Headphones Better than Beats – The Complete Guide
Beats headphones sell premium in the headphones market. But, are there headphones better than Beats in many aspects, at the same or even lower prices? Sure. Then why do Beats cans sell like wine from French vineyard? Because people get drunk on luxury. Beats electronics was the smartest move of Dr. Dre’s career. From its incipience in 2006, it has gone from strength to strength concluding in an acquisition by Apple. Along with Jimmy Iovine and a bling ring of popular music icons and star athletes, Dr. Dre has elevated expensive Beats headphones to the same line as Louis Vuitton. Everybody has to have it and almost nobody needs it.
According to some experts, Beats headphones would certainly qualify as decent sounding if they were compared to headphones with a 20% to 30% lower price. They just don’t match up to the market hype and stardom granted to them by audio audience. All lip and no work would want to make you beat a retreat from Beats.To clear the air, we started digging into all aspects of Beats headphones and tried to match them with less pricey alternatives. These alternate headphones come from various brands and fare positively with Beats cans in more aspects than one.
There are 4 main Beats models in the market at the moment:
- Beats Solo 2 – On-ear wired headphones
- PowerBeats 2 – In-ear bluetooth wireless headphones
- Beats Studio Wireless Over-ear headphones
- Beats Executive Wired Over headphones
We have evaluated them for their build, extra features and overall performance.Being true audiophiles, we have researched, found and analyzed headphones that we consider better than their Beats counterparts.
1. Headphones better than Beats Solo 2 Wired On-Ear Headphones – Our pick is BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling
|Build||Durable with metallic materials including earcups||Plastic; Tight but loosen over time|
|Audio quality||Balanced with decent bass||Bassy; unbalanced|
|Battery Life||18 hours||12 hours|
|Additional features||Active Noise cancellation; 2 color combinations||11 colors; Foldable|
BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling – A closer look..
If looks could kill, Böhm and Beats would both do it. But Böhm would win this one. Priced very competitively, Böhm Wireless is a Bluetooth headphone with Bluetooth 4.0. It oozes appeal with a sleek headband encased in leather on the cranial arch. Earcups are sheathed in gorgeous tan faux leather andblack mesh. The back of these earpieces are done in dull glint of metal.
Böhm wireless headphones have active noise cancellation(ANC) signal processing built into their circuitry. This is controlled by a button and ANC can be switched off when you need your headphones to be porous to outside conversation. Audio is balanced across their frequency spectrum. Bass is not an overkill though a trace more subtle than intended.Mids and highs are allowed space to display themselves. Sound output is warm in an enticing way. Bluetooth connection works flawlessly in Böhm wireless headphones. They switch on and are discovered in a quick step. The range of this connection is 33 feet. There are no additional setup procedures. Battery charge lasts through 18 hours of talktime or 16 hours of playback in single charge. This is much better that the market average of 12 hours for Bluetooth headphones.A multifunctional button on the left earcup controls calls, power and play/pause. Volume-cum-track navigation buttons are also provided. They sit comfortably without exerting undue pressure on your ears. For convenience, Böhm headphones also come with a 3.5mm cable.
Advantages of BÖHM over Beats Solo 2 wireless
First off, Beats Solo2 wireless have a high price tag but is not quite justified. Both are on-ear headphones, but Beats does not have Böhm’s distinctive features like active noise cancellation at its price.
Beats Solo 2 carry the company logo and its subtle metallic finish, but the headphones are made of cheap plastic. One too many pieces of Beats Solo2 have broken one month out of the box. Many customers complained that one side would stop working abruptly. Durability is not their strong suit. Whereas Böhm, even in a worst case scenario, will last through 6 months, at least.
Beats Solo 2 redeems itself with the colors it offers. There are 11 different colors of Solo 2 headphones while only 2 color combinations of Böhm wireless headphones exist: tan/metal and black/metal. Beats can also be folded.
Battery life of Beats Solo 2 wireless averages only 12 hours as compared to Böhm wireless headsets’ 18 hours.
Comfort wise, Beats Solo 2 are a little too snug and do not loosen with time. Folks with bigger ears are left with a royal pain in the ears. Böhm exhibits the same issue initially. But Böhm wireless headphones expand later to adapt to your size.
Beat Solo 2’s bass is a constant thorn on your side. It doesn’t have the clarity of headphones in the same range. It’s the booming bass and not the gentle rumble.For their unscrupulous price, the audio quality disappoints with shallow sound. Böhm wireless Bluetooth only misses the perfect Bass mix by a hair. It certainly exceeds expectations for the sound quality.
Böhm has a delectable combination of looks, audio and Bluetooth convenience at a very competitive price. It outsmarts its league by a long shot. Long enough to give the Beats Solo 2 wireless a run for its money. So it’s no surprise that Böhm joins the hall of headphones better than Beats.
<<Latest prices and customer reviews of BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling>>
2. Headphones better Powerbeats 2 wireless in-ear headphones – Photive PH-BTE70 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
|Build||Fit well and don’t fall off||Fit well|
|Style||In-ear with earhooks||In-ear with earhooks|
|Audio quality||Bassy but balanced||Bassy; unbalanced|
|Battery Life||6 hours||6 hours|
|Additional features||Good passive noise cancellation; Sweatproof||Sweatproof|
Photive in-ear headphones – A closer look..
