PowerBeats

Which W1 chip-equipped audio device should you get?

Because Apple nixed the 3.5mm headphone jack from the bottom of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, you either have to use the supplied Lightning dongle for backwards compatibility with your 3.5mm audio accessories, or you have to kick it up to the new age with a pair of wireless or Lightning-enabled audio devices instead.

When you don’t want to be bothered with the issue of charging your device at the same time you’re listening to audio with headphones or earbuds in, the obvious choice is to go wireless. While there are tons of options, only a few come with Apple’s brand new W1 chip, which supports the slick new Bluetooth pairing process. Among those are AirPods, Beats Solo3, and Powerbeats3.

If you’re in a predicament and can’t decide between the three then you should find this piece helpful, because I’ll be comparing the strengths and weaknesses of each from a variety of angles.

Testing the operating range of AirPods and Beats Solo3 vs non-W1 Beats headphones

Much has been said about the virtues of the W1 chip Apple started baking into their latest wireless Beats line-up and of course the AirPods. By now we know for sure that W1 facilitates a much faster pairing process, as do we know that the chip significantly amplifies both battery life and conservation techniques. What’s less prominently talked about – at least from official sides – is the operating range of these wireless headphones and the presumed effect the W1 chip addition has had on that benchmark.

For I felt information on the internet was just a bit too murky to count on, I decided to take it upon myself and conduct a little experiment: I packed my rucksack with four headphones (two of which boast the new W1 chip) and headed to a nearby park in order to pit them against each other. Pairing them one after another and then slowly making a bee-line for the opposite direction, one thing quickly became clear: the results for the maximum distance obtainable aren’t surprising in terms of order, but they definitely are in their clarity.