(Pocket-lint) - You may have noticed that the kool kids on the street are all rocking a similar look when it comes to headphones. You'd have to have been hiding in a hole to not notice the silver or black oversized cups with a red b adorning them for all the world to see. You may be aware that these cans are the Dr Dre designed (apparently) Monster Beats. They're the latest must-have tech accessory, hence the ubiquitous array of fake versions decorating the eBay listings pages.

Trouble is, if your more Carlton Banks than Jazzy Jeff, the chances are that you're gonna look a bit of a tit wearing them. Sure, Monster Beats are ultra fashionable and slick looking - but there's a certain look that they go with, otherwise they stand out like an Eton graduate at an 8-Mile rap club.

But you can still have the Beats experience without looking silly – thanks to the Monster Diddybeats - the high-performance in-ear headphones co-created by the Daddy of Puff ... Sean “Diddy” Combs.

For in-ear phones these buds are on the large scale. That's the first thing that you notice when you take them out of the box (and the camp suede case). They're big, and they're shiny. It's clear that the Beats range definitely has a big element of showmanship about it. Luckily, when putting them in your lugholes any concerns about the size drift away. They come with a selection of tips (including a memory foam option) so you're sure to find the perfect fit - and they don't feel heavy at all.

We wouldn't say that they are the ideal earphones for running, but they held up well (and stayed in place) nicely at the gym (although you should consider that Pocket-lint's gym routine involves a lot of sitting down) - although that's hardly what they're designed for. Nope, they're designed for looking cool on the street when listening to your tunes on the go. And the good thing is that nobody knows that you're listening to Dolly Parton when you’re rocking the Diddybeats.

Saying that, it is with their native hip-hop music that the Diddys perform at their best. We gave them a good going over with some classic tunes (think Snoop, Messy Marv and Lil Wayne) and the playback was superb. Crisp, clear, undeterred by some of the huge bass from those legends of rap, and excellently balanced.


We also tested some guitar bands (Kasabian, Foo Fighters, etc.) as well as some of the mediocre X-Factor tripe that dominates the charts, and the performance was solid across the board with the mid-levels performing amicably. You may need to tweak the EQ settings on your player to get the optimum sound for your genre, but when you get it right, you'll know it. Don't think about giving the Diddybeats a miss just because you don't like hip-hop. These 'phones will belt out your desired choice of tune without fault. 

The Diddybeats also boast an inline option complete with mic, a volume button, and a one-stop shop button that answers calls and controls playback on your iDevices. There's nothing particularly outstanding about this inclusion - it's common on even budget 'phones now - but it works as it should and is a useful function to have.

Construction wise, the Beats also score highly. They feature a leather wraparound, and a polished aluminium finish and are tough, without being industrial. The cable is a flat ribbon variety which helps with tangle reduction (and also looks pretty cool), and the inline control is light enough that you don't feel it tugging on your ear.


It's hard to find a fault with the Diddybeats. Although designed with hip-hop in mind, we tested them across a wide range of musical genres and every-time they came up trumps. Not only is the bass ridiculously impressive on some seriously heavy old school rap music, the balance between bass and treble on hybrid musical varieties (think Ice T's Body Count thrash metal project) is absolutely spot on. And they even perform well when playing back music that Diddy and Dre (and whoever actually did design them) probably didn't have in mind, such as folk or country music (Pocket-lint borrowed someone else's iPod to test this - obviously). 

And they look ultra-cool too - yes, they're small and there's obviously not a great deal of room for the designers to work with, but if there was such a thing as blingy in-ear earphones than the Diddybeats are just that.

Maybe that is the one downside we can think of then. Sure, the b is hidden away slightly and is on a much smaller scale than the Monster Beats, but it's still there and the metal buds still scream out for a hipster owner.

So before parting with your cash, maybe you should first consider - are you cool enough to carry off the Diddy Beats?

Writing by Paul Lamkin.