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CES 2012. Monster: New Name of the Company, Headphones and Sockets for Smart House

CES 2012. Expectations, Doubts and Travellers Notes

It often happens that I unintentionally stumble upon the topic of my interest in unexpected places. My resolution to offer one general review a day almost failed due to an intensive press conference from Monster. I am not an expert in the world of headphones, but it was interesting for me to tap into this resource looking for tendencies in the area.

Monster dropped the component Cable from its name, which is logical as they are trying to position themselves as a versatile company offering not only headphones and appropriate accessories. At the event Monster presented its entrance into the niche of flash memory with a range of models.

We can ask why a highly competitive market segment needs another player, but the manufacturer highlights not only the features of products, but pays attention to positioning, price and brand image. You may believe that consumers are not ready to pay for expensive headphones, which are similar or almost similar to rival models selling for less. Think again! It happens that the segment of premium headphones is massive and is skyrocketing at the moment. Manufacturers use marketing to stand out from the crowd and win the battle for the hearts and money of customers. It is a win-win situation when people buy quality headphones with high image potential due to the price in the range of $300-$500. Those who want to save can spend time and search for bargains, but Monster, for example, has models for different budgets. They cautiously expand their portfolio and make sure that products are associated with high quality sound. This is not original and resembles the strategy of all major players, but some can do it like Monster, while others fail.

The market we are talking about wins from teaming up with celebrities and the use of endorsement to capture the imagination of customers. This scheme boost the brand recognition of lets say, Monster. Below there is information on headphones, which seemed interesting for me.

What I liked is that Monster emphasized that we live in the era of music smartphones. Whether we like it or not, but smartphones are fast becoming key music sources, and they direct the development in the market of headphones too.

I think HTC is not the only example of the trend and others will follow soon. Several HTC models already include in the box compact and relatively expensive Dr.Dre headphones. Nokia uses Monster Purity. Any smartphone manufacturer will cooperate with headphone companies to offer music solutions. It explains how smartphones are turning into universal gadgets. Before describing models in detail I would also like to mention tools for saving power in households. In fact Monster is planning to branch out there as well. I liked the smart socket with controls, which costs $150 and allows managing the controls via the Internet or through the app for iPhone, Android and WP7. When a new device is connected you can assign it any name to be remembered by the system. Interestingly, you can decide when the device charges and operates, which is useful when electricity bills differ depending upon the period of time. The app also shows how much you have saved. Remote control is available too. In fact we have a smart house concept in a small box for a small amount. This app even won the contest run by AT&T. I expected smart sockets to cost much more than $70. Monster makes first steps in this lucrative segment and their products looks promising. promise

Look at photos and brief description of models:

Gratitude headphones together with Earth, Wind&Fire

Endorsement by a famous band is a welcome addition to excellent headphones with golden surface and pouch in the box. I was even more fascinated by the box itself. Everything looks expensive and attracts attention. The model oozes luxury and value far more than its recommended US retail price of $230. It exemplifies the tendency I mentioned above. Specific consumer groups are attracted by assurances of high quality and celebrities endorsement.

Monster + Diesel = Vektr

Forget about the marketing promising the blend of sound and design. It is true, but marketing gobbledygook does not impress me much overall. Anyway, we get good headphones, decent sound and the price tag of $250 for the product to be available this quarter. Until recently Monster did not have a similar type of headphones (excluding Beats). Here we see collaboration with another famous brand once again.

Nergy headphones

Earbuds for $70 feature a magnet to keep them together in the pocket, which prevents the cord from tangling. You can put them around the neck and fix with the same magnet. The model is aimed at the young audience and looks stylish. As a number of other accessories Nergy was developed together with Ncredible from Nick Cannon.

iSport 2

iSport headphones are already available on the market, while its new incarnation was dubbed Livestrong and will appear in stores in February for $180. I found them unusual, but very convenient. There was no chance to test the sound quality, but it looks fine.

Inspiration headphones with noise suppression

This is the first model from Monster with the noise suppression. It will hit the shelves in the spring of 2012 for $280 in titan or white colors. The tag on the headphones can be replaced (8 types are available for $30 each). This headphones targets business people and seasoned travelers, which is a sensible solution both in terms of price and features.

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 11 January 2012

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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