These earbuds are the brand new Beats Studio Buds Plus, and I’ve been enjoying these earbuds for about a week now. There are really three main things that I really like about them, and we’ll dive into those throughout the video. But of course, we have a crazy new design with transparent plastic so that you can see the components on the inside. Now, if you don’t want that, there are different colors as well.
These also have a 1.6X improvement in active noise cancellation, and I’ve really been loving Beats lately because they’re made by Apple but they’re compatible with Android. It’s kind of the only pair of earbuds out there that works really seamlessly with both Apple and Android. It charges with USB type-c, and you have that seamless pairing with iPhones as well as Google Fast pair on Android. Beats have been deviating from their traditional bass-heavy muddy sound profile, and these are way cleaner and much more balanced.
Innovative Design: Transparent Aesthetics
There’s a lot to talk about in this video, like I said, I personally am pretty happy with these earbuds. But of course, there are a couple of drawbacks. Alright, so let’s start off with the design. There are three different colors; there’s a black and gold one, and we’ve got, of course, this one right here, the transparent case. I mean, I don’t know how else to say it, the transparent case is like nothing they’ve done before. Seriously, if you look at it, there are a lot of plastic parts on here, and nothing is not transparent. So is there anything else that these would remind you of? Nothing.
Well, regardless, I love the design. It feels like a prototype, which I’ve always really liked. There’s really nothing in the industry that looks like that, but it’s clearly like a well-refined product. It looks like a prototype. I love the design, and it feels a lot kind of like a not as premium as an automatic watch, obviously, but the same idea that you can see the insides, you can see the design, and you appreciate more of the engineering behind it rather than being this opaque box of magic on the inside. Seeing what’s in there is fun to look at. It’s a great conversation starter, and it just feels like a nice unique piece of engineering. I’ve always a big fan of transparent designs. Now, obviously, I’m joking about how this looks a lot like the nothing earbuds in case you didn’t pick up on that. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
The case, of course, is nearly identical to the previous Beats Studio buds with a kind of pill shape, a little bit bigger than the AirPods case. And the earbuds themselves once again follow that same geometry as well, which I actually really do like. It’s easy to pinch them on the outside, and this makes it, first of all, great when you’re working out. If you ever have to adjust your earbuds, you can pinch it and twist them and get them where they need to be without pushing the button, which means you don’t have any accidental play-pause controls while you’re adjusting your earbuds. That, I think, is a great design.
Comfort and Wearability: The Earbud Design
They’re also really lightweight, really compact, and wearing them, they’re just very, very comfortable. It’s kind of the same geometry, if you look at the inside here, as the AirPods Pro, but of course, this doesn’t have the stem, which in my opinion looks a lot better. You can leave a comment and let me know if you think these look better or worse than AirPods, but for me, like I said, I like them a lot. Of course, the earbuds are also transparent, although from far away, they kind of just look light gray, which makes them also more subtle.
They don’t look like cotton balls in your ear like the white ones might. Now, these are slightly different than the previous Beats Studio buds in that I find they’re a little bit more comfortable and they stay in my ears a little bit better. Maybe that’s just me; everybody has different ear geometry, obviously, but for me, the left earbud for the AirPods as well as for the older Beats would always work its way out, especially without a wingtip. And these I find, the problem is still there slightly, but they stay in substantially better. I went for a run the other day, and while I did have to adjust it occasionally, it never fell out of my ear; it just kind of came loose a little bit.
So, I wish they had a wingtip; I’m sure there’s a way to buy a third-party piece of silicone that would act as a wingtip, but for most people, I think that these are going to be very comfortable and very secure. They are going to be probably a great choice for working out. They’re IPX4 water-resistant, great for sweating, great for rain, whatever. And they have a physical button, which means if your hands are wet or if it’s cold out or you’re wearing gloves or whatever, you can still control the earbuds, unlike most other capacitive touch sensors which don’t work in those conditions.
