Just a few years ago, spending $300 on headphones was something only a handful of artists, music producers, and audiophiles would even consider. But that was before a hip-hop legend got involved. These days, headphones — specifically ones that costhundreds of dollars — are one of the fastest growing categories in the consumer electronics industry. And musicians who aren’t sticking their name on a pair are starting to seem tone deaf.
At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, rapper 50 Cent made an appearance. So did LL Cool J, Lemmy from Motorhead, and Ro Marley, son of late reggae musician Bob Marley. Even the “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow stopped by. And all of them were hawking really expensive headphones.
Over the last several years, the premium headphone market has exploded. According to retail analyst firm NPD Group, U.S. sales of headphones that cost $100 or more increased 73% year-over-year in 2012, far outpacing sales in the headphone market overall. Premium headphones now make up 43% of all headphone sales, and consumers who make the leap to high-end headphones don’t seem to be regretting the decision: Those who own premium headphones have an average of 2.3 pairs, according to NPD.
Though the company’s expansion into in-ear headphones is young, it has already landed on an iconic design that would make its can-style siblings proud. The Powerbeats2 Wireless wants to be your accomplice in exercise. But to do that, the pair must meet the one standard that all workout buffs can agree on: it has to disappear when you put it on. If you feel the headphones at all, they’re already too heavy.
The Powerbeats2 Wireless don’t exactly live up to that challenge. The unit is lightweight and clearly built for those who are keen on exercising. However, its grippy measures for staying put in your ear tend to come at the sacrifice of comfort and, at times, sound performance.
The Powerbeats 2 Wireless review sample sent to techradar is decked out in the Shock Yellow configuration. Throughout the unit, Beats balances bright, neon yellow accents on the gunmetal gray build. I chose this color variation over the other ten available because its palette best resembles safety reflectors.
Reference: Tech Radar
The units that house the sound drivers, as well as the Bluetooth radio and battery, are thick pieces of plastic that are about the size of modern thumb drives. The gunmetal gray color and matte-textured feel give them a stylish look and help them appear presentable, even when doused in sweat. The easy-to-recognize Beats logo looks edgy as ever, nestled onto the rounded edge of each housing unit.
Bulbous pieces of plastic extend out from behind the earbuds, to give them a bit more of a chance to hang on for dear life during your workouts. To ensure a good fit, Beats includes four sets of silicon ear tips, which range from small to large. One last measure has been made to stay in your ear: its silicon hooks, which offer grip around your ear’s cartilage.