Handling: finally a new look for headphone?
Well yes, they do look very different. While the vast majority of in-ear headphones have the same form factor, the Heartbeats aren't shy about trying something new with an unusual triangular shape. You'll either love them or hate them, but at least they're different.
But then comes the question of whether a triangular pyramid is exactly the right shape for your ears, and there's an equally simple answer: no. After wearing the Heartbeats for twenty or thirty minutes, the edges and corners begin to dig in, and it's not just irritating. They actually start to hurt--not a lot, but enough to be annoying. We kept trying to adjust them to a more comfortable fit, but every time, the same feeling came back.
The collection of accessories isn't exactly copious for this range, and you only get five sets of tips, including just one double flange pair as well as a semi-rigid case, which is also triangular. Like the Tour headphones in the same collection, the cable is flat, and we're glad the headphone jack has an elbow joint at the end.
Audio Quality: a sticky mess
The whole Beats by Dr Dre range has a reputation for dominant bass. In this case though, bass doesn't just dominate, or drown out other sounds, it's quite simply too much. It comes right at your ears, even when it's not needed, and leaves no room for the mid-range to come through. The bass doesn't even do well from this extra power: we found that even at a low volume, the bass formed a single messy sound without too much detail.
Where does that leave the treble? Well, it doesn't want to get left behind either, and quickly becomes aggressive and shouty. And because the natural reaction to the powerful bass is turning up the volume to hear the detail, it's even more annoying. It's a shame, because the details really are there.
Lady Gaga might well have actively participated in the production of the Heartbeats, but it's only really the design where her influence has paid off. Other manufacturers that a daring design can go together with quality sound, but that isn't the case here.
- Innovative design
- Detailed sound
- Dreadful bass: too much and unclear
- Not very comfortable to wear
- Shouty treble
- Not many accessories
Having taken them out of the packaging and tried out them out, we wonder who really will want to use the Heartbeats, apart from diehard Lady Gaga fans. Let's just hope they're not picky about the quality of their music ...