Apple’s decision to purchase Beats was a real shocker as billions of dollars were spent by Apple. The whole announcement somewhat overshadowed another announcement that took place the following day – the launch of a new product called the Beats Solo 2. This pair of on-ear headphones could very well be the last product released solely from the Beats team so there is no telling what new products Apple and Beats will cook up. But for now, the Solo 2 is going to bridge that gap and comes out as a nice upgrade over the first model.
Design and Comfort
A lot of people on the Internet like to make fun of Beats accusing their products of having mediocre sound quality for the price but they forget how the design and comfort play an important role too. Living up to the Beats name, the Beats Solo 2 does look stylish and comes in various color styles. The first Beats Solo product had different colors too but the Solo 2 takes a more solid route where the practically the entire headphone is the same color. In addition to the standard black with a red Beats logo, there is blue, pink, red, white and silver.
The plasticky feel and use of faux leather does make the headphone seem a bit cheap but it also makes it very lightweight and portable. Beats basically prioritized versatility and ergonomics while letting the color and curved lines do the talking on the style side. The lack of visible screws and the flush hinge design makes it a bit more premium than lower-priced headphones too.
With these ergonomic improvements over its predecessor, the Beats Solo 2 feels a bit more comfortable and it really makes sure that you get the noise isolation experience by gripping the earcups to your ears. Those wearing glasses might want to give the Solo 2 a test run before committing because of its grippy nature. Compared to the older model, the earcups are angled 15 degrees to improve comfort and increase the flexibility. Like most other headphones belonging to this category, the Beats Solo 2 can collapse when not in use.
Headphones priced in the $200 range deserve to have some valuable extras and the Solo 2 package delivers with a padded pouch to protect the compacted headphones when traveling and a carabiner along with a black zip-up. For added convenience, the headphones cable is detachable.
Being able to detach the cable from the headphones means that you can use your own cable if you want something a bit more durable. But the included cable is really the one that you should use as the color of the cable matches the headphones. In addition to that, the cable features a few buttons that look as if they control the volume and playback. This is true but when connected to a device running iOS, you also have the option to press the main button twice or thrice to either skip forward or backward. No matter what type of device is using the headphones, the main button can be used to answer or end calls as well. Beats calls this feature the RemoteTalk Control and it works with various other Beats products too.
Overall, the Beats Solo 2 has subtle improvements over its predecessor but those looking to buy a new pair of stylish headphones to replace their aging Beats Solo may still find the Solo 2 a worthy upgrade because of the minor audio quality improvements. It uses a refined Beats sound profile improving stuff across the board including wider ranges and cleaner sound. The impressive lows are even more defined to the point that some listeners may consider the bass a bit too artificial for their tastes. Because of this, the Beats Solo 2 isn’t a solid recommendation for certain genres. Fans of dance and rock music might be impressed especially when going from a budget headphones to the Solo 2 but tracks with bass guitar sound a lot more pleasant. On the upside, the treble is a lot smoother and the stereo imaging is impressive.
The Beats Solo 2 gets a lot of its inspiration from older Beats products in other families. It is almost as if the Beats Studio played the role model and ended up being the reference design for making newer products even if they end up cheaper. The cheaper $199 price tag clearly means that this is a product that won’t exactly impress all audiophiles and that tight bass sums it up. Still, the Solo 2 manages to excel in other areas too like the portability. Given the target market of Beats, most people should see the Beats Solo 2 as money well spent. It is possible to spend less on something with superior audio quality but you will likely end up with something that looks bland, uninspired and probably less portable.