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Hands-On

Hands on: Beats' urBeats3 earphones a colorful alternative to Apple's EarPods for the iPhone XR

At the same time as the unveiling of the iPhone XR, Beats revealed it would be producing versions of the urBeats3 to match the new range of colors offered by Apple's new smartphone. AppleInsider checks out the new arrivals, to see if they really do match up.

Beats urBeats3 on an iPhone XR

Beats urBeats3 on an iPhone XR


Inside the box



Since these are Beats headphones, a premium alternative to Apple's own EarPods it supplies with the iPhone X, the urBeats3 ship in a fairly large box in comparison to the size of the product. The top item inside the box is a tray openly displaying the earphones, with the cables tucked into a pull-open compartment.



Along with the earphones is a second tray that holds the obligatory documentation, a Beats sticker, and a collection of alternate tips. Four different sizes of tips are offered, allowing users to select the style and shape they find most comfortable to use.

The physical examination



At its core, the urBeats3 are the style that stay in the ear canal, held in place by the cushioning, unlike Apple's EarPods which largely stay at the opening. As a result, the main section of each Beats earphone is therefore much larger than Apple's version, including the cushioning.

Beats urBeats3 next to Apple's EarPods

Beats urBeats3 next to Apple's EarPods


One neat trick that the urBeats pull is that the earbuds are magnetic, allowing them to stick to each other. In theory, this makes it a lot easier to store the urBeats3 without worrying that they will tangle up as much as other loose earphones.

The embedded magnets hold the urBeats3 together when stored

The embedded magnets hold the urBeats3 together when stored


The cable length is approximately the same as the EarPods offered by Apple, complete with the Lightning connector on the end. The in-line connector is thicker than Apple's version, though largely works the same, but the point where the cable splits to feed each earphone is also a much larger item than expected.

The volume control and Lightning connector for the urBeats3

The volume control and Lightning connector for the urBeats3


The cable itself is a wide and flat version rather than a thin single strand, but the cable style may not be to everyone's tastes. It is ultimately thinner than the wiring Apple uses for EarPods, but it could easily end up taking more space if it is twisted around.

The color's the thing



Comparing the yellow version of the urBeats3 against the yellow iPhone XR reveals it matches Apple's smartphone quite closely. Every component, save for the metal on the Lightning connector is the same shade as the back of the iPhone XR.

Beats got the color of the urBeats3 to match the iPhone XR

Beats got the color of the urBeats3 to match the iPhone XR


Since Beats is an Apple brand, it's to be expected that the two products will have a matching color shade. While this is a comparison of a yellow iPhone XR and yellow urBeats3, it is almost certain the other variants will match their iPhone counterparts.

Though it doesn't match the shade used by the aluminum band on the edges of the iPhone XR, it isn't much of a dealbreaker. From a moderate distance away, the band's difference is minimized, leaving onlookers seeing earphones that match the handset.

The Lightning connector of the urBeats3 matches the iPhone XR's back, but not the band

The Lightning connector of the urBeats3 matches the iPhone XR's back, but not the band


This is just an initial examination of the urBeats3, with a full review arriving soon, but this quick look at the audio accessory suggests that if someone wants headphones to match the color of their iPhone XR, these will certainly do the job.

Where to buy



Apple's urBeats3 Earphones with a Lightning connector retail for $59.95 and are available in an assortment of colors. B&H stocks black and satin silver units, while Apple.com has all five colors available for shipment in one to five business days.