You like listening to music and you like working out, right? Whether you’re in the gym lifting, jogging, spinning or squatting, a good playlist can help you workout harder.
In-ear OR on-ear OR over-ear headphones?
Whichever you choose is down to personal choice but outside the gym, it’s often the latter — the over-ear headphone — that’s most popular with audiophiles. Its superior sound, comfort and noise-cancelling technology would probably make it the first choice for most gym bunnies, too, if it wasn’t for the fact that sweaty ears can ruin a pair of headphones in a matter of months. Nobody wants to throw a £250 pair of Beats away in the first year.
So the answer has to be to use earbuds, right?
If you’re bringing your A-game to your workout, then you should bring your best headphones, too. Our top-five are all over-ear or on-ear headphones thanks to a genius piece of kit: EarHugz. These affordable, reusable sweat-proof headphone covers let you go hard in your workout without going hard on your headphones.
Pop a pair of these bad boys onto your cans and start enjoying superb audio quality without the worry of sweat damage.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless, £249.95
There’s no denying that Beats are popular but even before Apple acquired the company for a cool US $3 billion back in 2014, there was criticism that the headphones were bought for style, not substance. Simply put, if you like looking good when you workout, then this is probably the brand for you. And the Beats Solo 3 Wireless is as gorgeous as the company’s previous incarnations but now, thanks to the addition of Apple’s impressive W1 chip, it now has a few features that make it worth considering.
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless rock a super-impressive 50 hours of play between charges. What’s even better is that you can do a three-hour charge in five-minutes; perfect for those last-minute gym sessions.
Apple’s W1 chip (responsible for that impressive battery capacity) also allows easy and seamless connectivity across multiple iOS devices.
The rubber headband keeps the cans steady against your ears no matter how much you move around.
If you’re using Android or any other operating system, then you’ll miss out on all that cool iOS functionality.
These come in a soft-shell case, so it may be worth investing in something a little more robust if you’re used to throwing your headphones into your gym bag after a session.
Beats headphones look fantastic, and they’re fashionable and they come in a splash of different colours, but it’s no secret that other headphones will offer you better sound quality and active noise cancellation for around the same price point. Most audiophiles will tell you: there are better headphones on the market.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0, £169.99
Sennheiser has been around since 1945, and in 1968 they made the world’s first open headphones. The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 was released in 2015, and these on-ear headphones provide clean, sharp audio in an attractive black leather design.
With the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0, it’s all about its active noise cancelling technology. NoiseGard cuts out low-frequency background noise making it perfect for when your workout demands complete isolation from the ambient noise around you. They’re ideal for travelling to and from the gym, too, whether that’s on public transport or 36,000 feet in the air.
You can tap the right ear cup to change tracks, adjust the volume or use the call settings without having to break your stride.
With fourteen hours between charges, you’ll be set for any session.
Their collapsible frame makes them easy to pack in your kit.
These aren’t cheap. If you’re hitting the gym, don’t forget your EarHugz.
You can’t turn NoiseGard off, so there’s no way to conserve battery other than switching them off completely.
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II, £329.95
Bose is synonymous with noise-cancelling technology and if that’s what’s most important to you then you’ve found your headphones. Now with the addition of Google Assistant, it’s easy to check messages, make calls or ask about the weather without having to pause your workout.
These are really comfortable, so they’re perfect for longer workouts (or if you want to wear them home from the gym).
For wireless, you’ll get around 20 hours of battery from a full charge and 40 hours wired.
The cups are thickly padded, so you’ll cut a lot of ambient noise out even when the noise-cancellation is turned off: perfect when you need to save battery.
Whilst the plastic build makes them lighter, it doesn’t make these feel like a quality piece of kit.
There are more attractive designs on the market, too, if that’s your thing.
They aren’t cheap.
Bowers-Wilkins PX, £329
Winners in the category for Best Wireless Headphone over £300 at the What HiFi Awards 2017, the Bowers-Wilkins PX are stylish AF in navy blue with gold accents, but unlike Beats, these pack a punch in the sound quality stakes, too.
The PX is an intuitive headphone making it ideal for the gym: put a pair over your ears and they’ll switch on, lift a can up, take them off entirely and the music will pause. Put them down for a few minutes, they’ll go into standby mode to save power.
The PX comes with a number of useful noise-cancelling modes including the option to block out specific types of ambient noise including voices and aircraft.
You’re looking at about 22 hours of battery life with noise-cancellation and bluetooth switched on. Turn off the bells and whistles, however, and you’ll get an impressive fifty hours of wired listening.
You can’t fold these down, only swivel the cups. They come in a carry pouch but that’s not always ideal if you plan to hit the gym light.
Because of their material, these headphones are heavier than others.
Sony MDR 1000 MX2, £330
When the first iteration of these headphones was released a few years back, they had everyone talking, impressed at what Sony had done to close the gap on Bose. The MDR 1000 MX2, released a year later, has built on this popularity with an impressive set of headphones that are ideal for life both inside and outside the gym.
(And all the more reason to bang on your Ear Hugz and add a pair of high-quality cans to your workout.)
Thanks to Sony’s auto-setting, these headphones use accelerometers to detect motion; they can tell whether you’re walking, sitting still or on moving transport. They’ll then either dial up or dial down the ambient noise cancelling function accordingly.
You can control the settings via the app, too, choosing stable connections over sound quality if there’s something interfering with your WiFi or if there’s poor signal.
The battery is impressive, too. You’ll get 30 hours for using wireless and around 40 if you’re wired.
Similar to Beats there’s a useful quick charge function: 10 minute’s juice can give you an hour of battery.
There have been a few reports that they can feel loose around the head, so it’s probably worth trying a pair before you buy.
You may have read this post thinking – taking expensive headphones to the gym! With the amount that I sweat!? Are they completely mad!?
EarHugz is the answer to you gym-induced sweat related prayers. Designed to stop sweat damage, Earhugz are re-usable, sweat-proof headphone covers that come in a variety of colours and fit a wide range of the most popular headphones on the market. Check the sizing guide to make sure they’ll fit yours, and try them on your headphones.
The only thing I dislike about the Beats Solo Pro—the company’s new noise-canceling on-ear headphones—is how they require a lightning cable to charge.
That’s a big deal, not because this Android user keeps forgetting the proprietary cable, but because it’s a critique that would have been buried in most other Beats reviews I’ve ever written.
Early Beats headphones were plasticky, overpriced, and had so much bass they could rattle themselves off a table. But people bought them—as fashion statements. However, ever since Apple bought the company—earning Beats’ founders $3 billion in the process—the products have improved considerably. Five years later, the Beats Solo Pro are some of my favorite headphones of 2019.
It makes me happy the new Beats are so much better than its predecessors. Even though I didn’t always like the products, it was hard to not root for the company’s success from the get-go. When Beats launched, the audio world was dominated by old white men. Watching Dr. Dre, Lebron James, and other prominent early Beats backers disrupt the industry (and its previously drab branding) was exciting, even if the products weren’t. Finally, the excellent branding now matches the goods.
- Clean Lines
- Bells and Whistles
- Sound Quality
- A Small Problem for a Great Product
- More Great WIRED Stories
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II users report worse noise cancelling after update
- Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones AREN’T sweat resistant.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review
- What’s comes inside the box?
- What made Bose Connect+ the QC35 II special when they came out?
- How do you connect to the headphones?
- How’s the build quality of the Bose QC35 II?
- How’s the battery life of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II?
- Let’s talk sound quality
- How’s the Bose QC35 II’s microphone?
- Active Noise Cancelling
- A firmware update made my Bose QC35II sound worse, how do I fix it?
- What about the Sony WH-1000XM3?
- Should you get the Bose QC35 II or the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700?
- Final thoughts
- Best workout earbuds
- The best workout earbuds are the Jaybird Tarah
- Jaybird Tarah
- Athletes should invest in dedicated workout earbuds
- The JLab JBuds Air Icon are the best workout earbuds for true wireless fans on a budget
- JLab JBuds Air Icon
- Need something tough? Get the Jabra Elite Active 45e
- Jabra Elite Active 45e
- What you should know about the best workout earbuds
- The Beats Powerbeats Pro are great for iPhone users
- Beats Powerbeats Pro
- The Bose SoundSport Free are some of the best workout earbuds with excellent sound
- Bose SoundSport Free
- Notable mentions
- How we chose
- How we test
- Why you should trust SoundGuys
- How to Choose the Best Wireless Headphones for Running and Working Out
- The 10 Best Wireless Headphones for Running and Working Out In 2019 – Reviews and Comparison
- 1. Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones – Best Choice Reliability
- 2. Jabra Elite 65t Alexa Enabled True Wireless Earbuds – Best Choice for A Custom Sound
- 3. BeatsX Wireless In-Ear Headphones – Best Choice for iPhone
- 4. Jaybird X3 – Best Choice for Compact Size
- 5. 66 Audio-BTS Pro Wireless Headphones – Best Choice for Battery Life
- 6. Plantronics BackBeat Fit – Best Choice for Running In The Rain
- 7. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Best Choice for Safe Running
- 8. Bose QuietComfort 35 – Best Choice for Comfort
- 9. Jaybird Run – Best Choice for A Short Run
- 10. Samsung Gear IconX – Best Choice for Storing Music
- Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones Review — Worth the Price?
- Battery Life
- Final Thoughts
- Beats Solo3
- Order your Beats Solo 3 Wireless below for the lowest price available (No need to pay retail):
It may seem odd given Beats’ past design strategy, but I like the Solo Pro because of its inconspicuous nature. Sure, you can still order them in Pharrell-endorsed schemes like orangey-red and bright blue, but in the sleek all-black colorway of my review unit, they’re some of the most elegant looking headphones I’ve tested in months.
Apple’s minimalist design aesthetic has leaked over in all the right ways. The sleek, round earcups feature only a single visible button (to turn the noise canceling on and off). Instead of using small, hard to distinguish controls like other headphones, the outside of the right cup covers up a three-way rocker that does everything else. Press the middle of the earcup to play and pause music or change songs, whereas the top or bottom will adjust the volume. Quick double presses will even change tracks. If only all headphones were this simple.
