Love them or hate them, Dre's Beats are one of the most popular choices for a solid set of headphones. While you can assuredly get sets of similar or better sound quality for the same price, the recognizable logo and wide variety of designs in the Beats line is a tough combo to beat. At time of writing, there are six headphones, four earphones, and three speakers bearing the Beats name.
When these babies go on sale, they often sell out in a matter of minutes or hours depending on how steep a discount we see. All Beats headphones include an in-line remote (other than the Wireless model, of course) and some sort of carrying case. You can read more about what makes each model unique below.
These are the originals. The iconic model that started it all. The Beats Studio phones include noise canceling, cushy ear cups, an in-line to control your music, a 1/4" plug adapter, hard shell carrying case, and a cleaning cloth. They run $300 list and come in 9 colors (plus a white Ekocycle model made from 31% recycled material, $350 list).
Beats Solo HD
If you didn't want to bust out three bills to cover the cost of the Studios, check out the Solo HDs with a $200 list. They're actually the only Beats model that has TWO speakers inside each headphone (for a total of four sitting on your head), which ostensibly improves sound definition and separation between highs and lows. They're flexible and reinforced with a metal strip for durability, and they even have a built-in microphone to let you take calls in between songs (branded as ControlTalk). Eight colors to choose.
Will.i.am uses these in the studio. They're $400 list and sheathed in steel and aluminum. They don't employ digital noise reduction, but in theory they don't need to because the ear cups are so incredibly heavily padded. You get the classic coiled cable, 1/4" adapter, pouch, and cleaning cloth with these bad boys.
As you might guess from the stylized spelling, the Beats Mixr phones are designed to deliver booming bass at high volume - ideal for someone spinning for a party. The ear cups swivel and the headband's flexible to let you check the mix periodically without fear of breaking the band or cup connectors. Inspired by David Guetta with a list of $250, these have a coiled cable, 1/4" adapter, case, and cloth.
You won't see a slew of color options for these - black and brushed silver is your color scheme. Beats Executive are the bougie Beats phones. At $300 list, they're lightweight for easy travel and feature active noise canceling like the Beats Studio models. Airline adapter, 1/4" adapter, hard shell case, and cleaning cloth come standard.
If you don't want a cord getting in the way, Beats Wireless headphones run you $280 and offer 10 hours of battery life and a Bluetooth connection to your phone, MP3 player, computer, or other Bluetooth device. Ear cup controls for your music are a given. They come with a USB charging cable, case, and cloth.
For on-the-go and athletic types, you've got four kinds of Beats earphones at your disposal. They generally run cheaper than the regular Beats on and over-ear headphones, but they can't be beat for portability or convenience. In general, these aren't as likely to sell out even with occasional substantial discounts, since they're not as iconic, but that's a good thing if they're what you need. Like the headphones, Beats earphones have in-line remotes to give you easy-to-access control over your music.
You could argue the Beats Tours are the Beats earphone equivalent of the Beats Studio headphones. They're $150 list, come in black or white, and feature a tangle-free cable built-in mic to take calls on your phone when necessary. They come in a hard case with 7 pairs of different sized bud inserts for the perfect fit.
LeBron teamed up with Dre to design these for the gym, the basketball court, or wherever else you find yourself active and not wanting to break your buds. At $150 list, they come with earclips to keep them in place. They're like the earbud equivalent of the Solo HDs in that they've got two speakers within each bud for definition, but they let in ambient noise to keep you safe and aware of your surroundings. They include an extension cable, hard case, and 3 pairs of ear tip fits.
These are clearly a concatenation of urban and Beats. They're $100 at list price, are built for durability with a solid metal housing, and come with a storage pouch and 4 pairs of ear tips.
Lady Gaga designed these to "[broadcast] bullets of sound right through your ears and into your heart," which sounds dangerous but undeniably stylish if you're into Gaga's aesthetic. These $130 earphones feature a tangle-free leathery cord and gunmetal studded buds. Throw them in the included leather pouch and get a good fit with 7 sizes of ear tips included.
Enjoying Beats audio doesn't have to be a "solo" experience (pun regrettably intended). You can go old-school with a boombox instead and share the music with your friends, or with angry neighbors. (They're probably just mad Dre is coming up with cool new Beats products instead of releasing Detox after over ten years.)
You won't have to use your mouth to make a phat beat to have someone spit over for this one, although "free" would certainly be easier on your wallet than the $400 list the Dre Beatbox commands. However, it's a lot louder and bassier than you can possibly be. The "speaker system" comes with rubber feet to adjust height, a power supply (you'd hope, right?), a remote control, and 5 iPod/iPhone adapter docks to fit just right.
Dre Beatbox Portable
The Beatbox Portable runs the same list price as the regular Beatbox but has handles for easy carrying to the nearest corner or party. You can change tracks from any Bluetooth-enabled device (laptop or phone, perhaps) if you don't want to use the included remote, and it'll run old school off 6 D batteries in addition to wall power. Comes with 7 adapter docks to fit your iDevice.
Don't try to ingest this one. It's quite literally a tough pill to swallow, but at $200, it's only half as difficult as the Beatboxes at list price. The Beats Pill lets you change tracks from your phone like the Beatbox Portable, but it's also got an internal microphone to let you conference call via Bluetooth with your phone. You'll get a 1.5m audio cable, USB charge/data cable, carry case, and AC power adapter. For portability, throw it on the included carabiner and you're good to go.