09/17/2013 09:20 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2013

Monoprice Premium Bluetooth Hi-Fi Over-the-Ear Headphones Review

Monoprice scores with these high-quality, affordably-priced over the ear headphones. available in black (Monoprice product id 10245) or white (Monoprice product id 10246). They look great, sound great, pair easily and even support micro-SD cards in addition to Bluetooth and wired connectivity.
Another reviewer called the sound bassy, but I found it a bit more evenly distributed among highs, mediums and lows. If you're looking for overly heavy bass, these might not be the headphones for you, but if you like your music reproduction true to life, you'll enjoy these units.
The box is a handsome presentation case, suitable for gifting - a nice thought to keep in mind as December approaches. Inside are the headphones, which are styled to look very much like Beats Wireless On-Ear Headphones, but at less than a third the price. I like the white model, but there's one thing worth noting: only the exterior of the headband is white. The interior, and the earcups, are black.
In contrast, the white Beats headphones are completely white - a nicer look, I think - and they have a big red "b" on them, rather than a red "m" and "Monoprice." But click those links and compare the prices.
Also on the headphones - the right-side earcup, to be precise (sorry, southpaws) - are volume up/down, track skip forward/back, and a multifunction button (on/off, play/pause, call answer/reject). There are also three small buttons related to the SD card capability, about which more in a minute.
In addition, the headphones include a non-visible builtin microphone so that you can use the headphones for telephone calls. But don't bother - although I could hear the other party fine when I tested this, he could scarcely hear me. I sounded muffled and distant from the mic. It's worth noting that this is not unique to the Monoprice headphones; I've read the same criticism in other reviews of more expensive units.
The headphones are comfortable. At 10 oz., you know you're wearing them, but I had no trouble wearing them for several hours before my ears tired of the cushions, comfortable though they were.
So what else do you get for your money in addition to the headphones themselves? A 3.5 mm cable for wired use, a USB cable for charging, and a pleatherette carry bag. (The headphones fold up in the now-familiar trifold configuration.)
The cables are dark red, which doesn't quite match the bright red of the logos on the headphones. It's one of the compromises you make for saving about $190 on these phones as compared to Beats, for instance.
But no worries - you probably won't be using the cables much anyway. I found the Bluetooth connectivity to be flawless, and the 3.5mm cables languishes in the box. The charging cable is, of course, a necessity, but the battery life was good.
Also in the box is a manual (written in good English), and please don't throw it away. You'll need it if you want to use the SD card function.
That's because the user interface for this capability is a bit confusing. There's an SD card multifunction button you have to press to switch from Bluetooth mode, a mode toggle button that switches between SD card mode and wired mode, and an SD card EQ button that cycles among five presets. Inexplicably, the latter is designed to work only with the SD card, not with Bluetooth playback. The volume and track skip buttons work with the SD card, but the regular multifunction button doesn't - you have to use the SD card multifunction button to play or pause the SD card playback.
I would rather have seen a mode button that cycled between Bluetooth, SD card and wired mode, so that the regular multifunction button could be used in SD card and Bluetooth mode. This would also have eliminated the need for the SD card multifunction button, which would have simplified the user interface (or user experience, if you prefer the most current terminology). In addition, I would have liked to see the EQ button work in Bluetooth and wired modes in addition to SD card mode.
The SD card can be up to 32 GB - or maybe 64 GB; the manual is inconsistent on this. In a smart touch, if you plug the USB cable into the headphones and then into a computer, the SD card can be accessed as a memory device, making it easy to transfer your tunes to the card.
All in all, these headphones are a great alternative to Bluetooth speakers, which I"ve also reviewed.
That's about it. If you like what you've read, click through to Amazon and pick up a pair of Monoprice Premium Bluetooth Hi-Fi Over-the-Ear Headphones in black or white!