A couple big earbud debuts this year have almost been spoilt by leaks; Beats’ latest being one of those. If you’ve been following Apple’s iOS and tvOS betas, you’ve already seen images of high-profile athletes sporting the unannounced earphones. This week, Beats unveiled the Studio Buds, a set of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds with an all-new design. In addition, the price was kept at $150, which is the most crucial factor.
Beats opted for an over-the-ear hook design for the Powerbeats Pro, which is ideal for working out. If you’re wearing glasses or a hat, it’s not ideal. A circular, water-resistant (IPX4) housing was used for the Studio Buds, a more “traditional” earbud design. In place of a circular exterior control panel, Beats opted for a flat bar with their “b” branding.
When you remove the buds from the case or adjust them in your ears, you have something to hold on to. The Studio Buds, on the other hand, have a shiny and sleek exterior. Some of the earphones were difficult to remove since I couldn’t get a strong hold on the case. Taking them out of my ears was a no-brainer. If you don’t have a solid grip on them, your fingers will slip.
Like prior Beats devices, the on-board controls use physical buttons that click instead of a touch display that may be tapped. For a mid-range set of earbuds, it’s not surprising that the business didn’t transition to touch controls. Switching the ANC settings and playing/stopping/skipping tunes is as simple as pressing the play/pause/skip button twice or three times (press and hold). It’s not like you’re shoving these motions further into your ears when they work. However, I frequently hit the button and accidentally paused my music while moving the headphones.
The case for the Powerbeats Pro is ridiculously big. It’s larger than nearly every other charging case I’ve tested, which is understandable given the larger earbuds it’s designed to hold. A flip-up lid and USB-C port on the bottom of an oval-shaped attachment were included with the Studio Buds by Beats. In order to tell whether or not your battery pack is fully charged, there is only one LED on the outside of the device. When you need to connect to a device that doesn’t support iOS or Android’s fast-pairing features, there is a pairing button within the case. When you’re in pairing mode, the light on the outside will flash.
On Android, Beats is introducing Fast Pair for the first time. Apple’s H1 chip was the only way the corporation could instantly connect to iOS devices before now. It is as simple as opening the lid of the Studio Buds to have them recognized by both iOS and Android devices. There is a pop-up asking if you would like to connect when you do so, which can be done in one tap. There is no longer any need to put your earbuds in pairing mode, then tap the device name and wait for everything to sync. Putting the earbuds in pairing mode is only necessary if you want to connect them to a device like a laptop.
Android users will soon be able to locate lost Beats earphones thanks to the latest Beats innovation. Both the Find My iPhone app and Android’s Find My Device are compatible with Studio Buds. Bluetooth-enabled devices can show the last known location where they were paired and play a sound when they are in close proximity.
On iOS, Studio Buds features are pre-installed in the system. Like AirPods, you can access the settings through this app. You may access ANC controls by long-pressing the volume slider in the Control Center (ANC, transparency, off). You can rename your Bluetooth devices and customize the long press action on your earphones by going to the Bluetooth menu and tapping the I next to the device name. To enable Siri on one or both sides, you can set it to cycle through active noise cancellation, transparency mode, or no mode. The Studio Buds, on the other hand, provide you hands-free access to Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, by simply speaking.
The Beats app allows Android users access to iOS-native features. In addition to reassigning the long press function, there is a secondary mechanism for switching between ANC, transparency mode, and both off. In addition, battery life can be immediately viewed, and the software will make future firmware changes easier.
There is no way to alter the sound of the headphones, as is customary of Beats products. As a result, there are no user-adjustable presets or manual EQ sliders. However, in recent years, the company’s sound profile has vastly improved and things are now more balanced than they were in the bass-heavy early days.
Apple Music’s new Spatial Audio, powered by Dolby Atmos, is compatible with Studio Buds. For songs that are available in immersive format, this feature is activated by default. You can disable Spatial Audio in the Apple Music app’s settings section if you wish. Despite the fact that earbuds aren’t the greatest way to use this technology, it’s available here. Honestly, some genres don’t benefit from the Atmos treatment. Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour was already made to sound airy and ambient therefore I prefer it the “normal” manner. If you’re using the Studio Buds with Apple Music, you may wish to disable Dolby Atmos from time to time.
There is no doubt that Studio Buds will keep your energy levels up during your workout, thanks to their well-tuned, booming bass. The earbuds handle a wide range of music genres with ease, delivering deep, driving bass to hip-hop and dance music while maintaining clarity. Two examples of this are Run The Jewels’ RTJ4 and Purity Ring’s WOMB. The lower end tone enhances the vocals, keyboards, and other sounds. When it comes to rock or metal music, the Studio Buds are adept at keeping the many elements of the genre separate rather than cramming them all together. Listening to bluegrass is a great way to see how far Beats has gone, as all of the acoustic instruments have depth and presence, but the upright bass doesn’t drown out the others.
