Design: flimsy cableSince these headphones are pretty much identical to other products in the Dr. Dre range, it's no real surprise to see the same design flaws back again. In other words, although the headphones seem to be quite well made, the materials seem a little flimsy and they don't look like they'll stand the test of time. The cable looks quite fragile too.
That's a shame, since with such a distinctive design—that you'll either love or hate—and a good-quality finish, the Solo headphones had started off on the right track.
The accessories are pretty flimsy too. Although the semi-rigid travel case is nicely designed, it still feels fragile. It's also the only accessory supplied. On this front, Monster (and most other headphones manufacturers) could learn a thing or two from in-ear headphones makers, who regularly supply products with huge ranges of accessories. Some of these are obviously gimmicky gadgets but others are very handy indeed.
We've got no complaints on comfort, as these headphones are almost on a par with the best Bose models in this field—and you'd certainly hope so given how thick the padding is!
Audio Quality: Monster Beats = monster bassIt's clearly no surprise that these Beats by Dr. Dre headphones pump out a monster bass. Even if the Solo headphones are more moderate than the Solo HD (undoubtedly due to a lower-performance speaker), the bass is still heavily dominant. That's fun for about five minutes with a good old hip-hop/west-coast/g-funk tune or some funky downtempo beats, but it soon becomes tiresome.
Logically, this over-abundance of bass drowns out the rest of the spectrum. You can hear voices, instruments and other higher pitched sounds but they just don't stand out enough. Clarity and accuracy suffer as a result.
In the end, the Solo are by no means bad headphones. In fact, they're actually slightly better than the Solo HD thanks to an output that, although less sharp and subtle, is actually a bit more consistent across the spectrum.
The main problem with the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones is their price, which seems to be totally out of sync with what's actually on offer. For £150 we'd expect something better.