There’s no power switch, too. The headphones have sensors that turn them on and off when you unfold and fold them, so they’re on and paired before you get them on your head. I did occasionally forget to fold them up (and thus turn them off) after listening sessions, but I quickly grew into the habit. It also made me much more likely to use the included soft case for storage, which I rarely do with other headphones when I’m not traveling.
Comfort-wise, there’s a lot to love. The clamping force is perfect—tight enough that you’ll feel adequately sealed from the outside world, and loose enough that you don’t feel like there’s a tiny man with your head in a vice grip.
A rubberized headband makes them surprisingly stable compared to other on-ear headphones. I took them to the gym and was able to lay down on the bench, run two miles, and use the leg press machine without so much as an adjustment. They’re not officially water- or sweat-resistant, but Beats said they can handle heavy rain and sweat; it might be safe to look at workout headphones specifically built to withstand the elements, like the Beats Powerbeats Pro, but these should hold up.
Bells and Whistles
$300 is a lot to ask for a pair of headphones, but this time the company has made sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
First and foremost is the included noise canceling. The Solo Pro doesn’t quite offer the same reduction you’ll get from more expensive over-ears like the Sony WH-1000XM3 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) or Bose Noise Cancelling 700, but they’re not far off—an absolute coup for any on-ears.
I frequently had to be tapped on the shoulder when people were originally speaking to me from mere feet away, and the headphones all but eliminated the clack of my mechanical keyboard and loud HVAC system. One odd thing I noticed? Pouring coffee, at least for me, came through clean as a whistle. Your guess is as good as mine.
Speaking of coffee breaks, you’ll get through several full workdays before you find yourself hunting for that lightning cable: The Solo Pro’s 22 hours of battery with noise canceling on is fabulous and even better is how you get a whopping 40 hours with noise canceling turned off. Those numbers are up there with the best headphones we’ve tested, and fantastic for a pair this compact.
You can even summon Siri with your voice on iOS or MacOS devices, which is slick for adding something to your shopping list before heading out the door. And if you’re on Android, you can chat with Google Assistant by pressing the button.
The many ears at Beats have slowly adjusted the company’s bass-heavy signature to something much more balanced in recent years. I first noticed this with the Powerbeats Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends), which are still some of the best workout headphones you can buy. Like the Powerbeats, the Solo Pro lean on the low end but add increased definition instead of outright boom. Kick drums and low-end synthesizers stand out clearly below the other sounds in a mix, but it doesn’t rumble the musical structures above too badly.
These headphones are not made to reproduce sound in a flat, clinical way, but they don’t sculpt the sound so much that your tunes morph into something unrecognizable. Instead, they make everything sound just a bit more fun than I’m used to on models at this price.
It’s easy to see why athletes love them. The combination of low-end definition and crisp high-end detail make the Solo Pro absolutely rip through Ty Segall’s fuzzed-out guitar on Fanny Dog, pumping me up even when I’m taking out the garbage.
It also comes as no surprise that Billie Eilish is a Beats endorser; I love what they do to darker mixes like Eilish’s Xanny, where they bring clarity and power at the same time.
I’m not here to tell you these are audiophile-grade headphones, but they are clear evidence that Beats has come a long way since the horrible sounding models they charged similar money for a decade ago.
A Small Problem for a Great Product
Once again, we return to my biggest gripe with the headphones: That damn lightning cable. I’m not a fan. It’s also a bit lame they don’t have a wired input, for plugging into in-flight entertainment on airplanes, and I do wish you could use your voice to activate Google Assistant.
And yet, even for Android users like me, I recommend them wholeheartedly.
At the end of the day, the Solo Pro are a fantastic alternative to more expensive noise-canceling models from Sony and Bose. It doesn’t matter what you’re listening to, where you are, or what kind of phone you have, these are some of the best wireless headphones you can buy.
(You can buy the Beats Solo Pro from Beats or Best Buy)
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- The war vet, the dating site, and the phone call from hell
- Room to breathe: My quest to clean up my home’s filthy air
- Why the “queen of shitty robots” renounced her crown
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- Everything you need to know about influencers
- 👁 Will AI as a field “hit the wall” soon? Plus, the latest news on artificial intelligence
- 🏃🏽♀️ Want the best tools to get healthy? Check out our Gear team’s picks for the best fitness trackers, running gear (including shoes and socks), and best headphones.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II users report worse noise cancelling after update
All isn’t lost if you’re affected: just re-run the firmware update over USB.
- A new firmware update for the Bose QC 35 II headphones appears to be causing problems for some users.
- The firmware apparently weakens the efficacy of active noise-cancelation.
- The problem might be the result of a failure to install the firmware correctly; there is a method to fix the issue.
Over the last month, several owners of the immensely-popular Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones have reported that recent updates to firmware (4.5.2) have decreased the effectiveness of the active noise canceling (ANC). While this doesn’t appear to affect all users, it’s something that certainly gives owners of the headphones pause when updating their software.
In a long thread on the support forums, many users have reported that after updating to the latest firmware, both the “high” and “low” ANC settings now perform with the same efficacy. Unfortunately, these users report that it appears that the software is stuck on the “low” setting.
It appears that the issue is a little more widespread than it has been in previous years, as we’ve found complaints beyond Bose’s support forums. There are a number of complaints on Reddit, for example.
In a statement to The Verge, Bose stated that no changes were made to the ANC software in the headphones and that users are discouraged from reverting to previous firmware. While a user in the Bose support forums offered this workaround, it’s not clear whether or not this will work for all affected headsets. We asked our colleagues over at SoundGuys to see if they could replicate the issue, but their unit did not exhibit a change in ANC performance.
…running through the steps to fix a failed update seems to remedy the situation for many
Many of the affected users report a mismatch between the reported firmware in the Bose Connect App and what Bose’s update app reads. Because of this, the SoundGuys postulated it might have been a failed update causing the issue. And indeed, running through the steps to fix a failed update seems to remedy the situation for many of the users reporting issues after the firmware update.
If you are an owner of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and have run into poor ANC performance after the update, we recommend you follow these steps before contacting Bose support.
- Turn off the headphones
- Plug the QC35 II into your wall charger for at least 5 seconds, then remove the cable
- Connect the headphones to your computer via USB, and go here in a browser
- Download and run the Bose Updater app on your computer
- Update the headphones using your computer to the latest firmware manually
Those steps may not solve the problem, but it will at least ensure that you’re running the latest firmware by a process that’s more likely to succeed. This was sufficient for some users in the support forum, but your mileage may vary.
NEXT: Google Assistant is coming to select Bose smart speakers
Wouldn’t it be awesome if Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones were sweat resistant?
Bose’s popular headphones are comfortable to wear, offer excellent noise-cancellation, and they look stylish AF.
And working out with noise-cancelling headphones is the dream, right? And even if it’s not, then we can probably all agree that some environments are more conducive to focusing on our form than others and headphones help facilitate that. It might be in the gym, on the track, on a trail or on the road but many of us choose to workout with the mental isolation provided by headphones and music, podcasts and audiobooks.
The World Health Organisation recently classified headphone noise as a potential threat to health: in an increasingly loud world, many of us are reaching to turn up the volume beyond recommended levels. This can lead to a permanent loss in hearing. It’s why noise-cancelling technology can be such an advantage in our lives; it allows us to drown out ambient noise without turning up the dial and risking damage to our ears.
When we’re in the gym, noise-cancellation can mean a respite from the ogre grunting out his sets or the techno-musak piping out of the gym’s speakers.
Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones AREN’T sweat resistant.
Actually, noise-cancelling headphones aren’t sweatproof.
Actually, most headphones aren’t sweat-resistant and it means that wearing a pair of cans during exercise can not only be uncomfortable and unhygienic but it can also severely limit the headphone’s life-expectancy and that’s a big deal if you’ve spent £329.99 on a pair of Bose QC35 II headphones.
It’s shit, isn’t it?
(But keep reading, because we can tell you HOW to wear your Bose QC 35 headphones in the gym safely.)
Bose doesn’t recommend that customers workout in headphones. The company has advised this numerous times on their website.
One customer wrote:
“Every day I use about 30 minutes in my house a training bike, and I like listen music when I use it. Today I used my QC 35 in the training, I haven’t had any problems, but the earpads are sweating/wet. I’ve dried them with a drape. Using the QC35 in training/ exercise can be dangerous for these headphones? Or simply drying the earpads when I finish training it’s ok?”
We don’t know how hard this person went at it on their training bike BUT we do know that there was moisture on the cups of the headphones during and after exercise.
This is where the problem starts. It’s something we’ve discussed in a previous post looking at ways to protect Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones from sweat damage.
The reply from Bose was:
“I would avoid getting the electronics wet. The good news is that you can get a QuietComfort® 35 headphones ear cushion kit. Enjoy your workouts.”
The cushion kit mentioned is actually replacement ear cushions that cost $34.99.
To be fair to Bose, replacement headphone cushions aren’t offered by all manufacturers. Certainly, it’s cheaper than spending another £329.99 on a replacement pair.
One final example from the Bose website comes from someone else:
“I’m wondering if anyone uses the QC35 2 or other high end headphones in the gym? I want to but I’m worried that it might cause the headphones to break since I spent a lot of money on them.”
The response from Bose was:
“Generally, we don’t recommend that the QC35 headphones be used during exercising, mainly because sweat can prematurely break down the headband and cushion material. However if you’re doing a generally light workout, you might be fine wearing them.”
It’s hard to pin down exactly what’s meant by ‘light workout’. We all exercise in different ways and at different intensities. Some of us sweat more than others, too. And whilst we understand that the customer service agent is trying to be helpful, the answer ‘you might be fine wearing them’ whilst not a lie or misdirection isn’t very helpful, either.
The issue that we’d have is that sweat-damage to headphones is two-fold. Firstly, there’s the obvious damage to the cushion itself. Sweat is corrosive and it will crack the leather and create an unpleasant odour. One way around this is to wipe down the headphone’s cushions with an antibacterial wipe. This should also help to reduce your chances of getting sweat-induced acne and (if you’re prone to them) inner-ear infections. The second issue that we have – and the most important – is that moisture and electronics don’t mix. Sweat gets inside the cushion and it seeps into the internal mechanics of the headphone and they break. No amount of new cushions or anti-bacterial wipes will help there.