Photive BTE70 Bluetooth in-ear earphones redefine comfort with the light, supple design meant to see some action. These are customized to deal with the wear and tear of your workout routine. With pumping bass that will get you going 60 miles an hour, BTE70 earphones add the wireless feature to the mix.
Photive BTE70 Bluetooth earphones constitute two in-ear earguides attached to driver casings and a wire. The wire runs harmlessly behind your head connecting the two earpieces. Earpieces have adjustable hooks mounted on them to go behind your ears and secure them for intense physical activity. They will hang on to your ears desperately while you jump and jog. Audio quality is deeply affected by bass. Blasting some deep music during workout boosts your motivation and Photive boosts the bass for you. Even at high volumes it doesn’t get boomy or sibilant. APT-X enables pristine sound output that has depth to it. For wireless connectivity, Photive BTE70 earphones make use of Bluetooth 4.0. Setup can be breezed through without much effort. Call chat is easy to decipher because of the clarity. Internal mic is satisfactory but it can do better. These buds can make it through 6 hours of service over a single charge. All controls to manage call answer/reject, music play/pause, volume and track skipping are situated on the earphones for quick access. Buttons are large enough for tactile advantage but small enough to not make the earpiece bulky.
Photive has invested in making the BTE70 sweat proof even for those of you who sweat copiously like pigs. Its charm lies in the pro-athletic features and hands free operation make it ideal for sports and running.
Advantages of Photive over Powerbeats 2 wireless in-ear earphones
We are already laughing as we see the high price tag of Powerbeats 2 for the exact same spec as Photive BTE70. The latter is priced substantially lower than PowerBeats 2. A LeBron James inspired design is not an excuse to inflate the price of Powerbeats 2.
Powerbeats 2 does the rookie mistake of engineering a bullying bass into its sound signature. Good audio is a team effort of bass, mids, highs and treble. If bass tries to grab the centre stage, highs and mids get muddy.
Fortunately Photive BT70 earphones maintain a respectable bass that works coherently with other sounds.
The mic and controls of BTE70 are housed in the ear piece. But in Powerbeats 2, the controls and mic are in the line of wire and might beat against your neck as your run.
Both Powerbeats 2 earphones have some minor Bluetooth and build issues but Beatsdoesn’t cover some common problems in the warranty. You might have to shell out money in excess of $100 to repair them. Whereas, Photive is replaceable at a very low price.
The mic of Beats earphones is not as sweat proof as you would imagine. They can crack up pretty bad after you sweat some fat off at the gym. BTE70 resolves this problem by putting the mic inside a safe case.
Photive BTE70 may not be vastly different from Powerbeats 2 headphones but they pack all they have at a substantially lower price.This very crucial reason makes these headphones better than Beats.
3. Headphones better than Beats Studio Wireless headphones – V-MODA Crossfade Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
|Build||Heavier but comfortable||Lightweight but may clamp due to circular earpieces|
|Style||Hexagonal over-ear||Circular over-ear|
|Audio quality||Rich sound with punchy bass||Bassy; unbalanced|
|Battery Life||12 hours||12 hours|
|Additional features||4 colors; 3D printed and laser engraved speaker plates included for customization; Auto Analog switch; Braided cable included||Dual mode adaptive noise cancellation; 8 colors; foldable|
Why V-MODA Crossfade Wireless?
V-Moda certainly took the cake with their M-100 headphones. Cashing in on their success, it released the Crossfade on M-100’s heels. This wireless headphone swathes your ears in geometrical beauty and flawless Italian workmanship. They retain many of M-100’s features and add a little zing of their own to stand out against their peers with an impressive and rather stylish design.
Crossfade wireless over-ear headphones have petite build in spite of no folding or collapsing mechanism. Simultaneously they look ruggedly built with their hexagonal earcups. Earcups are cushioned lavishly with memory foam to cradle your head lightly. An interesting quirk is that earpads can be swapped for a different color or build. The headband can be twisted every which way and it will not break. Earpieces have slight room to swivel forward and adapt to your head shape. Speaker plates at the back of these earpieces are also replaceable. Owing to V-Moda’s thoughtfulness, these wireless headphones come with laser-engraved and 3-D printed plates to customize the back plate design. Bluetooth pairing is made hassle free with a common power/pairing switch. Play/pause and call management are done through one button. Another pair of buttons is used for volume and skipping tracks. Controls are easily reachable and strategically divide the functionality. Auto analog switch toggles between Bluetooth and wired automatically when the wire is plugged in or removed. A 3.5mm braided cable is provided in the pack. These cans yield a playback time of 12 hours per battery charge.
V-Moda has gone for a bassy audio signature. Crossfade headphones tread a delicate balance between bass and other elements and come out shining. The tight bass is supported by colorful mids with meticulous details. Midrange and vocals sound clean, as they are meant to be. The sound is undisciplined enough to be fun.
