We've somehow managed to miss out on reviewing the Monster Beats Solo Headphones for a while now, which we thought was a shame given the amount of talk about them. Having finally gotten hold of pair, however, we're not sure it was worth the trouble because the Beats Solos aren't exactly the best headphones in the world, or even the best for their £130 asking price. But then, would you expect less from a company that will encourage you to spend £350 on an HDMI cable?
We shouldn't be too harsh. The Beats Solos do have a lot going for them, and in the right circumstances we can see why one might come away from listening to them having enjoyed the experience. The design, for a start, is a success story; the matt finish makes the Solos feel like £130 worth of headphones should, and looks great.
There's a decent amount of padding on the headband and earpads, making the Beats Solos comfortable to wear for long periods of time, unless you have a large enough head for the pressure to be too much. The sliding size-adjustment for the headband has a solid, mechanical feel to it, and locks into place securely. We found that the articulated swivel arrangement which fixes the earcups to the headband gave a reasonable degree of freedom, so you can move the Beats Solos around on your head a fair bit and still have a good fit.
The headband is a little thin, but not enough to cause any worry about its durability. A nice feature of the headband is that it is hinged, letting the Solos fold into their supplied neoprene carrying case (another price-justifying addition) - a feature mimicked by the copycat Fanny Wang On-Ear Wangs.
One particularly well thought out aspect is the removable cable or, rather, cables. The 'standard' cable is chunky but still reasonably flexible, and has a particularly durable-looking connector at each end, while the second also has an in-line remote and mic, for use with iPhone and other compatible devices. The provision of both an iPhone-friendly and a 'normal' cable is great, as it means the Beats Solos don't break with older players that can't cope with the revised connector that is required for headsets.