So, are Bose Quiet Comfort headphones sweat-resistant?
Can you sweat in Bose QC headphones?
You probably shouldn’t.
If you’re looking for a rugged, gym-headphone that is sweat-proof, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson recently collaborated with Under Armor on the ProjectRock Gym Headphone which was designed specifically for the gym. The problem is that these headphones probably aren’t going to appeal to Bose customers.
There’s no noise-cancelling function on the ProjectRock headphone which puts it behind not only Bose but also Microsoft who recently released the Surface headphone with active noise-cancelling technology allowing users to dial up or dial down the restriction on ambient noise. The Rock’s headphone lacks the sound quality, too, of another recent release: the Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT headphone.
Essentially, ProjectRock headphones are designed for the gym but what about the world outside your workout? What if you want to travel with your headphones, sit on your sofa and listen to music, walk the streets of your city with them? What if you want a headphone that you can do all those things with BUT you still want to use them in the gym.
And if you’re paying £300+ for a pair, then shouldn’t you be able to use them everywhere?
We think so.
And fortunately, there’s a really simple solution that will not only make your Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones sweat resistant BUT will make almost ALL brands of headphones sweat-proof, too.
Ear Hugs are sweat-resistant covers that sit on the headphone’s cushions and wick moisture away from your face. They come in a range of awesome designs including, Green Camo, Brexit (Union Jack), Unicorn and Hawaii.
All designs are fully reversible to black, too. They’re machine-washable, and they’ll keep make-up stains off the leather. For each pair purchased, too, £1 is donated to the Mental Health Foundation.
Ear hugs are a practical, pro-active and affordable way to make noise cancelling headphones sweat proof.
And don’t forget to sign up to the EarHugz newsletter to grab a 7% discount!
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Review
Bose has been at the top of the active noise cancelling for years, and it was in no small part due to the QuietComfort series of headphones. Now the company has the new Noise Cancelling 700 Headphones (terrible name, I know), but before those came out the noise cancelling cans to beat were the QC35 Series II. So how do they hold up now that some time has passed? Are they worth your money over the newer models or even the competition?
Editor’s note: this review was updated on December 26th, 2019 to add links to other reviews, helpful information, and to reflect changes in pricing.
What’s comes inside the box?
The Bose QC35 II come in the standard Bose packing with a picture of the headphones on the front of the box
When you open the box you’re greeted with this oddly shaped and sturdy carrying case. Opening it up reveals the headphones nicely tucked away inside. It really shows just how flexible these headphones are. they’re ready to be thrown in your bag without a second thought. Along with the headphones, you’ll get a micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable. It would’ve been nice for them to give the QuietComfort 35 II a USB Type-C charging port, but at least they still have a headphone jack.
What made Bose Connect+ the QC35 II special when they came out?
Compared to the regular QC35 headphones, there wasn’t much different from the newer series II. Everything about them was almost identical, save for a few key features. For one, the newer series II has a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side so you can activate the Google Assistant seamlessly right from the headphones. Since the release, there’s also been an update to make them compatible with Amazon Alexa as well, so if that’s your personal assistant of choice then you’re in luck.
One other new feature is a dedicated active noise cancelling toggle that lets you switch between three preset strengths of ANC. It’s pretty nifty but in my testing, I basically either kept it on or off so I’m not sure how useful it is. Still, at least you have the option to control it if you want that extra bit of customization over how you listen to music.
How do you connect to the headphones?
The Bose QC35 II look virtually identical to the first version, just with a few hardware improvements.
When you open the Bose Connect+ app it’ll first try to find the headphones, and then ask you to swipe them down into to finish pairing. It’s pretty cool, especially since the process is helped along by a small voice egging you along in your ear. After you select your language and pick a nickname you’ll get to the Google Assistant setup, which lets you toggle having your notifications read aloud into your ear and even has a dedicated Google help page for the product. Then you can ask it questions just like you would if you activated on your phone, except it’s not. It’s much quicker.
As soon as you press the button you’ll hear a quick little tone and then you can ask your question or give your command. Normally with headphones, you’d have to wait a second or two for it to register and pull up Google on your phone, but with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II it starts listening as soon as you press the button so you’re not left wondering if it worked or not. I’m assuming this is one of the benefits you get from working directly with Google and being one of the Made for Google products. Talking to the Google Assistant is instant. As soon as you press the button they start listening so you can ask your question or give the command. Then with your command sent, you just have wait for the answer as it’s sent from your phone. The reply obviously isn’t instant but it’s still quick enough to be fairly impressive.
The Bose QC35 II might not look as sleek or minimal as the newer version, but they get the job done and have plenty of controls.
Now the Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility isn’t the only new feature with the new Bose QuietComfort 35 II when compared to the first version. In the Bose Connect+ app you can remap the Action Button on the left earcup to control the active noise cancelling which now comes in three levels: high, low, or off. You’ll still be able to access the Google Assistant by holding down the multifunction button on the right earcup for a second. So you get the best of both worlds.
You’re probably wondering: “Well, what if I have an iOS device?” And if you’re rocking an iOS device you too can have the best of both worlds, kind of. You’ll have to download the Google Assistant app on your iPhone in order for the Action Button to pull it up, and then you can access Siri by holding down the multifunction button.
The Bose QC35 II headphones can work with both iOS and Android devices.
As far as connection goes these are just as strong and consistent as the original version of these. I had no problem with connection strength whether my phone was in my pocket or across the room. Extreme range testing aside, I only had three skips in regular usage over the course of about a week, so not bad at all. This solid connection strength applied to phone calls as well and I had no dropped calls or issues here. If call quality is important to you these won’t let you down. On top of all that, when you turn them on they seamlessly connect almost AirPod-like. Super quick.
So if you’re wondering why we spent so much time on the new Action Button and the connection aspect of these headphones, it’s because the addition of the Google Assistant/ANC controls and its dedicated hardware button is basically the only difference between these and the Series I QC35. So everything else about these including the build quality, sound quality, and battery remains pretty much the same. But in case you missed our first review, we’ll dig into each of these now.
How’s the build quality of the Bose QC35 II?
Design is easy because as the only difference is the button like we mentioned, these are still a smart-looking pair of headphones. They maintain the slim profile of the original and also the comfort level as well. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is considered one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones on the market, and for good reason. You can wear these for hours without ever feeling like you have to take them off to let your ears breathe. They’re also super durable and can be bent and twisted in a bunch of ways so if you have to jam them into your bag you can do so with a clear conscious.
The comfort level fo the QC35 II is still best in class, and is even more comfortable than the newer model.
But you should still probably just use the included carrying case. Besides the action button and multifunction buttons we already mentioned, you’ll get the volume up and volume down buttons as well as a power switch on the right earcup. You’ll also see that these charge via micro USB on the bottom of one earcup and even have a 3.5mm input on the other so you can hardwire them to your phone, if you still have that option.
How’s the battery life of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II?
Battery life also hasn’t changed from the first model, with an estimated 20 hours. That’s enough to do a coast-to-coast trip across the United States three or four times. Not bad. In our testing, we got exactly 15 hours and 46 minutes on about 80% battery. So unless you play your music at max volume constantly you shouldn’t have an issue with these.
Let’s talk sound quality
So first things first, nothing with the sound quality has changed here when compared to the first version. Even though these have the Google Assistant and Android Oreo now has LDAC, aptX, and aptX HD support for higher-quality streaming via Bluetooth—you won’t find that here. You need two to tango with these codecs so when one side doesn’t support a codec, they default down to the standard SBC which is the same as the original. These do support AAC thankfully, so you’re not stuck out in the rain when it comes to latency at least. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, the average person will probably find these more than great.
The Bose QC35 II have a very neutral frequency response, which is great for tinkerers.
The Bose QC35 II actually has a fairly neutral response all things considered, and it’s cool to see a consumer product lean towards a sound like this. Of course, you can always equalize your headphones to change things around to your tastes, but this kind of performance allows you to do that out of the box—like I said, really cool.
Lows are definitely still given preference over everything else, but on the bright side it’s only by a very small amount. Each bass kick in the song We Just Haven’t Met Yet by Russ shook my eyes just a little bit, but that’s probably more the result of the mixing than anything else. Mids are just as clean as they’ve always been with vocals coming through loud and clear.
I was hoping that there’d be just a little more detail in the background instruments of some songs but it seems to be the same as the previous model, which isn’t a bad thing since those were fine. But one could always hope. These also do a great job at straying away from harshness, though at the detriment of the detail in the highs. You won’t get some of the same airiness and space that you’ll notice when listening to open-back headphones of a similar price. The hi-hats and cymbals in Billy Joel’s Zanzibar sound a little flat and don’t really have that exhilarating effect that I know them to have.
How’s the Bose QC35 II’s microphone?
Like most Bluetooth headphones, the microphone on the QC35 II tends to pick up a lot of background noise and it isn’t all that great at full-band recording. That being said, it handles the voice band acceptably well, and will work for phone and conference calls just as well as could be expected.
The Bose QC35 II handles the voice band very well, but if you have a deep voice you could find some issues with your call quality.
Of course, that only applies if you have a voice that’s higher in register. See how the lower in frequency you go, the quieter that response gets? If you have a particularly deep voice, you’ll find that the microphone quality will struggle to pick up your voice’s fundamental tones, so it’ll sound a bit weird—to say the least. However, most don’t have much to worry about here.
Active Noise Cancelling
Oh yeah, and about that active noise cancellation. Bose has always had top of the line ANC, but it’s starting to get a little behind the times. Though Sony left Bose in the rearview mirror with the WH-1000XM3, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II offers decent active noise cancellation. For commuters, this is super important, as noise reduction is the most important performance metric for active noise canceling headphones.
The Bose QC35 II offer a really good level of active noise cancelling, but it isn’t market-leading anymore.
Everything in blue and green was cancelled which shows you just how good these are as it’s most near the 20 dB line. But we can go even further and show you exactly how this will sound in a few different scenarios.
A firmware update made my Bose QC35II sound worse, how do I fix it?
