Android Central Verdict
The Between 3 ANC manage to stand out thanks to incredible sound tuning by Status Audio, and with three distinctive profiles available as well as the ability to tweak the EQ, you can alter the characteristics of the sound to a great degree — unlike most products in this segment. The distinctive design doesn't hurt either, and you get battery life that's better than the likes of Samsung, Sony, and Google have to offer. Sure, the Between 3 have their issues — there's no AptX codec, and the gestures are finicky — but on the whole, these are a viable alternative to the best wireless earbuds.
Good ANC with transparency mode
Sturdy build quality
Unmatched EQ customization
Stellar battery life
No AptX or LDAC codecs
Cannot customize gestures
Why you can trust Android Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
It's hard for a new brand to stand out in the wireless earbud category — just look at what Nothing had to do to build interest in the ear (1). There's endless differentiation in this category, and with dozens of brands offering the same feature-set for ever-decreasing prices, it's a gargantuan undertaking to deliver a product that can take on the best wireless earbuds.
Status Audio thinks it has figured out the formula. Its Between 3 ANC earbuds offer a unique design that's sure to turn heads, and they have standout battery life. The defining characteristic is the sound tuning, and with three distinct profiles available and the ability to tweak the EQ, you can tailor the sound to your preferences.
So should you go with Status Audio instead of a more established brand? Let's take a look.
Status Audio Between 3 ANC: Pricing
Status Audio unveiled the Between 3 back in February, and the earbuds are now on sale on its website for $199, down $50 from their launch price. You can pick up the earbuds on Amazon as well for $199, and they come with a standard one-year warranty.
While Nothing positioned its product at the $100 figure, Status Audio is gunning straight for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Sony WF-1000XM5.
Status Audio Between 3 ANC: Design
The Between 3 have a distinctive design that allows them to stand out quite a bit from other wireless earbuds. Status Audio went with a rectangular design for the stalk, and while it is made out of plastic, the bottom half is covered by a chrome sheath that looks pretty cool. The audio drivers are housed in a bulbous shell, and the angled sound nozzle ensures you get a good fit.
The build quality is terrific, and I have zero issues in this area. The Between 3 are sold in Bone (the version I'm using) and Onyx color variants, and the packaging includes a charging cable in the same color as the earbuds, three sizes of silicone ear tips and a similar set of additional fit-wings that go over the sound nozzle itself.
The fit-wings do a good job providing a tight seal without putting too much pressure on your outer ear, and while it isn't evident from the design, these earbuds are lightweight and very comfortable to wear for an extended duration. I don't like earbuds that have a large stalk, and that's clearly not a problem here.
There's a physical button at the top of each earbud, and you get a gesture control area on the sides — above the chrome accents. You get three mics on each earbud, with one located at the top, one next to the sound nozzle, and one on the bottom. The bottom also houses magnetic pins that charge the earbuds in the case while ensuring they don't fall out. One issue with using larger fit-wings is that they may not fit snugly in the case, interfering with the charging.
Thankfully, the case has rounded edges, and other than the logo for Status Audio, you don't get any branding. It is easily pocketable, and houses a 450mAh battery that's able to charge the Between 3 thrice over. There's an LED status at the front that serves as a visual indicator for the remaining battery level, and you get a similar indicator on each earbud as well.
Status Audio Between 3 ANC: Features and battery life
There isn't much missing on the Between 3 when it comes to features. The earbuds pair over Bluetooth 5.2 and can be connected to two devices at once, and I had no issues with connection stability. I used the Between 3 for just over two months, and in that time, I paired the buds with my iPhone 15 Pro Max, Pixel 7 Pro, Galaxy Z Fold 5, S23 Ultra, iPad Air, and the iPad Pro. There wasn't any issues with pairing or range; they held up just fine as I walked around the house.
As the name suggests, you get ANC on the Between 3, and it can effectively tune out sounds up to 38dB. It was able to block out the hum of the air con while working indoors, and did a decent job with wind noise and traffic sounds when I went out (which admittedly wasn't much). There's also a transparency mode that allows sounds to filter in, and it works similarly well.
You can use the physical button to toggle ANC or the transparency modes with a short press, and pull up Google Assistant or Siri with a double press. The touch surface on the sides is great for controlling music playback, and the surface area is large enough that you don't have to fiddle with the gestures to get them to work. The only quibble I have in this regard is that there's no way to customize the gestures; while Status Audio has an app, it doesn't currently let you change the gestures or controls for the physical button.
What I particularly like about the Between 3 is the battery life; these earbuds are touted to last up to eight hours on a full charge, and that's a few hours more than what the best wireless earbuds from Samsung and Google achieve. The figures are close to what I noticed in real-world testing, with the earbuds lasting just over 7.5 hours on average.
That's definitely better than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Nothing Ear (2), and the battery life is one of the main reasons I continue using the Between 3. Oh, and you can use wireless charging with the case, a nifty inclusion.
Rounding out the features, there's IPX5 water resistance here, making the Between 3 a decent choice for workouts.
Status Audio Between 3 ANC: Sound quality
The Between 3 feature a hybrid driver system with a 10mm dynamic driver joined by dual BA drivers, and they sound great. A lot of that is down to the tuning, and Status Audio did a brilliant job in that particular regard. You get three sound modes in the app — Status Signature, Status Audiophile, and Between Pro — and the sound changes significantly between each profile.
What I like the most is that you can manually adjust the EQ via an 8-band filter, and while it isn't a parametric 10-band, it offers better customization than most other wireless earbuds. You can tweak the EQ and save the settings as a custom preset, or use one of three sound profiles.
The Status Signature profile is what most users would prefer, and that's the one I used for much of the testing window. As for the sound, the Between 3 offer excellent sub-bass, and this is one of the defining characteristics of the sound. The emphatic bass lends itself well to most modern music, and you get clean mids with good instrument separation and vocal clarity. The treble tends to be a bit bright, but there's no sibilance.
The biggest issue with the Between 3 is that you get just the SBC and AAC codecs; there's no AptX, LDAC, or LHDC here. That limits the usability of these earbuds — particularly with Android phones — and with most brands offering at least one high-res codec with their earbuds, Status Audio is on the backfoot.
Status Audio Between 3 ANC: The competition
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro continue to deliver a great set of features, and they combine a comfortable design with stellar sound and lots of useful extras. They don't last as long as the Between 3, but they have IPX7 and Samsung's high-res codec.
The Nothing Ear (2) is also a good alternative, offering a unique see-through design and custom sound tuning that works well across a variety of genres. Again, they don't last as long and have a limited selection of codecs, but the design and sound more than make up for it.
If it's bass you're after, you should get the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. The earbuds boost the low-end to such an extent that it drowns out the mids at times, but the result is that bass-heavy tracks sound phenomenal.
Status Audio Between 3 ANC: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want good-looking wireless earbuds
- You want terrific sound quality
- You need all-day battery life
- You want customizable sound
- You need multi-device connectivity
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You want earbuds with AptX or LDAC codecs
- You need customizable gesture controls
Overall, Status Audio did a fabulous job with the Between 3. The earbuds look good, sound great, and last longer than most options I tried out this year. So if that's what you're looking for in a pair of earbuds, you'll love what the Between 3 have to offer.
But they have a few shortcomings. You miss out on any high-res codecs, and that limits their usability — particularly considering that most brands now offer at least LHDC as standard. If you don't care about that particular omission, you should buy the Between 3. The sound quality you're getting here is among the best in this segment, and what they lack in versatility they make up for in battery longevity.
If you want stylish earbuds with a great sound and standout battery life, you'll love what's on offer here.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.