User-Friendly Features: Physical Button Controls
The button is another thing they improved on these earbuds; it requires really the perfect amount of force in my opinion, so there are not any accidental touches. There’s also you don’t like to slam it; there’s no big clicking. It’s really a seamless experience with that button.
Drawbacks: Lack of Customization and Wireless Charging
But that brings me to the first drawback with these earbuds. There’s not a whole lot you can customize with those button controls on these earbuds. The next drawback is that while the case charges with USB type-c, and I’m very happy about that, it doesn’t seem to have wireless charging. At least, I didn’t see wireless charging on here, and looking at the back, I don’t see a wireless charging coil in there. So, I think it’s safe to say that these don’t have wireless charging, which kind of hurts me to say.
These are selling for $169, which is a relatively low price compared to a lot of other Apple products like the AirPods Pro, the Beats Fit Pro, and like AirPods Max; there are a lot of other more expensive earbuds kind of in this category. But for $169, I was still expecting wireless charging. They are, however, getting a pretty solid battery life. It’s upwards of 30-something hours, but assuming you have active noise cancellation on, which, let’s be honest, we pretty much all do, you’re getting six hours in the earbuds and 24 hours when you include the case.
But that’s all just based on the physical design. The microphone, the active noise cancellation, and the sound quality are all very important features, so let’s actually get into that now. Alright, so getting into a microphone test, these are the Beats Studio Buds Plus. Obviously, I’m sitting inside a studio, so let me know what this sounds like. If I’m on a phone call, it would probably sound something like this. I’m recording through my Android phone, uh, the Google Pixel, actually, so let’s go outside and see what it sounds like in a noisier environment, maybe if you’re walking on the sidewalk near a road. Let’s see if you can hear what I’m saying.
Alright, so this is a microphone test by a busy road. Obviously, there’s a lot of traffic behind me, and there’s also some wind too. So, this is the microphone in the Beats Studio Buds Plus. Let me know what you think of this.
Now, when it comes to the sound quality, you’re not looking at any really high-end codecs on here, which is to be expected of a pair of Beats at this price. You’re looking at SBC and AAC. Now, these do have Bluetooth 5.3, which is great. It means you do have mono mode, so you can listen to just the left or just the right earbud. Additionally, these actually do have multi-point connectivity, so you can listen to music on one phone and then seamlessly switch over to your laptop or work on your laptop and then go to your phone when you get a phone call. And it’s a feature that, again, in 2023, I said pretty much every pair of earbuds that comes out needs to have this.
Sound Quality Assessment: Balanced Audio Performance
The sound itself when you’re listening to these, I think is really a nice step in the right direction from older Beats products, which were very muddy and heavy in bass, where this instead is much cleaner, like very clean bass, much less distortion, and it’s actually pretty balanced in most genres. Like going through a couple of genres right here to give you an idea. If you’re listening to Drake and 21 Savage and other artists in that category in those genres, it’s bold, it’s lively, and you’re getting a really nice experience that’s not super skull-shaking heavy bass, which maybe some people want. You can always customize an EQ as well, but I think it’s going to give you a nice balance here, and you’re going to hear everything very well.
But then moving on to a more rock-style genre, I listened to the song “Someday” by The Strokes, this song has a lot of cymbals early on, so it can get really crowded, and a lot of earbuds struggle with this, which is why I choose to listen to it as a general test song. And so with these, like again, these earbuds do a decent job but definitely far from the best. The cymbals do get a little bit mushy, and they lack some detail there. I think more instrument separation would really be welcomed, and the vocals are a tad less rich than I would like, so I’d probably even go into the EQ and turn the bass up a little bit.
