Beats by Dr Dre are undoubtedly the most ridiculously priced headphones I’ve seen over the past few years. I mean, to each their own; waste your money on an overpriced and low quality fashion statement if you want, but I’d rather own one of the many Beats alternatives than throw away £100-£300 on a pretty pair of headphones with a bebo logo slapped on the side.
If you don’t want to read the whole thing you can just use these buttons to skip to each category: If You Want The LooksIf You Want Incredible SoundThe Cheap AlternativeThe Splurge or readBeats: The Headrendous Headphones
I know I know, you’re paying for the brand over the quality right? I mean, you really don’t mind that the sound you’re getting is terrible for the money as long as your friends and random strangers on the street think you look ‘cool’. But after seeing how many people liked our previous attempt at a Beats by Dre headphones alternatives blogpost (which really just turned into a venomous and frustrated vent ito why we absolutely hate the things) I thought I’d come back with a more comprehensive post.
With 11 to choose from, all for different budgets and different tastes, you’re sure to find at least one pair you like.
- 1 Beats Alternatives If You Want The Looks
- 2 Beats Alternatives If You Want Incredible Sound
- 3 The Cheapest Of The Beats Alternatives
- 4 The Splurge Of Our Beats Alternatives
- 5 SEE MORE: Beats By Dre: The Headrendous Headphones >>
Beats Alternatives If You Want The Looks
Sony has an extensive range of headphones available, and these are an excellent option for those who want good quality and a well-known brand too.
Even though I know a brand name doesn’t outright mean brand quality, these headphones have really good sound for full immersive listening.
The noise isolating feature will block out sound wherever you are, ensuring that the music is the only thing you can hear at all times.
The headband is adjustable, so you don’t have to worry if you often struggle to find a pair of headphones which feel comfortable. The 1.2m long cable means you can comfortably keep your music player in a trouser or coat pocket without the worry of it being pulled out.
With a foldable design, they are great for those who are often on the move as they will take up minimal space when not in use.
They are quite basic, with no controls or microphone ability, so if you are after something a bit more technical then read on…
Sony MDR-XBR650BT from AO.com
Available in black, blue or red, this Sony model is a perfect accessory to let your personality shine.
First of all, they are wireless, so you don’t have to worry about wires tying you down and keeping your music player in close contact at all times. The battery lasts for up to 30 hours, so the likelihood that you’ll be stuck without them on the commute is minimal. There’s also an on/off indicator, so they won’t be left on to drain away when not in use.
Got an incoming call? You don’t have to scramble to take them off and sort your phone out. With a built-in microphone, one click of a button and you are free to talk to your heart’s content and get back to your music with no effort.
Other things like the volume, pausing and skipping your tunes can also be regulated with the controls on the side of the headphones. EXTRA BASS™ Technology improves the sound, and Bluetooth and NFC capability mean they are compatible with almost every wireless device.
Jabra Move Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones
Really lightweight with an adjustable headband, this Jabra model will feel comfortable at all times of use. With a simple, Scandinavian design, they are a timeless modern design.
The materials used will make sure the headphones will not tarnish when on-the-go. The stainless-steel arms are hard to scratch, and dirt resistant fabric will keep them looking new.
Talk/music battery time is up to 8 hours, meaning they are good enough to get you to and from work comfortable every day without charging. They take two hours to charge completely using the dedicated cable, so can easily be left to their own devices while you get ready in the mornings.
Jabra’s signature DSP provides clear, crisp sound and the HD voice capability gives you high-quality voice calls.
Unlike a lot of other wireless headphones, they can also work with a 120cm long audio cable, if you want to conserve the battery without taking your charger and relying on a plug socket being available.
Bluetooth enabled, you can pair the Jabra headphones with up to eight separate devices, so whether it be your laptop, phone or mp3 player you have with you, you aren’t stuck with nothing to listen to.
Sony MDR-ZX660AP from Amazon
Available in green, orange, champagne, black, blue and white, the Sony MDR-ZX660AP can be the perfect accessory to inject a bit of colour into any outfit or match with your phone case.
Lightweight 40mm neodymium drivers deliver thumping bass, and Beat Response Control tightens up the bass keeping distortion low, even with the highest volume. An air vent maximises airflow, optimising the efficiency of the diaphragm for more accurate sound.
Although they are wired, the 1.2m cable is flat and tangle-resistant, keeping them knot-free and at full length. It is from this cable that you can control call answering, playing and pausing your music, to save you bringing out your music player constantly.
The Sony SmartKey app allows you to customise how you use your headphones, with listening and answering functions being assigned a single, double or triple press.
There is no noise isolation ability, but they do reduce the external noise by a considerable amount. A great mid-level option without breaking the bank.
Beats Alternatives If You Want Incredible Sound
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)
The industry leaders for sound quality. Perfect for bringing your music to life, the included Bose TriPort technology works with active EQ to deliver deep lows and clear highs.
You can also adjust the level of noise cancellation to suit your environment using the Action button or Bose Connect App. Completely block out the noisy group of people sitting behind you on the train, let a bit of noise in if you want to hear what they are talking about or turn it off entirely if you’re crossing busy roads and need to be able to hear the traffic.
It does this without any wiring as well, so you don’t have to worry about the wireless aspect reducing your precious sound quality.
The lightweight cushioned cups are comfortable on your ears, even with prolonged use. Everything can be controlled with the headphones, from answering incoming phone calls to skipping songs and using Siri or Google Assistant.
It isn’t only the headphones which are noise resistant; the dual microphone system makes it impossible to let windy or noisy conditions affect your phone calls.
