I have nothing against Dr. Dre, I’ve always been a huge fan I’m just not big on being an early adopter of “mass appeal” gadgets. Being a techie person when the masses say something is good I tend to run in the opposite direction. Suffice to say I avoided anything to do with Beats by Dre for as long as possible.
I’m appreciative the people over at Beats by Dre were kind enough to send me a pair of Solo HD’s to check out, and honestly I’ve had these for months and its been of a struggle for me to write for a few different reasons. Do they live up to the hype? Should you cop them or pass? Let’s take a look:
It can never be argued that Beats by Dre aren’t attractive in any form they come in. The array of colors they are available in is quite enviable. The pair I received are Bubblegum Pink and as much as I’m not a pink type of girl it rocks with my Jordan Flights :). They are also available in Black, Purple, Dark Blue, Green, White, Light Blue and Red. Admittedly I was a little nervous because of all the headphones I reviewed the Solo HD’s came off a tad plastic-y to me which caused me to be a bit more cautious. Although these are made of of flexible yet durable material they are also reinforced with a metal strip to make sure they won’t break.
Overall the color contrast of the adjustable headband (pink) and the swiveling ear cups (white) combined with the high-quality clear coat finish you will find on a luxury car. These are without a doubt attention grabbing.
Sound & Comfort
Full disclosure: I suffer from chronic migraines so sometimes reviewing headphones can be a challenge. That being said part of the reason I took so long to review the Solo HD’s is because I found myself always getting a migraine when trying to use them. Until this week I didn’t associate the headache with the headphones. I noticed that the earcups “squish”. Yes I said squish – in other words they sounded like suction cups. It gave me the feeling you get when you’re in a plane and your ears pop. To confirm that I wasn’t losing my mind I asked a couple of other people if they felt the same way. When our Entertainment Editor, Malcolm, put them on – I could literally HEAR them squish on his ears as he adjusted the ear cups. This did not at all cause him to get a migraine so I am not saying Beats by Dre will give you a migraine lol.
Since the cups are so small there is heavy sound leakage so you never get the full audio experience. This is good for people who still want to be aware of their surroundings while listening to music. The songs I listened the most were: Amel Larrieux- For Real, Aaliyah- Hot Like Fire and Alicia Keys – Mr. Man the most while testing these. Hot Like Fire is pretty bass intensive and the Solo HD’s did not do it much justice. However the bass thump it gave to Alicia Key’s Mr. Man was pretty impressive. Of all the headphones of any price range that I’ve tried I can’t say the bass is the best I ever used with these.
When listening to the volume at 50% sound is very comfortable but once I went over 50% on some songs the sounds was a tad muffled on otherwise good songs. There is also the issue that it’s kind of hit or miss on the audio quality for each song. Some songs sounded ok while others were extremely muffled and the audio quality was horrible. However, when paired with my HTC One the sound is exquisite. The bonus of having Beats Audio is second to none.
Beats by Dre Solo HD headphones are first in class when it comes to portability, fashion and upping your swag factor. Perfect for the person in your life only concerned with blending in and only want to use as an accessory, or maybe even someone who doesn’t listen to music too often and doesn’t care to hear instrumentation at all. If you’re someone who is very particular about how you spend your money and how you listen to your music I would pass on these. In fairness – as plastic-y as they felt to me they have lasted a few months in my home and they look just as fresh as the day I cracked the seal on the box.
To be fair I will say that the Solo HD’s were released some time ago and other model headphones have since been released that I’m sure are better quality and worth the money. However, I do find I get asked very often mostly by parents of teenagers if this purchase is worth the money ($179.99-$199.99) since there are some people who swear by these. I do hear the new Beats by Dre Mixr’s are pretty dope. Check out our review on those soon :)
Photo Credit: Beatsbydre.com