit the market with a W1 chip nestled inside.”

“Once you pair your headphones with one device, the pairing information propagates across all iCloud-enabled devices running the latest Apple software,” Benjamin reports. “This means that you can just open Control Center on your iOS 10-enabled iPad, or macOS Sierra-enabled Mac, and the Beats Solo3 headphones will appear as an audio output option. In that regard the process is a bit, as Apple often likes to exclaim, magical.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you love over-emphasized bass with a smattering of overmodulation randomly peppered throughout for the sake of distortion, Beats headphones are for you!

That said, Apple’s W1 is a significant advance. We can’t wait for it to appear in good-sounding headphone, earphones, and speakers!

Apple’s innovative W1 chip is a big deal, but I fear it will also be a missed opportunity – September 12, 2016
iPhone 7/Plus is a $5 billion opportunity for Beats – September 8, 2016
Apple reinvents the wireless headphone with AirPods – September 7, 2016


  1. Yesterday, I bought a pair of Sony MDR-ZX100 headphones for $15. They are your ordinary, run-of-the-mill wired headphones (with 3.5mm connector, mind you), and I could buy 20 pairs for the amount of money I’d spend on a pair of Beats (or Bose).

    For my ears, Sony sounds clean, even, neutral, fresh and has solid dynamic range. I am truly struggling to understand how can similar pair of headphones (with wires) be worth twenty times as much. What kind of sound quality, material, workmanship, fit & finish and durability do they possess that makes them so much more valuable than the pair of Sony I just bought for $15? And I’m not talking about some no-name Chinese brand (they can be had for less than $5), but a well-known and well-respected brand.

    1. I can understand that there are a lot of people out there who question the audio quality of Bose and Beats, but then there are brands where quality has always been respected (such as B&O, AKG, Sennheiser). Even those brands have models that are exceptionally expensive (hundreds of dollars), compared to the cheap Sony.

      Is the difference truly worth the money, and why?

      1. Like many things in life, it’s a variation on the law of diminishing returns. Is a steak from one restaurant worth twice the price of a steak from a different restaurant? And the answer is, if you can tell the difference, maybe it is. And if you can’t, then the answer is no. High end headphones have less distortion and truer fidelity and more accurate frequency response curves than cheap ones do. Not everyone can tell the difference but some people can. i could when I was in my 20s. Now I’m 60 I can’t. So I don’t buy high end headphones (I still have good Wharfedale home speakers from 25+ years ago, but i don’t have a true “hi-fi” amp anymore).

        1. And that’s exactly where I am (not quite 60 yet, but soon).

          I used to hear the difference between high-end studio monitor speakers. The top octave is now largely gone from my hearing (I think I top out somewhere around 13kHz). I miss those frequencies…

          An advice for the younger generation: avoid earphones/headphones like the plague. That’s the fastest, easiest and surest way to permanently damage your hearing.

  2. Hey MDN!

    WHY do I have FOUR (not one) instances of a Sprint ad plopped in a column, proceeding is article? They appear to be coming courtesy of Amazon. The number of ads recently has finally reached the point of absurdity, to the point that even the reader comments are now typically interspersed with ads. I’m not even going to mention the current plague of political commentary by trolls who rarely touch on anything that has to do with the subject of the article. Please get a handle on this mess!

    Concerning “the article”, Apple appears to be keeping Beats focused on products with intentionally diddled response curves that cater to the tastes of the pop music crowd. It would be nice if Beats would come up with some products that have a flat respone, and minimal distortion. Until then, I would not consider purchasing any Beats products.

    It would be cool if Apple would make a high quality Lightning to phone jack adaptor that would contain the W1 chip, a top quality DAC, and the ability to cleanly power studio quality headphones of various impedances. That way, the adaptor itself could be paired, as described, but would be flexible enough to drive a wide spectrum of quality ‘phones such as my favorite Beyers.

    1. I have noticed that the political commentary has died down over the past few days (perhaps because their candidate is narrowing the gap in daily polls). Let us hope those polls keep him close for the next two months, so that the political pollution is kept to a minimum…

    2. Sorry about the temporary brain fart. The pairing procedure is for Bluetooth, not needed for the adaptor that I described. I also fell victim to too many typos and spell checker overrides.

      1. I took your post seriously and assumed you were thinking of some sort of a combo adapter/device that would, in addition to other functions, allow you to plug in wired headphones and use them as wireless (by pairing the adapter/device with the phone)…

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