The Gadget: Dr. Dre and Monster’s Beats headphones, which combines noise cancellation/isolation with an in-line microphone for mobile phones. Plus, you have Dre’s expertise in knowing what sounds good, which makes for a good pair of cans.
The Price: US$350
The Verdict: Strong. The sound quality is pretty great, with good bass reproduction without being too heavy handed, and decent mediums and highs. Not the best all-around headset compared to Sennheisers, but pretty darn good. The Beats also ship with two headphone cables, one of which has an on-board microphone/toggle switch for taking and making calls. It performs this job quite admirably as well.
On the other hand, it might be because my head is too big or my ears stick out too much, but the Beats just barely fit on my head and grip my ears at its most extended. People with heads larger than me–there shouldn’t be many of you out there–might want to try this on first before buying. The ear cups aren’t extraordinarily comfortable, but they’re wearable. Remember Dre’s appearance at the VMA’s last year? His head was pretty tiny on his buff body. Maybe that’s why these are small.
But the most interesting feature is the noise cancellation. You have to have a pair of AAA batteries loaded in at all times, but the resulting isolation is more than enough to drown out an insanely annoying jackhammer that’s been going at it outside my house for the past two weeks.
The Beats may not be the best at noise cancellation, the best at sound reproduction, or the best at making and taking calls, but it does all of the above well, and should be good enough for most people. [Beats]