Better Headphones than Beats for Less

When Apple paid $3 billion for Beats by Dr Dre, a lot of analysts think Apple overpaid. But that doesn't mean you have to. Sure, Beats headphones will set you back $200 and if you want wireless Bluetooth headphones with the Beats logo, expect to pay $300 to $350. But there are alternatives.


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The 8 Driver BE501 headphones from Life N Soul is a serious competitor to Beats, but at half the price. The Bluetooth model lists for under $180 and offers many of the features Beats customers look for. There's a 3.5mm jack for wired use on non-Bluetooth devices or when in airplane mode. Speaking of airplane mode, I tried these in a noisy setting, with and without any music, and the noise reduction was quite good, even when there was no music playing. When you do listen to music, the integrated "surround sound" technology does its thing and you feel like you're at the concert.

The padded cushions on the top and on the ears mean it's comfortable to use for a long time. The 8 Driver BE501 headphones should be nice for airplane travel, and it folds up nicely to fit in the included bag. And the 25 hour battery life (1300mAh) means it should last as long as your iPhone, if not longer. The Life N Soul headphones are available in either chrome or white.

I'd like to defer to Gary Oldman, who suggests in HTC's latest ads that users not take his word for it regarding the new HTC phone, but "ask the Internet" instead. I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but the sentiment is right. Life N Soul proves you don't need to trust (or pay for) a product based on the recommendation of an actor, rap star, or athlete, which can add $100 or more to the cost of the item.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.