Are the All-New Beats Studio Buds the True Wireless Earphones to Get?

·5 min read
Photo credit: Created by Bridget Clegg using images from Beats
Photo credit: Created by Bridget Clegg using images from Beats


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We judge all headphones and earbuds on a scale of 10, analyzing the categories we think are most important: sound, comfort, design, battery performance, and, if applicable, special features. Here's how the Beats Studio Buds wireless earbuds stack up.

The Beats Studio Buds are the iconic audio brand’s second-ever true wireless offering, joining the Powerbeats Pro earphones in its product lineup. The new earbuds have a fresh design, an insanely lightweight build, onboard noise cancellation and come at an impressive $150 price point.

A cool $100 lower than the Powerbeats Pro’s, the price tag of the Studio Buds is quite possibly their biggest highlight. For this Beats earbuds review, we tested all of the Beats Studio Buds’ features and evaluated the things that matter to you most, like sound, design, and battery life. Combining their strong performance with their brand cachet, these earbuds are all but guaranteed to become a consumer hit in this fiercely competitive product category.

SCORES

Sound: 8/10
Comfort: 9/10
Design: 9/10
Battery Performance: 8/10
Overall Score: 9/10

The Beats Studio Buds at a Glance

  • Great sound and dependable noise cancellation

  • The most lightweight earbuds we’ve tested to date

  • Fantastic tactile button controls

  • 5-hour battery life with noise cancellation (8-hour without)

  • IPX4 rating for water resistance

Sound: 8/10

Quite possibly, the most important thing we can evaluate in any Beats earbuds review is sound, and the Studio Buds pack in the noise with their custom audio drivers and dual-element design. The latter results in a powerful, dynamic, and well-balanced sound that’s bound to appeal to just about everyone.

Photo credit: Beats
Photo credit: Beats

While testing the Studio Buds, the sonic experience impressed me with a good balance between emphatic bass, vibrant treble, and poised midrange. I enjoyed timeless Pink Floyd albums, mellow Thievery Corporation tracks, and ‘90s hits in equal measure on the earphones.

The noise cancellation of the Beats Studio Buds is solid for a sub-$200 product. The earbuds significantly reduced the never-ending traffic cacophony from the Manhattan street underneath my living room window and allowed me to focus on work.

I like that the product’s bespoke noise-canceling tech constantly adjusts its intensity based on the ambient noise around you. But if full noise cancellation is a must for you, be mindful that much pricier earbuds like the Bose QuietComfort, the Sony WF-1000XM4, and Apple’s own AirPods Pro deliver a vastly superior experience.

With a trio of microphones per earbud, the Studio Buds deliver a robust performance during calls. When using both earbuds, you can rely on a total of five microphones for voice pickup. Upon testing, others said I sounded clear during telephone, FaceTime, and Zoom calls with the earbuds on.

Comfort: 9/10

Remarkably, despite being packed with tech, the Beats Studio Buds are the most lightweight true wireless earphones with noise cancellation I have tested to date. Each bud weighs only 5.1 grams — less than the impossibly tiny 1More Comfobuds Pro I recently tested, as well as the AirPods Pro. Top-shelf products like the Powerbeats Pro and the Master & Dynamic MW08, on the other hand, look gigantic in comparison.

Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov
Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov

The Studio Buds are as comfy as they are minuscule. Their seamless in-ear fit and ergonomic shape didn’t cause any discomfort even after hours of wearing them.

I applaud Beats by Dre for equipping the Studio Buds with tactile buttons, neatly embedded underneath the logo of each earbud. Such setup is infinitely more dependable than even the finest touch controls that some competing products have.

Photo credit: Beats
Photo credit: Beats

You can control the audio playback, take calls, and adjust the noise cancellation via reassuring clicks. There’s also an option to adjust the buds’ noise cancellation by long-pressing the volume button in your iPhone’s Control Center — just like you would on AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

We do, however, wish that volume controls were also available. Such a feature would have made the earbuds even more convenient.

Pairing the Studio Buds is a typical Apple affair — all you need to do is bring them close to your iPhone to begin the pairing process. It’s worth noting that the earbuds won’t instantly pair with all Apple devices that use the same iCloud account. Also, unlike all AirPods and the Beats Solo Pro wireless cans, they don’t have Apple’s H1 chip on board — though this surely isn’t a dealbreaker.

Believe it or not, pairing the Studio Buds with an Android smartphone is just as easy as with an iPhone. You can adjust the earbuds noise cancellation, customize their controls, and update their firmware via a companion app.

Design: 9/10

The Beats Studio Buds’ design is all about highlighting how impossibly compact they are. Lacking ear hooks and not protruding excessively like Powerbeats earphones would, their in-ear fit is truly minimalist.

The Studio Buds have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, just like the Powerbeats and the Powerbeats Pro. The earbuds can survive exposure to sweat and splashes of water, meaning that they are suitable for exercising and outdoor walks on rainy days. Still, you should be aware that some of their rivals are more durable.

Battery Performance: 8/10

The Beats Studio Buds can last up to 5 hours between charges with noise cancellation, or transparency mode switched on. Disabling the features will extend their battery life to 8 hours.

Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov
Photo credit: Stefan Vazharov

Considering the earbuds’ form factor and size, their battery endurance (if unremarkable at a quick glance), is rather excellent. The Studio Buds can perform on par or slightly better than the AirPods Pro and the Jabra Elite 75t wireless earbuds, to name a couple of rivals.

Another battery perk? The earbuds' compact charging case holds two additional full charges. And while it has a versatile USB-C connector, it lacks wireless charging capabilities.

Overall: 9/10

The Studio Buds are the best completely wireless earbuds for most consumers. They bring characterful design, impeccable comfort, good sound, solid noise cancellation, and big-name brand recognition, all at an agreeable price point. If you are looking for a great pair of earbuds for everyday use, the latest Beats tick all the important boxes.

Photo credit: Beats
Photo credit: Beats

Anker’s Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro true wireless earbuds are among the solid alternatives to the Studio Buds with a tougher build and customizable sound. However, they lack the compact size and the seamless Apple integration of the Beats earphones.

You can order the earbuds in black, white, or red, and each color option comes with a matching storage case. Of course, the earbuds and their case proudly rock a contrasting Beats logo.

Shop Beats Studio Buds

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