Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones may have range up to 400 ft. or more

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2016
The Class 1 Bluetooth in Apple's new Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones are providing extreme range, in some cases beyond what the Class 1 specification actually calls for, according to user anecdotes.




Officially Class 1 devices are rated for about 300 feet. AppleInsider reader Jim, however, conducted a personal test with an iPhone 6 Plus, mounting the device on a tripod and walking into a nearby hiking trail. Reception was allegedly "solid" for the first 400 feet, only dropping out afterwards if he turned the left ear cup away from the iPhone. By 800 feet, the left cup had to be facing the phone at all times for audio to come through, but it still worked.

While the upcoming Bluetooth 5.0 will support ranges of up to 800 feet, the iPhone 6 Plus is believed to use a Class 2 variant of Bluetooth 4.0, limited to about 33 feet. Anecdotes and reviews suggest that the Solo3 Wireless somehow isn't restricted by the audio source's Bluetooth.

Apple launched the Solo3 Wireless in tandem with the iPhone 7, giving people another wireless headphone option given the phone's lack of a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. It also teased two sets of earbuds, the BeatsX and PowerBeats3 Wireless, both of which should ship later this fall.

All three products are equipped with Apple's proprietary W1 wireless chip, also found in AirPods. This mostly eases pairing with iOS devices and improves battery life, but speculation has been that it might offer some aspects of Bluetooth 5.0.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    400 feet ?  Wow, That's better than wired ethernet at 100 meters.

  • Reply 2 of 23
    That is amazing. I'm looking forward to not only a set of AirPods, but the Solo³ headphones as well. Does anyone know if iPhone 7 supports longer distances for Bluetooth usage?
    repressthisjahblade
  • Reply 3 of 23

    Hmm...

    800 feet with a 2-year-old iPhone... I wonder what it would be with an iPhone 7.

    I wonder if Apple's new wireless earbuds will have the same range -- if they do, you could leave your iPhone in the house while working in the yard or garage.

  • Reply 4 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,296member
    Yup, the newer Class 1 headsets/earbuds are dang amazing, even indoors. My old Sol Republics from a couple years ago get iffy a room or two away. The Class 1 Jabra we use at work stays solid at the far end of the shop approx. 200' away even thru several walls. Not sure if they work any further away tho. 

    The most intriguing part of this tho is that if the report is true than Apple has discovered some way to bypass the Class 2 range of our smartphones. That would be cool. 
    edited September 2016 repressthis
  • Reply 5 of 23
    peterhart said:
    That is amazing. I'm looking forward to not only a set of AirPods, but the Solo³ headphones as well. Does anyone know if iPhone 7 supports longer distances for Bluetooth usage?
    I just re-read the iPhone 7 teardown and it involves several vendors' chips that appear to be customized for Apple, so it's certainly possible.

    http://www.chipworks.com/about-chipworks/overview/blog/apple-iphone-7-teardown

    It's not unlike Apple to early-release hardware for an upcoming standard -- and Apple is on the board of the BT SIG.

    Here's a write up of the upcoming standard:

    https://www.bluetooth.com/news/pressreleases/2016/06/16/-bluetooth5-quadruples-rangedoubles-speedincreases-data-broadcasting-capacity-by-800

    edited September 2016 peterhartcali
  • Reply 6 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,424member
    Shame they use Micro-USB. I'd rather die than buy a technology product with Micro-USB. It's quite surprising they weren't updated to Lightning for charging.
    edited September 2016 repressthiscalijbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 23
    iOS 10 is step backward ... it drops my bluetooth headphone connection and has a hard time picking it up again.  Both devices fully charged.

    Not a happy camper.
    noivad
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Have apple adopted the superior audio protocol that runs on Bluetooth? I forget the name, I think it s ADTx or something?

    Some people have complained that quality is lost via Bluetooth.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,355member
    ireland said:
    Shame they use Micro-USB. I'd rather die than buy a technology product with Micro-USB. It's quite surprising they weren't updated to Lightning for charging.
    what a disappointment.   I'm not buying anything that doesn't have USB TypeC or Lightning.   Thanks for the comment.
    irelandjbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 23
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,173member
    ireland said:
    Shame they use Micro-USB. I'd rather die than buy a technology product with Micro-USB. It's quite surprising they weren't updated to Lightning for charging.
    It's very telling isn't it? Beats services 85% of the world's smartphone market, and they use micro-USB. I'm equally surprised that they didn't at least update to USB-C. But that tells you how entrenched they are in the standards the rest of the world embraces. USB-C is likely going to be a difficult transition for everybody else. I imagine Beats will upgrade to USB-C when the average person in the street can recognize the able and knows what it's used for.

