A Powerful Experience: The Full Beats Solo HD Review

(Last Updated On: September 28, 2016)

The Beats Solo HD Headphones are probably not a great fit for everyone shopping for a pair of headphones but they offer a range of features that you won’t find with just any audio headset. If you only occasionally listen to music at home or don’t have a preference when it comes to the finer points of high-quality audio output then perhaps a set of headphones in a lower price category is a better fit for your needs. However, if you want professional quality audio, a powerful listening experience and want to look good while enjoying your favorite tunes, then the Beats Solo HD are a perfect fit in more ways than one.

Beats Solo HD Design

The Beats Solo HD Headphones are a new and improved model of the originally released Beats Solo which attracted a lot of attention, both good and bad. While the core design was good, multiple design and quality issues surfaced that ultimately made them less than what they were supposed to be. However, the Beats Solo HD model promised to improve and fix the flaws of the original model, which it did to a large degree according to most users.

One of the focal points of the Beats Solo product line has always been to not only provide great audio but also a set of headphones that look great as well. These headphones do not disappoint in the looks category as they have kept the sleek and hip design of the original model which sets them apart from many other models even with a quick glance. The headphones come in a choice of eight different colors and a spectacular glossy finish is a nice upgrade to the previous matte finish on the original version.

The ear pads are covered in soft genuine leather and provide a firm but tight fit around the ears. The fit can feel a touch too tight right out of the box but after some use the ear cups tend to adjust nicely to the form of your ears and provide a looser fit. The ear pieces are designed with a small amount of swivel action which aids in the comfort of the overall fit and provides a more secure fit at the same time, especially when you are on the move and turning your head in different directions.

These headphones are a smaller version of the original and weigh only 0.16kgs, which offers two advantages to users. First, the lighter weight almost always provides a more comfortable fit especially when it comes to on-ear headphones that you wear for extended periods of time. Second, the lighter and more compact design allows the headphones to fold up into a very small and convenient size with easy storage in the provided protective carrying case. This design element is a big improvement over the original model which were a bit heavier and a touch on the bulky side according to some.

While the comfort and overall fit of the Beats Solo HD are very good, the seams around the leather ear pieces are not as good as they should be. Some users have had trouble with the seams separating from the housing which required a small repair. Not a big issue but an annoying issue for a set of headphones that is in a higher price category than most.

The headband has been improved significantly with the addition of a metal reinforcement band for additional support. There were many complaints about the low-quality headband of the original Beats being too flimsy and easily breaking.

The addition of the metal reinforcement strip didn’t solve 100% of the headband problems so if you tend to be a little rough on your equipment it might be wise to purchase an extended warranty. This will, at least, give you the peace of mind knowing if the headband does snap then you won’t be forced to pay for a whole new pair of Beats Solo HDs.

Features of the Beats Solo HD

The Beats Solo HD features ControlTalk which is the in-line remote control with microphone. This is one of the features that gets the highest ratings by users as it provides superior performance compared to many other models available on the market. The audio transmissions are high-quality, clean and crisp which is not the case with many models that offer the same type of set-up. One of the best aspects of ControlTalk is the length of the cord and where the mic and control piece rest along the cord. Many headphones position these farther down the cable which means you have to hold the mic up to your mouth when using the phone or any type of voice transmission.

The Beats Solo HD has the hardware positioned so it hangs at the top of the shoulder area which makes hands-free communication easy. The design does require you to reach up in order to control music play and to skip tracks but the convenience added when using the device for voice communications is well worth a few reaches upwards to skip a track.

It is worth noting that Beats Solo HD ControlTalk works best with Apple products and provides seamless integration for the most part. Once you enter an Android phone or another type of non-Apple device into the mix, results may not be quite as “seamless”. The headphones work well with many Android products but you should be prepared for a few hits and misses along the way if you are not using an Apple designed device. Hopefully, this is an issue that Beats will get figured out in the near future as ControlTalk is one of the more important features offered on the headphones, and while Apple is popular, there are many non-Apple users in the market.

Beats Solo HD Performance

Of course, the bottom line for any pair of premium headphones is performance and what kind of audio output they are capable of delivering. The original release did not live up to many of the big claims but the Beats Solo HD is a different story and pleasantly surprised many users with just how much improved the audio quality delivery is.

If you enjoy booming bass and listening to tunes at max volume then these headphones will not disappoint you. They provide all the bass you can handle and even at the loudest volume settings they do an excellent job of delivering music without or any distortion. The highs are bright and nicely balanced against the bass for anyone that is an avid fan or listener of rap and hip hop tunes. However, for those that desire a flatter response and a pair of headphones that is suited to a much wider array of music then the Beats Solo HDmay not be a perfect match.

These headphones will please almost any listener that is looking for effective noise cancellation and audio isolation. They do not utilize active noise cancellation technology but the design of the ear pieces, the full leather padding and snug fit do an excellent job of removing any distracting background noise to a very low level that is almost non-existent when listening to music at higher volume levels. They do not offer a perfect design in this department but they are far better than many other models on the market that overpromise and way under deliver in this category.

Final Thoughts

There is no disputing the original Solo Headphones were at best a mixed bag of good and bad to many users. In fact, to some, they were downright disappointing. However, the Beats Solo HD offer a much-improved model with many things to like from the comfort and fit to the overall powerful audio performance and delivery if you are listening to the right kind of music. If you do a lot of traveling, commuting or you are an avid fan of bass dominated music then these headphones are well worth considering. However, if you need a pair of headphones that offer a more balanced audio experience regardless of the type of music you enjoy, then you may be better served by choosing another model.

Juan Alexander

Juan is a self-professed sound-nerd and the webmaster / lead author & tester for AllSoundLab. You might literally walk into him on the street because he's tuned out to the world and tuned into his beats...

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