Home Tech The Beats Solo 4 skips extra features in favor of great sound

The Beats Solo 4 skips extra features in favor of great sound

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Blue headphones folded inwards sitting on a wooden surface

there is not much to the new Beats Solo 4 Headphones at first glance. What’s missing from this $200 package is any form of noise cancellation or transparency mode. There’s no auto-pause feature or water resistance rating, something you might expect from earbuds shown as jogging companions in marketing videos.

Beats seems proud of the Solo 4’s stark minimalism, highlighting instead its slim design, improved sound, and versatile core features. Highlights include up to 50 hours of playtime per charge, the ability to connect with 3.5mm or USB-C for lossless audio, and the most convenient internal features for Android and Apple phones, such as one-touch pairing and a headphone tracker.

Admittedly, I initially despised the Solo 4 for its lack of firepower, but after several days of testing, the sound continued to call to me. Its warm, clean, buttery performance emerges from a redesigned acoustic architecture that demonstrates that Apple’s sonic influence on the Beats brand runs deep. You can get a lot more tech from other options, but there’s enough here to make the Solo 4 worth considering for some, especially once the price inevitably drops.

Skillful and simple

The Solo 4’s aesthetic hasn’t strayed far from its roots. Here you’ll get all the elements of a modern Beats device, like a matte plastic casing in bold colors and the signature Beats logo on each earbud. The headphones fold up for travel and fit into a nifty compact case with pockets inside for the included USB-C and 3.5mm cables.

Photography: Ryan Waniata

Over-ear headphones like the Solo 4 are a rarity these days, and I generally find them more comfortable because they press against your head, not your ears. The clamping force of the Solo 4 can cause some discomfort over time, but I was able to wear them for several hours without major complaints and had no problems putting on sunglasses.

The firm grip keeps the earbuds in place and provides solid passive noise isolation, a good thing considering the Solo 4 prevents any form of ambient audio. Without a doubt, in 2024 it is strange that such sporty-looking headphones do without transparency mode so that you can hear the world around you when you exercise. A good water resistance rating, something most flagship earbuds don’t offer, would have been a nice inclusion instead.

I like the Solo 4’s simplified control system, which offers intuitive volume and playback keys centered around the Beats logo on the left side. Like the Studio Pro, the plastic key is a little noisy, but that’s less of a concern at this price. The other major omission from the Solo 4 that bothered me for several days is the lack of auto-pause or auto-off sensors. Again, it’s not a big deal given the massive 50-hour battery life, but it’s something you’d expect at this level.

any or

That’s not to say the Solo 4 doesn’t have advanced features. They offer an intriguing double-dip of tricks for Android and Apple devices, courtesy of the proprietary Beats platform. The system, which also powers the Studio Pro (7/10, WIRED recommended) and many of the latest Beats headphones, enables convenient one-touch pairing and Find My features for any type of device, while also catering to each in a few key ways. .

Android-compatible features include automatic pairing and audio switching between Google-connected tablets and phones, as well as a Beats app for some basic customizations and firmware updates. On the Apple side, you’ll get hands-free “Hey Siri” voice control, basic personalization options on the phone, message playback, and audio sharing. They will also automatically transfer to your Apple Eitch, but will not allow automatic switching between iCloud devices like AirPods.

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