    At a minimum, I'm expecting Beats to go USB-C so you'd have a USB-C to Lightning cable for Apple products, which is the same cable that will eventually come with iOS devices too, so you'd always have a cable. What I was expecting was a Lightning passthrough port on the Beats headphones as well, in much the same way some Beats headphones have two 3.5mm jacks, which allow friends to jack into each others headphones, and share audio. So a Lightning port would allow another pair of Lightning headphones to plug into the headphones, or even plug in a charger, and use the headphones themselves as passthrough adapter. So far, Apple doesn't seem to support audio splitting like that with Lightning, but more importantly it seems unlikely Beats would ever put a lIghtning port in their headphones now. On the other hand, it does seem to push Apple's wireless message.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    iOS 10 is step backward ... it drops my bluetooth headphone connection and has a hard time picking it up again.  Both devices fully charged.

    Not a happy camper.
    Try Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and pair again.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    I know Apple said that all of these new Beats headphones have the W1 chip in them, but it didn't dawn on me until reading the description on Apple's site for some of these new headphones exactly what that means. I watched the whole keynote, but it still didn't sink in. With the W1, these beats headphones all do what the AirPods do with the single pairing and it works with all your devices. Easily switch between all devices, etc. So all of the feature hype they did for AirPods related to ease of use is pretty much supported across all their new headphones. Maybe everyone else got it, but damn that is sweet. I was just thinking cool, they will have good audio, a solid connection, long battery life... Didn't even think the rest applies. Need some wireless headphones for Christmas now to use on all my Apple devices. It would be kind of cool if they Added AppleTV support for non-disruptive watching. It uses my iCloud account too, so why not. :)
    calitycho24
  • Reply 13 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I was at the Apple Store during iPhone7 launch checking these out. I walked off a few feet to see if they stayed paired. I wanted to walk off further but there were two cops in the store who seemed to have their eyes on every single person.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    irelandireland Posts: 17,424member
    mac_128 said:
    ireland said:
    Shame they use Micro-USB. I'd rather die than buy a technology product with Micro-USB. It's quite surprising they weren't updated to Lightning for charging.
    It's very telling isn't it? Beats services 85% of the world's smartphone market, and they use micro-USB. I'm equally surprised that they didn't at least update to USB-C. But that tells you how entrenched they are in the standards the rest of the world embraces. USB-C is likely going to be a difficult transition for everybody else. I imagine Beats will upgrade to USB-C when the average person in the street can recognize the able and knows what it's used for.

    At a minimum, I'm expecting Beats to go USB-C so you'd have a USB-C to Lightning cable for Apple products, which is the same cable that will eventually come with iOS devices too, so you'd always have a cable. What I was expecting was a Lightning passthrough port on the Beats headphones as well, in much the same way some Beats headphones have two 3.5mm jacks, which allow friends to jack into each others headphones, and share audio. So a Lightning port would allow another pair of Lightning headphones to plug into the headphones, or even plug in a charger, and use the headphones themselves as passthrough adapter. So far, Apple doesn't seem to support audio splitting like that with Lightning, but more importantly it seems unlikely Beats would ever put a lIghtning port in their headphones now. On the other hand, it does seem to push Apple's wireless message.
    Beats X and Pill+ have Lightning for charging. People buy Solo3's for wireless. 400-800 feet range. 40 hour playback. Wired is only for emergency. The key here above all else is iPhone owners being able to bring only one charger with them on a trip or visit and being able to charge both their phone and their phones with the same charger. That's convenience. And no Android phones charge with Micro-USB so if someone was to try that specific argument—you didn't—it wouldn't fly.

    It would be a way better experience for iPhone owners needing to charge, reversible charging just like USBc—for everyone. And couple of cables to sort a jack and Lightning wired listening experience for all users.

