Without a shadow of a doubt the Solo HD is the best-looking pair of on-ear headphones out there. My three-year-old daughter exclaimed that they are “riktigt mycket fina”, which translates into very much nice. Co-workers in their forties also find the Solo HD to be a great look, as it isn’t too big and still it makes a huge statement.
I reviewed the ordinary Solo earlier, and not much has changed in the new HD version. The mere HD concept has been watered down the last five years, and it is by no means an easy concept to translate into a piece of headphones. Without the original Solo to do side-by-side comparisons to I have to rely on my memory. When it comes to the sound the Solo HD delivers the same full bass that the over-ear Beats by Dr Dre Studios. It is impressive to have this amount of sound in such a small package. Compared to the new Bose OE2i it packs a better punch with a crispier bass, and better mid range. However the high end can feel a bit neglected, and at times the sound becomes muddled. This of course depends on the sound source material.
The design issues the original Solo had has been kept in the Solo HD. The great looking design is cheaply manufactured. If you hold one ear cup, and gently rock the headphones they rattle. This might not sound like such a big issue, but there are too many reports of snapped Solo/Solo HD out there that they feel brittle. Compared again versus the Bose OE2i the Solo HD is not made to last for ordinary life. I would not use the Solo HD in bed, as turning over on the side would put them in jeopardy of breaking. The metal piece inside the headband is a bit too short when I wear them fully extended.
Considering how frail the Solo HD is I am surprised that there is no hardcase included in the lavish package. You get a soft pouch that won’t protect the headphones if you have them in a bag that is tossed around. Folded inside the pouch the Solo HD is slightly stronger though, as the headband is fully supported by the internal metal band.
You get more or less everything else you would expect from a product from Monster Cable. Including a great ControlTalk microphone with volume controls. A strong zero noise cord that detaches. A great feature, as you won’t have to replace the entire set of headphones if the cord breaks.
At 20$ extra compared to the ordinary Solo the HD version comes with boosted bass, and an overall better performance. The frail design of the headbands, and the slightly cheap feel of the product has not been addressed at all. I see no point whatsoever to buy the Solo HD if you already own the original. The only reason to get these over the Bose OE2i is the sleek look. And who doesn’t want to look cool?