Apple Nails Me Again with A Lame Beats Update
The Beats Studio 3 Wireless seems kind of stupid. Joke's on me for thinking it'd be any different.
Apple surprise-announced and launched the Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones today for $349.
Just like last year’s disappointing Solo 3 wireless, it seems like they’ve just taken the old design and shoved in a new Bluetooth chip.
Sure, Apple’s W1 chip has insane range and pretty good battery life. I’ll give them that. But a lot of other companies have caught up in that area.
It’s weirdly disappointing that the industrial design and the build didn’t change at all.
The Studio Wireless is a several-year-old design, at this point. I know that Beats has a certain brand image to maintain…but one of Apple’s biggest strenghts is their design department, and the fact that they have an endless budget to back them up.
So why release two new headphones that feel and look and fit just like their previous non-Apple-designed models. Were these old designs so good that nothing could have been updated?
No. No they weren’t.
They still have the same rigid plastic headband that provides a too-strong clamping force. They still have the lame rubber bit at the top that’s supposed to stand in for headband padding. They still have ear cups that are a little bit shallow, and don’t swivel as much as competitors in this price range.
It’s not a bad-looking pair…but these days I expect better materials and better comfort at this price.
The one other new feature aside from the W1 chip is new noise-cancelling software that’s supposed to be more adaptive. That’s good, because the old model had some of the weakest noise-cancelling on the market…with a loud and prominent background hiss.
I actually really like the modern Beats sound signature. The Solo 2 saved it from the purgatory of over-hyped bass and muddy mids, and turned it into something that was fun to listen to without losing too much detail. I hoped that the Solo 3 would push things further, with a more durable design and better comfort.
So I held off buying a pair.
Then my hopes were on the Studio 3. I hoped it would refresh the design with better padding, more durable materials, and maybe even some new driver technology, or a port that wasn’t just the same Micro USB 2 port.
I don’t know what to do now. I’m done thinking Apple is ever going to truly overhaul these best-selling headphones, though. And that’s a bummer.
The one new design, the Beats EP, was really good.