    But really, like I say people are going to buy these exclusively for wireless listening. They are not DJ headphones, they are on-ears. Cut the chord and provide just only Lightning port and plug and cable exclusively for charging. 
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 15 of 23
    When Apple acquired Beats, I expected them to move toward consolidating all their headphones under one brand -- either Beats or Apple, but not both (perpetually). So far, they have not.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,173member
    When Apple acquired Beats, I expected them to move toward consolidating all their headphones under one brand -- either Beats or Apple, but not both (perpetually). So far, they have not.
    Hard to imagine they would do that since Beats addresses 85% of the world's smartphone community, and Apple only addresses 15% worldwide. Apple's AirPods for instance give Apple an edge that isn't available to anyone not using a new iPhone with a W1 chip. So there's actually room for both. It also allows Beats to make decisions that are more practical for the headphone market at large, without affecting Apple's reputation and Brand (and vice-versa).
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 17 of 23
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,173member

    ireland said:
    mac_128 said:
    ireland said:
    Shame they use Micro-USB. I'd rather die than buy a technology product with Micro-USB. It's quite surprising they weren't updated to Lightning for charging.
    It's very telling isn't it? Beats services 85% of the world's smartphone market, and they use micro-USB. I'm equally surprised that they didn't at least update to USB-C. But that tells you how entrenched they are in the standards the rest of the world embraces. USB-C is likely going to be a difficult transition for everybody else. I imagine Beats will upgrade to USB-C when the average person in the street can recognize the able and knows what it's used for.

    At a minimum, I'm expecting Beats to go USB-C so you'd have a USB-C to Lightning cable for Apple products, which is the same cable that will eventually come with iOS devices too, so you'd always have a cable. What I was expecting was a Lightning passthrough port on the Beats headphones as well, in much the same way some Beats headphones have two 3.5mm jacks, which allow friends to jack into each others headphones, and share audio. So a Lightning port would allow another pair of Lightning headphones to plug into the headphones, or even plug in a charger, and use the headphones themselves as passthrough adapter. So far, Apple doesn't seem to support audio splitting like that with Lightning, but more importantly it seems unlikely Beats would ever put a lIghtning port in their headphones now. On the other hand, it does seem to push Apple's wireless message.
    Beats X and Pill+ have Lightning for charging. People buy Solo3's for wireless. 400-800 feet range. 40 hour playback. Wired is only for emergency. The key here above all else is iPhone owners being able to bring only one charger with them on a trip or visit and being able to charge both their phone and their phones with the same charger. That's convenience. And no Android phones charge with Micro-USB so if someone was to try that specific argument—you didn't—it wouldn't fly.

    It would be a way better experience for iPhone owners needing to charge, reversible charging just like USBc—for everyone. And couple of cables to sort a jack and Lightning wired listening experience for all users.

    But really, like I say people are going to buy these exclusively for wireless listening. They are not DJ headphones, they are on-ears. Cut the chord and provide just only Lightning port and plug and cable exclusively for charging. 
    Right, I see what you mean, most people are buying wireless to use them wirelessly, so it doesn't matter what you plug into them to charge them, so why not Lightning? But, it's important that any wireless headphone allows them to be used as hard-wired headphones as well, since batteries do run out. Also, BT doesn't currently allow for multiple BT streams of the same audio program. Since we know Beats actually sees this as a feature their customers use, there's another reason to provide a compatible port, that might be an easy way to share a BT connection. I've recently learned of BT headphones that act as a BT hub allowing other BT devices to connect to them and share their connection with the primary device. So that's an option as well. But again, as Beats is serving 85% of the world's smartphones and Apple only 15%, I'd suggest that the reason they haven't gone Lightning is because of the availability of micro-usb power cables for that market. It's the same reason switching the iPhone to USB-C doesn't make any sense, as I can buy a Lightning cable anywhere, but not so much a USB-C cable at the moment, and its likely to be that way for several more years before I can walk into a 7-11 at 3AM and buy a USB-C cable.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Hello all,

        I don't know if this is in the spec or not but I suspect it is Bluetooth + Wifi. That is how wireless CarPlay works and I suspect that is how they get this range here. 

    John
  • Reply 19 of 23
    I guess the article could say "may" work at up to 100 miles. Why did they just not get a pair and test them to see if they worked at 400 feet? Then they could say they "can" or "have" worked at up to 400 feet. I may go out and buy a pair and see if they may work at 400 feet. Then again I may not. I just so indecisive. 
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 20 of 23
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,173member
    ncsucpe said:
    Hello all,

        I don't know if this is in the spec or not but I suspect it is Bluetooth + Wifi. That is how wireless CarPlay works and I suspect that is how they get this range here. 

    John
    That would draw a lot of power. Apple was on the BT SIG board and helped develop BT 5. They could have implemented draft specs into their custom W1 chip, since we know BT 5 supports up to 4x the range of current BT which is about 100-200 feet with BT 4.
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