We have currently reviewed 11 pairs of Beats headphones. They're a popular brand that makes stylish and comfortable headphones. While they used to be known for their excessively bass-heavy sound signature, their newer models tend to sound surprisingly well-balanced.
The best Beats headphones that we've tested so far are the Beats Solo Pro. These noise cancelling wireless on-ears are very well-built, have an easy-to-use and fairly comprehensive touch-sensitive control scheme, and have a chic design that's available in a broad range of colors to suit your sense of style. They also yield roughly 24 hours of continuous playback with ANC turned on, which should be enough to get you through a couple of days at work. Their ANC system is quite effective overall, as it does a great job of helping block out ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of nearby AC units. They also offer a fairly well-balanced sound profile with just a hint of extra bass, so they're a good fit for a wide variety of musical genres.
Unfortunately, they lack any sort of audio presets or an EQ to adjust their sound profile to your liking. Their on-ear fit isn't for everyone, and they may feel a little to tight if you have a large head. Their integrated mic also delivers sub-par recording quality, so your voice may be heard as muffled and lacking in detail to those on the other end of the line.
The best Beats earbuds we've tested so far are the Beats Powerbeats Pro. These truly wireless in-ears are great for sports and fitness due to their stable fit and solid build quality. They have a very intuitive control scheme that's easy-to-use when you're on the move while their 11-hour-plus continuous battery life should be more than sufficient to last you throughout the day. While their sub-par noise isolation performance means they let in a lot of ambient noise, that may be preferable if you're an outdoor runner who wants to stay aware of your surroundings. They also have a fairly well-balanced sound profile, making them well-suited for everything from podcasts to EDM.
Unfortunately, their IPX4 water resistance rating isn't especially impressive for high-end sports-oriented headphones, though it should be noted that we don't test this feature. They also don't have an EQ or audio presets to adjust their sound profile to your liking, which may be disappointing if you're the type who likes to dial in a little more bass to stay motivated on a run.
The best Beats headphones that are wired are the Beats EP. These wired on-ears are decently comfortable and feel reasonably well-built, with dense plastic ear cups and a flexible headband. They're stable enough to wear outside during day-to-day use, though their non-detachable audio cable can snag on something and pull them off of your head. Their in-line microphone delivers good recording quality, as it makes your voice sound clear and detailed. They'll also provide a well-balanced listening experience that's versatile enough for most genres, giving your music adequate thump and body, not to mention clear, present, and detailed vocals and lead instruments.
That said, they're inadequate for commuting and office work due to their poor noise isolation capability. They let in a lot of ambient noise across the spectrum, ranging from the low rumble of bus and train engines to the higher-pitched chatter of noisy coworkers. That said, their well-balanced sound profile and compact, lightweight design makes them some of the best headphones for DJs that we've tested.
Overall, Beats make sleek and modern-looking headphones that feel like fashion accessories. Although older models have a mediocre-at-best sound quality, more recent releases have improved their audio reproduction to better suit neutral listeners while still retaining their powerful bass. However, their headphones are a bit expensive for what they have to offer, especially since the more feature-packed models aren't quite on par with their competitors.
Beats has a slightly unorthodox naming convention for their headphones, but they do offer a decent variety of models for different uses.
Beats have made great improvements to their lineup. They're still a fashion-forward brand that focuses on bold color schemes and sleek modern designs, but their recent models sound a lot better-balanced than what they’ve put out in the past. That said, their products are still a bit pricey for what they have to offer, especially their noise cancelling headphones that don’t deliver the same level of noise isolation that models from competing brands provide.