Beats By Dr. Dre Headphones From $17 Teardown Were Actually Counterfeit

soundbysteveHey, remember when we shared a post where an expert took apart a set of Beats headphones and estimated that the parts they contained were worth maybe 17 bucks? Those were fun times. The story proved our suspicions about pricey electronics, and didn’t really surprise anyone. Guess what, though? Those headphones were fakes.

The bright spot, though, if you want to think of it that way, is that the components of real, brand-new Beats headphones don’t cost much more. It’s still the same economics of the same product type: just Beats by Dre instead of Sound by Steve.

Just to make sure, prototype engineer Avery Louie bought two pairs of Beats headphones from authorized retailers, Amazon and Target. (Thanks to the Box of Crap phenomenon, you can’t guarantee that the headphones aren’t counterfeits returned to an authorized retailer, so better to buy two.) After tearing down the genuine headphones, the conclusion wasn’t far off: the parts used cost maybe $20, rather than $17. The list price of those headphones is $200.

The genuine headphones are better in some ways: they use metal where the fakes use silver spray paint in some spots, and use stainless steel alloys where the knockoffs use zinc.

How It’s Made Series: Yup, Our Beats Were Counterfeit (But They Cost About the Same to Make as the Real Ones)

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