There were a few complaints going around a while back that firmware updates were causing some Bose QC35 II headphones to behave in strange ways. Some people claimed they began to sound worse, others claimed that the active noise cancelling wasn’t as effective. So if you believe this has happened to you, there are some quick and easy steps tyou can take to hopefully fix the solution.
- Have you tried turning them off and on again? I know, this seems basic, but you’d be surprised how many technological bugs can be fixed with a simple reboot. If this doesn’t work, continue on to the next steps.
- Plug the QC35 II into your wall charger for at least 5 seconds, then remove the cable.
- Connect the headphones to your computer via USB, and go here in a browser.
- Download and run the Bose Updater app on your computer.
- Update the headphones using your computer to the latest firmware manually.
This was enough to solve the problem for some users, but not all. If you’re still having issues, then it might be time to admit defeat and contact Bose customer support.
What about the Sony WH-1000XM3?
The Sony WH-1000XM3 were the main competitors for the QC35 II when they first came out, and to some extent they still are. These headphones are still top-notch and offer many things that the Bose headphones do not such as higher quality Bluetooth streaming codecs like LDAC and aptX. That said, it doesn’t matter if you’re on iOS as Apple doesn’t support anything better than AAC on their devices.
Both the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose QC35 II are great, but which one offers more bang for your buck?
Battery life is slightly better on the WH-1000XM3 as well, clocking in 24 hours of constant playback in our testing. They also offer a slightly better microphone, a transparency mode feature similar to the AirPods Pro or WF-1000XM3 if you want to hear what’s going on around you, and most importantly, better active noise cancelling. We have an entire article comparing the two, but the long and short of it is that while the QC35 II are a great pair of headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are just slightly better.
Should you get the Bose QC35 II or the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700?
Since the release of the QC35 II, Bose has come out with a new and improved pair of active noise cancelling headphones. Cleverly named the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, they have a brand new design and a slightly higher price tag. So which is better? The new design and sleek aesthetic is the most obvious difference, but besides that there isn’t too much technically different between the two.
The more blue/green that you see, the more noise that was cancelled. The Bose 700 headphones do a good job with low end ambient sound, but still aren’t the best we’ve seen.It may not block out a lot of noise, but the Bose QC35 II does a good job in the low end (the most important frequencies.
Battery life is still around 20 hours and now these charge via USB-C which is definitely a plus. The earcups are no longer made of the microfiber cloth here, which is a negative for me as I found the newer model to be slightly less comfortable because of this. Still, it really isn’t a big deal and that’s just me being nit-picky. The new model is still very comfortable, just not as comfortable. Besides that, you now have more control over the active noise cancelling levels. Where the QC35 II had three modes (low, medium, high), the new noise cancelling headphones 700 feature 11 different levels of ANC. Again, I mostly keep it either on or off, but if you want more control you have it here again. It’s also slightly better at cancelling outside noise than the QC35 II, so if that’s what’s driving your purchase decision then there’s your answer.
Another difference is that the new model now have touch-sensitive earcups for playback controls, directly competing against the Sony WH-1000XM3 which have similar controls. So if you’re into touches and swipes instead of clicky buttons, these are for you.
Among the best active noise cancelling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is top-tier. However, its little foibles and dated hardware make the Sony WH-1000XM3 a compelling option in comparison. But you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s better for you.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are the same headphones as before, except now they’re just a little better with the addition of the Assistant and active noise cancelling profiles. The ANC is still one of the best you can get at any price point, and because nothing else about these has changed they’re still just as amazingly comfortable as they were before.
The Bose QC 35 II are still one of the best options you can get, even if there are technically better options out there.
Of course, we’re always going to wish that sound quality was better but these aren’t the worst Bose headphones I’ve ever heard. The music sounds fine, but what you’re really paying for is all of the cool new features. The high price tag will definitely deter most people, but let’s be real these are going to fly off the shelves anyway. If you were already going to buy the original Bose QuietComfort 35, there’s really no reason not to get these. Of course, there are now better options available like the Sony’s and even the new Bose model of headphones, but both have their negatives as well. So if these just do it for you, then the Bose QC35 II are still a great pick-up today especially if you can find them on sale.
Disclosure: We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on each product. See our ethics policy for more details.
Best workout earbuds
Exercising is tough, but finding earbuds that keep up with you shouldn’t be. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the five best workout earbuds money can buy. We hope these push you through even the most strenuous workout regimen. Whether you’re looking for a pair of affordable ‘buds or the best money can get we hope to have you covered with these picks.
This list was updated on January 17, 2020, to make note of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100.
The best workout earbuds are the Jaybird Tarah
Jaybird has gone through a few versions of its product, and the X4 was the best yet—until it released the Jaybird Tarah just a few weeks later. While the X4 is technically the better pair of ‘buds, the differences are slight. Plus, if you go with the Tarah, you’ll save yourself about $30 . We think it’s a fair trade for just a tw0-hour difference in playback time. Plus, the Tarah has the best feature of the X4: the IPX7 waterproof rating.
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Unfortunately, the charging module must be connected to the proprietary charging dock, so don’t lose it. You can’t just plug in to charge them directly which is annoying. The process can be a bit finicky when compared to the typical microUSB charging port, but it looks futuristic and works. Battery life is ok. During our objective testing, we squeezed out just under 7 hours of juice. While not the best, it should cover a week’s worth of workouts for most of us. And after polling Android Authority readers, we found that most of you only listen to music for one or two hours anyway.
Music lovers: how long do you listen to your headphones each day?
— Android Authority (@AndroidAuth) August 7, 2018
What the Jaybird Tarah lacks in stamina it makes up for in sound customization via EQ settings in the Jaybird MySound app. You can save your preferred profile to the headphones and apply it to any device that the Tarah connects to. Sure, you can go with the Jaybird X4 if you really want those extra two hours of battery life and some more customizable ear tips options, but we’d say just save yourself the money.
Athletes should invest in dedicated workout earbuds
Each of the Jaybird Vista’s buttons takes up the entire housing and may be remapped to adjust volume or access a designated virtual assistant.
Sure, you may already have Bluetooth earbuds, but if they’re not sweat-resistant, I’d caution against using them during vigorous training sessions. Water damage may void the warranty of your everyday earbuds, but getting something that’s explicitly water-resistant protects you from throwing money down the drain each time a non-water resistant pair short-circuits. Workout earbuds and headphones aren’t just more durable, they’re also specifically designed to be used during vigorous movement. In the case of earphones, this means the fit is made more stable by silicone wing tips, an ear hook design, you name it. Also, on-board controls are formatted so they’re easy to use when exercising: this usually means the buttons are larger, making them easier to operate without looking.
The listed best workout earbuds have all been tested firsthand by various members of the SoundGuys team, and we can attest to each product’s durability. What’s more, if you’re just the average consumer looking for your next pair of wireless earbuds, any of these are a great option. It’s important to make sure that your earphones are water-resistant: accidents happen. At the very least, an oleophobic coating can go a long way.
See: How listening to music improves your workout
The JLab JBuds Air Icon are the best workout earbuds for true wireless fans on a budget
If you’re an exercise enthusiast who has tried a few pairs of true wireless ‘buds, you may be familiar with how poor fit and battery life make them a hard sell over traditional Bluetooth earbuds. The JLab JBuds Air Icon are the true wireless earbuds to take for a spin. With IP55 certification, the JBuds Air Icon are dust- and water-resistant. No matter how hard you sweat, they’ll hold up without a problem. Their durability and affordability are the main reasons they’re some of the best workout earbuds.
JLab JBuds Air Icon
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In addition to the IP55 rating, you get access to your respective virtual assistant. The package includes proprietary Cush Fin ear tips, which do a great job of keeping the housings in place. The earbuds have been downsized from the original JLab JBuds Air, which improves comfort. Plus, JLab integrated a new dual connection system for more stable connectivity within the 10-meter range. These are an unmatched bargain within the true wireless space and they support AAC for high-quality streaming from iOS devices.
You may like: Best true wireless workout earbuds
Need something tough? Get the Jabra Elite Active 45e
Jabra has some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market and isn’t slacking in the traditional wireless department either. These feature Bluetooth 5.0, an IP67 rating, and quick charging capabilities.
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While they’re not as versatile as some of the other earbuds listed, the ear tips are designed with safety in mind. You’ll never miss what’s going on around you as the ear tips allow for external noise to be heard at all times. If you like to run outside, these are a smart choice. These Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds include other features too: you can access your virtual assistant, control playback, and take calls all from the earbud housings. While said housings are undeniably bulky, they remain in place due to the stabilizing hooks protruding from the ear tips. Battery life is on-par for wireless in-ears, clocking in at 9 hours, 1 minute of playback. They also support quick charging: 15 minutes connected to the included microUSB cable grants one hour of playback. A full charge cycle requires two hours, though.
Again, sound quality is lacking, but that’s the sacrifice athletes make for safety. Plus, they still sound better than bone conduction headphones, which have their own niche purpose. If you spend most of your time exercising outside, these are a great deal.
What you should know about the best workout earbuds
Different wing tip shapes and textures make a world of difference when it comes to comfort and stability.
A proper fit is key to excellent workout earbuds. Thankfully, most companies provide you with multiple sizes of ear and wingtips for extra security. For some, ear tips like this can be unwieldy and actually undermine a solid seal. This was an issue for me when I used the original Jaybird X, so I chose to forgo the wing tips. If your earbuds are falling out too often or hurting your ears, try altering the sizing or ear tip style.
There’s also Bluetooth codec support. If you have no idea what that is, don’t worry we have an entire podcast explaining it. Basically what you need to know is that two devices need to have the same codec in order to transfer information between them. Think of it kind of like a language. If two people speak the same language, information gets passed between them quicker than two people gesturing at each other. The same is true with codecs, and if two devices have the same codec information is passed quicker than two that don’t.
Unfortunately, not all codecs are equal and some are better than others. While this isn’t a huge deal for workout earbuds since you probably aren’t going to be doing any critical listening while doing your squats, it’s still something to take note of.
What are IP ratings?
