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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Monster Diamond Tears Edge On-Ear Headphones review:

Fashionista headphone isn't all looks

Along with a soft carrying case -- yes, the headphones partially fold up to fit in the case -- you get a couple of accessories not normally included with your typical pair of headphones: a Monster Clean Cloth and a small spray bottle of Monster Shine for buffing your cans up to look their light-refracting best.

To be clear, what you're polishing isn't some form of special glass, just plastic -- even the little diamond stud on the outside of each earcup is far from precious. But while the headphones are mostly made of plastic, they do seem sturdy and well built, right down to the cords.

I also liked the texture of the headband, though I don't know how practical it is. It's some form of polyurethane and has a firm yet gummy feel. I can't tell you how well that band will hold up over time -- and I did notice some dust particles adhering to it, so you'll have to wipe it down occasionally -- but it's a nice change from the typical padded leather headband.

The Diamond Tears are more geared toward women (click to enlarge). David Carnoy/CNET

As for comfort, the Diamond Tears are pretty comfy for an on-ear model, but they do fit very snugly, and the teardrop shape of the earpads seems better suited to those with smaller ears; some folks with bigger ears may not be able to wear them for long periods.

Despite their tight fit, they do leak some sound. Not much, but some. On the flip side, they don't let much sound in -- they passively seal out a lot of ambient noise.

Another plus: each earcup has a jack, so you can have a second person plug his or her headphones into the open jack and daisy-chain your headphones to listen to the same music or movie through the one device. This feature isn't unique -- more headphones are offering it -- but it's still relatively rare.

People will invariably have very different reactions to the design of the Diamond Tears, with some folks finding them striking and supercool while others are repelled by their gaudiness. Whatever the case, that they are able to provoke a strong reaction is a win for Monster and its designers. While models like Sony's Simon Cowell-backed MDR-X10 headphones are clearly more comfortable, aesthetically the X Headphones don't make as strong a statement as these and are just funky-looking -- and not so much in a good way (a new, smaller X Headphone model is on the way that isn't as bulbous).

While the Diamond Tears personally aren't my style and seem more geared toward women -- and not just real housewives from New Jersey -- some dudes, I suppose, will rock these with pride. I could also see a few guys ostensibly buying them for a girlfriend or spouse and then "borrowing" them when they didn't get used enough.

As for their high price, well, they clearly aren't a bargain. That's par for the course for so-called status headphones, and while I can sit here telling you that they're overpriced, if people keep buying them at $300, apparently they aren't. On a more positive note, at least they seem well-built and sound good. In other words, there's some substance to go along with the flashy looks, which may surprise some folks. That's not enough to make me want to drop $300 on them, but I'm not the target market.

What you'll pay

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