Best Beats headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best Beats headphones you can buy in 2019.
It’s hard to deny the impact Beats headphones have had on the headphone industry. While audiophiles and hi-fi fans have always been happy to consider investing in a good pair of headphones, Beats came around at a time when your average consumer didn’t.
When they launched amidst a flurry of clever marketing and celebrity endorsement, their design was bold and their sound was similar – skewed towards bass in a way that alienated some of the market.
They haven’t been able to entirely shake off that reputation, but later iterations have addressed that. And while we wouldn’t exactly call them neutral, they do offer a fun and upfront balance that the majority of popular music is indeed suited to.
Despite still often finding their sound quality a little lacking, their design, feature set and comfort still makes them an appealing buy for many. If you like the Beats balance – and perhaps, too, you have an iPhone that can benefit from extra functionality with some pairs – you’ll likely find some Beats headphones to suit you here. And with Black Friday around the corner, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for headphone deals where you might find big savings on Beats.
While not truly wireless like the Powerbeats Pros mentioned below, the Powerbeats3 Wireless still offer Bluetooth connectivity and, arguably, better value for money. The inclusion of Apple's W1 chip gives you a super seamless connection to iOS devices and you get a good fit and similarly good noise isolation (noise-cancellation isn't part of the package). Battery life is 12 hours, while a quick five-minute charge will get you one hour of use.
The bassy sound can overpower at times, but this makes them a good option if you're going to be using them in noisy environments. They're also a fun listen, which makes them our pick of the current crop of Beats in-ear headphones.
Read our full review: Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless are a tale of two halves. From a technology perspective, they shine. As the smallest of the Beats on and over ear family, they wear their Apple ownership on their sleeve and come with Apple’s W1 chip built in for faster pairing with Apple devices.
The newer Class 1 Bluetooth helps to create one of the most stable wireless connections we’ve ever tested, and their 40 hours of battery life is impressive, though they can also be used wired if you run out of juice.
From a sound perspective, however, they fall a little short. It’s not that the sound is bad, and it’s certainly not as unwieldy as some Beats naysayers would have you think. But for all they give us in full-bodied sound and enthusiasm, they miss out in subtlety and refinement compared to the cream of the similarly-priced crop.
The overall performance just isn’t as explicit or engaging as we’d like – it needs to be tighter and more insightful to keep us entertained over longer listens.
Read the full review: Beats Solo 3 Wireless
The Beats Powerbeats Pros true wireless buds have all the ingredients of a good pair of sports headphones. Entirely wireless, their build, their fit and their features are nothing short of superb. Plus, thanks to Apple’s upgraded H1 Bluetooth chip technology, they’re easy to use and virtually glitch-free in their delivery of wireless audio.
With nine hours of battery life, there is more than enough power here to see you through a marathon, and with a further two charges in the included case, you could even take on an Iron Man with these by your side.
Unfortunately, their musical performance does let them down. While not chronically bassy and replete with detail, they lack some liveliness, which is particularly important in helping you power through a tough point in exercise.
Not our top pick for that reason, but a comfortable fit, strong wireless performance and excellent battery life could still make them one to consider.
Read our full review: Beats Powerbeats Pro
If you prefer your wireless headphones a bit more, well, wired, the Beats X offer the more traditional take on wireless in-ears, with a cable connecting the two buds that trails behind your neck.
They’re slim and lightweight meaning they’re comfortable and easy to wear, with magnets on the back of each earpiece to stick them together when not in use.
Featuring Apple’s W1 chip, the Beats X offer slick pairing with Apple devices and an unshakeable Bluetooth connection no matter what you own. They also promise eight hours of battery life, with a fast charging capability that provides two hours of battery after 15 minutes plugged in.
Soundwise, the Beats X are largely enjoyable. Their tone is full and chunky and there's plenty of energy to their delivery.
Detail struggles though, and they also suffer from a rather shouty midrange, making some more strident vocalists sound abrasive at higher volumes.
Read our full review: Beats X
It's tricky to walk into a gym and not spot a pair of Beats headphones. They're popular among sporty types and the Powerbeats3 Wireless are another solid option from Beats for that market. The fit is good and it's aided by hooks that helps keep the buds in place during exercise. You get good isolation, but they do let a little noise through which can be useful if you're outdoors. They're not true wireless like the Powerbeats Pro, so there is a cable running between, which can be tightened to your neck.
The Beats use Apple's A1 wireless chip, so pairing to an iPhone is a doddle. You can get one hour of use in just five minutes, with total battery life topping out at 12 hours. There's even a mic and in-line remote for total control. The Powerbeats3 Wireless up a relatively smooth sound, with no brightness. You get plenty of power and bass - the latter can prove a bit tiresome over longer listens, but for gym bunnies, this could help them power through those final reps.
Read our full review: Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless