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Tech Talk Reviews: Beats Solo 4

This story is part of Tech Talk Reviews, a series highlighting tech reporter and digital creator Michelai Graham’s experience testing new tech gadgets, emerging platforms, apps, games, and more. Find more reviews here.

It has been nearly eight years since Beats by Dre announced a new pair of Solo wireless headphones. The iconic over-ear headphones inspired a generation of audio offerings.

All of that changed this week when the consumer audio products maker expanded its marquee headphones line with Beats Solo 4 and announced new wireless earbuds, coined Beats Solo Buds.

In this latest edition of Tech Talk Reviews, I give you all the specs about the Solo 4s and share my experience testing the new wireless headphones after not using a Beats product for nearly six months.

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The Specifics

(Photo courtesy of Beats)

Beats first announced the Solo 3 wireless headphones in September 2016, so it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen a new iteration from the product line. In recent years, the company has focused on releasing different iterations of its earbuds and Beats Studio wireless headphones.

So, let’s learn a little more about the Solo 4.

Most notably, the headphones feature personalized spatial audio, 50 hours of battery life, and UltraPlush headphone cushions for comfort. The Solo 4 also supports wired audio via its USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm audio jack that can power the device even if the battery life runs out. The headphones feature the iconic lower case b logo, which on the left side doubles as a play/pause button on a single tap and a skip button on a double tap. The outer ring of the “b” logo on the left side also features discreet volume control buttons. The headphones feature the number four on the right side to highlight the interaction of the product.

(Photo by Audrey Blackmore)

The Solo 4 is equipped with native software features for both Android and iOS devices. For example, I can use the Find My feature to locate my headphones or use one-tap pairing on my iPhone. The headphones feature classic Solo characteristics, such as a flex-grip headband, customizable sliders to adjust fit, and durable cushioning. However, Beats’ newest headphones are not water or sweat-resistant and they don’t feature active noise cancellation tech.

Beats re-engineered its latest Solo product to improve acoustics and audio clarity, and the audio leader even added personalized spatial audio. The product can also handle calls and voice assistant interaction.

The company announced its two newest audio products in a national campaign that features WNBA rookie Angel ReeseOlympic sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, and tennis star Naomi Osaka.

Beats Solo 4 is available in Matte Black, Slate Blue, and Cloud Pink. The product retails for $199.99 and can be purchased at apple.com.

Michelai’s Review

(Photo by Audrey Blackmore)

Solo 4 headphones came in the coolest packaging, which included a mini puffer backpack and a recyclable casing made from forest materials. When I put the headphones on my head, nostalgia set in automatically. They are just as narrow and sleek as the Solo 3, which I was 100% loyal to before I switched them up six months ago (I’ll expand on this in a later review).

I was impressed with the long battery life, and while my headphones were never in danger, I tested out the USB-C and 3.5mm audio jack for review purposes. The audio didn’t degrade at all, no matter if I was connected to my headphones wirelessly or via cord connectivity.

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Another positive feature of the Solo 4 is how easy and quick it is to connect to them on multiple devices. I have never had the Beats app on my iPhone until now, but even without it, connecting to all of my devices was quick and seamless. My favorite part of the connectivity is that I could quickly pivot between devices, which I often do jam on my phone while writing before jumping into a meeting on my laptop. May sound simple, but I’ve had trouble with this while testing other headphones.

(Photo by Audrey Blackmore)

Unlike many competitors on the market, I was surprised to see that the Solo 4 headphones don’t feature active noise cancellation tech. But this is the main reason why their battery life is so high. I’m not sure if this was intentional, but the snug fit of the ear cushions naturally handles some active noise cancellation, which was one of the main pros and cons for me.

The Solo 4s sit on my ear instead of cupping my ear as I prefer. Now, I do have pretty petite ears, and it just seems the headphones added some unwanted pressure on my ears over time. After wearing them for an extended time, the section of my ear right above my piercings would get pretty sore. To avoid discomfort, I actually opted out of wearing ear jewelry while testing the Solo 4s.

But still, even through the mild discomfort, the headphones’ plush memory foam cushioning does feel good on the ear, just not for too long. Whether the snugness was supposed to knock out surrounding sound, I think it does a good job at doing so, which makes up for not having active noise canceling.

I’m an avid gym girlie, and I enjoyed the fact that these headphones were sturdy. I’d say Beats didn’t miss on that front at all. And with the iOS compatibility, I loved that I could still use Hey Siri with my headphones on. I am a little worried about the absence of water-resistant material, but I have never had a problem with that with previous models of Beats headphones.

The overall sound quality of the headphones is great, and I found myself getting lost in my music more than I typically do while wearing my Solo 4s. I even tested the sound quality of the headphones over voice memos, both for sending and receiving, and everything sounded crisp. A friend did tell me the headphones pick up a lot of natural sound around me when I was recording voice memos outside, but she was still able to hear my voice primarily.

Beats headphones are one of those products with a strong cultural tie, from the target audience to savvy marketing campaigns featuring the biggest stars on the scene. The company created a beautiful product, and the colorways are *chef’s kiss* so good! As you see above, the Slate Blue color looks like it was made to be plastered on a product such as this.

If the Solo 4 iteration is anything like its predecessor, then these headphones have a good and long life ahead of them. My Solo 3s are still kicking after two-plus years of use, and I have no doubt that if I dusted them off today, they’d power up with no issue.

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Michelai Graham

Michelai Graham is Boardroom's resident tech and crypto reporter. Before joining 35V, she was a freelance reporter with bylines in AfroTech, HubSpot, The Plug, and Lifewire, to name a few. At Boardroom, Michelai covers Web3, NFTs, crypto, tech, and gaming. Off the clock, you can find her producing her crime podcast, The Point of No Return.

About The Author
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham
Michelai Graham is Boardroom's resident tech and crypto reporter. Before joining 35V, she was a freelance reporter with bylines in AfroTech, HubSpot, The Plug, and Lifewire, to name a few. At Boardroom, Michelai covers Web3, NFTs, crypto, tech, and gaming. Off the clock, you can find her producing her crime podcast, The Point of No Return.