Pros: big bass, sleek appearance
Cons: flimsy, unbalanced, ineffective noise canceling, overly flashy
Borrowed these for a week for the purpose of studying them (having previously borrowed the Beats Solo HD from another friend for studying) and the friend I borrowed these from swears up and down that they're real, and I believe him. I'll talk about 4 criteria: design, comfort, noise canceling, and sound.
These headphones, as with all the other Beats, are pleasing to look at. They're shiny and look like they have a piano finish, and their shape gives them a cool look in a "blingy" sort of way. Personally, that look isn't really my cup of tea; reminds me of Skullcandy. The design is clearly made to be flashy and easy to show off, like it was designed for high schoolers that want to brag about them.
Unfortunately, although they're good looking, they don't have the strength to back it up. The plastic is brittle, and under that thick band of plastic there's only a thin metal band keeping the headband together. The earcups are also somewhat rattly, adding to the feeling of flimsiness. Although on a brighter note, the unpluggable thick red cable that plugs into the left side is a plus. It's strong, and even if it gets yanked, it's more likely to unplug itself than break.
Not much to say here. It's a typical around-ear headphone with soft pads. Comfortable, but might make your ears sweaty on a hot day.
To test out the noise canceling, I brought these to the local audio store on a busy day when people were testing the stereos and car subwoofers in the other corners of the store and went for the Bose Quietcomfort 15s and Sennheiser PXC450s (also active noise canceling headphones) that were on display in the store. I first put on the Beats and turned them on. Then I turned them off and put on the Bose QC15, then took those off and put on the Sennheiser PX450s. Shockingly, suprisingly, totally completely unexpectedly, totally OMG, unbelievably, (that was sarcasm, by the way) the Beats' noise canceling couldn't match up to the Bose QC15s nor the Sennheiser PXC450s. It did negate a small amount of the low frequency ambient noise, but it didn't do even half of what the Bose QC15s and Sennheiser PXC450s did.
Bass is big. That's a plus for me, but for those of you seeking an accurate response or even using these for the *cough cough* STUDIO, the Beats STUDIOs are not the answer. Don't get me wrong, big bass is fun when you're listening to lots of dubstep like I do, but the bass here is slightly "mushy." I prefer punchy bass over mushy bass.
Mids are muddy, mostly because of the lack of clarity. Instruments sound like they're blended together; it's hard to tell them apart sometimes. There're some of those moments where it's like "Is that the piano or the guitar?" Ironic, because the box says these are "HIGH DEFINITION" headphones. No, these are not high definition at all.
Highs are not really much to brag about. Some detail is missing around these frequencies. Wait a minute! Dr Dre himself said that when people aren't using Beats, they're "NOT HEARING ALL THE MUSIC." Huh? We're not hearing all the music even if we ARE wearing the Beats! But I digress. Bottom line, there's some sound missing from the high end through these headphones.
It might sound like I'm bashing these headphones, but I'm not. I'm judging them from the $300 standard. If I'd been judging these from the $50 standard, these would actually have gotten 4 stars. But from the $300 standard, the construction is flimsy and the sound is muddy. Its two strong points are the appearance and the bass. Look, if we ignore the price, these are not horrible headphones. But when you pay that $300 for these, you're overpaying by $250. Is the Beats brand really worth that?