Beats Solo 4 review: solid grip, sonic bliss

Eight years later, Beats launches the successor of its most popular headphones. Say hello to the Solo 4.

Beats Solo 4 review
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
T3 Verdict

Beats' Solo 4 headphones offer a signature sound profile that caters to listeners seeking a bold, impactful, and immersive audio experience. They might lack active noise cancellation, but thanks to the improved audio profile and battery life, the Solo 4 are a premium choice for versatile listening.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Portable, lightweight design

  • +

    Sits firmly on your head

  • +

    Spatial audio with head tracking (with iPhones)

  • +

    Multi-platform compatibility

  • +

    Harmoniously calibrated sound profile

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    You won’t miss it much, but there is no ANC

  • -

    Clamp force is quite substantial

  • -

    No wear detection

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I'm sure many people share my sentiment, but I'm glad Beats is back. After years of silence, the Solo 4 is yet another exciting release from the brand, following the footsteps of two fresh releases from last year.

A lot rests on the success of the Beats Solo 4. The successor of Beats' most popular headphones, the new on-ears are the smaller, more affordable sibling of the Beats Studio Pro. The Solo 4 needs to be popular and continue to grow Beats' reputation as a hip, premium audio brand.

Costing nearly half as much as a Studio Pro and featuring a similar design (albeit more compact), the Solo 4 has broad appeal and is a ton of fun to listen to. Plus, like the Studio Pro, it is built on Beats' own platform instead of Apple Silicon, meaning it plays nicely with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Are the Beats Solo 4 headphones worth the hype? What's the fuss about, anyway? Read my full Beats Solo 4 review below to find out.

[First reviewed April 2024.]

Beats Solo 4 review

Price and availability

The Beats Solo 4 was announced on 30 April 2024 and is available to buy directly from Beats for a recommended price of $200/ £200/ AU$330 – that’s the same RRP as the Solo 3, which was launched eight years ago (!!), in September 2016. Impressive.

The cans come in three colours: Matte Black, Slate Blue, and Cloud Pink. Shipping begins on 2 May 2024.

Beats claim the packaging is 100% fibre-based, using recycled material from sustainably managed forests.


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Beats Solo 4 vs Solo 3: quick specs comparison
Row 0 - Cell 0 Beats Solo 4Beats Solo 3
TypeBluetooth on-ear headphonesBluetooth on-ear headphones
Dimensions (L x W x H)17.7 x 15.8 cm x 6.8 cm17.7 x 15.8 x 6.8
Audio platformBeatsApple W1
Battery life50 hours40 hours
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, Class 1 BluetoothClass 1 Bluetooth
Wired playbackUSB-C and 3.5 mm audio cable3.5 mm audio cable
MicrophonesDigital MEMS micsAnalog mics

Design and build quality

Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Although it looks and handles similarly to its predecessor, the new Beats Solo 4 received a few nifty upgrades. For one, it has the same memory foam as the Studio Pro, which is softer than the Solo 3’s. The headphones also have an improved cover, which is said to be more durable and comfortable than before.

The cushions are angled at 12 degrees to conform to the shape of people’s heads, Beats says. Similarly to the Solo 3, the ear cups are mounted on an ‘infinite-direction’ gimbal to reduce unwanted pressure on your ears and improve sound isolation.

The flex-band headband has also been optimised—more on this below. Weighing only 217 grams, the Solo 4 features a portable, folding design and comes with a carry case for easier transportation.

Beats made away with the battery level indicator LEDs, and replaced the Micro-USB connection with USB-C. The 3.5mm port is still present, though.

The new colourways are a slight departure from the Solo 3’s design. All three colours are more in line with how the Studio Pro looks: think monotone palettes and less contrast between the different areas.

Overall, the Beats Solo 4 feels premium in hand and offers a number of ways to personalise the fit to your liking. As expected, the materials used are top-tier, and I appreciate the matte finish is less prone to fingerprint marks than the Studio Pro’s shiny exterior.

Sound quality

Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Beats' Solo headphones are known for their distinctive audio profile, characterised by the powerful bass response, emphasised mid-range frequencies, and crisp highs. Historically, the bass was particularly prominent, delivering a deep and punchy sound that appeals to listeners who enjoy a dynamic and energetic listening experience.

The Solo 4 builds on this heritage while also taking it in a new direction, thanks to major enhancements in sound design. One of the principal updates is the headphones' passive tuning. In fact, the Solo 4 is Beats' only passively tuned headphones.

Beats says Solo 4 does not have active equalisation, meaning that the acoustic transducer handles the headphone's tuning mechanically and in its entirety. This means the Solo 4 sounds the same regardless of how you listen to music: via Bluetooth, USB-C, or a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Speaking of USB-C audio, Solo 4 is the first Solo to introduce this feature, allowing you to listen to high-fidelity audio while actively charging the headphones (a.k.a. uplink and downlink compatibility). 

Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Passive tuning means there are no EQ settings; you just have to trust Beats’ sound engineers that they know what they are doing. Luckily, that's exactly the case.

Another big upgrade is the Spatial Audio with head tracking (when used with Apple devices). We’re talking about full Dolby Atmos, fully immersive, 360-degree sound. The headphone is equipped with a built-in inertial measurement unit (IMU) consisting of a gyroscope and accelerometer, which drive dynamic head tracking on Apple platforms.

There is no active noise cancellation (ANC), which I was initially concerned about. I’m used to having some sort of noise cancellation available on the headphones I use – it’s my favourite feature on the Apple AirPods Pro 2. Luckily, thanks to the strong clamp of the Solo 4 (?), passive noise cancellation is excellent; you won't miss ANC at all.

Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Sound is powerful and balanced, and since I tested the headphones using an iPhone, I benefitted from Dolby Atmos/Spatial Audio. Knowing Beats, I expected a slightly bass-heavy sound with boosted mid-range frequencies.

Instead, I found an audio profile that lacked nothing in the treble department, as well as being more than robust enough in the bass and mid frequencies.

The bass comes in layers, almost piled on as the songs unfold, with no detectable distortion. Better still, you always feel in the middle of the audio; it's like you’re sitting in a room surrounded by premium speakers. The sound almost caresses your ears.

Finally, it would be impossible not to mention the Beats Proprietary Platform the Solo 4 is built on. The Solo 3 used the Apple W1 chip and, therefore, was more geared towards Apple users. Conversely, the Solo 4 is operating system-agnostic and plays well with both iOS and Android smartphones.

The Studio Pro and the Beats Studio Buds Plus are the same in this regard; it’s nice to see that Apple is not only keeping the Beats brand alive but also making sure it offers something different from Apple headphones in general. 

Ergonomics and comfort

Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Beats Solo headphones' on-ear design means that the ear cups rest directly on the ears rather than surrounding them. This, obviously, presses down them, which might feel uncomfortable and hot after a while, especially if you wear glasses.

My workaround was to sit the glasses on top of the headphones instead of letting the Solo 4 press them against my skull. Even so, I could certainly feel the effects of the headphones' power grip an hour or so in.

Once, I managed to wear them almost all day in the office, but I can’t say I wasn’t relieved when I took them off occasionally to give my ears a break. On the other hand, the memory foam cups are comfortable, and the cover feels plush, too, which is nice.

For the same reason, the Beats Solo 4 is excellent for exercise, as it stays on your head no matter what. Although the brand doesn’t explicitly call them workout headphones, marketing material heavily features people doing exercise, which to me signifies that the Solo 4 can actually be used for workouts.

Having said all that, take everything I said in this section with a grain of salt. 

Comfort preferences are highly subjective, and what works well for one person may not be suitable for another. You may find that the lightweight and compact design of Beats Solo 4 headphones outweigh any comfort concerns, especially when considering their portability and stylish aesthetic.

Battery life

Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Beats Solo 4 can last up to 50 hours between charges, which is a 25% improvement compared to the Solo 4. Fast charging has also been enhanced, sort of: a 10-minute charge can give you five hours of listening time, whereas the Solo 3 added three hours of playback with a 5-minute top-up.

The good news is that should you run out of battery completely, you can still use the Solo 4 with a 3.5 mm cable for battery-free playback, thanks to the passive tuning. Better still, it shouldn’t impact sound quality, either.


Beats Solo 4 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

We waited eight years for the Solo 4s, and now that they are here, I’m thoroughly impressed with Beats’ latest headphones. Like many others, I found the Studio Pro superb but thought it lacked a few features I expect to see in the flagship headphones (I still love them, though).

The more accessible Beats Solo 4 headphones tick most of the boxes and deliver a listening experience well above their price range. They feel lovely in hand and radiate class, thanks to the materials used and build quality.

In my humble opinion, the sound profile is proportionately arranged and will be more than adequate for the Solo 4's intended audience. I doubt many audio snobs would opt for the Solo 4, although maybe they should. After all, the cans have high-res audio, and the passively tuned transducers are an experience to listen to.

Overall, the Beats Solo 4 is a superb pair of headphones: they're portable, stylish, and sound brilliant. If you liked the Solo 3 and don't mind a strong grip, you'll love the Solo 4s.

Also consider

Another workout option might be the Adidas RPT-02 SOL, featuring Powerfoyle cells for light charging and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. With adjustable cups and moisture-absorbing fabric, it's tailored for workouts but may be uncomfortable for prolonged wear, especially with glasses. Read my full Adidas RPT-02 SOL review.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.