The Beats Solo Pro means business. These are the company’s debut noise-canceling on-ear headphones, but you would never guess because of their excellent ANC performance and tasteful design. Let’s go in and see if the on-ear headache is worth these otherwise fabulous on-ear headphones. Today, we are here with our Beats Solo Pro Review.
Beats Solo Pro – Design
Beats show its mature, tempered side with the Solo Pro. The modest, yet the distinctive design is well executed: concealed hinges and sliding mechanism make the noise-canceling ears look graceful. Each ear cup rotates to make the fit more comfortable, but this immediately becomes ineffective due to the extreme pressure exerted on the ears. After listening for 30 minutes with glasses, or an hour without it, it felt more like I was removing an expensive clip instead of headphones.
I happened to push the pain until the end of two hours, and the removal of the headset made me aware of my sharp headache. The vice-grip of the headband serves a purpose because it is an essential reason that the noise-canceling performance is so impressive. Suppose the Solo Pro fits them loosely. They would be more comfortable, but they would also let in ambient noise. Consequently, your sound quality would be at the mercy of auditory masking, which is the case when loud sounds make it more challenging to perceive quieter ones.
In terms of build quality, these are surprisingly sturdy. I’m usually worried about using Beats headphones without a cover, but not with the Solo Pro. The headphones deviate from the budget plastic used in the Solo3 Wireless. Instead, the company chose the matte finish available in six colors: light blue, dark blue, red, black, gray, and ivory. Regardless of your color selection, you have a carrying case with a zipper and Lightning cable. Beats have omitted a 3.5 mm input, so wired listening is prohibited for users whose phones retain the disappearing headphone jack.
Beats Solo Pro – Noise Cancelling
Beats beat him out of the park with these noise-canceling headphones. When reviewing Beats Solo Pro, I was skeptical about the effectiveness of ANC. The headset uses real-time sound calibration to adjust the intensity of the noise reduction, and it works. If you want even more effective noise-canceling ears, check the AKG N60NC.
In the graph above, the higher up the line, the quieter a specific frequency range. For example, sounds with a high pitch at 10 kHz are attenuated by more than 40 dB, while 150Hz frequencies are muted ~ 12 dB. It may not sound like much, but decibels follow a logarithmic scale. This means that a sound of 70dB is ten times louder than a sound of 60dB. It’s tough to have ANC on the ears work so well because they don’t block passive sound properly because they are usually an earphone instead of an earphone. You must have good passive insulation before you can achieve active noise reduction.
You can scroll through three sound modes: ANC, transparency, and expanded power by pressing the button on the bottom of the left earcup. The transparency mode is ideal if you want to stay informed when you cross the street or listen to a train stop.
Beats Solo Pro – Microphone Quality
Speech transmission is even pretty bad, as the example below shows. Of course, Beats packed in many sensors and accelerometers to improve speech transmission, but it was all for nothing. My friends and family could not stand the sound quality, and I dare not subject my colleagues to it during telephone meetings. Do not use the built-in microphone system where possible.
Connectivity and Battery Life
Apple’s Beats included the same H1 chip included in the AirPods (2019) and Beats Powerbeats Pro. Unfolding the headset connects the Solo Pro to your iPhone automatically, assuming you have one. Android users still have to go through the Bluetooth menu systems. After pairing, the headset automatically reconnects to the most recent device. They use the Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and support AAC streaming. Again, this is primarily to the advantage of iOS users, since AAC performance on Android devices is unpredictable. If you are an Android user who wants high-quality wireless audio, you need to look at some Beats alternatives.
With noise reduction enabled, we pressed 21 hours, 53 minutes of playback time out of the headphones, which is only seven minutes shy of the stated battery life of 22 hours from Beats. By turning off noise reduction and transparency audio, you can listen for more than 40 hours with a single charge. Connect the Lightning cable for about two hours to charge it. If you have time, you can listen for three hours with just 10 minutes of charging.
Sound quality is what we expect from Beats: bass-heavy. Sub-bass notes are produced twice as loud as vocal (mid-tone) frequencies. This may make it seem as if some notes are ‘missing’ in your music, again a result of auditory masking. That said, the Beats Solo Pro does an excellent job of reproducing a seemingly realistic representation of 3D space. Listen to genres such as hip hop, pop, and rap to make optimum use of the standard sound. Otherwise, you can always EQ the sound as desired. If you use a streaming service, you may be able to choose from different presets. You can also download the third-party application to create a sound profile.
Yes, the Beats Solo Pro is the best of the Beats Solo line so far. If microphone quality doesn’t matter to you and you want to sacrifice comfort for noise reduction, the Beats Solo Pro is a great all-in-one package. If you worry about the disadvantages of headphones, there are lots of great alternatives such as the Sony WH-1000XM3, which are striking ANC-over-ear headphones and are considerably more comfortable than the Solo Pro. The Bose QuietComfort II headphones are another excellent choice, mainly because they have fallen in price with the arrival of the Bose Headphones 700.
Beats Solo Pro Rating – 8.1/10
The Beats Solo Pro makes few compromises between form and function. The design will appeal to many, while the Beats name still informs passers-by of the brand. Noise reduction is uniquely useful for on-ear headphones. Unfortunately, comfort is an issue after an hour. If you can go beyond the pain, the Solo Pro might be worth it.
- Fast Fuel charging
- Great ANC, especially for on-ears
- Bluetooth 5.0, Class 1
- H1 chip, hands-free Siri access
- Microphone quality
- No 3.5mm input