Additionally, a key aspect of the listed best workout earbuds is that they’re, at the very least, sweat-resistant. So here’s a quick rundown of Ingress Protection (IP) ratings and fit.
|IPX1||✓||Dripping water (1 mm/min)
Limit: vertical drips only
|IPX2||✓||Dripping water (3 mm/min)
Limit: Device max tilt of 15° from drips
Limit: Device max tilt of 60° from sprays
|IPX5||✓||Water jets (12.5 L/min)
Example: Squirt guns
|IPX6||✓||Strong water jets (100 L/min)
Example: Powerful water guns
Limit: 1 m. for 30 min
Limit: 3 m. for 30 min
The Beats Powerbeats Pro are great for iPhone users
These IPX4 earbuds get a lot of things right. Not to mention they’re entirely wireless, and if you took the Powerbeats3 and ripped the wires off, you’d get the Powerbeats Pro. Though to be fair, the design on these is definitely sleeker than their wired counterpart. Inside is the new H1 chip from Apple that makes pairing your iOS device with them just as easy as the Airpods Pro, with a small card popping up prompting you to connect. If you’re on Android you won’t get the cool animation, but pairing is similarly easy thanks to a small button on the inside of the case.
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The problem with most true wireless earbuds is, of course, battery life. But that isn’t the case here. Whether you’re rocking an iOS device or an Android device we managed to squeeze out around 10.5 hours of constant playback before these need to be put back in the case which is no small accomplishment.
Still, it comes at a price. The charging case that you’ll eventually need to put back into is huge. Plus, it charges via a Lightning cable which isn’t great for anyone buying devices in 2019 that doesn’t already have an iPhone. Still, when you take into account the sweatproof certification, the hook design that keeps these from falling, and the 10+ hour battery life, we have no problem recommending these. They’re that good.
iPhone users who want something more versatile should get the Apple AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro comes with three different sized ear tips, one of which comes pre-installed on the earbuds.
Apple’s AirPods Pro has been completely redesigned from the AirPods and AirPods (2019); the Pro model has angled nozzles that seal to the ears. This is imperative for its hero feature: noise cancelling. H1 chip integration permits hands-free Siri access and seamless usage across iOS devices. It also benefits power efficiency, a big reason standalone battery life is just over five hours. Unlike the AirPods (2019), the AirPods Pro includes a wireless charging case by default, so you don’t have to shell out more money for that feature. Microphone quality is just as good as before, and the new IPX4 rating means you can sweat in the AirPods Pro to your heart’s content.
The Bose SoundSport Free are some of the best workout earbuds with excellent sound
Bose hopped onto the true wireless train with the SoundSport Free, an update to the SoundSport Wireless. With Bose’s patented StayHear+ ear tips, the bulbous ‘buds remain in your ears during the most vigorous of workouts. I was able to squeeze out five and a half at 50 percent volume, and the matte black case provides an extra 10 hours. During our objective testing at a louder 75dB(SPL), however, constant playback time came out at 4.58 hours.
Bose SoundSport Free
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Just like their predecessor, the SoundSport Free earbuds sound great. However, the low-end is underemphasized for sport earbuds. What’s more, athletes retain full control of the music with traditional playback controls and a multi-function button. Plus, if an earbud is lost, the Bose Connect app attempts to locate it. All of these features in addition to the great overall sound make the SoundSport Free a pair of the best workout earbuds on the market.
Related: Best AirPods alternatives
The extended silicone ear tips provide just enough friction to keep the ‘buds in place without creating hot spots.
- Jaybird Vista: Jaybird upped its game with from the Run XT earbuds. The Vista are handsomely designed with a reliable fit and IPX7 water-resistant rating. No matter how you move, the Vista will move with you.
- Bose SoundSport Wireless: These earbuds are the traditional Bluetooth version of the Bose SoundSport Free. Aside from the varying wireless technology, it’s virtually the same.
- Plantronics Backbeat Fit 3100: For a pair of true wireless ‘buds that can keep up with getting beat down, check these out which really impressed us.
- Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100: You can wear these in the office and quickly transition to the gym without worrying about durability, thanks to the IP54 rating. Integrated sensors facilitate automatic ear detection for auto-play/pause when the earbuds are inserted or removed.
- Jabra Elite 65t: This used to be the best pair of true wireless workout earbuds available until the cheaper JLab JBuds Air entered the market. The earbuds are IP55-rated and feature a 5.85-hour standalone battery life.
- JLab Epic Air Sport: These earbuds reproduce your music with some added low-e54 rating. d emphasis to keep you motivated during your workouts. The Class 1, Bluetooth 5 firmware keeps connection strength reliable while the IP66 rating marks their durability.
- V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless: This neckband-style pair of wireless headphones is outfitted with a sweat-resistant coating and maintains a stable connection for long workouts.
- Anker Soundbuds: This is similar to the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium but the connectivity is less stable. However, it’s are more affordable.
- Fitbit Flyer: It’s like the Bose SoundSport Wireless but lacks the Bose’s IPX4 rating.
- BeatsX: If you need something stylish and chic, this is a great choice. But be wary because the earbuds aren’t officially IP-rated. See our comparison of the BeatsX, Beats by Dre Power Beats, and the Apple AirPods.
How we chose
We throw down to see how various earbuds stack up against each other.
We’ve reviewed our share of products at SoundGuys before deciding on the best workout earbuds. Doing so which makes it easier to determine what the best workout earbuds available are. However, we aren’t superhuman and admittedly haven’t reviewed every product out there, but we have done our research and all top five products and notable mentions.
For this list, I was able to test our curated selection of models. I also used these casually around the house, in the office, and generally while out and about. When testing earbuds for workout purposes, I do a bit of cardio, mainly biking and running paired with weight-lifting and calisthenics. All the products listed were able to withstand my workouts.
How we test
We subjected the best workout earbuds nominees to our objective testing which includes isolation, battery life, and frequency response. You can read all about it here, but the truncated version is as follows.
We use objective readouts to determine the earbuds’ frequency response.
- Each product was subjected to multiple sine sweeps through the headphones, and we recorded the frequency response once we were able to repeat a result that demonstrates the hallmarks of a good seal.
- For battery testing, we used a real-time analyzer to calibrate the necessary setting for a 75dB(SPL). We then played infinitely looped music until the battery ran out. This lets us compare each product’s readout to the others.
- With the isolation tests, we used pink noise at 90dB(SPL) and set the speaker one meter away from the headphones. We first recorded with the headphones off and then with the headphones on. From there, we just subtract one from the other to get the isolation.
Why you should trust SoundGuys
We’re all fully committed to SoundGuys and working here is each of our nine-to-five jobs. Collectively, we have multiple years of reviewing audio products under our belts and are able to keep pace with the ever-changing world of audio. That way, we can easily separate the diamonds in the rough from, well, the rough.
We make sure to test as many best workout earbuds contenders as possible, so you don’t have to.
At the end of the day, we want you to enjoy what you listen to, which means we want you to enjoy what you’re listening through. None of us see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases, and we absolutely don’t benefit from swaying to one product or another. If you’re interested in learning more about our ethics policy, click here.
Next: How listening to music improves your workout
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out these related best lists:
- Best wireless earbuds
- Best Bluetooth earbuds for running
- Best running headphones
Disclosure: We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on each product. See our ethics policy for more details.
Have you ever gone for a run only to have your earbuds fall out constantly? Or has the wire on your headphones ever caught itself on a piece of equipment at the gym?
Many problems can arise with wired headphones especially when running or working out. So, as you can imagine, wireless headphones have become very popular. Actually, let me rephrase that…they have become very VERY popular.
But even with their high demand, you still run into a problem with wireless headphones. Here’s the problem: a lot of different companies have come out with many different variations. And with so many wireless headphones on the market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to determine the best version for you. That is, the best version for your specific needs. So, whether you run long or short, or you enjoy an easy or hard workout, it can be challenging to make the best decision.
That’s why I put this guide together. Being a runner who always wears headphones, I understand the importance and power that music can have on your workout. So, this guide will not only teach you how to pick out a pair of wireless headphones, but I compiled a list of the top models in 2018. This will make the selection process much easier for you.
So, read on and get ready to find the best wireless headphones for YOU.
How to Choose the Best Wireless Headphones for Running and Working Out
1. Headphone Fit
When choosing a pair of wireless headphones, you need first to choose the headphone fit. There are four types of fit: in-ear, earbuds, over-ear, and on-ear.
In-ear headphones compress inside your ear canal. They tend to be the top choice for running and working out. That’s because they provide a snug and comfortable fit. Most of the time, these headphones will come with different size rubber or foam tips. The variation in tip size will ensure you find the right fit, so they don’t fall out.
The best part of in-ear headphones may be the noise isolation when you run. Running outside can be noisy. In-ear headphones isolate noise the best out of all headphones. Focusing on your music now becomes much easier, ultimately empowering your run to help you run faster and longer.
Earbuds rest right on the outside of your ears. What’s most attractive with this type of fit is their price. Most earbuds are offered at an affordable price. However, they are more likely to fall out when running or working out than other fits.
Around-ear headphones have ear cups that wrap around your ears. In most models, there will also be an earbud that inserts directly into your ear. This type of headphone fit is my personal favorite for running. I like how they wrap securely around your ears, so you can run without them falling out. Most around-ear headphones have excellent sound quality and do a great job minimizing outside sound.
On-ear headphones do just that, sit on top of your ears. They are the headphones that look like ear muffs. They aren’t the best for running long distance but are comfortable for a quick run or workout. If you look around, you will notice the gym is filled with this type of headphone. Beats by Dre made them fashionable. So, if you are looking for a comfortable, trendy, great sounding pair of headphones, then on-ear is the way to go.
2. Wireless Type
Although we use the term “wireless” to mean ALL wireless headphones, there’s a little more you should know. There are actually two types of wireless headphones: cord and true. Allow me to explain.
- Cord Wireless
Cord wireless headphones are wireless from the music device, but a cord is used to connect the earbuds together. This was the first type of wireless headphone to hit the market. The plus with a cord is you reduce the chances of connectivity issues. However, the downside is you have a cord flapping behind your neck. Most headphones come with a way to secure the extra slack, but I do something better. When I go running, I wear a hat and tuck the cord under my hat. Now I get the reliability of a wired cord, but don’t have the nuisance of a wire flapping around behind my head.
