Beats' and Apple's 2016 Audio Lineup

September 09, 2016

This was an incredibly exciting week for audio tech, with IFA 2016 held last weekend and Apple's Special Event just yesterday where the iPhone 7 was launched. 
Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless - Flash Blue

I was itching to send out a couple of articles out but I decided to refrain. I was in Krabi, Thailand (yet again) for the past week but with two babies in tow this time round. It was a wonderful experience where time could be spent as a family and a conscious decision was made to live as a digital hermit. I feel that sharpening the saw gives new perspectives to life and this trip definitely reinforced this view.

And now that I am back in SG, with a keyboard proper, let's dive in to check out what Beats and Apple have in store. I'll tear away the marketing talk and attempt to present a balanced view of these new products.

What's The Big Deal?
Well, the talk of the town centered on the iPhone 7's headphone jack (or lack thereof). We had talked about this sometime last year, but now that the removal of the 3.5mm jack is cast in stone, Bluetooth earphones are now a much more interesting proposition. Sure, Apple made a Lightning connector but the SGD 14 (USD 9) accessory seriously looks daft to use considering that you can't charge the phone simultaneously. So with that, there are 4 products to check out - 1 Apple and 3 Beats, all wireless and powered by Apple's W1 chip that promise more power on a single charge.
Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter

1. Apple AirPods
So we found out that the rumors were true. This is Apple's first attempt at truly wireless buds that Earin, Bragi and Samsung have all already released. They weigh an ultra light 4g and promise a 5 hour (listening) battery life on a single charge, better than most we've tried, and up to 24 hours in total when combined with its 38g charging case. Its design appears to mimic the mono Bluetooth headsets (remember those?) worn in the early 2000s. Could be a hit or miss. We'll look on in anticipation at how it fares.
Apple AirPods

Battery Life - 5 hours / 15 min Quick Charge for 3 hours
Colors - White
Price - SGD 238 / GBP 159 / USD 159
Availability - October 2016
Apple AirPods

2. BeatsX
This is the first Beats product with a new industrial design since the Apple merger and they are in-ear neck-phones, a category popularized by the LG TONE. They should sit comfortably around the neck, come with wingtips for better fit on the go and the buds magnetically latch to each other when not in use. 

Battery Life - 8 hours / 5 min Quick Charge for 2 hours
Colors - White/ Black
Price - SGD 198 / GBP 129 / USD 149
Availability - Autumn 2016

Read - BeatsX Neckband Headphones Review

3. Beats Solo3 Wireless 
It appears that you've seen these 215g on-ear headphones before. You sure have because it looks identical to its predecessor, the Solo2 Wireless that we reviewed. The big diff is the Solo2 had 12 hours of power whereas the new Solo3 Wireless boasts a more impressive 40 hours. All the colors are designed to match the new iPhone 7 range. Oh, and price is almost SGD 100 down (SGD 490 to SGD 398). 
Beats Solo3 Wireless

Battery Life - 40 hours / 5 min Quick Charge for 3 hours
Colors - Gloss Black /Gloss White /Silver /Rose Gold /Black
Price - SGD 398 / GBP 249 / USD 299
Availability - Out now

Beats Solo3 Wireless

4. Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless
The design of these sports wireless in-ears is practically the same as the Powerbeats2 Wireless (also reviewed), apart from the color accents being applied to different areas for the Active Collection range (Blue/ Red/ Yellow). The battery has doubled from the 6h of its predecessor to 12h. Price-wise, it's more agreeable at SGD 268 instead of SGD 310.
Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless - White

Battery Life - 12 hours / 5 min Quick Charge for 1 hour
Colors - Black /White/ Flash Blue/ Siren Red/ Shock Yellow
Price - SGD 268 / GBP 169 / USD 199
Availability - Autumn 2016
Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless - Shock Yellow

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