At up to 48,000 times per second, an algorithm examines and corrects audio-degrading artifacts in source files, according to the business. Additionally, the noise-cancelling technology employs adaptive gain management, which adjusts in real time to prevent external noise and wind. I found that the Studio Buds did a good job of muting noises such as a washing machine or dryer, as well as white noise machines. They weren’t able to totally block out the noise, but they did their best to minimize it.
A result of the ANC setup, transparency mode is good. It does exactly what it says it does, allowing you to be in touch with what’s going on around you at all times. For the first time ever, Beats doesn’t amplify your voice when you speak, so you’ll have to raise your voice if you want to be heard. There is no substitute for hearing your name called at the office or when your cortado is ready at the coffee shop, but transparency mode will allow you to do so.
The Studio Buds link to each other through Bluetooth Class 1. The two earbuds can be used independently for tasks like making phone calls. Because the controls are mirrored, if you’re just using one when your phone calls, you won’t lose anything. Utilizing just one earbud for calls results in three microphones, while using both results in five. Beam-forming microphones focus on your speech, and feed-forward microphones monitor ambient noise to keep your voice the focus, as is customary with truly wireless devices. Other features include a wind-noise-reducing system that monitors the internal microphone as well as recessed and intelligently placed microphones.
There is a big difference between what firms say and what they actually deliver in terms of call quality. The Studio Beats allow you to clearly hear the other person’s background sounds. A running dryer or a television can be picked up even if the wearer is speaking. The quality of the voice isn’t great either. My speech actually sounded better on speakerphone than it did using these earbuds, according to the person on the other end.
The battery life
With ANC and transparency mode disabled, Beats claims that the Studio Buds may last up to eight hours on a single charge. It is reduced to five hours when you use noise cancellation. For ANC earphones, that’s the norm these days. It’s also wonderful to have the option to extend non-ANC play time by three additional hours, whereas most of the competitors just extends non-ANC play time by an hour. During my testing, I was able to come in only a few minutes short of meeting the specified goals.
Two more charges are provided by the case that comes with it. So, if you’re using ANC, you’ll get 15 hours of battery life, and if you turn it off, you’ll get 24 hours of battery life. The Studio Buds from Beats include the company’s Fast Fuel technology, which provides an hour of battery life following a five-minute charge (ANC off). Wireless charging, which is still not a typical feature on mid-range earbuds, is the lone omission here. It’s not a common feature on earbuds that cost more than $150.
There are a number of Beats alternatives to the Studio Buds that may be more suited to your specific activity. For those looking for a truly hands-free Siri experience, the Powerbeats Pro comes highly recommended. For those who prefer a more traditional look, over-the-ear hooks may not be the best option. The price of the Powerbeats Pro has dropped by $30 since its launch in 2019. The Powerbeats is a corded Bluetooth variant that delivers many of the same capabilities for roughly $110. It’s possible to save money by purchasing the Beats Flex, which costs $50. Even though there are so many options, the Studio Buds are the most discreet and offer the most value for money.
While there are plenty of options out there for Bluetooth headphones, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ are an excellent choice because they are compatible with both Android and iOS devices. Even though these earphones don’t have active noise cancellation and are just IPX2 water-resistant, they’re still extremely lightweight, comfortable, and feature a slew of other conveniences, including wireless charging. In addition, the Studio Buds cost $50 more than these.
Anker’s Soundcore Spirit Dot 2 true wireless earbuds are an excellent option if you want to save money without sacrificing too much functionality. Small, comfortable headphones with a strong sound are available for for $80. For added protection against water and sweat, the Studio Buds have an IPX7 rating.
Beats has added yet another wireless earbud to their ever-expanding collection with the Studio Buds. This is Beats’ second fully wireless model, and it’s the best option for most people because of its “conventional” style. Due to sweat and water resistance, you can still use them while working out with to on-board controls and hands-free Siri. This time around, Beats went a step further with the Android connectivity by implementing features like Fast Pair and Find My Device. For a pair of mid-range earbuds, the sound quality is decent and the ANC does a nice job of preventing you from being distracted. Compared to a pair of luxury earbuds that cost twice as much, you’re not sacrificing too much at $150.
The Beats Studio Buds are now available for $150 in black, white, and red in the United States and Canada. On the 24th of June, the earphones will be available for purchase.