Beats Studio Buds review: headphones that aren’t AirPods bis

With its Studio Buds, Beats offers wireless headphones with active noise reduction, all for a more affordable price than AirPods Pro. The bet is generally successful.

The Beats Studio Buds, launched in the summer of 2021, are not the brand’s first wireless headphones, which has returned to the forefront thanks to its takeover by Apple. On the other hand, they are the first to abandon this “sport” aspect that the brand loved. These earbuds have a more classic design and a feature that has become a must on the best wireless headphones in 2021: active noise reduction.

Naturally, the Studio Buds will work on the AirPods Pro beds, which serve as a benchmark in the Apple catalog. And, at first glance, we do not see what arguments could go in favor of the headphones from Beats. In reality, there is one: the introductory price, set below 150 euros – when Apple’s prices never fall below 200 euros (even during promotional periods). It remains to be seen what Beats sacrificed to reach this very attractive floor price.

A Beats Studio Buds earphone // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

A much wiser design

Beats knows how to design visually flashy products, screwed on the head or sunk into the ears of top athletes. With the Studio Buds, the manufacturer proves that it is also able to offer more discreet headphones, the fruit of a wiser design where nothing sticks out thanks to the intra design. Do not expect a rod similar to that of AirPods, but a simplistic and unobtrusive headset when worn. It is simply highlighted by a glossy exterior finish marked with the logo. This sobriety will not prevent the most observant from spotting them in the last clip of rapper Lil Nas X. It is the sign of a successful design: we recognize him but he also knows how to be forgotten.

The headphones Studio Buds of Beats in the last clip of Lil Nas X // Source: YouTube Lil Nas X

The Studio Buds are delivered in a charging case, which displays a matte shade of the most beautiful effect. An indicator light, as well as a logo, come to dress the front face. Its dimensions are a bit larger than the AirPods Pro case. However, the thickness remains sufficiently contained so that it can be easily slipped into a pocket. Note that each earpiece naturally takes place in its assigned compartment. It’s not always the case.

Studio Buds are available in three colors: white, black and red.

Fewer features

The first few minutes with the Studio Buds won’t be a problem for anyone. Pairing with a smartphone is as easy as pie: on an iPhone, opening the box nearby will be enough to bring up a notification to connect them to the phone (without having to go through the Bluetooth settings). We therefore find the argument of simplicity, dear to the Cupertino company – knowing that the compatibility with the command ‘Hey Siri’ is there.

Studio Buds won’t shut off if you remove one

However, the Studio Buds ignore the H1 / W1 chip, yet present on the brand’s previous products. Therefore, the headphones fit a little less into the Apple ecosystem. For example, they are not automatically found on all devices sharing the same iCloud account. But Beats had to save money somewhere to get such a low price.

The headphones have a multifunction button allowing several controls when pressed: one click to pause / start playback, two clicks to go to the next song, three clicks to go back and a long press to manage the reduction of noise (ON / OFF, transparency mode). Be careful, Studio Buds won’t shut off if you remove one – another savings.

The case of the Beats Studio Buds headphones // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Intrusive intra steps

The intra design of Studio Buds might make some people hesitate. But, in use, they prove to be irreproachable comfort and fit into the ear without any problem. Three sets of tips – S, M, L – are provided to adapt to a maximum of body types. As a bonus, the headphones hold perfectly in place. In fact, we can recommend them for a few sports sessions – especially as they are splash and sweat resistant (IPX4 certification).

It was feared that having to press on an object inserted into the ear would be disturbing. Here again, it is faultless: the multifunction button is well placed and does not cause any discomfort or pain when requested.

Beats Studio Buds headphones // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Affordable active noise reduction

If the Studio Buds ignore a few important features, Beats has still worked enough on the acoustic argument to offer a satisfactory rendering. The manufacturer has revised its copy in recent years. Exit the emphasis on the bass register (until knocking out the listener): the performances are much more balanced. Thanks to their accuracy, Studio Buds are comfortable with a wide variety of registers. A welcome versatility.

No more bass that knock you out

On the side of active noise reduction, the services are honorable. Without rising to the height of the tenors of the segment (AirPods Pro and high-end products from Bose and Sony), Buds Studios are doing an interesting mitigation job. However, in a very noisy environment (example: a gym), you may feel a slight unpleasant breath when the functionality is operating. We are certainly touching the limits of the headphones, which are more difficult to manage when there are too many parasites to erase.

Regarding the transparency mode, we have to admit that Beats takes full advantage of Apple’s know-how in this area: the rendering is very natural, which allows you to remain aware of your environment when the need arises. made felt.

The USB-C port on the case of the Beats Studio Buds headphones // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Goodbye Lightning port

Without active noise reduction, Studio Buds can last 8 hours on a single charge (24 hours in all with the case, which has three extra reserves). The total time drops to 15 hours when active noise reduction is used.

Strangely, the case charges via a USB-C port (a cable is provided, but not the AC adapter). Usually, Beats products rely on the Lightning interface. However, there is no wireless charging possible.

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