A full 1.5-hour charge will give you 20 hours of playing power, and a quick 15-minute charge will provide you with another few hours. Don’t worry about what you’ll do if on-the-go and the battery runs out – they are also compatible with a cable and will last 40 hours in this mode.
They fold into a compact case to take up less space and make them easier to transport without damaging.
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series 1)Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series 1) from Amazon
One of the best options for anyone after great sound quality. If you’re looking for the ultimate Beats by Dre Studio alternatives, these could well be just what you need.
What makes them so great? Tiny microphones continuously monitor the noise going on around you, playing the opposite so quietly in the background of your music that the outside noise disappears, and you’re left with a pure, musical experience. The noise cancellation from Bose is up there with some of the best you can buy.
That might sound ridiculous, but it really works. They have all the usual whistles and bells, buttons to help you control the songs and your calls, comfy cushion pads so you can listen for hours. But on top of all of that, their sound quality is difficult to rival, and they look slick enough that you won’t mind being seen in public with them.
A full charge provides 20 hours of battery life, and 40 hours if you use them with wires.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
Active Noise Cancellation makes these headphones one of the best options for those always out and about, needing to shut off the world.
The closed-back around-ear design makes sure it is also only you who can hear what you are playing. You can also control the volume, track skipping and incoming voice calls with the click of a button via the ear-cup mounted controls.
19 hours of battery life on a full charge will give you plenty of time to enjoy your music without worrying about the charge. The detachable cable is also available, for if you do run out.
With NFC and Bluetooth, you can connect almost any gadget immediately. For full portability, just pop them in their specially designed carry case to keep them safe.
The Cheapest Of The Beats Alternatives
With five colours to choose from, the MDRZX310 are a perfect budget on-ear headphone option.
For the price, they actually offer very decent sound quality at low to medium volumes, while the shape of the headphone actually cancels out a lot of external noise.
They are comfortable to wear for a long period, with cushioned padding and rotatable movement.
Even though they are good enough to use as an everyday pair if you are just after something comfortable, they could also be used as an interim pair of headphones for travelling or popping in your bag for being out and about. The lightweight, folding design makes them easy to transport and carry.
Even though they are wired, the cable is thick, so there is little risk of tangling. The jack is also L-shaped, so is less likely to become damaged or bent as happens commonly with other headphone connections.
I think these are the best bet for anybody after a bog-standard set of comfortable headphones which do the job, without a ridiculously high price tag. The best budget headphones money can buy.
SoundPEATS A1 Pro
SoundPEATS A1 Pro from Amazon
With the ability to play music for 25 hours at a 60% volume rate, these SoundPEATS headphones will keep you listening for a very long time.
A full charge will take about three hours, but they can also be used wired, so you don’t have to worry about the battery issue.
Compatible with almost all Bluetooth-enabled devices, you aren’t restricted to using them only with one appliance. The high-quality built-in microphone provides clear conversations when having a phone call.
The sound quality is really great, with noise isolation and comfortable ear cushioning. Even on the loudest setting, there is little noise given out beyond your ears – you can listen to all your guilty pleasures without having to worry the person next to you on the bus can also hear.
Even though the design is basic, being all black, you can see that they were loosely based on the Beats headphones – even with a big ‘S’ on the earcup. For a fraction of the price, if you are after a pair of headphones which do the basic job, they are a good bet.
The Splurge Of Our Beats Alternatives
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 from Amazon
Still more inexpensive than the standard RRP of most Beats headphones, these Sennheiser’s are powerful when it comes to blocking sound out and making the music sound just how it was created.
Noise Gard hybrid active technology almost completely blocks ambient noise using four microphones for ultimate isolation to dramatically improve sound quality in busy environments without disturbing your listening. There is still a bit of background noise, but it doesn’t disrupt the quality of your listening.
Where they lack in noise cancelling, they certainly make up for regarding sound quality. There is quite a broad spectrum, so you can hear even the subtlest of sounds which surprisingly makes all the difference.
With 22 hours of battery life, it is likely you could use them on a weeks’ worth of commutes without even going near a charger. This also makes them perfect for long plane or train journeys where electricity supply may be limited.
Even if the day does come when the power runs out, there is the ability to use the headphones with a wired jack as a backup. Answering any incoming calls is also effortless, with the inbuilt VoiceMax microphone which blocks any other sounds being picked up.
The Sennheiser’s are ideal if you aren’t only after excellent music quality, but also a great look. The vintage, retro feel to these headphones make them an everlasting classic.
Denon AH-D7200 from Amazon
Almost twice as much as the Beats headphones, but arguably with good reason.
Some headphones can take a little while to ‘settle in’, which is relevant to these, but once they do the sound is top class. There is plenty of detail, and the music is sharp, stopping and starting when it should punctually.
The sounds are perfectly balanced, with no harshness or lacking. Denon approached the design of the AH-D7200’s like traditional speakers, with the quality akin to high-end loudspeakers.
Premium build quality, with real walnut wood earcups, aluminium frame and sheepskin leather headband. The closed cup design is surprisingly comfortable and light, despite the materials used.
The cable is covered in thick woven material, so it will not be as likely to break or bend as with other headphone wires.
A lot of people will find these far too big and bulky to be used as just smartphone headphones for the commute, so they are best suited for home use if you enjoy playing video games or watching TV without the sound blaring.
If there is anybody out there who will never turn their back on earphones for public use but want the best of the best for home use, these Denon headphones are the best money can buy.
And that’s it, 13 Beats Alternatives that’ll make you forget Beats by Dre even existed. Have you got any of these? Let me know in the comments below, on Twitter.