Gently, but surely, Beats continues to reshape its range of Bluetooth headsets. After Studio 3 Wireless, the manufacturer attacks the on-ear format with the Solo Pro. Let's hope it's not just a simple update.
The Beats Solo Pro is the advanced version of the Solo3 Wireless. This headset is positioned alongside the Studio 3 Wireless at the top of the range of Beats headphones. The American manufacturer has therefore placed all its know-how. Active noise reduction more powerful, better sound, 22 hours of autonomy, Apple's H1 chip ... This model wants to establish itself as a reference Bluetooth headset on-ear.
- Very wide frequency response, well balanced over a large part of the spectrum.
- Beautiful reproduction of the stereo space.
- Excellent distortion management.
- Efficiency of active noise reduction, especially on vocals.
- Good autonomy.
- Imbalance extreme low / low-medium, some slight overflows.
- No improvements on comfort (rubber hoop, clip effect).
- No mini-jack input / adapter not supplied
- No display of the remaining autonomy in use.
- A USB-C port would have been more convenient.
Beats Solo Pro Review
After three generations of Solo, Beats finally decided to revisit a little the aesthetic aspect of his headphones on-ear. The Solo Pro has a design and finer finishes. Some parts, including the hoop and hinges, leave the plastic for metal, and even the plastic used seems more robust overall. There are no manufacturing defects or unsightly assembly marks. The helmet fits very easily in the case provided with its foldable hoop. Note however that the Solo Pro is quite heavy for a wireless headphone (267 g is 12 g more than the WH-1000XM3 for example), it is not extremely flexible and that the atria do not rotate flat (90 °).
There was plenty to do for Beats regarding the comfort of the Solo Pro. Its predecessor, the Solo3 Wireless, is not really an example on this point. The manufacturer seems to be a little too stopped on the aesthetic rendering of his youngest since there is no noticeable evolution. The pads are very soft to the touch, the used memory foam is effective, but this is not enough to perfectly compensate both the cleavage aspect of the design on-ear (which says rest on the flag of the ear , said pressure accentuated with the branches of the glasses, even possible discomfort with the piercings) and the effect of clamp relatively marked of the helmet itself. With or without glasses or piercing, we are obliged to take regular breaks. What's more, the rubbery hoop is back to play a trick on our most hairy friends. The contact it offers is not particularly comfortable and the deployment is just a bit of hair for larger heads (33 to 42 cm by measuring from ear to ear and passing through the top of the head). The maintenance is impeccable on the other hand.
Beats Solo Pro Bluetooth Headset
The essential commands are present. The Solo Pro has the same control panel as the previous model, namely a central button on the right headset (management of music playback, calls, triggering the voice assistant, navigation between tracks according to the number of pressures ) and two buttons above and below to manage the listening volume. The controls respond perfectly well, it will only accommodate the small resonance generated by the support on the physical buttons. A new button appears on the lower part of the left atrium. This allows you to enable or disable the active noise reduction, or to activate the listening mode for surrounding noise.
The experience of use offered by the Solo Pro does not have much to do with that of the Solo3 Wireless. Admittedly, the Apple chip is still in the game (the Solo Pro swaps the W1 chip for the H1 chip) to make the use of the headset always more pleasant with Apple devices (automatic recognition, faster pairing, renaming, charge level ...). On the other hand, for the sake of extreme simplification, the manufacturer has seen fit to remove the battery level indicators on the helmet. Even worse, the 3.5mm mini-jack input has disappeared in favor of a single Lightning port (we would have clearly preferred a USB-C port). It is therefore impossible to charge the headset and use it as a passive at the same time. But the manufacturer has pushed the vice to the extreme by choosing not to provide the Lightning cable to mini-jack 3.5 mm yet present in its catalog. Getting it will save you from the modest sum of € 39 - outrageously outrageous.
Beats Solo Pro Headset
The Solo Pro is not exactly the most intuitive and complete headset on the market, especially for neophytes and Android users. It will indeed rely on the only small indicator light and some sound indications on the helmet. We advise you to take a look at the guide provided before anything else. If you put the active noise reduction and the listening mode of surrounding noise, the features are not legion: there is no equalizer, no use profiles, no multipoint connection, even less precise management of the level of active noise reduction.
