Ever since it introduced its first-generation Studio headphones in late 2008, Beats has been despised (for lack of a better word) by die-hard audiophiles all over the globe — but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the brand.
Most potential customers are reluctant to splash out $199.95 for a pair of Beats Solo’s because they believe that there are plenty of headphones on the market that offer a lot more bang for your buck, and I’d be inclined to agree. Up until now.
Enter Beats EP.
Believe it or not, the entry-level Beats EP headphones are surprisingly good value for money. They retail for $129.95, sport a lightweight, durable stainless steel frame and are available in four colors — black, blue, red and white.
Attached to the cans you’ll find a flat, linguini-style 3.5mm cord that (sadly) isn’t removable, complete with an iPhone-friendly in-line remote/microphone for placing calls, adjusting volume and changing tracks.
During our testing, we found that some of the remote functions, like skipping to the next song, aren’t compatible with Android smartphones, which is definitely something worth bearing in mind if you’re planning to pick them up to use with, say, a Galaxy S8.
The Beats EPs aren’t the most comfortable headphones out there. Like the Solos, they sit on your ear, and are a little too tight. While the snug fit offers impressive passive noise isolation, there’s a downside: the cans start to hurt after extended periods of use.
I’m just going to put this right out there… I love the way the Beats EPs sound. The audio is well-balanced and relatively clean. They also aren’t too boomy; something that surprised me, considering Beats is notorious for jacking up the bass on its headphones.
That said, the Beats EPs could be a little louder. Even with the volume raised to the highest level on my iPhone 7 Plus and MacBook Pro, I was still left wanting more — but that’s something you can easily learn to live with.
Beats certainly has a win on its hands with the EPs. For a sub-$130 pair of headphones, they’re fantastic not only for people looking to join the Beats family, but also for those on a strict budget wanting a taste of high-end audio.