We recently got our hands on the entry level Beats headphones the Solo HD. With Beats being such a popular brand we wanted to take a look at their “most affordable” option to see whether the bang is worth the buck.
The Solo HD’s come in a great box, very nice packaging which is as you would expect when spending upwards of R2,000 for a piece of tech. You get three main pieces of gear; the headphones themselves, the cable (detachable) and a handy padded case. The first thing you will notice is how the Solo’s fold up really snuggly into the carry case with the detachable cable making this even easier. The cable also includes an inline controller much like Apple headphones, which is a welcome addition.
The headphones themselves look quite small, definitely on-ear headphones (unless you have ears the size of a tiny teddy bear). The pair we have are pure black and look great. The styling and build quality of the headphones really stands out. There is a nice weight to them despite the size and the padding is soft and comfortable, lined with real leather. I find them to be really comfortable even over long periods, easily the most comfortable on-ear headphones I have used.
The first thing that you notice when slipping on the Solo HD’s is the quietness. The well insulated ear pieces provide a great barrier to external noise, making the HD’s perfect for travelling or commuting. However, once I fired up the audio I was quite disappointed. All of the styling and build quality just does not correlate with the sound produced.
The sound from the Solo HD’s is very bass heavy (something that these little guys share with the rest of the Beats family) but really lack the clarity of sound that you would expect from a pair of cans at this price. While they produce good volume and strong bass, the sound profile is very muddy and you can really hear the lack of finesse when it comes to vocals. When you compare their performance against other offerings from Sony or Philips within this price range and you will feel a bit cheated.
The Beats Solo HD are stylish with beautiful design and craftsmanship with comfort to match. However their sound performance lets them down considerably. As a convenient travelling headphone solution the Solo HD’s work very well (noise isolation, compact size and case) however at the price you would be better off looking elsewhere.