The tea leaves have been pretty clear the Beats Studio Buds were on their way. Ahead of the official announcement, we had the usual leaks, regulatory filings and then there was LeBron James wearing them out in public.
And it seems Beats kept a few surprises in store with the Studio Buds as they boast an impressive, roster of features for a very affordable price.
Beats Studio Buds are surprisingly affordable
There were rumours the Beats Studio Buds would feature noise cancellation, but we guessed that would have placed them more towards the premium true wireless area. The announcement of the price – £129.99 in the UK – shows that Beats means business at the affordable end of the market.
The active noise cancellation aims to block unwanted noise from impacting audio by using real-time “adaptive gain control”. Beats say that the Studio Buds employ an algorithm that monitors the source file, while simultaneously correcting and cleaning any audio artefacts at up to 48,000 times a second for a clearer audio performance.
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If you want to hear what’s around you then that’s where the Transparency mode comes in handy. A long-press of the “b” button activates and filters in sound from the environment. Like other Apple headphones, noise cancelling on the Studio Buds does not appear to be adjustable.
The earbuds’ audio is driven by a proprietary 8.2mm, dual-element diaphragm driver that features a central rigid piston that’s coupled with a two-chamber acoustic design. Beats claims the design helps the earbuds achieve “outstanding stereo separation and low harmonic distortion across the frequency curve”. As always, we’ll have to wait for a review sample and see if the live up to the hype.
Support for Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos is included, a benefit for Apple Music subscribers. For call quality, the Studio Buds feature dual-beam forming microphones that target your voice and filter out wind for clarity.
Battery life is 8 hours per earbud, with two additional charges getting the Studio Buds up to 24. That is, however, without noise cancellation on. With either ANC of Transparency mode on, it’s up to five hours of battery and 15 hours in total, which indicates these are earbuds for short bursts. Fast-charging is supported, with five minutes delivering up to an hour more.
In something of a change in direction, the Beats Studio Buds will play nice with both iOS and Android devices. One-touch pairing is possible on both platforms, and the earbuds support each platform’s respective Find My feature for locating the earbuds if they go missing.
There’s Bluetooth connectivity (presumably 5.0), touch controls (playback, calls, track skipping and toggling between ANC and Transparency modes), while iOS users can activate Siri hands-free.
There’s a focus on comfort with the earbud’s acoustic nozzle featuring a “laser-cut micro-vent” to relieve pressure on the eardrum. There’s no stem common with the AirPods range, and at 5g per earbud are pretty small and they don’t weigh much. Three soft silicone ear-tip sizes are included for finding the best fit and seal.
Continuing a trend we saw with the Sony WF-1000XM4, the packaging for the Beats Studio Buds packaging is made from 92% plant-based material instead of using plastic. Every little helps.
The Beats Studio Buds go on sale in the UK this summer for £129.99.