Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Headphones Review

Few brands of headphones have achieved popularity and consumer adoption as quickly as Monster's Beats by Dre series. We recently purchased our own pair of the Beats' Studio Edition headphones to tell you if these are merely marketing fluff or the "real deal."

continued...

Product Packaging

When we went to a local store to shop for a pair of the Beats Studio headphones, its retail packaging truly set these apart from many other manufacturers' products. Many of the competing brands we found are simply shrink-wrapped in hard, clear plastic, and are displayed generically next to each other, regardless of price.

The front panel of the large, flat-black colored box has a larger than life-size picture of one of the headphones' two ear cups.

The sides and back panels have a lot of marketing speak in six languages and a calm and thoughtful pose of the well-known Dr. Dre. We would much rather see a complete listing of the product's technical specifications, but those are nowhere to be found on or in our package.

The back of the box pictures an exploded view of the headphones' ear cup design followed by the Beats' marketing slogans in four languages beneath.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

The outer packaging sleeves a crimson colored tri-fold box which contains the Beats Studio accessories and the headphones packaged and secured in its carrying case beneath.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

The foot long, oval-shaped carrying case has a raised letter "b" on the front of its padded exterior. A carabiner's hook at the top can be used to hang or attach the case to whatever you wish.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

The case has rigid interior walls that protect the headphones and maintain the case's shape. A long, black zipper circumscribing the case keeps everything inside when not in use. It is obvious that Monster spent a great deal of time creating the packaging and presentation of this product for consumers, but it is the quality of this product's construction and function that concern us the most.

Design and Appearance

When stored or not in use, the ear cups of the Beats Studio headphones can be collapsed inward, one ear cup on top of the other. When a listener is ready to use them, he can simply rotate the ear cups and its housing outward and then extend or collapse these as needed for sizing. Its rounded shape and appearance are very striking and unique.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

Both ear cups expand and collapse along sturdy metal rails that give users another inch of headroom on each side. It seems that these should fit large and small heads alike.

Article Image Article Image

The headband of the Beats Studio headphones is exactly ten inches long. The lowercase "beats by dre" logo appears directly in the middle in small grey and white letters. The underside of the headband has a six-inch long faux leather covered cushion to provide comfort for the top of the wearer's head.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

The headband is a single piece of very thin, curved plastic attached to the headphones' frame on both sides with small hex screws and metal branding plates. The hinges that allow the ear cups to fold inward for storage are barely visible. When we flexed the ear cups inward and outward, we saw obvious signs of stress throughout the frame and headband. We had to hold the headband above the ear cup securely and then we slowly positioned the ear cup. We felt as if we were going to bend these too far or break these if we were not extremely careful. The Beats' user guide does warn buyers to be cautious when adjusting the headband, but that warning does not instill much faith in us as to the product's long-term durability.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

The Beats headphones house 40 mm drivers in its ear cups with black faux leather ear pads on the outside for comfort. There is a very thin layer of black foam rubber between your ear and the driver in each ear cup.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

Both ear cups swivel inward and outward fifteen degrees, almost too freely, which allows them to contour to the sides of the wearer's head.

The exterior of the right ear cup houses the Beats' noise-cancelling circuitry, power switch, and mute button. The power switch is normally illuminated in red when the Beats are turned on and it will become amber when the batteries begin to run low. The "b" logo plate on the right ear cup can be depressed and held to mute the headphones' sound. We found the brushed metal logo plates to be a very clever way to brand the product and also disguise the mute button beneath.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

The left ear cup houses the batteries required for the product's operation with a removable cover on top. The inside of the battery cover is where we found our authentic serial number (which we obscured for the photo). Here we see some of the most obvious examples of the cheap plastic used throughout as well as overspray and underspray from the crimson red paint job. The two plastic locking tabs that secure the cover in the ear cups' retaining grooves feel thin and flimsy. Not surprisingly, Monster offers replacement headbands and battery covers on the "replacement parts" section of the Beats' website.

Of all of the items and components packaged in the Beats Studio box, the only ones that felt sturdy and well-built were the two included stereo cables and the gold-plated airline adapter used to connect the product to its sound sources.

Article Image Article Image

While we very much liked the product's appearance, shape, and color, but the build quality of these premium priced headphones is no better than that of any budget-priced headphones or gaming headset.