Review 198: 19.07.2021 at 10:00 pm
Hi guys, I’ve been using the beats studio Pro’s every day since I got them a week ago, and overall they’ve really surprised me in multiple ways, and they’re so good that so far I haven’t picked up my Airpods Pro’s evenonce!
With that, there are some limitations as well as 1 main issue that will be a dealbreaker for many of you and cause you to not buy them or return them, and no it’s not the lack of H1 chip features, but we’ll cover that in just a bit.
I want to start out by saying that these will likely be Beats’ most popular products in years because of 3 reasons, and I think they will sell like crazy. Beats has had a bad rap for many years now, at least with the tech and audio crowd because they were overpriced for what you get, and the sound signature was way too bass heavy.
Thankfully the studio pro’s solve both of these. Coming in at $149 at launch, and likely even lower when you’re reading this article.
Sure they aren’t $50 like off-brand earbuds, but compared to many new earbuds like Sony’s $280 XM4’s or Samsung’s $200 Galaxy buds Pro, and of course AirPods, $149 is a great starting price for truly wireless earbuds from a name brand.
It’s weird to see Apple slowly positioning Beats as a more budget brand compared to their AirPods, but at the same time it makes sense to not be competing with themselves on the high end and to stay relevant for Android users that can’t benefit from iOS exclusive features. And as far as sound, while it is subjective, I think these sound fantastic. After a week of normal listening and comparing I do prefer them over the previously mentioned high end earbuds.
Apple has done a great job toning down beats stereotypical sound into something that still has good bass but is much more balanced. I personally like how Airpods Pro sound, but I do wish they had a bit more bass and in certain songs toned down the highs, which can at times be too sharp.
Well that’s pretty much what the Studio buds provide and like many others have said these are the best sounding beats earbuds ever, even better than the popular powerbeats pro, and probably the best sounding beats headphones overall. Compared to the new Sony XM4 earbuds, the bass is slightly lower which is what most people end up EQ’ing them too, and even if you turn the high up on those, they still aren’t as clear compared to the beats, so personally I prefer the beats.
I do like how the Galaxy buds Pro sound, but the mids are more accurate with the beats and that’s most apparent when listening to music like rock where you have a lot of instruments.
Thats probably where I’m most impressed with these. The bass is there and that makes drums and bass guitar sound powerful but at the same time it doesn’t overpower other instruments by sounding boomy.
To be honest, the tuning that Beats did on these reminds me of my AirPods Max. Now no they don’t sound as good as clear or accurate, and the soundstage isn’t anywhere as big, but the EQ sounds similar so it seems that’s where Apple is going next.
Overall, if sound quality is most important to you, and you do enjoy bass, these things sound really good, especially for $150.
Now let’s talk about active noise cancellation, and this is one area that I really didn’t expect.. Because overall, these do a much better job than I thought they would. The processor and algorithm isn’t as good as AirPods Pro, so in many cases the AirPods pro will outperform them if you have a good seal, especially for voices and higher frequencies, but for low frequencies like HVAC noise and airplanes these actually do a better job than the AirPods.
The biggest difference comes in with very loud sounds. I always use my Pro’s when mowing the lawn or vacuuming, so when I put these in and got to mowing I was really surprised that they did a much better job and cut out a lot more noise than airpods.
I think that’s because the airpods Pro have a vent which equalizes pressure to be equal inside and outside of your ear which keeps your ear from feeling plugged and makes them really comfortable. That feature is amazing, but very loud sounds end up leaking inside.
Since the beats don’t have this vent, they keep those sounds out better which really helps. And because of that, sound leakage is almost non-existent even at full blast which is great.
So with that, how is comfort?
While they aren’t as comfortable as AirPods Pro’s, they are probably the second most comfortable earbuds for a few reasons. Beats said that the silicon tips have been redesigned for comfort. The longest I’ve worn them for is 4 hours straight and I didn’t feel like I had to take them out yet.
With Sony’s after less than two hours my ears were already aching. A big reason why they are so comfortable is because they’re lightweight, coming in 44% lighter than the XM4’s. Along with that, they don’t push against my ear anywhere because of how small they are, and with that they also don’t stick out very far.
I’m personally a fan of the small stemless design, and I really like how clean they look. Each earbud has a physical button on each side that you use for controls. This is more reliable than a touch surface but since you have to push down you end up pushing the buds into your ear canals more each time.
That may or may not be a good thing for you but for me it’s a bit annoying and I would prefer a touch surface. As far as battery life, it’s not bad but I expected more. Most earbuds over exaggerate their claims. When I first heard of the 8 hour rated battery life I was really excited, but that rating is only if you don’t use active noise cancelation, but why wouldn’t you if you paid for that feature?
With ANC, you get 5 hours instead of 8, and the total charge with the case goes from 24 hours down to 15. With that I found them to last closer to 4 hours but that might be because I usually listen at full blast.
And now with all these positives out of the way, let’s get into the few negatives, and let’s start with by far the biggest one that will be a deal breaker for many of you, and that’s the microphone quality and this makes a difference in 2 separate areas.
Before I tell you my personal experience, go ahead and take a listen to how it sounds compared to the AirPods Pro.
Yea that is a big difference, but keep in mind that’s just sitting in a room with the only other noise being a constant hum from HVAC so that’s basically the best case scenario.
The microphones are almost useless with these. I’m not sure if that’s because Beats wanted to keep these small and light or what, but in multiple conversations at my desk I had people complain that I was hard to hear and understand and I’d have to switch to my phone.
And when I tried to use them while driving my high end truck which is quieter inside than most cars, both my wife and my mom could barely understand me where I have no issues when wearing my AirPods Pro.
If you take calls often with your earbuds, I wouldn’t buy the studio buds. Because of this, transparency mode is also really bad. Now it doesn’t sound staticky like others can, but they don’t bring in much sound at all and clerity isn’t good. Here pretty much any headphones over $100 are better.
My other complaint is the lack of wireless charging. I didn’t realize how often I used them with my airpods pro so that definitely took some adjusting. Thankfully beats finally went back to USB and I have plenty of usb-c cables to use to charge them and they charge quickly.
The other thing I have to mention is the lack of a W1 or H1 Chip. I understand that Beats is trying to market these to android users and that chip wouldn’t do much for them, and these also have bluetooth 5.2 so latency is minimal, but if you’re an iPhone user you won’t get the extra nice features like icloud syncing and auto pairing to whatever device you’re using, audio sharing, or spacial audio.
Now you still get quick pairing without it, and hands free siri still works so that’s good, but announcing messages and notifications doesn’t work.. The other annoyance is that there isn’t a sensor for auto pausing when you take them out, possibly to save costs or to keep the weight down. I typically just tap to pause before I pull them out but it would be nice to have that.
Honestly, if Beats could have added the H1 chip and wireless charging in a pro version for $50 more I would gladly pay for it, but of course then people would have way less reasons to pay for AirPods Pro, and some of the extra features for android users like find my devices on Android also wouldn’t work.
Overall, I really really like the beats studio buds. So far I’ve been tempted to grab my airpods pro a few times for the convenience features, but I still go for the beats because of the sound quality AND for my uses.
If those convenience features and mic quality don’t matter to you, I would highly recommend these for $150 or even less at the time that you’re reading this article.
Thanks for reading and i’ll see you in th next reviews guys!