Beats has a new pair of wireless earbuds in its lineup. The Beats Studio Buds Plus (or Beats Studio Buds+) might be a mouthful to say (and type), but the proposition is pretty simple. A mid-priced pair of wireless earbuds with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern, feature-packed model, backed by technology upgrades inspired by its more decorated parent company, Apple.
There’s no shortage of buds with similar specs in this ever-crowded market, so what sets these Beats buds apart? First, they only offer iOS features to Android users for seamless use and wider customization (unlike AirPods’ strictly iOS-focused ecosystem). And second, in our opinion, they’ve picked the right place to start with sound quality improvements.
Beats has taken a leaf out of Apple’s acoustic design book by equipping the Studio Buds Plus with three new vents for better airflow through the earbuds, to deliver “powerful, balanced sound”. Better ventilation and better airflow were key aspects in the acoustic design and resulting five-star sound of the brilliant AirPods Pro 2, so we’re pleased to see this acoustic principle reflected in the new Beats earbuds.
Those new vents and better airflow should improve sound quality as well as the quality of the noise-cancellation (ANC). How? By providing better bass response, a more open soundstage and by relieving pressure on the ears, which means they should be more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, even with ANC on.
Coupled with the new vents, there are three bigger microphones and powerful processing that also promises better ANC and transparency quality than before. And while you can’t adjust the ANC level in the app (you can’t with AirPods either), the “custom tuning” adaptive ANC is designed to provide the best sound profile, Beats says. You now also get a fourth XS earbud for a better fit.
Conversations should also be clearer, thanks to the combination of a new voice microphone and machine learning that only responds to your voice in noisy environments.
Battery life has also been improved, so you can play all day. With ANC on, you’ll get six hours on a single charge in the earbuds, with a total of 24 hours with the charging case. With ANC turned off, this extends to nine hours in the peaks and 36 hours in total. Five minutes of fast charging gives you an hour of power when the battery is empty.
Bluetooth 5.3 is on board, with support for the standard SBC and AAC codecs. Spatial audio is supported, but only in the fixed variety; the dynamic head-tracking variant remains the reserve of the flagship Beats Fit Pro, which is equipped with the Apple H1 silicon chip.
The Beats Studio Buds Plus are currently available in three colours: a trendy transparent finish (similar to the Nothing Ear (2) earbuds), ivory and black/gold. We imagine it won’t be long before more colorful options are added as well.
The Beats Studio Buds+ cost £179.95 / €199.95 / $169.99. Pre-orders are now open for US customers, while UK buyers will have to wait until June 12; shipping starts June 13. Will the new Beats hit that sweet spot of great features and improved performance for the price? They have stiff competition in this crowded market, but we look forward to finding out in our full review.
Read our Apple AirPods Pro 2 review
Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Fit Pro: which wireless Beats earbuds are the best?
Here’s our current selection of the best wireless earbuds that money can buy