Just several months after unveiling a line of premium headphones worldwide, Samsung announced on Wednesday the availability of its new "Level" headphones in the United States.
Featuring a bulky-retro, over-the-ear design, Level — which includes a Bluetooth speaker box and a set of earphones — will likely draw comparisons to Apple's Beats headphones.
And with its product offerings, design, pricing, and demographically specific promotional video (see below), it appears that would-be Beats consumers are exactly who Samsung is targeting with its Level line.
In fact, if you compare the two, Samsung seems to be offering direct alternatives to nearly all of Beats' primary SKUs.
Samsung's top-of-the-line wireless Bluetooth headphones, the Level Over ($349.99) is an easy comparison to Beats' Studio Wireless headphones ($379.95).
The next tier down, the Level On ($179.99), can be compared to the Beats Solo ($199.95). Similarly, the wireless Bluetooth Level Box ($299.99) fills the same category as the wireless Bluetooth Beats Pill ($199.95).
The comparison even extends to the lowest tier of Samsung's Level line: The Level, in-ear wired earphones ($149.99), are similar to Beats' in-ear wired earphone offerings, the Powerbeats and the Tour (both $149.95 each).
In terms of style, neither of the Level headphones break new ground, or even have a look that might distinguish them from the increasingly crowded over-the-ear headphone space. The same goes for the Level Bluetooth speaker and earphones. So depending on your taste, the minimalist-style Level line comes off as either aggressively generic or classily conservative, which contrasts with Beats' aesthetic bent toward more flashy hip-hop and electronic-music tastes.
We haven't had a chance to review and compare the audio quality of the Level line versus its competitors, but for those looking to escape the gravity well of the Apple-Beats combo, Samsung's Level could be an interesting — if pricey — alternative.
For anyone keeping score, now that Apple own Beats, this latest Samsung move probably won't help quiet chatter that the Korean electronics giant has an Apple clone strategy.
Initial availability for Samsung's Level headphones will be exclusive to Gilt beginning on Thursday, with Amazon and Best Buy offering the Level on July 20 and 27, respectively.
Tags: APPLE VS SAMSUNG, BEATS ELECTRONICS, BLUETOOTH, BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS, GADGETS, HEADPHONES, MOBILE, SAMSUNG, Tech