Beats Studio Buds review: Great sound and good ANC

Beats Studio Buds review: Great sound and good ANC

two minute review

The Beats Studio Buds were one of Apple's worst-kept secrets before their mid-2021 launch. Star athletes wore them around town, while photos and whitepapers about them leaked months before. Almost everyone knew about these headphones long before they were announced. However when they arrived we were still amazed at how good they were.

The Beats Studio Buds are a solid pair of true wireless headphones with active noise cancellation and support for Apple's spatial audio format with Dolby Atmos. The audio is excellent, with vivid sound quality that elevates the highs and lows of your music, and they're extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

An update from Apple after its release made the Beats Studio Buds available in three new color options (gray, pink, and blue) and added the Locate My Beats feature for Android devices.

Beats Studio Headphones Specifications

Weight: 5 g (buds) 48 g (box)
Acoustic Design: Closed
Drivers: 8,2mm
Battery life: 8 hours (24 hours with charging case)
Additional features: active noise cancellation, spatial audio support.

While they're among the best true wireless earbuds, they're not perfect. Its main flaws are poor call quality and the lack of an H1 wireless chip. Battery life with ANC or Transparency mode on is a bit short, too, at just five hours (15 hours with the case), and its noise cancellation isn't exactly best-in-class, either.

However, these are some of the best Beats headphones you can buy today. They offer a decent alternative to the current king of true wireless headphones, which you can read more about in our Sony WF-1000XM4 review. Don't take a look at similar high-end headphones in our Sennheiser CX True Wireless review.

These have been our favorite Beats wireless headphones for a while, but read our Beats Fit Pro review for another pair of Beats headphones that have a slightly better fit and sound. They also have the H1 chip that the Studio Buds sadly lack.

In the Beats Studio Buds review below, we share everything you need to know about these great true wireless earbuds after spending some time testing them, including their design, performance, and who they're best suited for.

Beats Studio Buds: price and availability

The Beats Studio Buds launched on June 24, 2021 for $149.99 / £129.99 / AU$199.95. That puts them well below the price of Apple's latest AirPods, which you can read more about in our Apple AirPods review. As well as the Apple AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation, which will set you back $249 / £249 / AU$399, and we like them better than the standard AirPods.

You might want to pay more for Apple's flagship headphones, find out more about them in our Apple AirPods Pro review. This might make the most sense, especially if you use a lot of Apple products and aren't on a budget. You should also consider the Beats Fit Pro, a similar pair of true wireless headphones with a better fit for working out and Apple's latest H1 chip inside.

Alternatively, there are similar true wireless earphones available that are much cheaper. Take a look at our Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 review or our Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review for other cheaper options. But if you're looking to use the headphones with an Apple device, the Beats Studio Buds are surprisingly good for the price.

Someone holding one of the black Beats Studio Buds on a wooden surface.

(Image credit: future)

Beats Studio Buds: design

Unlike Beats' latest truly wireless headphones, which you can read about in our Beats Powerbeats Pro review, the Beats Studio Buds come in a case that's almost as sleek and small as the headphones themselves. The case is egg-shaped, much like the new Google Pixel Buds Series-A, and has a single USB-C port on the bottom and a status light on the front.

Open it and you will find the headphones. To remove them, pinch the outer control panel and pull it up. The control panel is raised, helping the earphones slide securely into the ear without hooks or wings pushing on the outer ear. The buds sit almost flush with the ear, and while you can't wear them to sleep (they stick out a bit), they're still extremely comfortable.

In terms of water resistance, the Beats Studio Buds are IPX4 rated, making them resistant to sweat but not water. This means you can definitely take them to the gym for a quick workout, however without the ear hooks they're a little less secure and the lack of waterproofing means they're definitely not something you should be taking to the beach.

Inside the box you'll find a USB-C to USB-C charging cable and extra tips. Unfortunately, all of the included ear tips are silicone rather than foam, and they only come in two additional sizes, but most people should have everything they need to get a good seal and fit.

Someone wearing Beats Studio Buds in their ears.

(Image credit: future)

Beats Studio Buds: audio performance and noise cancellation

Once you've found the right fit, it's time to turn on the headphones and listen. For our tests, we paired them with an iPhone 11 Pro and turned on Apple Music, which now supports Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio.

While you can't get the full effect of Lossless Audio with the Beats Studio Buds (Bluetooth compression ruins the lossless nature of music), you can still use them to play songs with Spatial Audio, and they sound great.

Unlike previous Beats headphones and earphones that shocked you with thumping bass, the Studio Buds have vivid sound quality that lifts both the highs and lows out of the mix. The result is upbeat music that doesn't tire you out, but engages you for long periods of time.

As far as the noise-canceling aspect of the headphones goes, it's a great inclusion and works moderately well, though Beats still has some work to do to catch up with Sony and Bose, each with years of tinkering experience. design, processor and noise canceling algorithm, so your Buds keep maximum noise out of your ears.

To that end, it sounds like the Beats Studio Buds will make a great office companion: they'll keep the low noise of office conversations to a minimum, but they'll probably have a hard time being heard over a plane's jet engine or the rattle of a car. subway car. . Of course, thanks to lockdown restrictions, it's been a while since we've been on either, so that's something we'll have to test in the future.

Unfortunately, the call quality leaves a lot to be desired. That's fine when you're walking them around the house, but take them outside where there's wind, traffic, and other background noise and you'll quickly wish you were wearing another pair of headphones.

Beats Studio Buds: autonomy and connectivity

Beats designed the Studio Buds to work with Apple and Android phones with just a touch. All you have to do is open the case near any of the devices and you will see them appear on your screen, ready to be paired.

That's because the Studio Buds run a proprietary wireless chip that's not exactly the W1 or H1 chip we've seen in other Apple earphones. It's refreshing for Android owners who haven't supported the Beats brand in the years since Apple acquired it, and a bit disappointing for some Apple users who appreciate features like multi-point pairing with other Apple devices and hands. free siri

While the latter is rather disappointing, the best thing about the Buds' wireless chip is that it enables Bluetooth 5.2 and supports Find My on iOS and Find My Device on Android. That's a good thing, as the headphones themselves are pretty small, and if you get the all-black color, it can be pretty easy to misplace them if they accidentally fall behind the bed... not that we're speaking from experience.

The battery life offered by the Beats Studio Buds is good, but not great. They're only good for five hours per charge, or 15 hours with the case on, when you've turned on ANC or Transparency mode, which isn't great and certainly matches other noise-canceling headphones, but falls short of the class leaders. . like the WF-1000XM4 that offers eight hours per charge and another 12 in the case for a total of 20 hours before needing to go back to the charger.

Also, the Beats Studio Buds don't support wireless charging, which isn't a deal breaker, but may be a minor inconvenience if you already have a charger setup for your other devices. The good news is that the Studio Buds support fast charging, and you can get an hour of playback from just five minutes on the charger.

Should you buy the Beats Studio Buds?

The Beats Studio Buds in their charging case on a wooden surface.

(Image credit: future)

Buy them if...

Don't buy if...

I also think...

If our review of the Beats Studio Buds has you considering a new pair of true wireless headphones, then

First review in September 2021.

Beats Studio Buds: price comparison