- True Wireless
True wireless headphones come with two SEPARATE earbuds, no cord. All you need to do is pop each one into your ears and turn them on. The benefit of true wireless headphones is you eliminate wires COMPLETELY. The downside is they are easier to lose. But some headphone companies have a tracking function to help with this. Also, technology is not perfect, so you increase the chance of connectivity issues with true wireless headphones.
The charging of wireless headphones doesn’t always come to mind when buying a pair. But as a long-distance runner, I can tell you, it’s critical. When preparing to push your limits on a run, the last thing you want to worry about is the charge on your headphones. So here are some questions to ask yourself…
- First, how long does the charge last?
Does the charge last one hour? Two hours? Five hours? This becomes most critical if you plan on using them for running. For example, let’s say you are training for a marathon. Longer runs on average take around 2-4 hours. So, if your wireless headphones only last for 2 hours, you are stuck running half your run without music. For my long runs, I stick a cheap wired pair in my pocket for backup in case I miscalculate charging time.
- Next, how long does it take to charge?
Find out how long it takes for a maximum charge. Most wireless headphones will fully charge within an hour. Simply stick them on the charger when you wake up, get ready for your workout, and grab them on your way out the door. Or to be safe, put them on the charger before bed.
- Last, how does it charge?
Cord wireless headphones typically plug directly into the wall. In this case, they come with an adapter cord. One side of the cord connects to the headphones and the other sticks in a USB outlet. Most of the time you will use your cell phone USB adapter and plug your headphones into the wall.
True wireless headphones charge a little different. They have a chargeable pod and most pods also charge. So if the pod is charged, all you need to do is stick the earbuds into the pod. Now you can bring your pod with you and charge them without having to worry about finding an outlet.
4. Specialized Features
When shopping around for wireless headphones, you may stumble upon a few unfamiliar terms. It’s easy to get confused if you don’t speak the technological language. Companies don’t do the best job in their explanations. So, allow me to help translate some of these terms.
- Noise Canceling
When wireless headphones are “noise-canceling”, it means they eliminate outside noises. Now you can listen to music with no distracting ambient noises. So, if you are looking for a clear and crisp sound, then make sure this feature is included.
- Microphones and Control
A microphone is best for people who plan on taking phone calls during a workout. If you are at the gym between sets and your significant other calls, then you can click over and talk without pulling your phone out.
I use this feature when I’m out on a run and receive an urgent call. Usually it’ just my wife asking how much longer until I’m home. But I’ve had my old college roommate call and an hour phone call later…my run was over.
Having controls mean you can change the volume or song with buttons on the headphones. Now you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket to skip songs. I prefer this option when running because I don’t like to see the time. I prefer not knowing how long I’ve been running. This helps me run further. So instead of taking out my phone and seeing the clock, I can just click the control button to skip songs. Now I can get lost in my run without ever losing focus.
- Sweat & Water-Resistant
Simply put: make sure the headphones you buy are sweat or water-resistant. Although most are, you still want to double check. When you run and workout you naturally accumulate sweat. Also, you don’t want to damage your headphones when it rains outside. It doesn’t matter if you have a jacket hood or not, water will still find its way in…it always does.
- Heart Rate Monitor
I have to admit, this is a new one for me. Some headphones now can actually monitor your heart rate. As you run, the information sends directly to your smartphone App. So now you can monitor your heart rate without some uncomfortable chest strap or watch. Just pop in your earbuds and monitor your bpm’s for your entire workout. Some wireless headphones+apps will even send you autocues as recommendations.
- Voice Command
The last term you should know is “voice command,” also referred to as “voice assistant.” When your wireless headphones have voice command, you can verbally manage your music. So if you want the song to change, well… you just tell the headphones to change it. For instances, if you have an iPhone then Siri will be built in, and you can use it the same way.
Now you know some of the most important terms to look for when shopping for a pair of wireless headphones. No, you don’t need all the features, but now you know your options and can decide what’s best for you.
The manufacturer should be a HUGE determination on what headphones you buy. New companies are popping up everywhere. If it was me, I wouldn’t just buy any old pair made buy just any manufacturer.
Wireless technology has been around for quite some time, but it’s still relatively new. Larger more well-known companies are better with this technology. You will avoid all sorts of quality issues like poor connectivity and durability.
Also, the best manufacturers have the best warranties. You see, sometimes I run far…like really REALLY far. During those runs, I encounter all sorts of weather. So, as you can imagine, running in the rain or snow can cause issues with your headphones.
Well, one day my $200 pair of headphones stopped working, and you know what? I called up and had a brand-new pair sent directly to my house, no questions asked. They also sent a shipping label for the old pair to send out. So, if you go with a pricey pair of wireless headphones, by a well-known manufacturer, chances are they have an excellent warranty.
6. A Few Other Things to Consider
Most wireless headphones use Bluetooth connectivity. This type of connection is most reliable. Some use wireless; however, this connection is not the best choice for working out. You don’t want to rely on finding a wireless connection for your workout. When it comes to exercise, you want to make the process as convenient as possible: get in, workout, and get out.
- Sound Quality
Sound quality differs from headphone to headphone. You will know the best audio sound companies because of their reputation. When you hear names like Bose (used by the NFL) and Beats By Dre (made by Apple), you know you are buying a quality sound. Yes, they cost more, but if sound quality is important to you, then it will be worth the money.
And that leads us to the final aspect to consider: price. As you probably may already know, price varies widely between wireless headphones. You can buy a pair for $20 that will end up breaking, or a pair for $300 that between the quality and warranty, will last a long time. But the good news is there’re wireless headphones for everyone. But If you are an avid fitness enthusiast or a long-distance runner, I recommend putting out the extra money. Wireless headphones in the $100-$300 range will be best. The sound, reliability, and warranty will allow you to listen to all your favorite music ALL the time.
The 10 Best Wireless Headphones for Running and Working Out In 2019 – Reviews and Comparison
1. Bose SoundSport Pulse Wireless Headphones – Best Choice Reliability
Bose is one of the industry giants when it comes to audio equipment. So as you can imagine, Bose headphones are of the highest quality, sound incredible, and last a long time. The Bose SoundSport Pulse is their most popular cord wireless headphones. That’s at no surprising being that it has technology like a built-in heart rate sensor. Your bpm is actually monitored through your ear! The data is then sent to the Bose connect app in real time. This method allows you to track your heart rate zone without a watch or chest strap.
Another one of its uniquely beneficial features is its StayHear tips. You will instantly feel the security and compression inside your ears. Confidently shake your head around during a workout without the tips falling out. My favorite part of the headphone, being a long distance runner, is its built-in rechargeable battery. This extends battery listening to 18 hours! That’s one of the most extended play time duration I’ve seen in the industry thus far. It’s users praise it for their superior sound and how the earbuds never fall out during a workout.
- Heart rate monitor provides real-time bpm for a more efficient workout.
- 15 minutes of charging provides one hour of listening time so you can charge on the fly.
- An excellent sound quality which helps eliminate external noise when running outside.
- Made by Bose which is a well-known company.
- It uses a cord to connect buds,
- A bit pricey.
2. Jabra Elite 65t Alexa Enabled True Wireless Earbuds – Best Choice for A Custom Sound
For the top TRUE wireless headphones in 2019 check out the Jabra Elite 65t. As I mentioned earlier, true wireless headphones are solo earbuds. They have no wire connecting the two sides. The connection of this model is done through Bluetooth, and you can even answer phone calls. Being able to answer calls when exercising is convenient.
One of the more unique features of these wireless headphones is its customizable equalizer. With this feature, you can change the audio configurations to the custom sound of your liking. There’s even a voice control option that connects to Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. So not only can you control the play mode, but you don’t even have to push a button. It’s users love it for its 10-hour charging case.
- It feels like you are not even wearing headphones because they are true wireless headphones.
- You can find your preferred sound with the customizable equilibrium.
- Excellent warranty to protect you against water, sweat and dust damage.
- True headphones are easier to lose.
- Decent price for true wireless headphones but still on the high side.
3. BeatsX Wireless In-Ear Headphones – Best Choice for iPhone
If you know anything about Beats, you probably know the artist Dr. Dre designed them. After some time, he then sold them to Apple for a whole lot of money. I’ve personally owned a pair of beats, and the sound quality is incomparable. In this model, the BeatsX Wireless In-Ear Headphones, there is a cord to connect each earbud. The earbuds then simply press into your ears providing a secure and comfortable fit. The buds are also flat with a flexible neckband both preventing the cord from tangling.
These Beats headphones also take calls and controls music through Siri. They call this feature “Remote Talk.” And the sound quality is incredible. It’s user praise them for being super comfortable and loves how quick they charge.
- Owned by Apple so you can only expect innovation audio technology.
- Comfortable fit inside the inner lobes.
- A tangle proof design that prevents the earbuds from falling out.
- Neckband provides flexibility without losing its firm fit.
- It’s Siri connection works the best compared to other headphones since Apple owns them.
- Earbud cord and neck cord create a lot going on behind your head.
4. Jaybird X3 – Best Choice for Compact Size
Jaybird is a relatively newer company compared to some of the other industry giants on this list. However, their headphones have hit the running scene as of late. You will notice they have a few professional endurance athletes now endorsing them. The Jay X3 is one of the more popular wireless headphones for Jay Bird and focuses mainly on its compact design. They are small and even use mini wireless buds. Their goal was to make this model as tiny as possible without sacrificing functionality, comfort, and sound. The in-ear buds come with a cord to connect them. The earbuds are designed with a patent silicone ear fin providing the listener with a secure fit. And battery life is 8 hours long! That’s enough time to get in a few workouts without evening thinking about another charge. It’s users love this wireless headphone for their supreme sound quality and small size.
- Comfortable fit from its lightweight and small design.
- Silicone ear fins compress within the ear preventing them from falling out.
- Trendy company and design.
- Excellent battery life for long runs without the need of charging.
- Customers have reported quality issues but say customer service is top notch.
