Beats by Dr. Dre and Monster rolled out a new set of Heartbeats earphones designed by Lady Gaga that the company says are "inspired by leather and studs." On the surface, that sounds pretty kinky--and these earphones do have a unique look--but the Heartbeats' design is actually more subdued than that of the original Heartbeats, which featured a triangular, earringlike outer cover that people either loved or hated.
The Heartbeats 2.0 by Lady Gaga are available in two colors, black and gold, for $149 (list). They come with a small protective pouch and six sets of eartips, one of which should allow you to get a comfortable fit.
Design and features
The Heartbeats' new look is more appealing than the original, with a new flat cord that's tangle-resistant and features a flexible, flat L-shaped plug that should hold up well over time. It also hugs the top of your device better and is more discreet, so there's no awkward plug sticking out of the top of your smartphone).
The design earns our favor, though just like Lady Gaga, it's obviously not for everyone. It's also worth mentioning that while the studded ends of the buds aren't sharp, they're fairly pointy, which does produce an odd sensation when you go to push on the buds to get a snug fit in your ear. Some might say they bring out your inner masochist.
More of today's earphones include an integrated microphone for making cell phone calls, and the Heartbeats 2.0 are no exception. The integrated in-line mic is compatible with Android and iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and allows you to jump tracks forward and back by double- or triple-clicking the call answer/end button. Alas, there's no volume control in the ControlTalk button. That's unfortunate.
In our tests, we listened to some Gillian Welch, Adele, The National, Peter Gabriel's "Scratch My Back" album, then moved on to Lady Gaga herself and some hip-hop tracks. Overall, we liked the sound of the Heartbeats 2.0. They're pleasant-sounding earphones with lots of bass. But clarity just isn't their strength.