Beats Solo Pro headphones pack a punch with sound, noise cancellation and a sleek design

Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored
Tue October 15, 2019

Beats has yet another product in store for 2019. Solo Pro is building off the popular true wireless Powerbeats Pro (which we called the earbuds to beat). These on-ear headphones, which launch Oct. 30 for $299.95, but up for preorder today, are a successor to the popular Solo 3.

However, make no mistake, these are stronger, have better sound and pack a punch. Solo Pro will be available in six colors — black, ivory, gray, dark blue, light blue and red — and the main hull is a mix of recycled plastics, making this one of the first times that Beats has shown sustainability. Both the top of the headband and ear cups, which have been redesigned, are plenty soft.

The sliders, which extend the size of the Solo Pro depending on the shape and size of your head, are made from aluminum to give these headphones a high-end feel and look. I enjoyed the design across all the colors and even flexed the band a few times. It can withstand quite a bit.

The updated design removes the headphone jack, so these are fully wireless. Even so, these are sleek, and like other on-ear headphones, fold for portability.

When you unfold the Solo Pro headphones, they will power on and connect to your device. If it's the first time powering on the Solo Pro, you'll be able to fast pair with an iOS device through the H1 chip. Yes, the Apple-made Bluetooth chip that enables syncing across iCloud. It's nice to see and makes these a great choice for those in the ecosystem. You'll also get access to "Hey Siri."

Fear not Android users though, as you can still pair the Solo Pro via normal Bluetooth settings, and even use the Beats by Dre app for a faster pairing experience.

Adaptive noise-canceling, transparency are here

In addition to these being on-ear headphones, which provide passive noise canceling, Beats is bringing Pure Adaptive Noise Canceling (Pure ANC), which was first used on the Studio3 Wireless. Utilizing onboard processing power, algorithms and two microphones, the Solo Pro detects and blocks noises. This works on an airplane, as expected, but also in an office, at the gym and pretty much anywhere. Most importantly, this will let you focus on the music.

But for those times when you want to hear your tunes and the world around you, there is transparency mode. This intelligently switches on its microphones to allow environment noise, a feature that will likely come in handy if you're wearing them while taking a stroll or commuting. Best of all, the switch happens with just the tap of a button.

That button lives on the left earcup and allows for easy switching between Pure ANC and transparency. The right earcup controls the music and allows you to skip ahead, control volume, pick up calls and even activate a voice assistant. Those on iOS or macOS can even use "Hey Siri" if you don't want to move your hands.

The Solo Pro sound

There is a clear difference between the Solo Pros and the previous Solo 3s. The same sound improvements that Beats worked into the Powerbeats Pro are now showing their muscles on the Solo Pro.

Inside, you'll find a pair of 40mm drivers that deliver a wide soundstage that hits a majority of the notes and still provides deep bass. The internal tech and algorithms aim to deliver a sound that isn't too tiny and one that is free of distortion. And while I'll put these through the works soon, it's safe to say that I walked away impressed.

Battery fit for the whole day (and then some with no ANC)

Even better, Beats managed to deliver a strong battery life on the Solo Pro. With no ANC or transparency, you can expect up to 40 hours, while using either of those brings it down to 22 hours. These charge with a lightning cable, which is included. Fast Fuel is back, so you should get three hours of playback with a 10-minute charge.

Keep in mind there is no headphone jack, so this is a wireless experience, but the battery life estimates are on par with other headphones.

Beats Solo Pro are up for preorder now at $299.99 and we'll have a full review soon.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.