Excellent sound supplemented by strong noise-cancelling and wireless performance, the Status Between 3ANC put in a good shift to upset some of the big names in the market. There are areas where they fall short of other premium brands, but overall, these true wireless are worth a shot.
- Big, bold presentation
- Comfortable fit
- Good noise-cancellation
- Strong wireless performance
- Good battery life
- Stronger options for ANC
- Average call quality
- Loose fit
Hybrid Triple driver configurationDynamic driver paired with balanced armatures
Battery lifeEight hours per charge with ANC, 12 hours without
ANCClaims to reduce noise by up to 38dB
It’s no longer just the likes of Bose and Sony offering premium true wireless earbuds, you’ve got upstarts like Status Audio wading in on the action with the Between 3ANC.
Status Audio is relatively new to the game, riding the wave in the explosion in personal listening over the last decade; producing in their own words, purpose built, simple audio products, made with every listener in mind.
And on that front the Between 3ANC are simple but retailing at a price of $249 / £249 it’s striving to make a mark in an inhospitable part of the market if you’re not a recognisable brand name – but don’t count the Between 3ANC out just yet.
- Stylish looks
- Big in size
- Good comfort
It’s not often I see a true wireless that looks like the Between 3ANC, a bigger, chunkier version of the stem design that’s become popular with true wireless. If someone saw you wearing it, they’d think you’d have some sort of rectangular object lodged in your ear. They’re quite distinct – almost futuristic-looking – from some angles.
My next thought is they’re chunky, but that’s availed as soon as they slip inside my ear like a pair of comfy slippers. The fit is a little loose, which gives them a little wiggle room to slide them into the position (facing diagonally downwards), but also means it’s not the tightest seal to isolate against external sounds. That said, they’re comfortable to wear because of that looseness.
The finish could benefit from more finesse – the silver cover was peeling off on the first sample I was sent – but I like the look Status is going for with the Bone (white) and Onyx (black) colourways. They are big earbuds but from a certain angle they’re sleek and somewhat chic. An IPX5 rating to ward off sweat, rain, and water provides the incentive to use the Status buds for exercise.
The Between 3ANC uses a combination of physical and touch controls, the latter can be found on the top half of the stem, the former are on top but aren’t the easiest to find. Touch controls cover playback, calls, and volume, and are sensitive enough to prods and presses. The physical button is for noise-cancelling and could benefit from being raised more as it’s quite shallow. I’m often left brushing my finger across the surface trying to feel where it is.
The case is compact, slipping into a pocket with little fuss, and retrieving the buds from the cradle is easy thanks to their shape. Included are silicone fit wings (small to large) and silicone eartips (also small to large). Trying to swap eartips can be a prolonged process, there’s a fair bit of wrestling to get them properly attached.
- Strong noise-cancellation
- Good battery life
- Average call quality
I’ll start with the active noise-cancellation as that’s the major step over the Between Pro true wireless. The ANC performance here is good – very good at times – but it doesn’t completely shut out noise that pricier rivals such as the award-winning Sony WF-1000XM5 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are capable of.
The Between 3ANC cancel out a considerable amount of noise – like the best noise-cancellers, taking them out reveals how loud the outside world is – but there’s still some ambient noise that evades its microphones. Whether it’s the air conditioning in a bookshop, the ambient sounds of Waterloo train station, using them on an airplane, or the sound of an escalator as I’m going up; those persistent sounds are diminished but not fully cleared away.
I’d say this is down to the slightly loose fit, and it’s not something that the larger ear-tip can bridge with its bigger seal, as I found sounds still manage to bypass it.
It also can’t deal with wind noise too well, which becomes apparent on a blustery London day as the wind whips around the surface of buds. I’d wager this is more to do with its aesthetics giving the wind more surface area to attach to.
But the noise-cancelling is impressively natural in tone – there’s none of the overt processing heard on cheaper (or Bose) models. Cars pass by and are gone before I notice them, voices are muffled, and on the fearsomely loud District Line tube, the performance was fairly quiet although like other models it can’t cope as well with the Underground’s loudest sections.
This a very good performance, and while with some volume assistance most sounds are batted away, if not completely shrouded, the Between 3ANC fall short of the class leaders.
The transparency mode is excellent: bracingly clear, expansive, and natural in tone. I’ve had no issues picking up sounds and people around me. Situational awareness is great with these headphones.
And just as good is the Bluetooth 5.2 wireless performance, which only goes as far as AAC, but I’ve only experienced a couple of stutters walking through Victoria and Waterloo train stations. Multipoint is supported for connection to two devices at once.
There is a barebones app with only the ability to turn ANC on/off, activate the transparency mode, begin firmware updates and customise the sound profile with four options: Status Signature, Status Audiophile, Original Between Pro and Custom EQ.
