Commuting in London is a terrible experience at the best of times, thanks to the constant delays and cramped conditions.

What makes it even worse is the people. Those noisy inconsiderate people who seem to make it their mission to blight others’ journeys.

There are the mates who get on the train having ‘fascinating’ conversations and banter, there are the people who talk incessantly into their mobile phones enthralling everyone with tedious details of their domestic lives, and there are those annoying gits who insist on sharing their music with the rest of the carriage by having it blare out of crappy earbuds that are so useless at masking noise that the person may as well just play their awful tunes directly through their phone.

In the case of that last gripe, I can only hope a lot of people have put a decent pair of headphones at the top of their Christmas list. That would help. In terms of the other two aggravations, there really isn’t any way to combat them other than to try and lose myself in my own world – and that’s what I’ve been trying.

Rather than waiting for Christmas and wishing for Santa to help, I used online marketplace eBay to provide me with the gift of a pleasant commute.

I asked for a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones that would most importantly keep other people’s noise out but would also keep my noise in so I could play music or games without fear of becoming one of those annoying types.

What I got was a set of Beats Executive over-ear cans, part of the ‘by Dr Dre’ range.

While they are not perfect, they have provided an excellent solution to dealing with the irritation of other people while on my travels.

News Shopper: Beats Executive headphone by Dr Dre

The Beats come in an impressive looking box which opens up to reveal the sleek looking silver and grey headphones (they're also available in black) as well as a range of accessories including two 3.5mm leads, 6.3mm plug and a hard plastic carry case.

The headphones look mightily impressive, balancing a striking metallic look with comfortable looking cushy (synthetic) leather over the top and around the cups.

News Shopper: Beats Executive headphone by Dr Dre

They don’t just look comfortable, they feel it too – and the quality of their build comes across as soon you put them over your head. The headband rests snugly but comfortably, and the soft squidgy cans give the ears a warm, tight hug. While the hinges used to fold them up for storage feel a little loose and wobbly, the headphones feel sturdy and of solid construction overall.

During extended uninterrupted use, I’ve found the headphones to stay comfortable for around an hour before my ears have started to very slightly ache.

News Shopper: Beats Executive headphone by Dr Dre

A key feature of the Beats is the active noise cancellation tech. This provides white noise in the background to drown out ambient noise from the outside world. A drawback of this is it provides an audible hiss but this disappears once music is playing (although it can still be slightly heard during spoken-word work such as audiobooks).

A possible issue with the headphones is that in order for them to produce sound the noise cancellation powered by a couple of AAA batteries stored in the left earcup must always be switched on. This isn’t a problem when commuting because I can’t think of a time you’d want to have it turned off, but could became a frustration when at home and you don’t need to block out outside sounds.

If you don’t remember to switch the headphones off after you’re finished using them you run the risk of draining the batteries. If the batteries run out and you don’t have spares handy, you have to stop listening to your music and are back in hell having to put up with other people’s noise.

Despite limitations, the noise cancellation does work well. It keeps nearly all noise out  (I wasn’t aware of a nearby irksome woman jabbering away on her phone on the train the other day until there was a gap in my songs). The headphone also do a pretty good job at keeping noise in – you have to turn the volume up quite high before the sounds becomes audible to others close by. I don’t think I’ve annoyed anyone else on the train, at least I hope not.

News Shopper: Beats Executive headphone by Dr Dre

A nice touch, and the only way to briefly cancel the noise cancellation, is being able to press the Beats logo on the right can to mute the headphones. This can be useful when you want to listen to an announcement on the train or while at a station.

I’m not going to pretend I know much about sound quality. Terms such as midrange and treble mean little to me. However, I would describe the sound provided by the Beats as deep and rich. It has quite a lot of bass, but isn’t too heavy or overpowering. Vocals come through crisp and clear, and percussion is particularly distinct.

I’m not sure I would have been as happy with the Beats Executive had I got them at their initial price of £270 but luckily they are now more reasonably priced and offer much better value. For example, the pair I received from eBay were priced at a much more modest £115 which isn’t bad at all for a high-quality set of headphones that should provide years of good service.

With the Beats Executive headphones on, my commuting has got a whole lot more bearable – and you can’t really put a price on that.