5. 66 Audio-BTS Pro Wireless Headphones – Best Choice for Battery Life
Most Bluetooth headphones will cut you off after 3-4 hours of playback. Trust me, I know, out on long runs I’ve had wireless headphones die on me before. But with the 66 Audio BTS Pro, you won’t have to worry about your headphones losing a charge…EVER. That’s because with their new technology you get 40 hours of playback! And even when you run out, it only takes 90 minutes to get another full 40 hours.
These wireless headphones are an over-ear style with a hardcover cord that wraps around your neck. Plus, with a memory foam material, they sit very comfortably on your ears. Some have even said it feels like pillows. And that makes sense that they focus heavily on comfort since there’s so much battery life. If you are going use your headphones for a long stretch, you should expect extra comfort. It’s users love this wireless headphone for their durability and battery life.
- Super long battery life equals long…LONG playback hours.
- Bluetooth works 100+ feet away, so you don’t have to hold your phone when working out indoors.
- Durable design with hard neck cord for a sturdy and comfortable fit.
- Incredibly efficient charge back to play time ratio.
- Super comfortable on your ears.
- Over-ear is a bulkier style compared to others.
6. Plantronics BackBeat Fit – Best Choice for Running In The Rain
So how waterproof are the Plantronics BackBeat Fit wireless headphones exactly? Well, they can withstand fresh water up to one meter for 30 minutes. With a set of headphones capable of this level of waterproofing, sweat doesn’t even become a concern. Plus, besides their resistance to sweat, they are comfortable and secure too. That’s because they wrap comfortably around your neck with a hard cord cover and loop around your ears.
If you like high bass with a crisp sound, then these are the headphones for you. Although some say they don’t play as loud as they wish, others say once you download the app and sync it, the sound becomes much louder and clearer. User praise these headphones for their durability and can confidently run with them out in the rain.
- Hardcover makes them durable, so you don’t have to worry about breaking them.
- They are waterproof so you can run in the rain or sweat during an intense workout without worry.
- Decent price compared to other wireless headphones.
- Controls allow you to pause music and take a phone call during exercise instantly.
- Not loud enough for some.
7. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium – Best Choice for Safe Running
The Aftershokz Trekz Titaniums are considered “bone conduction” wireless headphones.” I know…what in the world does bone conduction mean? Well, bone conduction technology utilizes an open ear design. Simply put, it delivers music through your cheekbones. This technology was designed specifically with athletes in mind. So, let’s say you are out for a run in a busy city. Instead of canceling out ALL the noise, you can still hear some outside sound like cars on the road. Basically, your run becomes safer.
Bone conduction also comes in handy during trail races if you are on a tight track. Now when another runner wants to pass you from behind you can actually hear them. These headphones are also super durable because they have a titanium wraparound headband. It’s users love them for their open ear concept. Now you don’t’ have to worry about them falling out of your ears during a workout.
- Bone conduction technology is convenient for intense workouts.
- Made with durable material making it difficult to damage them.
- Innovative sound quality made for athletes.
- Very clear conversations when taking phone calls.
- Multiple color options.
- Too big of a fit for some.
8. Bose QuietComfort 35 – Best Choice for Comfort
If you are looking for an over-ear pair of headphones that completely eliminate outside noise, then the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones are for you. Yes, they are big, but you know what? Not everyone is looking for compact headphones. We all don’t go to the gym for intense exercise. Some rather have a clear and comfortable sound over functionality. Plus, if battery life is essential to you, then these headphones have you covered. How does 20 hours of wireless play time sound to you? Now you can charge them once and hit the gym all week without worrying about losing a charge.
As you may know already, Bose is one of the best, if not THE best company when it comes to sound quality. So, you can except the best sound money can buy. Its users praise it for their excellent comfort, plus wearing over-ear headphones is a trendy look.
- Excellent noise canceling feature is great for the gym or even while flying on a plane.
- Super comfortable on the ears.
- Music sharing available with other Bose headphone users.
- Industry-leading sound quality.
- High price,
- Over-ear style not that secure for intense workouts or runs.
9. Jaybird Run – Best Choice for A Short Run
The Jaybird Run wireless headphones are great for running. They are true wireless headphones, so there’s no cord to connect the two buds. Just pop them in your ears and hit the road or trails for a run. They do not have the longest battery life with 4 hours of play time, but they come with an 8-hour chargeable case. That’s 12 hours of battery life total.
Sometimes true headphones can be a little confusing when you first try them. How to charge them, what buttons to push for what connection, and other custom features. But after a few runs, the functions and controls become second nature. Plus, since they have no wires or cords, it feels like you are running without headphones. And when you are running long, this freedom of no wire makes a world of a difference. They are also sweat-proof and water-resistant. Basically, you’ll have a solid pair of true headphones for your next run.
- True headphones so no cords or wires will get in your way.
- Endorsed by professional endurance athletes.
- Customizable audio so you can find the sound you like.
- 8-hour chargeable case for extended battery life.
- Connectivity issues have been reported after frequent use.
- Low battery life compared to others.
10. Samsung Gear IconX – Best Choice for Storing Music
The best feature of the Samsung Gear IconX by far is the Find My Earbud feature in their Gear IconX app. Since they are true wireless headphones with no cord, it’s possible to lose them if they fall out of your ear. Well, not with these headphones. Whether you miss place them in your house or somewhere along the trails, you can now track them down with an app.
Another unique feature is their ability to store songs. Yes, this pair of headphones can store as many as 1,000 songs with 4GM of built-in storage! All you need to do is add the songs, and you can use the audio control buttons to listen. Leave your phone behind and still listen to all your favorite music. Also, if you have to take your earbuds out suddenly, they will automatically turn off. This helps save battery life, although some have reported this function does not work. But don’t be discouraged because they provide 5 hours of play time with Bluetooth. Or if using the built-in mp3 player, you get 7 hours total. So, if you are tired of carrying around your phone and want a simple solution, then these are the headphones for you. It’s users love the find my earbud feature.
- Tracks time, distance, pace & calories burned.
- Stores up to 1000 songs in headphones so you can leave the phone behind.
- True wireless headphones, so no cord flapping around behind your head.
- Headphone tracker in case you lose them.
- Voice control so you can switch songs by just speaking.
- Users have reported issues with the controls and voice command.
Wireless headphones are what everyone is using now for running and working out. The freedom of having no cord and the convenience of streaming music during a workout makes the experience superior to wire headphones. So take a careful look at the wireless headphones on this list, determine what the best choice is for YOU, and get ready for an incredible experience. Running and working out for you will never be the same again.
Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones Review — Worth the Price?
The Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones have been a popular headphone option and fashion icon over the last few years. Since being bought by Apple in 2014, the Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones now offer a W1 Chip to facilitate seamless and automatic connection to Apple products, along with a slightly more durable construction (compared to the original Beats models).
In this review, we assessed the popular Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones in multiple tests and truly gave their performance in the gym a run for their money. While these headphones are not exactly designed for working out, their performance surprised us and they have been one of our go-to’s since originally picking up a pair 6-months ago.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones are great for blasting high-quality, bass driven music when heading into heavy lifts.
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
The Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones offer great sound quality, a W1 Chip for seamless connectivity to Apple products, and 40 hours of battery life.
Branding and Overall Appearance
The Beat Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones are pretty simple in design. They have a decently strong plastic and metal headband that connects the left and right headphones. The headband has a metal exterior with “beats” branding at the top and the interior features a foam padding that provides a decent amount grip and padding on the head.
The left and right earphones both have a plastic exterior with “b” branding, and the left side serves as a button for pausing, skipping, playbacks, and answering phone calls. The earphone cushions have what feels like a very soft synthetic-leather with about 1″ of foam pudding underneath for additional support, comfort, and cushion. There is a micro-USB port on the right side of the headphones where the battery lights are, and a headphone jack on the right.
To assess these headphones’ performance in the gym, we put them through multiple workout tests. We performed powerlifting-focused workouts, dynamic workouts with multiple jumps, and running sessions.
Note, I’m not a true blue audio buff, but I have a fair understanding of sound quality with headphones since buying multiple low-end and high-end pairs, and the Beats Solo3 sound quality was pretty great. The bass hits pretty hard, and the music gets super loud. However, there are times when the bass drowns out other parts of songs.
Lifting In the Gym
When it comes to lifting in the gym, these headphones were pretty great. They remained stable on my head throughout various powerlifting and bodybuilding style workouts and have speakers to blast loud music when going into heavy sets or in-between lifts at meets (be careful with blasting loud music all the time!). On top of their stability, these headphones’ connectivity is pretty great and never really gets interrupted even when the gym is packed.
One potential downfall that comes with these headphones and their support for working out is the that they’re not really specifically designed for lifting and the gym. I’m curious to see how the headphone paddings are hold up after a year of continual use and sweating in them.
Running and Jumping
There’s no denying that on-ear headphones are not always the best for running and jumping-focused workouts, and the Beat Solo3 Wireless Headphones are no exception to this. These headphones work decently well for lighter jogs, however, I would not advise using them for HIIT workouts, sprints, or any other form of fast paced run. They remain on the ear decently well, but not well enough for sprinting and other forms of movement that could result in quick head jerks.
Beat Solo3 Headphones
Similar to sprints and HIIT workouts, these headphones are not really ideal for jumping. If you’re doing lower box jumps in the gym, then they work decently well, but again, on-ear headphones are not the best for dynamic and power-based movements.
Apple’s W1 Chip
The Apple W1 Chip in these headphones is one the biggest pros that come along with the Beats Solo3. The W1 Chip allows the headphones to automatically connect and sync up with Apple products that all fall within your cloud. If you’re an iPhone, Macbook, and Apple Watch user, the you’ll love the W1 Chip.
Another potential pro of the W1 Chip is the possibility of it receiving updates in the future, which could increase the quality of sound and connection in the headphones after purchase.
Fast Charge Feature
Personally, my favorite feature of these headphones is how fast they charge. For around 5-10 minutes of charging time, you can expect to get about 2-4 hours of playback depending on how loud you play your music. If you’re like me and constantly forget to charge things, then this is a great feature that can save you on long commutes.
All-Around Pretty Good
In every setting that I tested these headphones, the Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones excelled with their connectivity to my phone’s Bluetooth. When commuting in the bustling rush ours before and after work in New York City, the headphones stayed connected and true, which was impressive especially in the very populated and dense areas. I’ve had other headphones disconnect or have periods of spottiness on the subway and busy streets.