Of the three main options my favourite is the Original EQ. Signature offers a wider soundstage, sounds warmer in tone, and gives vocals a boost. Audiophile presents less of bass boost and sounds clearer with vocals (less warmth).
Original sounds as big as Signature but doesn’t alter the sound as much, giving more weight to percussive instruments that come across as thin and distant with the Audiophile preset.
Aside from viewing current battery levels, that’s your lot. The Between 3ANC has no wear detection, there’s no means to customise the controls or manage noise-cancellation or transparency levels; it is a simple, stripped-down, to-the-bone experience.
Status claims battery life is eight hours per charge (12 hours with ANC off) and while there’s no mention of the full battery life with the case included, 36 hours is mentioned with ANC off on a few other sites. After performing a two-hour battery drain with a Spotify playlist, the earphones fell to 73% and 81% respectively (80% on Android), so eight hours is on the money.
Fast charging (15 minutes for two hours), and wireless charging are both supported.
Call quality is average for a true wireless. It is susceptible to loud sounds, with noises always audible to varying degrees. The person on the other end could hear me well enough, but in busy places – a food market for instance – it became a competition between my voice and surrounding noises for attention. It plays better in quiet areas, which is par for the course true wireless earbuds.
- Depth and extension to bass
- Clear midrange
- Crisp and detailed treble
Armed with a triple driver configuration – 10mm dynamic driver and two Balanced Armature drivers – the Status Between 3ANC put in an impressive shift where sound quality is concerned. This does depend on the EQ profile chosen though.
I think the Original EQ sounds best (look in the previous section of a brief description of how they sound), and that’s what this section focuses on.
The bass is prominent on these headphones – if you like your bass big then the Between 3ANC deliver on that promise.
But they’re not overly bassy, at least I don’t find them to be. The tuning of the Original EQ offers extended bass, but these earphones aren’t rich and warm – there’s a power and clarity to the low frequencies that doesn’t cloud the midrange of a Hi-Res file of Anderson .Paak’s Fire In The Sky. There’s a proper thud but good definition and variety to those low frequencies.
It is, in a way, like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, going more for weight and slam to those low frequencies. But surprisingly the midrange and high frequencies are left undisturbed by the power of the bass. In Robert Glasper’s Why We Speak, the higher frequencies are sharp and clear; Esperanza Spalding’s vocals are ladled with clarity and detail – perhaps not the most dynamic though there’s certainly movement – her vocal performance shines through impressively. The tuning of these earphones is quite striking in terms of the clarity they bring to music.
It all takes place within a soundstage that’s wide and large, as well as loud. Even at default volume these earphones are louder than most I’ve come across in the past year. These don’t require fiddling with the volume to bring energy and scale – it’s there from the off, lively, punchy, but a performance that errs towards neutral in the Original EQ.
With a Hi-Res file of Isfar Sarabski’s Déjà vu there’s well judged brightness to the treble notes of the piano, not too sharp but enough to elicit detail and insight from the high frequencies. The cymbal crashes are crisply resolved, the string section has a lovely sense of flow throughout the song, the double bass is weighty – the dynamics make the notion of the 5Hz – 25kHz more credible (if still fanciful considering the constraints of human listening), but that sense of extension at both ends of the frequency range seems within reach.
The Status Between 3ANC are a terrifically communicative pair of true wireless earbuds – easily one of the best-sounding earphones at their price point.
Should you buy it?
If you love a big, bold presentation
The Status offers a number of EQ profiles, but the Original offers the best sound: big bass, clear midrange, sharp high frequencies. These are tuned impressively well.
You demand the best
The noise-cancelling is strong but not as good as the best headphones. Features are minimal, and the fit, while comfortable, is a little loose.
These earphones are a surprise but perhaps they shouldn’t be. The previous Status headphones I tested, the BT One, produced a performance that surpassed their price point. The Between 3ANC achieve a similar level of execution.
The noise-cancelling is strong (both ANC and transparency mode), though not without a few caveats. They’re susceptible to wind noise and some noise evades their microphones. The likes of Sony, Bose, and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are more conclusive in that respect.
Comfort levels are good, the wireless performance is strong, and the design stands out. They’re average in terms of call quality, but they join the long list of true wireless that don’t fare too well in that setting. If you’re looking for a true wireless pair outside of the usual suspects, you should give these a closer look.
How we test
We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Tested across several weeks
Battery drain test performed
Tested with real world use
There’s no support for LDAC or aptX with these true wireless. They only go as far as AAC Bluetooth.
Status Between 3ANC
10mm dynamic driver and two Balanced Armature
5 25000 – Hz