Beats Studio Buds Long Term Review: Great Alternative to AirPods

Beats Studio Buds in open case.


Beats Studio Buds


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We've been using Beats Studio Buds with AirPods and AirPods Pro for a long time. What place they occupy in the lineup is not an easy question.

The release of the Beats Studio Buds came as no surprise. They were seen wearing celebrity ears for months, before debuting in the summer of 2021.

Apple immediately positioned them to appeal to the celebrity market and their fans — as it was in the past. But they have entered a market that has had AirPods and AirPods Pro for a while now.

After a year and a half, they still hold up pretty well against the offerings of Apple's well-known brands.

Beats Studio Buds Specifications

The Beats Studio Buds support Apple's own infrastructure, allowing you to use Apple-specific features such as spatial audio, active noise cancellation (ANC), and transparency mode. They also support “Hey Siri” and you can also set the button to active Siri.

Beats Studio Buds next to the closed case.

Each earbud has a control button that activates ANC, play/pause, and next and previous song controls.

Because Apple owns Beats, Studio Buds support Find Me so you don't leave your headphones at home. Plus, the case charges via USB-C and works with iPad and MacBook chargers.

AirPods Pro and Beats Studio Buds

These wireless earbuds offer 8 hours of battery life and up to 24 hours of total listening time including charger device. case. This is if you listen at 50% volume and without ANC.

Unlike Apple's signature white color, the Beats Studio Buds are available in six colors, including Ocean Blue, which we tested. The case and headphones are IPX4 rated for sweat and water resistance and include extended range Class 1 Bluetooth.

Using Beats Studio Buds

case design Studio Buds. Open the top and the earbuds lie right inside the charging case, with two prominent protrusions on each side where the earphones inductively charge.

Using the Beats Studio Buds is similar to using AirPods.

Studio Buds have a sporty design. Thanks to the vibrant Ocean Blue we tested, the “training” look is very similar to the aesthetic we've seen wearing them or seen others wear this pair.

In terms of fit, you'll need to twist the earbud once it's in your ear to get the right fit. While Beats offers silicone eartips in three sizes, we have found that even small ears need larger eartips. This means that small and medium sized tips were useless, and large ears might need large buds.

Once the headphones are inserted, a beep will tell you that you are connected. A particularly compelling feature of Studio Buds compared to AirPods is that they don't try to intelligently connect to whatever device they think you want to connect to. Instead, they connect to the last device you paired them with.

The Beats Studio Buds sound great and the bass really shines, but the treble can be a little suppressed. Despite the sound quality, Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is a must for the best sound.

When using ANC, we still found background sounds leaking. This flaw was especially noticeable in noisy environments, but it makes Transparent Mode more distinct than Apple's AirPods.

The volume range is quite good, with the highest volume levels causing a slight pain in the ears, making them more than loud enough. We usually kept the maximum volume at 75%, which worked well for longer listening times.

Beats estimates Studio Buds listening time at eight hours, but we actually found that number to be closer to 3.5 to 4 hours. The charging case does provide a quick boost in play time as advertised, but again, it doesn't live up to the promised time. This is not abnormal considering that the louder the music, the shorter the playback time.

In all the time we've been testing the Studio Buds, we haven't encountered any major issues. We don't like the fact that the playback controls are on the outside of the headphones, so it's easy to accidentally press them. However, we have adapted.

Overall, these headphones perform quite well, especially with quality bass sound.

Comparing apples to apples

It's no secret that Apple owns the Beats branding . Studio Buds connect and work just like AirPods. The natural integration into the Apple ecosystem is a breeze right out of the box, and in the Bluetooth settings you have similar headphone controls.

AirPods Pro case size comparison vs Beats Studio Buds case size.

When comparing Studio Buds to AirPods, the sound quality of Studio Buds is better than the latest entry-level AirPods.

However, the comparison between Studio Buds and AirPods Pro is much closer. The first AirPods Pro have a slight advantage because the ANC Pro works much better. And the second generation AirPods Pro are even better.

The Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro come with smaller cases than the Beats Studio Buds, and the overall feel of build quality is better with Apple branded products.

Because we're rating the three earbuds on the roughest scale, the Beats Studio Buds sit between professional and non-professional AirPods. Both AirPods Pro models are at the top, but by a small margin.

However, this largely depends on how you like the “character” of your music, and how much you are willing to spend. If you're looking for a more bass-heavy experience or a record for less than any type of Apple AirPods, the Beats Studio Buds are your answer.

Beats Studio Buds Pro

  • High quality sound for wireless headphones .
  • Native Apple support and controls
  • ANC and Spatial Audio support
  • More affordable than Apple headphones

Cons of Beats Studio Buds

  • Cheaper build quality than Apple products
  • Not so good ANC compared to AirPods Pro
  • Too easy to press buttons.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Beats Studio Buds is a decent product, with functionality similar to Apple's flagship headphones in many ways. They connect easily, have incredible sound, and are much cheaper than Apple AirPods.

Because we've been testing the Studio Buds with AppleInsider staff for a year and a half, we can say they're an adequate replacement for even the AirPods Pro — but only if you're willing to sacrifice ANC quality, body size, and sporty looks.

Where to buy Beats Studio Buds

< p>You can find Beats Studio Buds on Amazon, Best Buy and Target for about $90. This price is more affordable than the $20 standard AirPods and the $110 AirPods Pro. but sales will upset this balance a bit.

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