The Positives: Improved sound from its predecessor, with excellent bass and sound isolation. A sturdier build with a snug, comfortable fit. Has an inline remote and microphone, and can fold up to fit in a carrying case. Has an excellent design that pays homage to both ergonomics and portability.
The Negatives: Not for the sound purists, but will be fine for people looking for an accessible, high-end set with strong bass.
The Bottomline: High-quality bass remains to be the strongest suit of the Solo, but its price may push its potential fans away.
Product Features: Protein leather pads, removable cable, extremely lightweight at 7.2 ounces
MSRP: USD 199.95
The Beats Solo is known for ushering in an era of expensive on-ear headphones with excellent bass. But since Beats was sold to Apple for $3 billion, people have been eagerly waiting for the follow-up to the popular Solo HD. Building on the success of its on-ear predecessor, the Solo 2 has retained most of what has made Solo HD a breakout hit, with significant improvements in its sound quality, a bolder bass, and a more sensible design.
One look at the Solo 2 and you’ll know that it’s an upgraded version of the Solo HD, only more portable and with a more ergonomic fit. The result is a plastic, fold-up set that has a curvier feel than the Solo HD — which will most likely appeal to a wider audience. At just 7.2 ounces (205 grams), the Solo 2 is lightweight but has a sturdy build with a smooth curve that provides a snug fit. This also makes it easier to just fold the headband inward, place it in the protective pouch that’s included in the package and keep it in your bag when not in use.
What’s also impressive about the Solo 2 is that it doesn’t stick out too far from your head, so you won’t look ridiculous wearing them. You can easily tighten or loosen them, depending on the fit you want, without worrying how securely it will fit on your head.
The design of its pads provide excellent noise isolation as its outer coating has more definition that seals your ear better than most on-ear headphones. The difference is noticeable as you commute around the city.
Another design to highlight is its removable cable that connects to the left earcup. It includes a three-button remote with an inline remote for volume control, a center button for taking and answering calls, and a microphone.
The most common issue people had with the Solo HD was its sound quality: for its price, the lack of clarity and too much focus on the bass were a bit of a letdown for its price. Some people went as far as to say that the sound the Solo HD delivered was too murky.
The Solo 2 improves on this without compromising its excellent bass quality, which is by no means mellow. You can feel the bass, even without increasing the volume. The impressive impact of the Solo 2’s bass is hard to understate – you can practically feel the physical connection it makes to your ears.
Beats seems to have pushed down the bass bump to prevent the thick murky sound that often convolutes the sound of the Solo HD. This time it’s more balanced with the treble and the midrange than the Solo HD was, giving a richer, more flattering and ultimately more refined sound to the vocalists. Other on-ear headphones tend to drown out or thin the voices of the vocalists, but the Solo 2 manages to come up with the perfect balance.
It goes without saying though that the Solo 2 may not be the on-ear headphones for you if you’re not into bass-heavy music.
At $199.95 USD, the popularity of the Beats Solo 2 is all but guaranteed. Its portability and size make it a great companion for travelling. And although not the best on-ear headphones for audiophiles who like variety and dynamism in their music, the Solo 2 is the best choice if you’re looking for bass-heavy headphones that can isolate sound as you work out in the gym or that can drown out the noise in your daily commute.