Advantages of V-MODA Crossfade Wireless over Beats Studio Wireless headphones
Beats Studio wireless headphone has a curious issue. Even for using these headphones with cable, they need to have some battery charge left. So you can’t use it on cable when it runs out of juice. Now this is an awkward affair as you may not be keeping track of the charge. Crossfade can be operated on zero battery charge if you use cables.
Beats Studio wireless headphones lose shamefacedly in front of V-Moda’s sound engineering. In an effort to balance the audio temperament, Beats tones down its bass in Studio headphones. So bass does not assert itself in the low ranges. Its sound detailing is not special enough for a headphone priced towards the upper end of the spectrum. Crossfade has warm bassy sound with many details for you to discover at a sensible price for its (top-notch headphones) category.
With auto analog switch, Crossfade headphones move between wired and wireless mode very smoothly. Once plugged in via cable, it will automatically switch to analog mode and stop draining battery. Once the cable is removed it will relapse back to Bluetooth mode. Beats Studio headphones switch off once the cable is disconnected.
Beats headphones come with a regular cable of red color with all colors of its Studio wireless headphones. Crossfades takes the precaution to provide a braided cable for heavy-duty use.
Beats retains its circular over-ear design which is hurtful to many people when worn over long periods of time. Crossfade’s hexagonal design rests easy on the ears without forming any pressure points.
Beats Studio does not have track navigation buttons.
Crossfade headphones lie in the same cost category as their Beats counterpart. But Beats audio is no match for V-Moda’s. Hence their fame as headphones better than Beats.
4. Headphones better than Beats by Dre executive headphones – Parrot Zik Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
|Build||Classy design with croc stitch available||Simple design; lightweight|
|Style||Circular over-ear||Circular over-ear|
|Audio quality||Bright audio quality; Concert Hall effect for live experience||Bass undermines mids and highs|
|Battery Life||Rechargeable but low battery life||Uses AAA battery|
|Additional features||Wireless; Active noise cancellation; Tactile touch sensor based operation; Head detection sensor; NFC capability; Parrot Audio Suite App for phone; Concert Hall effect.||Foldable; Hissy ANC|
Why Parrot Zik?
When the French wireless giant, Parrot went from drones to headphones, spectacular things were expected. And Parrot delivered more. Parrot Zik wireless is in intuitive robot that perches on your head and controls you music. It is the true luxury headphone that will give you a taste of the high life.
The build of Parrot Zik headphones is a minimalistic one but cutting edge features are simmering right below the surface. A metal frame arches to form the headband which is padded. Swiveling earpieces are done in black or tan with a hint of metal. The glint of being a brilliant headphone is evident in the build quality. These are noise cancelling cans with active DSP for doing so. A complicated microphone system handles the cancellation mechanism. This wireless headphone uses Bluetooth for wireless connectivity but they also have an option for NFC. Parrot Zik wireless headphone has a single button for power on. Rest of the functions are carried out by touch sensitive back plate of one earpiece. You can swipe to switch volume and tracks. Rather convenient, don’t you think? What really awed us was the fact that these cans also have motion sensors. So when you make to take them off, they get muted and stop the active noise cancellation function. This neat feature helps conserve battery charge. Audio quality of Zik is a revelation. It makes the good sound better. Of course, this is influenced by the quality of tracks and user’s preferences. The Parrot Concert hall effect tries to transport you into a live phenomenon but is limited by battery constraints. Barring the few glitches, Parrot Zik manages rich fidelity with lows, mids and highs annealed yet subtly separate. Sonic output is precariously balanced for perfection.
Parrot Zik has created a nifty Audio Suite App to manage these headphones via phone. This facility gives you the leeway to useZik’s features to maximum value. This app is available for Android and iOS.
Advantages of Beats wired Executive headphones
Beats Executive has a very apparent hiss from the active noise cancelling mechanism. This is ironical as ANC is supposed to curb noise and not create a buzz in your ear. Both Beats executive and Parrot Zik headphones clock a top-range price but noise cancelling is not such a big bother in Parrot Zik.
Parrot Zik has been unequivocally praised as having a rich and balanced audio output. Beats Executive headphones disappoint big time in terms of sonic quality. They are still skewed toward bass which is more of a cheap thrill than a true rumbling presence. The bass overwhelms all other elements which sound boxy and muffled. Instrument separation is hardly discernible in Beats Executive.
Parrot Zik has done away with the myriad buttons and moves in the future with motion sensors. If this doesn’t feel luxurious, what would? Beats, although it claims to be top-of-the-line, does not carry these features. In fact , the volume buttons of inline control panel do not work with Android and Blackberry devices in Beats Executive.
Parrot Zik also has NFC capability for faster wireless connectivity, and app for easy equalization and sound management. This dexterous app allows you to control these headphones via your smartphone. Beats Executive headphones rely on their own sound engineers for the awfully equalized sound.
Both Parrot Zik and Beats Executive have their high points and pitfalls but Parrot Zik offers the extra perks of wireless connectivity and touch-enabled operation at the same price at Beats Executive. All this contribute to why we have included Parrot Zik in our headphones better than Beats list.