Beats Solo 2 Wireless - Top Notch Design

August 23, 2015

Beats' latest wireless on-ears is called the Beats Solo 2 Wireless (SGD 490). This is their first product since the Apple 2014 merger and blends in nicely with its wired sibling, the Solo 2. 
With 70 percent market share, Beats look set to dominate the premium headphone market segment for a while and hence, they simply cannot be ignored when considering a pair of headphones for purchase.

They are masters of packaging (and marketing), just like Apple, and hence, is probably a huge factor why Apple took such a big interest in Beats. Let's guide you through the unboxing process.
Sliding out the top layer will reveal a solid black box.

Taking out the cover unveils a black cardboard with these words that proclaim:
Lift up the tab and voila - behold the carrying pouch containing the Solo 2 Wireless.
Before taking out the headphones, we first take out the supporting layer. Beneath is a black sleeve containing the user guide, safety info and a Beats sticker. 

Smack at the bottom of the box is a carabiner, to allow you to attach the carrying case to a bag, the USB charging cable and an audio cable to give you the flexibility of a wired connection.
Back to the headphones. Upon unzipping the pouch, the first impression of the 215g Solo 2 Wireless is that it looks undeniably suited for street wear. From the 7 colors available, I was passed the gloss black unit which sports punctuations of red. 
At the midway point of the headband, a hinge on each side allows the Beats to be folded inwards for compact storage. The interior of the headband is made of a soft felt material colored grey while the non-replaceable ear cushions are a solid black.  
Wireless Bluetooth pairing is a very straightforward process. On powering on the unit, a white LED on the left cup will pulsate to indicate pairing is in progress. Once your source device is visible, tap to select the Beats Solo 2 Wireless and you're good to go.

One nice touch is their battery power meter (or what they coin as Fuel Gauge) which consists of 5 small LEDs lining the bottom of the right cup. This is very similar to what used to be a default feature on MacBook Pros. Just press the power button to have an idea how much charge there is. 

The design of the playback controls on wireless gave the impression that the products team thought this out very well. They evolved the in-your-face controls of the original Beats Wireless to very discrete tactile controls. You simply don't see them at all as they are hidden into the left ear cup. Brilliant.
2011 Beats Wireless - Very blatant playback controls
Beats Solo 2 Wireless - Discrete controls
The Beats logo is the Call / Play button.
The top / bottom of the surrounding circle are the volume controls.
To get the wired mode, just plug in the red 1.36m cable (marketed as RemoteTalk Audio Cable). At this point, the Bluetooth turns off. The in-line remote becomes the primary mode to control the volume. While the button actuation is first class for responsiveness, the flipside is that it caters to iOS/Mac users.
These cans do not come with aptX, which allows for CD-quality audio over wireless. A number of studies have been conducted to assess if people could identify aptX sound. Apparently, the result is that the difference is negligible. Before the audiophiles scream bloody murder, this really isn't a showstopper especially with the way the Beats is tuned. 
You can rename the headphones. First, just visit where you download an installer. You then run the software and link up the headphones by USB to your computer. This feature basically allows you to update the firmware on your headphones to the latest version in addition to the personalization. Is this really needed? If they are working perfectly fine, probably not, but allowing allowing room for improvement is always a good thing.
The Solo 2 Wireless is a decent on-ears headphones when it comes to sound. I took a listen to Tom Chaplin's haunting vocals with the accompanying bass on Keane's Russian Farmer's Song. There is an obvious inclination towards a deeper bass and less emphasis on the treble clarity. To a certain extent, vocals and instrumentation aren't too distinct; they kinda blend together. 
On the other hand, these headphones are clearly made for bass heads. The Solo 2 Wireless is in its element when listening to trance. Solarstone's Seven Cities is at its inspiring best when the beats start pounding your eardrums. My overall take is that the sound is warm and the listening experience is very much an engaging one when listening to the right type of music. The best is to try out the headphones yourself to see if the sound suits you.
One pleasant surprise is that wired mode sounds almost exactly the same as wireless, a standard that manufacturers these days are trying to attain.
Prolonged usage can be a little uncomfortable, especially if you wear glasses, as the clamping effect is quite strong. If you get the chance, do try these out for comfort first. 
The battery lasts 12 hours, a rather underwhelming number when compared to other Bluetooth headphones in the market. Once the power meter pulsates red to indicate low battery, just plug in the supplied micro-USB cable to the right side for 2 hours to get a full charge. 


If a stylish wireless pair of headphones with a deep bass is what you seek, look no further. Indeed the price is steep but the Solo 2 Wireless' design is well thought out in a practical way and will surely appeal to fashionistas.

Where To Buy
If you like what you have read, do feel free to support me by buying from Amazon via this affiliate link

Prices start from USD 195.

Audio Sources
Russian Farmer's Song - Keane (Spotify Premium 320kbps MP3) on Samsung Galaxy S4
Seven Cities (Original Atlantis Mix) - Solarstone (Spotify Premium 320kbps MP3) on iPad Air

Credit to Apple and Beats teams for providing a review unit.

Update (21 Nov 2015)
Beats introduced new color variants in the past two months:
Beats Solo 2 Wireless - Rose Gold
Rose Gold - 19 Nov 2015
To match your latest iPhone 6S
Beats Solo 2 Wireless - Luxe Edition
Luxe Edition (Red / Blue / Silver / Black) - 26 Oct 2015
A classier design for the wired variant
Beats Solo 2 Wireless - Active Collection
Active Collection (Yellow / Blue / Red) - 24 Sep 2015
For a sportier look  

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