Beats by Dre Solo2 wireless headphone review
Stylish and convenient, but lacking what it takes to play songs back with emotion
- Excellent design that hides electronics
- Wireless music playback over Bluetooth
- Beats is a recognisable brand
- Lesser detail than similarly priced rivals
- Firm headband
- Cups heat up over long sessions
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Immediately there’s a sense the design brief for the Solo2 must’ve been ambitious. Beats has earned a reputation for making stylish headphones attuned to the low end of the sound spectrum. The Solo2 headphones would have to stay true to this identity, and then go one further by integrating wireless technologies and a rechargeable battery — all without defacing the headphones’ design.
Little trinkets hint at its wireless skill-set. A row of five LED bulbs on an earcup indicate the battery level. Sitting adjacent is a microUSB port, tucked behind the cup’s faux leather.
There are volume controls on the left cup, but you cannot see them. They are not advertised with labelling or by donning a different colour. People wearing the headphones wouldn’t be able to see them, anyway.
Kitting these headphones with wireless technology has barely phased the design. Light weight plastic accounts for most of its construction, stemming from the headband to the circular arms of the cups. The underside of the headband is cushioned by an accommodating material, the likes of rubber or some kind of elastomer, which Beats has not shared. And the cushioning on the leatherette cups upholds the band’s level of comfort.
Whether these headphones can be worn for hours depends largely on the size of your skull. The plastic band has little give and the cups are pressed snugly against ear lobes for a soundstage as barren as a white canvas.
Most people will be able to listen to music for hours — Beats claims the battery will last 12 hours. A dead battery isn’t much of a problem because the Solo2 ships with a 3.5mm aux cable that can be used to listen to music between charges.
Folding arms and a matching pouch make the Solo2 a worthy travelling companion. These headphones have ‘on-the-go’ personalities in mind, with a light 208 gram weight and a small footprint.
Going wireless is not without its shortcomings. Bluetooth playback requires sound files to be compressed and this affects the overall audio quality.
Older Beats headphones would manipulate how songs were played back by exaggerating the bass. Using them was like driving around in a car that had a trunk consumed by a woofer.
The Solo2 is more mature and aims to play a track back transparently, just as the artist intended.
And it is played back with gusto. The Solo2 headphones can reach volume levels so high that they border uncomfortable. Sixty per cent to max was our sweet spot.
The cost of this volume is detail, and it’s a high price to pay. The various instruments populating the mid-tones often sound muddled together. Rivalling headphones around the same price differ by precisely layering instruments. These include the $449 Bowers & Wilkins P5 and the $299 Sennheiser Momentum.
A tangled mid-range is the by-product of a narrow stereo image. Some headphones successfully create the sensation music is bathing the listener from every direction. The Solo2 is less successful in this pursuit.
All genres are wanting for clarity. The bass in 112’s Peaches and Cream came off as monotone as it lacked nuance. It sounds softened and less textured.
The vocals in Dash Berlin’s Man on the run was robbed of its emotion. There’s a moment ahead of the climax where all the electronics and instruments wind down. Artist Jaren Cerf alone begins singing. The Solo2 captures only Cerf as it struggles to communicate the ambiance. Its aforementioned rivals give the impression she is singing in a hall, distilling the silence, and this difference is profound.
Beats’ Solo2 then is more focused on style and convenience than it is on sound quality. Most won’t notice the subtleties of its audio playback, until they’re standing in the headphone section of a retailer, maybe JB Hi-Fi, and try on a pair that does fewer things, only better.
Join the newsletter!
We have 4 to give away so jump in!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- 2 Oppo R11s review: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve
- 3 Blackberry KEYone Black Edition review: What the original KEYone should have been
- 4 Samsung Gear IconX 2018 review: The path of least resistance makes for an easy upgrade
- 5 LG V30+ Review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
Latest News Articles
- Google finally bring the Pixel Buds to Australia
- Bose announce local availability and pricing for SoundSport Free true wireless earbuds
- Jabra confirm ANZ pricing and availability for Evolve 75e headphones
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By HyperX
- CES 2018: HyperX announces Wireless Cloud Flight Headset and RGB range
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Sony a7R Mk III review: The strongest case yet for ditching your DSLR
- Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- MWC 2018: Alcatel
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCHyperion Reporting Analyst - Contract initially - Large Telco in SydneyNSW
- CCIteration Manager/Scrum MasterWA
- CCJava DeveloperNSW
- CCSIAM KPI Reporting Business AnalystNSW
- FTTraining & Communications SpecialistOther
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)NSW
- CCData Science ArchitectWA
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Android DeveloperOther
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTCloud Systems EngineerOther
- FTIT Procurement Analyst - AWS, On-PremOther
- CCSolution ArchitectWA
- CCFull Stack Developer - Java/J2EE, Angular and REactVIC
- CCBRM Developer - Billing and ReportingVIC
- FTService Asset & Configuration ManagerNSW
- CCFront-end DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Financial MarketsVIC
- CCApplications Project ManagerACT
- TPSystems AdministratorQLD
- CCSAP Business AnalystACT
- FTOracle Fusion Middleware System AdministratorACT
- FTSenior Technical Project Manager - starting in 3-4 monthsACT
- FTMid Level UX DesignerOther