MEElectronics Atlas review: Striking looks and decent sound

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MEElectronics Atlas (Orion Metallic)

(Part #: HP-Atlas-OR-MEE)
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars 4 user reviews

The Good The MEElectronics Atlas headphones sound very good for the price and are particularly suited to rock and dance. The detachable cable features a flat design that's tangle-free; the volume control will work with pretty much everything; ventilated earpads mean they're good for exercising; and they're collapsible.

The Bad Design is a little gaudy; the soundstage is of the "in your head" variety and lacks detail; overly warm bass; Sound isolation isn't as good as other headphones.

The Bottom Line The MEElectronics Atlas offer distinctive looks, a full suite of features, and sound quality that can't be faulted at this price.

8.0 Overall
  • Value 9.0
  • Design 8.0
  • Sound quality 7.0
  • Features 9.0

In the days when Dr. Dre was "just" a producer and not yet an electronics design billionaire, headphones looked pretty ordinary. They were usually black -- or in Apple's case, white -- and were more practical than flashy. With the coming of Beats, headphones became must-have fashion accessories, and the rest of the industry had to run to catch up.

The MEElectronics may not look like Beats -- they are too angular, and dare I say it, even gaudier -- but they follow the same "headphones as design aesthetic" blueprint. But there are also some well thought-out features in here: a universal volume control, foldable earcups, and a tangle-resistant, detachable cord.

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Sound quality is pretty good for the price, with the bass-rich response that's expected of street-style headphones. On the other hand, they lack the noise isolation of other closed cans.

Given my regular commute on a noisy subway and the headphones' polarizing looks, I found myself overlooking the Atlas in favor of a model with better noise isolation. If you don't need to block out sound as much when on the move, however, and the looks appeal, then these well-made, well-featured, and better-than-average sounding headphones are worth a listen.

Design and features

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If you're after a discreet set of earphones, you can probably tell already that the MEElectronics are not for you. The earcups and band use a process called IML (In-mold labeling) which involves printing designs between layers of plastic, which is supposed to make them hard-wearing. The designs themselves in this case are quite striking, though a little too ostentatious for my taste. I received the Orion models, which have a "Tron"-like motif. However, if you're an LA resident, you may want to go for the Sky model with its coastline of California.

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