At work, the headphones have never disconnected from my computer even when getting up and walking about 30-40 feet to the kitchen. However, this is expected and a standard with most better quality Bluetooth headphones we’ve tried.
My favorite part of these headphones’ connectivity is at the gym. I’ve had workouts where I’ve forgotten my phone, went to the restroom, and came back to the squat rack with no disconnection of the headphones (the distance was around 50-feet). In respect to the half-year I’ve used them in the gym for powerlifting and light runs, connectivity has never truly been an issue.
The Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones boast a solid 40 hours of battery life. In terms of other headphones on the market this clocks in as a pretty great battery life, as most wireless headphones come with around 25-30 hours of battery life. Granted, this number could vary depending on how you use the headphones and how loud you place music.
Another perk to the 40 hours of battery life that comes with Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones is the fast charge feature that comes with these headphones. For a 5-minute charge, you can get up to about 2-3 hours of playback time, and that’s pretty phenomenal.
Beat Solo3 Wireless Headphones Price
There is no beating around the bush on this one, but the Beat Solo3 Wireless Headphones are not the cheapest headphones on the market. At a regular retail price of $300.00, these headphones are on the pricier end for on-ear headphones. Granted, you can often find these headphones on sale for about $225.00, which makes them a little more comparable to high-quality on-ear headphones.
Are they worth it? They could be, and that depends on how you want to use them. The W1 Chip that comes within these headphones that allows seamless and automatic connection to Apple products is pretty awesome and makes them slightly more unique compared to other standard Bluetooth pairs. My advice, find pairs on sale or that have been slightly used.
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
The Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones offer great sound quality, a W1 Chip for seamless connectivity to Apple products, and 40 hours of battery life.
To conclude, I’m personally a fan of the Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones. They performed consistently well across the board and were surprisingly great in the gym. Additionally, the sound quality is pretty great, the W1 Chip is unique, and the fast charging feature comes in clutch when in sticky situations.
My only complaint — like many others — with these headphones is the $300.00 price tag, however, if you can them on sale, then I think these headphones could fit the bill if you’re a fan of the Beats brand.
- Good Connectivity
- Decently Durable
- Great Sound Quality
Not workout headphones
The Beats Solo3 aren’t meant to be worn as workout headphones, as they have no sweat protection to speak off. If you sweat a lot while wearing a pair of Beats Solo3, over time it’s entirely possible to damage the earpads and internal electronics.
Powerbeats3 can get wet
If you’re looking for a pair of wireless headphone that has the W1 chip and are safe to workout with, the Powerbeats3 is what you’re looking for. Equipped with 12-hour battery life and the ability to charge up one hour worth of juice in five minutes, it’s easy to pop the Powerbeats3 in your ears and forget about them!
Of course, the Powerbeats3 are in-ear headphones rather than the on-ear style of the Beats Solo3; however, that signature beats sound you’ve come to know and love — that sweet bass — is all still there!
A tiny amount of sweat is likely fine
If you don’t plan on using the Beats Solo3 headphones to workout, you may not need sweat-resistant headphones! It’s pretty common for on-ear headphones like the Beats Solo3 to cause you to sweat a little bit after wearing for a long period of time, or if in a hotter environment. This minimal exposure to sweat likely will be fine as long as you wipe it off with a cloth after use. It’s exposure to a lot of sweat or often where you would need to be worried.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of this review, I first want to lay out that YES, these are totally worth the investment in my opinion even at its current price between $145 to $179 (depending on colors and limited editions), and have been completely surprised at how well they have held up and stay relevant against the competition to this day. The sound and build quality are much improved over previous generations and are one of my favorite headphones to bring with me to the gym for a great workout or on longer travel trips due to their overall comfort, portability, and sound depth.
My First Gen Beats Woes
Back in 2011 I was just about to get ready for my sophomore year in college and was looking for a new pair of headphones that I could study at the library with and jam to some music while walking between classes. It was about this time the Beats line of products were making their way onto the streets and before I knew it the signature shiny black and red cans seemed to be on everyone’s noggins.
So what did I do? Of course I caved in to the social buzz and bought myself a pair at my local Best Buy. Without trying them on or listening to them I didn’t hesitate to rip open that beautiful packaging and see what all the hype was about. First test: see how they held up at the library after a long study session.
Well, needless to say, it seemed like a blink of an eye before I had them stuffed back in the box and returned to that same local Best Buy with quite a bit of frustration on my face. Why? Because the first generation Beats headphones felt of extremely cheap bendable plastic, lacked sound quality, and the ear cups got hot and extremely uncomfortable after only 30 mins of usage. Test failed.
A Welcome Change for the Beats Solo 3
Fast forward to 2017, I was getting ready to purchase a new laptop at the Apple Store and couldn’t help but keep noticing that beautiful clean display along the wall of Solo 3 Wireless headphones that Apple is so good at, all lined up in all its available colors. I was apprehensive to ever look at a new pair of Beats headphones since that horrible college flashback of the first gen models, but knew that things might be different since they are the first pair designed and produced under the Apple ecosystem of products so things could be different. I figured to give the Beats my one last shot.
As I picked up the gold and white pair of Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones for the first time, they seemed noticeably heavier and more sturdy than the outgoing model. Welcome change indeed. So I adjusted the headband to my size and placed them on my ears. Immediately I noticed just how soft and premium the leather was along the ear cups, feeling no doubt that they would last longer than a half hour of listening. Finally, the sound quality was rich, with deep bass notes and warm highs, perfect for the kind of music and video dialogue I was listening to. So I decided to pull out my credit card once again and purchase my new pair of Beats headphones.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless Battery Longevity
Boy was I glad I made that purchase two years ago, because to this day these are a great pair of wireless bluetooth headphones. I was shocked that these headphones had up to 40 hours of battery life, but I believe it since these are the first pair that I find myself not having to reach for the charging cable after an extended time of usage. I’ll wear these for most of my days watching Youtube videos, weightlifting and running at the gym, listening to music while writing a blog post, or catching up on a series of podcasts, and not have to charge them until the end of the week. Watch out battery range anxiety!
The addition of Apple’s W1 chip technology, also found in the Powerbeats 3 and AirPods, is a welcome one as I don’t find myself reaching for the power button since it knows when you are not actively listening to something through the headphones, and thus goes into a battery saving sleep mode.
I was just on a 4 and a half hour long cross country flight and was watching movies through my Solo 3 headphones wirelessly the entire time. When I flipped down the control center on my iPhone to see how much battery was remaining on them it read that there was still 75% remaining. Note this is two years after I purchased these headphones, so through all of this use I have to say that the battery has held up extremely well, and you should not be worried at all about battery range anxiety with this model.
The folding hinge setup is great and gives the Beats Solo 3 Wireless a much smaller footprint for when traveling
Although I felt surprised that the materials used along the headband, earcups, and foldable hinges were a major upgrade over the existing generation of Beats headphones, I still wondered how long they would hold up for. Now I don’t normally beat my Beats up during daily use (see what I did there! :D) but I have had the occasional drop, head bump against the airplane window, or toss around in the gym.
Even after these split-second scary events the headband and ear cups are still extremely sturdy and in great cosmetic shape. The unit still feels as sturdy as when I first purchased it and the hinge still snaps and stays in place while flexed out. The headband size adjustment is still tight and the notches stay in their desired position. Actually this has been very unexpected but great, the ear cups were somewhat soft when I first got them, but after using them for a while at my office and in the gym they have gotten even softer, more comfortable, and the cups have even started to form around my ears, sort of like a memory foam mattress.
Just to note here: The Solo 3 Wireless is an “on-the-ear” headset, meaning the ear cup rests on the ear when worn, so the ear cushion does get warm but only after wearing them for several hours straight. After taking them off for a few minutes and putting them back on, it’s usually comfortable for even a few more hours of listening.
Beats in general are known for having a warmer, bassier sound compared to its rivals, and the same has been true for this model. It’s especially great when listening to music that favors bass, such as hip-hop and electronic, and at higher volumes I’m hard pressed to find little, if any, distortion even after listening to them all this time. In the gym, sound quality is still great and there is no sound skipping or connection issues while running. These headphones have quality sound drivers in them and have been reliable through two years of ownership.
If there is one downside to the Beats Solo 3 Wireless it’s that there can be some outside noise that gets in and affects the quality of the sound since they are on-ear headphones, but I have found that the longer I have worn them and the more the ear cushion has formed to my ears, the more these Beats have been able to isolate outside noise, even without active noise cancellation. I have had no trouble turning them up through droning environments like the weights clanging in the gym, the foot pounds heard from a gang of treadmills, or the deep hum of an airplane engine and still receiving deep, clear, distortion-free sound from the sound drivers.
Now like I said before, these do not have active noise cancellation since they are an on-the-ear setup, so if that is a feature you need but still want Beats then I would suggest checking out it’s larger sibling the Studio 3 Wireless. However, the lighter weight, smaller footprint, and substantially longer battery life make its lack of active noise cancellation a non-deal breaker.
For the headphone jack lovers, the cord is still included and can turn these into a passive headset so you can plug the Solo 3 in and watch movies on the airplane screens
The Final Verdict
Overall the Beats Solo 3 Wireless have held up extremely well to two full years of fairly regular usage both in and out of the gym, and have no doubts that it could hold up for another two years. At a current price of between $145 to $179 (depending on colors and limited editions) these are still well worth the money today. There have been no issues electronically to date, and pairing between multiple iOS devices is a complete breeze by just holding it close to the one you’re currently listening from. The included carrying case with carabiner, although I wish had a little more room for storing the headset, are still nice bonus accessories that keep these Beats tight and quite compact for traveling in smaller bags and backpacks. But at the end of it all, it is clear that these are not the same Beats that the college-aged me bought, and stand to be a contender for best wireless headphones even all these years later.
Order your Beats Solo 3 Wireless below for the lowest price available (No need to pay retail):
Beats Solo3 Wireless – Black (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2Hra3KW
Beats Solo3 Wireless – Gold (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2ZpxMS3
Beats Solo3 Wireless – White (Amazon): https://amzn.to/2KUYY7
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