But moving on to a more country style, I guess he’s technically Bluegrass or maybe he’s a jam band, no one really knows what he is. Billy Strings has a lot of acoustic guitars and also really fast-moving acoustic guitars. So if you listen to his song “Know It All,” it sounds really nice. It sounds balanced. You’re getting the warm, rich guitar in there, and I hear pretty much everything I wanted to. So, I’m happy with the price. Of course, once again, not getting the extremely low-level detail you would from a Sennheiser pair of earbuds, but these are Beats, and for what they are, I think they sound really good.
Impressive Active Noise Cancellation
I’m happy with that. Moving on to the active noise cancellation, these claim to have 1.6 times better active noise cancellation or more effective active noise cancellation than before. So I tested that. The active noise cancellation on the Beats Studio Buds Plus was actually really impressive. So, I run this test where I play white noise at a set distance away, and I see at what level the earbuds are no longer able to block that sound. So on this chart here, you can see some of my favorite earbuds out there, and they actually scored 52.5 on my test, which ranks them among the top five best active noise-canceling earbuds. I was really impressed with $169; I did not expect that.
As far as software and compatibility go, one of the biggest things I’ve always really liked about Beats earbuds and headphones is that they’re very compatible with both Apple and Android. So, I mean Sennheiser, Bose, like there’s a lot of companies that work with both, but this is owned by Apple, so it works a little bit deeper with the Apple ecosystem. Just by opening the case, you’ll get the pop-up on the bottom, you can pair seamlessly, granted that saves you maybe 10 or 15 seconds, but still, it’s nice to be integrated into that.
Seamless Integration with Apple and Android
In addition, if you swipe down on your iPhone and you just tap and hold on to the volume slider, you can change more settings like controlling, for example, the active noise cancellation versus transparency mode. But on Android, you also get a similar advantage. Just by opening your earbuds, it’ll pop up on the bottom. It also works with Find My Devices on Android, so you’re getting nice support on both sides. And I wish more Apple products came out and did this; it’s just so nice to see that.
The transparency mode on these was honestly very impressive as well. For $169, I don’t see a lot of earbuds sounding quite this good. It makes sense because they have six upgraded microphones on board, and I’m sure their algorithms have also really improved. But like I can hear my voice, and it sounds natural, I have to talk a little bit louder; it’s not amplifying everything to 100% of what it should be, but it’s still everything sounds maybe like 85% volume. So I could hear people talking, I could hold a conversation, I could do whatever I needed to do, and transparency doesn’t sound super robotic.
Transparency Mode: Natural Audio Transparency
Now, I know I said this earlier in the video, but I really can’t overstate how much I like the design of these earbuds. They’re very comfortable, they look really cool, the black and gold version, the transparent version. I think Beats is really capturing an aesthetic here, and I think a lot of people buying these are going to be doing so for comfort and style. And the fact that they check the other boxes of good active noise cancellation and good sound quality are really nice additions to make this an easy pair of earbuds to actually recommend.
But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect; they do still have drawbacks. Like, for example, they don’t seem to have in-ear detection. If I take these out of my ears while I’m listening to music or say a podcast, then they won’t automatically pause, and it’s easy to lose your spot in a podcast.
So I have two main takeaways for the Beats Studio Buds Plus. One takeaway and kind of the negative side here is that I don’t think they should be called Beats Studio, but I think Studio is kind of misleading. They aren’t really going to be high-resolution great audio quality earbuds; they’re great for working out, but I wouldn’t listen to these and in any way say they’re an audiophile pair of earbuds. Now, on the flip side, one of the things I really like about Beats is the style of them. I love the design of Beats; they look nice, they feel really nice, and they’re tied in really well with some strong marketing. A lot of pro athletes use these; the NBA wears them, like a lot of people are using Beats, and they’re just a cool pair of earbuds, which is why I think a lot of people would like to buy them.
Conclusion: The Appeal of Beats Studio Buds Plus
In general, the Beats Studio Buds Plus got a good score from me. I like how they sound; I like a lot of the features of them. If you liked the previous Beats Studio Buds, these are an incremental improvement but still missing a couple of things like wireless charging.