It’s clear that the future of headphones is wireless, and Apple has a pair of wireless headphones to everyone — if you’re willing to pay.
Its latest model of headphones is the Beats Studio 3, a big pair of great-sounding headphones that go over your ears and come with a big price tag to match at $349.95.
It’s the most expensive base-model pair of headphones Apple-subsidiary Beats makes.
It’s also the only pair of Apple headphones with noise-cancelling that blocks out the world around you. And like most Apple products, it works best if you already own tons of other Apple gear.
Apple no longer includes headphone jacks on the iPhone, and other manufacturers are rapidly following suit. The bottom line is that unless you want to deal with dongles, your next pair of premium headphones will likely connect to your phone and/or computers over Bluetooth.
But Apple’s wireless headphones are different from other wireless headphones, at least if you’re an iPhone user. Last year, it introduced a chip it called W1, which allows Apple headphones to quickly and easily pair with iPhones and iPads. Pairing two devices over Bluetooth can be finicky, but newer Beats will automatically find a nearby iPhone and pop open a big “connect” button. Simple.
If you want this easy-pair experience, you’re stuck with Apple or Beats headphones. But if you walk enough tech and finance offices, you’ll see that there are a lot of keyboard warriors that need to block out noise to focus — and many of them are wearing Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which are typically seen as the noise-cancelling market leader.
One way to look at the new Beats Studio 3 is it’s a direct challenger to high-end Bose models like the QC35. Apple wants to peel off Bose fans who need serious noise cancelling but want to more easily use them with their new iPhone 8.
So how do the Beats Studio 3 hold up? Are they worth their money? Are they for everyone or just Apple users?
Let’s take a look: