Beats Solo Pro vs Beats Studio3 Wireless: which Beats noise-cancelling headphones are best?

Beats Solo Pro and Beats Studio3 Wireless are the company's big headphones with ANC, so we break down all the key differences

Beats Solo Pro vs Beats Studio3
(Image credit: Beats by Dre)

If you're looking for a pair of full Beats headphones with active noise-cancellation (ANC), then you're looking at the over-ear Beats Studio3 Wireless and the on-ear Beats Solo Pro. 

They're two of the best Beats headphones in the company's range, but at first glance if might be tough to see what the differences are between the Solo Pro and Studio3 Wireless. Don't worry – we'll take you through everything you ned to know.

They're both among the best noise-cancelling headphones, but not all ANC headphones are created equal. The rulers of the roost are the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose QuietComfort 45, but the Beats Studio3 Wireless cans come pretty close to that. The Beats Solo Pro are a slightly cheaper option but still offer style, comfort and strong noise cancellation, as well as excellent battery life.  

You'll find the lowest prices for both headphones on this page, but don't forget that we also have a dedicated best Beats deals page.

Beats Solo Pro headphone family on white background

(Image credit: Beats By Dr. Dre)

Beats Solo Pro vs Beats Studio3 Wireless: Price

There’s no denying that both the Beats Solo Pro and Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones are at the more luxurious end of the headphone scale. While the Solo Pros have come down in price slightly since release at various retailers, the official price is still £270 in the UK, $300 in the US, and $430 in Australia. If you’re not looking on the official Beats page though, you can find retailers selling them for under £200/$200 at times. 

The Beats Studio3 Wireless are also regularly reduced, and also frequently dip below £200/$200. This can entirely depend on colour and different retailers.

You're likely to find the Solo Pro slightly cheaper generally, but it will depend on the offers at the time!

Beats Studio3 Wireless in black on white background

(Image credit: Beats)

Beats Solo Pro vs Beats Studio3 Wireless: Design & battery life 

The Beats Solo Pro and Beats Studio3 Wireless have slightly different designs when it comes to how they sit on your skull. The Beats Solo Pro are on-ear so rest directly on your ear, while the Beats Studio3 Wireless have a more cuddly approach and envelop your entire ear in a hug, with the cushion sitting around your ear instead. 

Design wise, this means the Beats Solo Pro have a more minimalist approach and are noticeably smaller but both models look very Beats, all smooth lines and a slick aesthetic. If you are looking for a neater option, the metal of the Solo Pros is a particularly attractive design element and they come in six colours. 

When it comes to controls, the Solo Pro keeps things simple with most of the heavy lifting done by the Beats logo on the right earpiece. Pressing this once will answer calls and play and pause music, and pressing twice will go to the next song. The volume controls are above and below the logo which is nice and intuitive and you can control the ANC with a button located under the left earpiece. Smartly, there’s no on/off switch, instead going on and off when you unfold and fold the headband.

The Studio3 Wireless headphones do have a power button but a very similar control set up. You’ll find all of the controls on the left earpiece with the same Beats logo interactions. As with the Solo Pros you can also speak to your chosen voice assistant by holding the B button. It’s all very slick and intuitive to use. 

Both the Beats Solo Pro and Studio3 Wireless have exactly the same impressive battery life. This means 22 hours of listening to music with ANC turned on and 40 hours with it off. Both sets of cans also have Beats’ useful Fast Fuel recharge system which means 3 hours of playback with only 10 minutes of charge. A life saver if you have forgotten to put your headphones on charge overnight.

One key design difference though is that you can plug in the Beats Studio3 wireless via the included 3.5mm cable. The Beats Solo Pro on the other hand have rejected cables entirely and are solely wireless.

Beats Solo Pro worn by woman in city

(Image credit: Beats By Dr. Dre)

Beats Solo Pro vs Beats Studio3 Wireless: Features & sound quality  

The Beats Solo Pro and Beats Studio3 Wireless also both share the same rich set of features for Apple users thanks to their dedicated Apple chips. This means you can use Apple’s Find My function to hunt down your headphones if you misplace them,  and also wirelessly share music with other Beats users and AirPods. They also pair super-quickly, and can auto-switch between your Apple devices if you have both iPhone and iPad. Both sets of headphones work with Android or iPhone, but this is a really useful set of bonus features for those of a fruit-based persuasion. 

The difference here is the ANC. While the Beats Solo Pro already have excellent ANC, the Beats Studio3 Wireless takes things up a silenced notch with what Beats calls Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling. As we said in our Beats Studio3 wireless review, this means the headphones adapt constantly to your specific situation. “With a variety of background sounds from a 747 to chit chat and hubbub recorded live at the Beats office cafeteria, the Studio3 shut it all out. Much more impressively, it even dealt with wind or, at any rate, a fairly powerful fan placed very near my face. Because noise-cancelling cans use outward-facing microphones to monitor background noise, wind is usually their nemesis. Beats appears to have cracked it.”

And neither headphones slouch when it comes to audio performance. Neither suffer from the bass heavy sounds of Beats of old and the Beats Solo Pros in particular deliver warm mids and excellent layered vocals. The Studio3 Wireless, as we said in our review, sound far less processed and unnatural than previous Beats headphones despite the very real amount of ANC processing and they deliver an impressive soundstage that means the pair are pretty evenly matched.

Beats Studio3 Wireless family on white background

(Image credit: Beats by Dre)

Beats Solo Pro vs Beats Studio3 Wireless: Verdict 

The good news is that there’s actually very little between these two in terms of performance. The Studio3 Wireless delivers the more impressive ANC functionality, but if you want a pair of affordable Beats that look and sound great, the Beats Solo Pro are a solid colourful choice. 

If, on the other hand, you want to mute the world with a set of over-ear cans that can become wired, the Studio3 Wireless will happily step up to the mark. You’re not going to lose either way, though don't forget the fit – some people prefer on-ear or over-ear, and vice versa, so that might make the decision for you too.

Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in technology, gaming, and entertainment.  She has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland and is the presenter of BBC Radio 3's monthly Sound of Gaming show. She can also regularly be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, and The Evolution of Horror podcast as well as writing for GamesRadar and NME. Louise loves finding ways that tech can make our lives better every day and no, she doesn't have enough smart lighting yet.