Are entry-level Beats even worth it?
Beats branding is one of the most recognized audio brands on the planet. The signature ‘b’ found on the side of their products screams style, wealth, and status. That said, these headphones are the complete opposite of what the Beat brand is all about.
The real question is, is that even a good thing?
With a super budget-friendly, entry-level pair of headphones, Beats are trying to capture a different audience to loop them into the ecosystem. Something similar to Apple’s budget SE phone range.
So, how do these compare?
Let’s find out in our no holds barred Beats EP Review…
Out of the box, the quality seems great. The headphones feel well built, and the unboxing experience is good enough at this price range. The headphones are mostly plastic, but not the cheap kind. The plastic used here is the same as they use for their premium products.
The headband feels sturdy and sports the same rubber padding found on their more expensive headphones. The sliding metal plates for the ear cups returned as well.
The first warning sign…
The same cannot be said for the quality of the audio cable. There is no proper attachment point, and the cable itself feels cheap, leaving you in constant fear that one yank of the cable might be the end. However, the cable isn’t detachable, which means that if it breaks, you will need to buy a whole new pair of headphones.
Additionally, the ear cups can’t swivel, which makes it difficult to store safely. This just makes things worse considering the fragile cable.
You might feel a slight pinch…
Once you put these on, you will be greeted by an immediate uncomfortable feeling on the top of your head. The clamping force is very strong due to the stiffness of the headphones. The only bright spot is how the ear cups fit. They are quite comfortable. The rubberized plastic becomes a little warm after a while, and you can hardly call the ear pads “padded.”
Also, don’t think about taking these to the gym, since there is no IP rating. Therefore, a good old splash of water might just be enough to deem them unusable.
Looking past a lot of the issues with the build quality, these Beats offer superior sound compared to most of the competitors in the same price range. In fact, the sound quality might be the only reason to get these.
We won’t go as far as to say that the sound quality is the best on offer under $100, but they come close to the likes of the Sony MDR-7506.
Where’s the beef?
The low-end frequencies are surprisingly subdued for a pair of Beats. There is still some accentuation in the low-range, although much less than you’d find on other Beats headphones like the Solo 3. This causes some auditory masking, especially in songs that feature a decent thumping bass line. Vocals seem to take a backseat in most pop and EDM songs.
Most casual listeners will prefer this energetic sound profile over a neutral frequency range. But, if you want reference earphones, these won’t cut it.
Very little sizzle or shine…
The high range sees some de-emphasis with some of the frequencies above 3kHz being lowered. This helps with distortion at higher volumes but does come at a cost.
Hi-hats and cymbals are almost non-existent at high volumes. Also, this means the higher notes on pianos and guitars fade as you turn the volume up, taking away a lot of the brightness and sizzle.
These are not wireless headphones, so there are no battery or wireless connectivity options. Therefore, if you own a device that only supports wireless devices, which, let’s face it, is becoming the norm, turn away now.
Most of the controlling will be done on whatever device you plug these into. However, there is an in-line remote for changing volume, pausing and playing music, and using the microphone.
The buttons on the remote are fine and easy to use. You can also access virtual assistants with the remote on iOS devices, but not Android devices.
Who is the Beats EP for?
Considering the low price these retail for, they are perfectly suited for people who want a pair of Beats solely for the branding but can’t afford the higher-priced headphones. Simply wearing that ‘b’ is enough for some people. However, if you want better quality and sound, there are better offerings around the same price range, wired and wireless.
JBL’s E range of headphones like the E35 and E35BT (wireless variant) are excellent options as well as Sony’s MDR-7506.
Beats EP Review Pros and Cons
- Decent sound quality.
- In-line remote is easy to use.
- Build quality.
- No folding hinges or swivels.
Need a new pair of headphones or earbuds?
If so, we have you covered from every angle. Check out all of our comprehensive reviews of the Best Lightning Headphones for iPhone iPad, the Best aptX Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Lightweight Headphones, the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under 200 dollars, the Best Bluetooth Headphones for Commuting, or the Best Headphones with Google Assistant Integration.
Beats EP Review Round-Up
Unlike Apple’s SE range of phones that offer the things you love about Apple phones at a lower price, Beat’s EP headphones lose sight of what makes their premium headphones great.
With the low build quality and portability, the headphones fall behind what some of their counterparts are able to offer at the same price point. If branding is important to you, and you simply cannot live without that ‘b’ on your headphones, then these will satisfy that urge.
If build quality and functionality are important to you, then looking elsewhere will be to your benefit.
Until next time, may the beat go on.