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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Huawei Y5 (2017): Full, in depth review
- 3 LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- 4 First Look: Nikon D850
- 5 OnePlus 5: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt GOTY is on sale for $20 right now
- OneDrive Files On-Demand: How to enable it in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
- The HP ZBook x2 is a wildly powerful Surface Pro rival with a tear-off keyboard
- Dropbox go pro with Dropbox Profesional
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Canon 6D MK II
- Panasonic’s EX600U UHD HDR TV + HTB688 soundbar:
- Which case should I buy for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8?
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FT.Net - Sitecore DeveloperQLD
- CCWindows 10 Deployment TechnicianWA
- FTNetwork Services ManagerOther
- FTTechnical Delivery Manager - NetworkQLD
- TPIT Security ManagerQLD
- CCContent WriterNSW
- CCEnterprise Architect ? Network & InfrastructureNSW
- CCDevOps Developer (Chef/IAF/Linux)QLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst - PaymentsOther
- CCSenior Development DBA - OracleNSW
- FTProject Coordinator - SAED/TelcoNSW
- TPICT Infrastructure Project ManagerQLD
- CCDesktop Support/ Field Services EngineerQLD
- FTTest AnalystOther
- FTSitecore DeveloperOther
- FTSenior Business AnalystACT
- CCSenior Agile Business AnalystNSW
- CCTraining and Support LeadNSW
- CCWintel Engineer - BrisbaneNSW
- TPDigital Business AnalystVIC
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerOther
- FTJunior-Mid Infra Project ManagerOther
- CCSystems AnalystACT
- FTPython DeveloperOther
- FTAgile Business Analyst, website or mobile apps expOther