At a Glance
If you must have Beats and you want in-ear wired headphones then the urBeats3 are the best you can get. Their audio is similar to the wireless BeatsX but with the advantage of a headphone jack.
Comfort was a slight issue for us over extended periods, but you might find otherwise. With an RRP at under half the price of the BeatsX, the urBeats3 are a bit of a steal.
The Beats urBeats3 might not have the immediate familiarity of the over-ear Beats headphones but they are a worthy addition to the range. They have an in-ear design, several colour options and great sound – all for a cheaper RRP in 2018.
Beats urBeats3: Price and availability
The urBeats3 come in two different versions. One belies their Apple affiliation with a Lightning connector rather than headphone jack.
Both versions cost £59.95/$59.95 – a great new price. They used to sell for £89.95/$89.95. The score in this review reflects the new value of paying £40/$40 less.
Lightning urBeats3 come in several colours that match the hues of the iPhone XR.
We reviewed the
regular headphone jack version of the urBeats3 which are identical save for the input jack.
Beats urBeats3: Design and build
The urbeats3 look like a lot of other earphones given the wired in-ear design. Our pair were made more distinctively Beats-like thanks to the familiar red and black colours of the brand.
All pairs have a flat cable design that effectively stops tangled wires and is welcome. The cables are rubberised and are split at a sturdy splitter halfway down the wiring.
The left cable has a volume and play/pause control, the opposite side to Apple’s EarPods. The earphones themselves have the Beats ‘b’ on each and a rubber tip.
In the box are four different tips and two sizes of optional wingtip. We found we needed to use the small wingtip with the graded tip rather than the regular tips.
This is good as it shows the versatility of fit. In-ear headphones are not one size fits all unlike on- or over-ear designs.
Despite this, we found the urBeats3 uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. The tips felt a bit stuffed into our ears and the wing tips began to make our ears sore after a while.
Comfort is subjective of course, but it’s impossible to try a pair before buying (or return them after wearing) for obvious hygiene reasons, so be aware.
Only buy the Lightning connector version if you’re certain they will only ever be used with an iPhone or iPad, or if you know you’re going to forget
the headphone dongle if you opt for the 3.5mm jack version. But we prefer the latter as we used them with various devices including an iMac and MacBook, products that retain the headphone jack.
Beats urBeats3: Sound quality and features
Thankfully the urBeats3 sound pretty great if they are properly fitting for you. Like all in-ear designs you’ll only get the best sound out of them if they form a seal in your ear to achieve natural noise isolation – if they are ill fitting you’ll get gaps and the sound won’t be as good.
When worn properly the cans sounds surprisingly bassy as you might expect from a Beats product. “No Going Back” by Yuno retains the bouncy bass you’d hope for but loses out a bit in the midrange – to be expected on in-ears. The smaller drivers mean the high end is fine but details in the mids are missed a tad.
But don’t get us wrong, the urBeats3 are better than most in-ears in their price range. This is true even of their original price of £89.95, but they are now sold for £59.95 making them a bit of a steal.
“Far Away Truths” by Albert Hammond Jr. is well handled with decent stereo separation, with bass guitar and tom-toms crystal clear in the mix. The slow build mix of Lemon Jelly’s “The Fruity Track” is also impressive in the level of detail represented (and certainly lost on EarPods) but if you’re a real bass head you will want to consider over-ear Beats instead.
In fact, most music sounds great through the urBeats3, even if “Master of Puppets” by Metallica does sound a bit muddy. For the price they are hard to fault, but the comfort is a disappointing downside to long term wear. We’d also prefer to use them without wingtips but found it impossible to achieve a good fit without them attached.
The inline remote works as you’d expect with an iPhone and you can take calls very easily without removing the earphones. Siri is also supported.