Beats just announced the Solo Pro, the company’s first-ever pair of on-ear active noise-canceling headphones. It looks similar to the company’s current wireless on-ear headphones, the Solo3 Wireless, but features Apple’s H1 chip (the same one found in the latest AirPods that allows them to easily pair with any Apple device), a Lightning charging port and active noise-canceling and transparency modes.
The Beats Solo Pro noise-canceling headphones cost $300 and come in six different colors: black, ivory, gray, dark blue, light blue and red. They’re available for preorder and begin shipping on October 30.
According to Beats, the Solo Pro headphones trump the Solo3 Wireless in basically every way: They sound better, thanks to improved drivers that deliver “exceptional frequency response with lower total harmonic distortion.” Their redesigned earcups keep outside sounds out, even with ANC turned off. While a pair of beam-forming microphones and an updated speech-detecting accelerometer helps the Solo Pro with call clarity and voice pickup (which is important for “Hey Siri” commands).
On the noise-cancellation front, the Solo Pro headphones feature the same “Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling” (Pure ANC) abilities as the company’s over-ear noise-canceling headphones, the Studio3 Wireless ($350). When wearing the headphones, users can switch between ANC and Transparency modes via a button on the side of the headphones.
Beats claims that the Solo Pro can get up to 22 hours of battery life with ANC or Transparency modes turned on, or up to 40 hours with both modes turned off. Another notable feature: the Beats Solo Pro headphones don’t actually have a power button — to turn them on, you have to unfold them; to turn them off, you fold them back up into a compact form factor.
It’s worth noting that the Solo Pro have the same Audio Sharing feature of all other Apple and Beats headphones featuring the Apple’s W1 and H1 chips (Solo Pro, Powerbeats Pro, Beats Studio3 Wireless, Solo3 Wireless, BeatsX and Powerbeats3 Wireless). This allows two wireless headphones to pair to the same iPhone or iPad so different people can listen to the same audio. While sharing audio, Solo Pro users can still tap in and out of Pure ANC and Transparency modes.
With these new headphones, Beats is leveraging everything that comes with being an Apple-owned company. The Solo Pro headphones take the best parts of Apple’s much-loved AirPods (or the Powerbeats Powers wireless earbuds) and then adds a Beats flair (meaning its signature sound and colorful designs). They also give anybody who finds over-ear headphones uncomfortable but likes the look and feel of Beats headphones a bonafide on-ear alternative.
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