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Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
Beats Solo3 (2016)
See Top Ranked Closed-Back Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) vs Beats Solo3 (2016)

Analysis:

The Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) is one of the very best Closed-Back Headphones that one can get for around $320. The Beats Solo3 (2016), however, while a very good choice at its $110 price point, falls just short of being remarkable.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) has impressed reviewers from two sources that are among the most highly trusted on the internet, namely SoundGuys and Tom's Guide. It did great in their objective hands-on roundups - it earned the "Best Active Noise-Cancelling" and "Great noise cancellation meets even greater sound" awards from SoundGuys and Tom's Guide, respectively. That's high praise from such reputable sources.

Returning to the Beats Solo3 (2016), it managed to impress reviewers from two sources that are considered to be some of the most highly trusted on the internet, thanks to their in-depth hands-on testing - Rtings and SoundGuys. It performed great in their respective Closed-Back Headphone roundups - it was named "Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones For Battery Life" by Rtings and "Best on ear headphones" by SoundGuys. That's quite an endorsement, especially coming from such high-quality sources.

When we thoroughly analyzed their review scores, we learned that all of the sources that tested both Closed-Back Headphones, including Pocket-lint, TrustedReviews, What Hi-Fi?, Digitaltrends, Techradar, Head-fi, SoundGuys, CNET, PCmag, and Rtings, preferred the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) over the Beats Solo3 (2016).

We also took a look at which sources they managed to impress the most. The Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) was liked best by Pocket-lint, which gave it a score of 10, while the Beats Solo3 (2016) got its highest, 9, score from Runnerclick.

Lastly, we averaged out all of their review ratings and observed that the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017), with its 9.0 average, performed considerably better than most Closed-Back Headphones - the mean score for the product category being 7.4 out of 10 - while the Beats Solo3 (2016) managed an average of 7.2.

There's one caveat here - it might not be entirely justifiable to do a direct Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) vs. Beats Solo3 (2016) review average comparison since they aren't priced the same and more expensive products tend to get higher review scores from some sources.

Comparison of expert ratings
Highly Recommended
Recommended
Mentioned
Not Mentioned
SoundGuys
Tom's Guide
HomeTheaterReview.com
Rtings
PCmag
TechGearLab
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Techradar
CNET
TrustedReviews
Tech. Specs Comparison
Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
$279
Beats Solo3 (2016)
$120
Noise-cancelling
Yes
No
Wireless
Yes
Yes
Significantly higher than average expert review score
Highly recommended by trusted experts
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best headphones at Target: Trust the red polo shirts” 
Last updated: 17 Oct 2018
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Great noise cancellation meets even greater sound
in “Best Sony headphones 2020: Top wireless and wired Picks” 
Last updated: 21 Aug 2019
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best headphones
in “Headphones, speakers, and soundbars: the best audio tech we heard at IFA 2019” 
Last updated: 7 Sep 2019
BestReviews
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Sony Headphones” 
Last updated: a day ago
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best audio gifts for grads 2018” 
Last updated: 5 May 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Headphones
in “TechRadar Middle East Awards – honoring the best from 2017” 
Last updated: 6 Feb 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 10
in “The best Sony headphones 2020: 10 models to appeal to your inner audiophile ” 
Last updated: 20 days ago
Good Housekeeping
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Wireless Headphones for Quality Sound” 
Last updated: 22 Aug 2018
Highly recommended by trusted experts
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones For Battery Life
in “The 6 Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones - Summer 2020” 
Last updated: 11 days ago
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best on ear headphones
in “Best Fashion Headphones for Men and Women” 
Last updated: 31 Mar 2017
TechGearLab
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Rated 5.9 out of 10
in “The Best Over-Ear Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 9 Jun 2020
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #7 out of 10
in “Beats headphones 2020: Top wireless and wired picks” 
Last updated: 4 Oct 2019
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 6
in “The Best Headphones for the Gym of 2020” 
Last updated: 7 Oct 2019
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #11 out of 12
in “Best on-ear headphones 2020: our pick of the best supra-aural cans” 
Last updated: 9 Jun 2020
The Spruce
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Headphones
in “The 18 Best Graduation Gifts of 2020” 
TechGearLab
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Rated 5.9 out of 10
in “The Best Wireless Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 22 May 2020
The Spruce
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best for Music Lovers
in “The 9 Best Gifts for Women in 2020” 
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Bluetooth Wireless Headphones” 
Last updated: 13 Apr 2020
BestReviews
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Beats Headphones” 
Last updated: a day ago
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 7 Best Headphones For Running - Summer 2020” 
Last updated: 5 days ago
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best after Christmas sales of 2019” 
Last updated: 26 Dec 2019
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 6 Best On-Ear Headphones - Summer 2020” 
Last updated: 21 days ago

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