The autonomy promised by the Solo Pro is relatively generous for a headset of this type with active noise reduction: 22 hours with active noise reduction and 40 hours without it. These values are easily verified in practice. We were able to overtake them very slightly with a relatively generous listening volume. In terms of communication latency via Bluetooth, the Solo Pro is making progress compared to its predecessor the Solo3 Wireless. With a little over 150 ms of latency and a good integration of the Bluetooth protocol, we can comfortably watch video content via some mobile applications (YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, those that apply some latency compensation). This remains correct outside this specific use.
The Solo Pro is equipped with two microphones for the handsfree function. They unfortunately deliver poor performance outdoors. As long as you are in a street a little too noisy with a little traffic nearby, the voice is completely hidden under the action of the algorithm to reduce surrounding noise. You can clearly hear the effects on our sound sample. On the other hand, nothing to report in quiet environments, the microphones perform very well their office.
The Solo Pro delivers particularly strong sound performance. This model controls its subject much better than its predecessors, and demonstrates once again that it is possible to offer a relatively colorful sound without cutting corners on quality and details. The Solo Pro opts for a wiser and more controlled approach than its predecessor, the Solo3 Wireless. The signature W is still required, but it is the seat and the depth that are highlighted rather than the warm or round bass. The feeling of impact and pressure coming from this area of the spectrum is particularly noticeable. The presence of an EQ would not have been too much to assuage the bass if necessary. The generosity of the Solo Pro for this region is well mastered since the rendering remains relatively well detailed and readable. There are still some limitations in the behavior of the membranes when they are really tested in this area (especially with very close attacks on large drums, or with synths sweeps descending very low, for example ).
The sound restitution of the rest of the spectrum is distinguished by a very beautiful linearity, which reminds us besides that of another super-auricular helmet, the Jabra Evolve 75. The trained ears will perceive two subtle embonpoints in the mediums (between 1 and 2 kHz) and in the treble (much less than what may suggest the measure) bringing a zest of "slamming" and extra shine. Respect for the stamps is at the rendezvous and the voices are perfectly intelligible. Without being surgical, the precision remains very correct of the mediums at the highest frequencies. The sound is sharp, defined and punchy, without ever being aggressive. We also appreciate the beautiful extension in the treble. They are large and airy. The stereophonic scene is relatively wide and deep, we replace the elements without difficulty. We do not achieve the level of naturalness and detail delivered by a circum-auricular headset like the WH-1000XM3, that said.
Beats signs its first active noise reduction integration in a headset with the Solo Pro. Apart from a very moderate attenuation of the noises in the lowest frequencies (which are slightly amplified by the wearing of the helmet), it is particularly effective. The surrounding noise is very much reduced, which makes it possible to comfortably listen to any content even in very noisy environments (public transport, street works or with a very dense traffic), even at low listening volume. The active noise reduction function is also very effective on the vocals with attenuation of about 20 dB on the low-mid / midrange part (which corresponds to the fundamental and the effect of proximity of the voices), and even higher in the mediums (zone of presence, intelligibility). This is certainly one of the best active noise reductions that we have seen on a headset to date.
The listening function of the surrounding sounds is much less impressive, but not uninteresting. It is especially useful when it comes to listening quickly to a conversation or an announcement without having to remove the headphones, but less to perceive precisely what is happening around us. Indeed, the sharp clean cut in the treble and the slight lack of power rendering this mode does not give a particularly natural listening. We still feel some of the insulation of the headphones and we have trouble locating the sounds and sometimes identify them clearly.
With the Solo Pro, Beats once again demonstrates its ability to renew its formula for sound reproduction, without forgetting its heritage. This headset offers a great listening experience (especially for bass lovers) with the added bonus of a damaging noise reduction effective for a headphone of this type. On the other hand, we expected more from the side of comfort, always so average, and the experience of use. If you are not specifically looking for a headset or you do not worship the manufacturer's products, you will find circum models that are more interesting (and sometimes less expensive) like the Elite 85h, the QC35 II or the WH -1000XM3.
Dr Dre Beats Solo Pro