Solo 2 vs Solo 3 Wireless
As the new Solo3 Wireless rolls out in late 2016 we took it upon ourselves to get educated about these new Beats and share our knowledge with the world and Joe’s fans. Being that we are a reverse logistics company, we got ourselves a brand new pair and in true Joe’s fashion completely disassembled the headphones to compare the specs and internals to the previous Solo2 wireless headphones.
Externally Solo2 and Solo3 look exactly the same. Well, maybe not exactly the same; the Solo3 comes in new colors. Fans of corporate synergy will be excited to know that the colors match the iPhone 7 lineup. When putting these on and doing a blind fold test with a tech at Joe’s we didn’t find any difference in sound. We knew that one major, slightly shocking new feature is that the battery is advertised to last three times as long. From the 12 hours of use on the Solo2 wireless and 40 hours on the Solo3 wireless—a definite upgrade, and so far the most noticeable difference between the Solo3 and its predecessor. My first guess was that the battery must be twice as large. Right? Or it might also have something to do with Apples new W1 chip. This might have some positive effect on efficiency, easier pairing and more constant Bluetooth connection. We don’t just have to speculate though, because our next move is to see exactly what Beats did differently by tearing these down. Reading the box is alright to start, but we had a burning desire to take these apart and see for ourselves what cool new tricks Beats implemented.
Breakdown on teardown.
Step one: taking off the outside panel, which was built exactly the same as the Solo2. The actual PCB [plastic circuit board] inside the Solo3 was, surprisingly, smaller and colored black rather than blue. The actual speaker and wires look identical to the Solo2 and perform no differently. One slight new alteration involves the main wire. Since we fix Beats we have been fixing tons of Solo2s in the area that wasn’t covered by a wire sleeve. Seems like the Solo3 tries to address this problematic issue and hopefully this modification will increase the life of the main wire. Now, moving to the battery housing, I was excited to see this big new battery Beats installed. Shockingly there was no difference in the battery either. Both models had the same 3.7V 350MH Li-Po battery installed. How is this possible that two identical batteries have two very different lengths of use? The Solo2 is rated for 12 hours and the Solo3 is rated at an exceptional 40 hours of use. Given that the Solo3 had the same battery, same speakers, wire, and headphones we knew that something must be causing this new battery to be more efficient. We are aware of the new Apple technology this pair has which is the Apple W1 chip. This technology is new to Apple and they have rolled this into the new Solo3 model. We soon expect to see class 1 Bluetooth which has a 300 foot range rather than 30 foot. This technology will only work on future Apple devices, which need special chips to make this technology work properly. This chip along with much smaller circuit board seems to be using less battery to keep the headphones wireless and working for a longer time. Given that Beats only changed that one part that’s the only thing we could assume would make this feature viable. It’s impressive to see how much of an impact the W1 chip makes, and it will be interesting to find out what Apple can do by the time they get to W5 or so.
So are the “new” Solo3 Wireless Beats worth it? Well it depends on how much value you place on a more efficient pair of headphones. If you think a battery that lasts three times as long is worth buying a new pair of Solo3 Beats, then you’re in luck. Time to get a new pair of Beats. The Solo3 also will have a better Bluetooth connection that will pair more easily and produce better sound on a more constant basis—but only for iOS 10 users. On the other hand, if you don’t listen to your headphones 12 hours at a time you can stick with your Solo2 Wireless and just charge them daily to keep them working. So you pick. Whichever you choose, Joe’s will be here to assist you if you ever have any Beats needs.