Back on June 14, Apple announced its new Beats Studio Buds wireless earphones, launching sales on June 25. We recently went hands-on with Beats Studio Buds—here’s our quick review.
The major highlight of Beats Studio Buds is the fact they are marketed for both iPhone and Android users and also priced at $179.95, which is cheaper than Apple’s flagship AirPods earphones.
Beats Studio Buds Haiku Review
Lacks iCloud device pairing
Slippery to hold
That cheaper price results in a sub-par unboxing experience, as you can see from the following pictures. The packaging is so thin ours came smushed out of the box:
Here’s an aerial view of what you can see when you open up the box:
Inside the box you’ll find some quick start instructions, an Apple Music card to push you to sign up for a free trial, a Beats sticker, the Studios Buds, a USB-C charging cable (not Lightning) and extra ear tips:
You’ll get some extra small and large-sized silicone ear tips:
The packaging has some brief instructions on how to insert Beats Studio Buds into your ears, which involves a counter clockwise twist.
To toggle between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes, there’s a button to press on the side of each earbud.
Pairing Beats Studio Buds is very easy on an iPhone—just open up the lid to the charging case next to your device and tap connect.
As for the Beats Studio Buds themselves, they are fairly tiny and also very slippery to hold. If you have large fingers, these are definitely going to slip out and fall into the toilet or a sewer grate:
Below you can see the charging connectors on each left and right earphone. There’s a magnet and the earbuds will stick together if you place them next to each other:
Connecting Beats Studio Buds is really easy, like AirPods. These cool animations get me every time:
The build quality of the Beats Studio Buds charging case feels like cheaper plastic, compared to AirPods and AirPods Pro. You can see from the picture below the lid doesn’t sit flush and isn’t lined up properly:
Here’s the inside of the charging case. The button to reset your Beats Studio Buds is on the inside, which is actually a better placement compared to AirPods and AirPods Pro. No more accidental presses:
Here’s a picture of the back of the charging case:
Here’s how the Beats Studio Buds charging case compares to AirPods, AirPods Pro and Beats Powerbeats Pro:
As you can see, the Beats Studio Buds charging case is wider than AirPods Pro and about the same width as the Beats Powerbeats Pro:
Here’s another shot comparing the size of charging cases (from left to right: AirPods, AirPods Pro, Beats Studio Buds, Beats Powerbeats Pro):
Remember what I said about build quality? Look at the alignment of the case’s lid—it’s worse than the panel gaps on a Tesla (kidding!):
Listening to Beats Studio Buds
So how do Beats Studio Buds sound when they’re in your ears? They sound pretty good, with lots of bass (almost to the point of too much) as you’d expect from the Beats line up. Volumes are nice and loud which would be good for those working out in a gym.
However, I find the balanced sound of my AirPods Pro better, but they are also $150 more (comparing MSRP; AirPods Pro are $262 on Amazon). Active Noise Cancellation works fine, but is not as good as AirPods Pro.
What I really hated with Beats Studio Buds is the fact music doesn’t stop playing when you take them out of your ears. Music does not pause. It just keeps playing. That’s annoying.
Also, the lack of iCloud pairing means you need to manually manage your Bluetooth connection with Apple devices, unlike the magic of AirPods and AirPods Pro. You also don’t get Spatial Audio at this price point.
One thing that I noticed with Beats Studio Buds is they hurt my ears, like the replacement tips Apple sent me for my AirPods Pro. I tested wearing Beats Studio Buds in my ears for an hour afterwards my ears hurt, like they did when I got an infection with the replacement AirPods Pro ear tips. Obviously, everybody’s ears are different but I immediately stopped wearing these Beats Studio Buds.
Conclusion: Wireless Earbuds for Masses
Overall, at an ‘entry’ price point of $179, you get some earbuds that are sweat and water-resistant, support “Hey Siri”, sound good with lots of bass, charge via USB-C and also are easy to pair for both iPhone and Android. They are very hard to hold and manipulate with my butter fingers, plus they hurt my ears and the build quality overall feels ‘cheap’. For the money, I’d recommend Apple’s AirPods Pro instead if you can afford it for the extra features like iCloud device pairing, Spatial Audio and better ANC.