Beats has evolved into an audio lifestyle brand powered by the genius of music industry legends Andre “Dr Dre” Young and Jimmy Iovine alongside current parent company Apple. The last few years have seen some interesting changes for the electronics giant, especially when it comes to the kinds of Beats audio products you can currently buy.
Leaning more into headphones and earbuds lately, Beats has continued to stand out by delivering flashier, more bass-heavy alternatives to Apple’s own audio devices while also offering compelling fitness-focused products. We’ve tested nearly all of Beats’ recent headphones and earbuds, and have picked out the best the brand has to offer.
Best Beats headphones: Beats Solo 3
The Beats Solo 3 hasn’t seen a proper refresh since 2016, but still remains our best on-ear headphones pick for good reason. It offers competitive audio quality, a thoughtful design that blends sleekness with useful functionalities and better than average battery life.
From quick pairing to the initiative controls on the left headphone cup, utilizing the Beats Solo 3 is a simple and intuitive experience. Once we got them set up, we found music to sound as good as headphones that are significantly more expensive. Most notably, extremely bass heavy music such as contemporary pop, EDM and hip-hop really showcase how far the Beats Solo 3 can be pushed. They also do a great job with more musically nuanced genres like rock and jazz by offering clarity for multi-instrumental tracks. Beyond music, the Beats Solo 3 provides exceptional call quality thanks to their beamforming microphones.
With 40 hours of playback, the Beats Solo 3 has some of the best battery life in its class. The small LEDs on the headphones do a great job of informing you how much battery life is available, as does the Beats app for either iOS or Android. If your Beats do run out of battery life, there’s a quick charge ability that gives three hours of juice from a five-minute charge.
Between outstanding audio quality, great battery life and head-turning looks, it’s not surprising that the Beats Solo 3 has been able to stand on its own without yearly refreshes.
Best Beats earbuds: Beats Fit Pro
The Beats Fit Pro maintains the classic Beats style while packing a feature set that’s more in line with Apple’s AirPods Pro. At $199, these earbuds’ audio quality battery life and comfort make them our pick for the best Apple earbuds, but having Spatial Audio capabilities alongside active noise cancellation is the proverbial icing on the cake.
The Beats Fit Pro are great for gym rats looking for something a bit more discreet than the Powerbeats Pro. Available in four colors, they feature a wingtip design that we found to be comfortable and secure for hours on end, complete with IPX4 water protection that’s ideal for those who frequently break a sweat.
The Beats Fit Pro’s strong audio quality is enhanced by the same Adaptive EQ feature found on the AirPods Pro, which equalizes music in real time to make sure you’re always getting a good mix. To help preserve battery life alongside sound quality, Adaptive EQ kicks in whenever ANC and Transparency are turned off. When turned on, we found that songs sounded louder and brighter. However, when ANC is turned on, we felt it suppressed outside noise just as well as the AirPods Pro.
The Beats Fit Pro lasted us nearly seven hours on a charge with ANC on, which is among the best battery life we’ve gotten from any Apple earbuds. They also charge up quickly, with Fast Fuel charging that gives you up to 1 hour of playback through a 5-minute charge via USB-C. Pairing is seamless with iOS devices thanks to the Apple H1 chip inside, but you still get access to most of the Fit Pro’s key features (including ANC and Transparency) on Android..
What you need to know about Beats headphones
Beats headphones and earbuds come in a wide range when it comes to pricing, from the $69.99 Beats Flex to the $349.95 Beats Studio 3 Wireless. All of them offer Beats’ signature aesthetic in multiple colors, and we’ve found them to deliver respectable audio quality at every price range.
Though Beats headphones are primarily built for those in the Apple ecosystem, they’re great for Android devices as well. For Apple devices, Beats headphones pair as instantly as AirPods, and feature the same smart features like ‘Hey Siri’ support for instant voice control and Find My capabilities for tracking your lost headphones. Some models, like the Beats Fit Pro and Beats Studio 3, support Apple’s Spatial Audio standard. But regardless of your smartphone of choice, you can adjust audio settings, toggle features like active noise cancellation, monitor battery life and get firmware updates via the Beats app for both iOS and Android.
The app even supports older discontinued Beats devices like the popular Pill+ speakers, with the ability to link more than one for an amplified audio experience. Apple users should know that all Beats headphones support the AirPlay feature which allows users to share music from their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to anyone wearing a pair of Beats.
Cautious consumers will be happy to know that all Beats audio devices come with a one year warranty alongside eligibility for AppleCare+ coverage.
Other Beats headphones to consider
For those always on the move, the PowerBeats Pro strike the right balance between comfort and a secure fit via their unique ear hooks. Available in four colors, the sweat resistant earbuds provided us with nine hours of playback with a total 24 hours with the charging case. Through fast fuel charging, a five minute charge can provide up to 1.5 hours of playback. The PowerBeats Pro have been dethroned by the Beats Fit Pro as our top workout pick thanks to the latter’s more compact design and better feature set, but they’re still worth considering for those who want the added security of an ear hook design.
Those who want affordable noise cancellation technology in a smaller earbuds package can look toward the Beats Studio Buds. There’s even a transparency mode for those who want to hear outside audio, like on the Beats Fit Pro and AirPods Pro.. The Studio Buds stand out amongst the Beats family with their ability to fast-pair to both Apple and Android devices, and we found their sound quality to be strong overall. These earbuds got us more than eight hours of continuous listening time, and feature Fast Fuel charging to get you back up and running quickly. If style is a concern, know that the Studio Buds come in a wide range of colors that includes red, white, black and the more recently released Ocean Blue, Sunset Pink and Moon Gray.
$69.99 at Apple
The most affordable audio device in the Beats lineup, there’s a lot to appreciate about the Beats Flex. Available in four color options, they feature magnetic earbuds that lock together like a necklace and will even pause or play music depending on if they’re in your ear or not. Beyond the unique design, the Beats Flex have an estimated 12 hours of battery life, Fast Fuel charging and the same fast-pairing and Find My benefits of other Apple earbuds.
$349.95 $208 at Amazon
As the most expensive audio device within the Beats lineup, the Beats Studio 3 Wireless are some of the best headphones we’ve tested in terms of sheer sound quality. This is thanks in part to their real-time audio calibration tech, as well as noise cancellation for general music listening and call quality. The Beats Studio 3 has an estimated 40 hours of battery life, which is largely in line with our own testing. However, we didn’t find them to be quite as comfortable as top rivals from the likes of Sony and Bose.