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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Good audio quality
Short battery life
Ineffective active noise canceling
Slightly plasticky controls
Short wireless range
The Paww Wavesound 3 offers excellent sound, comfort, and durable design at an affordable price point. However, the active noise canceling, battery life, and wireless range is sub-par. Despite these caveats, these headphones still offer excellent value for money.
The quantity and variety of budget-oriented headphones can be truly daunting. There are many unfamiliar brands out there, their quality often dubious, and many come with serious caveats. On paper, the Paww Wavesound 3 provides high-end features at an affordable price point, but can they compete with the best noise-canceling headphones?
The Paww Wavesound 3 feels solidly put together and built to last, for the most part. There is a reassuring heft to the headphones, and plenty of metal in the frame and earpieces that should stand up to the rigors of daily use. The only area of concern for me in terms of build quality is the control buttons, which have a distinctly out of place plasticky quality that’s at odds with the otherwise premium design.
Fortunately, those buttons are quite functional and easy to use by touch alone. The active noise canceling switch does take some force to activate, and makes a dreadfully loud click if you flip it while wearing the headphones. The 3.5mm and USB charging ports are located on opposite earpieces.
The Wavesound 3 isn’t only durable, but quite portable as over-ear headphones go. They fold down nicely and come with a high-quality hardshell case that protects them while you're traveling. The case features a removable velcro pouch with which to carry the included USB, AUX, and airplane adapter. The headphones are quite light at 363 grams, though this isn’t as light as comparable on-ear headphones in our roundup of the best wireless headphones.
I had no trouble pairing the Paww Wavesound 3 to my devices, and there’s no app needed to use them. To charge them, simply plug the headphones into a USB port using the included cable.
I was happy with the wide adjustment range of the Wavesound 3. They easily fit my extra-large head, but will also fit most smaller head sizes. The padded faux leather earpieces and headband were well-cushioned, and I found the headphones to be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The Paww Wavesound 3 feels solidly put together and built to last.
The 40mm drivers of the Wavesound 3 were surprisingly good at reproducing a wide variety of music. The Wavesound 3 provided good clarity throughout its range from highs to mids to bass; it’s remarkably well rounded. I began my test with my usual benchmark song; 2cellos cover of Thunderstruck. The Wavesound 3 produced a very respectable reproduction of this complex piece with its wide range of tones.
Listening to Hotel California by The Eagles, I enjoyed the tone separation and spacious soundstage of the Wavesound 3. Another classic, Hip to be Square by Huey Lewis and the News also benefited from the wide soundstage. I particularly liked how the headphones rendered the vocals in this song.
In a more modern rock song, Bamboozler by Goodbye June, I found that the Wavesound 3 rendered softer segments somewhat better than more raucous portions. This was confirmed when I listened to Weezer’s The End of the Game. It’s subtle, but I did prefer these headphones for cleaner tones. Young for a Day by The Rifles sounded great with its acoustic instrumentals and clear vocals.
Call quality using the integrated microphones in the Wavesound 3 was very good. People I called using them were easily able to understand me, and reported clear audio quality.
The WaveSound 3 does actually feature active noise canceling (ANC), but unfortunately, it’s by far the most mediocre active noise canceling I’ve ever experienced. It’s so ineffectual that when toggling the switch that turned it on or off, I couldn’t hear at first which setting was on and which was off.
It wasn’t until I sat in a room with an air conditioner that I was able to notice a significant degree of noise cancellation. It has almost no effect at all on most sounds, such as voices or bird calls, but dampens low background sounds.
I found the claimed 16-hour battery life to be about accurate; the battery easily endured two days of normal listening. However, by the standards of modern wireless headphones, that’s pretty underwhelming. It’s by no means poor, but you’ll need to charge them relatively frequently.
The claimed 800 feet of wireless range is nowhere close to accurate. Fifty feet with a clear line of sight was about as good as I was able to get with the Wavesound 3. Bluetooth isn’t known for its long reach, being heavily affected by walls and other obstacles, but the Wavesound 3 was poor indeed compared to other wireless headphones I’ve tested.
The active noise canceling has almost no effect at all on most sounds.
The Paww Wavesound 3 provides easy access to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or other AI assistants, allowing you to search the internet, make calls, control your smart devices, and perform other tasks without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket.
At an MSRP of just $99, the Paww Wavesound 3 is an attractive bargain. This is a low price tag for such remarkably well-rounded headphones. It’s by far the least expensive of noise-canceling headphones we’ve tested.
If you’re looking for something more portable than the Wavesound 3, the Status BT One is a similarly priced on-ear option. However, though the BT One is very comfortable, and very portable, they aren’t quite as good as the WaveSound 3 in any other respect. Most significantly, the BT One isn't very durable, with very cheap plastic hinges.
Though it stumbles on a few counts, the Paww Wavesound 3 offers fantastic value for the money.
In terms of durability and sound quality, it’s hard to fault the Paww Wavesound 3 at its attractive price point. As long as you can live with reduced battery life and wireless range, as well as lackluster active noise canceling, the Wavesound 3 is an excellent budget option.