Beats Studio Buds review: The stemless AirPods we've always wanted?
Tv & Audio
I've got the beep studio buds here, and I got to say, they're a little unusual for an Apple product.
That's right, Apple owns beads, I'm sure most of you knew that already, but what makes them a little weird for Apple earbuds is, they're also geared toward Android users.
Shocking I know, so, let's jump right into the review to find out why.
That may make a lot of people happy, but may not thrill some of you.
They basically cost the same as the standard air pods $150 but they have Active Noise Cancelling and a transparent mode like the AirPods pro They come in three colors at launch.
I've got the red black, but there's also that white version that LeBron was wearing around and like other Beats headphones, they could very well come in plenty of other colors in the future.
The first thing you'll notice about the buds is that they kind of look like those rumored stemless air pods.
They're discreet looking in your ears and also quite lightweight, weighing 5.1 grams Overall, I thought they were really well designed with a physical universal control button on each bud that I prefer to the touch controls you find on a lot of true wireless earbuds these days.
You tap and hold the button to toggle through noise cancelling on transparency on and noise cancelling off.
And there's the usual single tap to pause, play your music Doubletap to advanced tracks.
It says it's redesigned the silicone ear tips and I got a tight seal with the largest ear tip and the buds stayed securely in my ears.
I found them as comfortable to wear as the AirPods pro and I also thought they sounded a little better than both the AirPods pro and Powerbeats pro.
I had no issue with them staying in my ears while running with them but you may get a little slippage if you sweat a lot.
They are IPX for splashproof and sometimes it can help to use foam ear tips.
That's what I use with the AirPods pro because foam tips are a little grippier.
These also fit my ears better than the Powerbeats Pro, which I have trouble getting a tight seal with unless I use my own extra extra large ear tips.
But I can see how some people would like the Powerbeats pros ear hook for sporting activities because it does give you some reassurance that buds won't fall out of your ears.
As I said, these were designed with both IOS and Android users in mind.
For starters, the case which is nice and compact, just slightly bigger than the AirPods pros case.
It has a USB C charging instead of lightning charging.
Yes, you heard right, USB C Experience using the buds with Apple and Android devices is very similar with both platforms.
There's a one touch quick pair feature for both iOS and Android and the beats app for Android allows you to check a battery life switch modes and get firmware upgrades.
Beat says these are the first product is for both Find my an iOS and find my device on Android.
They'll show the last known location the buds or play a chirping sound if they're close by and you just don't see them.
The only thing Apple users get that Android users don't is hands free Siri, which means you can give voice commands by just saying hey Siri, with Android, you have to use your phone's native voice assistant.
If Siri just popped up on your phone when I said, Hey Siri, I'm sorry, I know it can be irritating.
But Android users told me to do it.
Now here's the rub in all this.
One of the reasons the experience is very similar for Apple and Android users is that these earbuds are missing some key features for Apple users.
Namely there's no h1 or w on chip.
That means that there's no iCloud pairing across all your Apple devices like there is with the air pods and beats other recent headphones.
That means there's no auto switching features you You can seamlessly move audio from one Apple device to another to these ear buds.
That's a killer feature for Apple users the equivalent of multipoint Bluetooth pairing, and a submission may be a deal breaker for some people.
That said, while there is no multipoint Bluetooth pairing, you can pair these with multiple devices and manually switch between them using the Bluetooth menu.
The other thing that's missing is spatial audio for movie and TV watching.
That's Apple's virtual surround feature and it's pretty cool if you haven't tried it ready.
These have no gyroscopes, accelerometers for the head tracking is required for spatial audio for video.
They do work for spatial audio for music and Apple Music.
But that's not a big deal because all headphones do.
And last but not least, these do not have ear detection.
So your music doesn't automatically pause when you take an earbud out of your ear and resume when you put it back in.
You can use either the left or right but independently however, which is a good thing.
Battery life is rated at five hours with noise cancelling or transparency mode on and eight hours with it off.
The noise canceling battery like number is in line with the AirPods pro and you can get two additional charges from the charging case.
Which by the way, doesn't have wireless charging If totally depleted the buds in case it takes about two hours to fully charge, and you can get one hour playback time from a five minute charge in the case.
Okay, so on performance I'd say noise canceling is the weakest area here.
It's not bad.
These do have decent enough muffling capabilities.
But it's not up to the level of the AirPods pro's noise canceling and not nearly there with Sony WF, 1000 X mark for a [UNKNOWN] and quiet comfort of your buds.
The transparency mode however, that's the mode that allows ambient sound into yours.
That's quite good.
It sounds natural.
It's basically like you're not wearing ear buds when you have the ear buds on.
So right there with the AirPods pro is excellent Transparency mode.
Voice calling was also very good.
I went back and forth with these and the AirPods pro in the streets of New York and collars totally from what they heard.
They thought that Beats Studio bugs were comparable to the AirPods pro for headset performance with good noise reduction capabilities.
They have three microphones in each bud including one beamforming microphone in each to zero on your voice and color so they could hear me clearly even as traffic pass by.
These are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and I didn't have any issues with wireless dropouts or Bluetooth glitching.
So all good there As I hinted earlier, I thought the sound was very good.
The bass is well defined and the overall sound is well balanced with nice detail in the treble and natural sounding mids where vocals live.
Beats engineers spent a lot of time creating the custom 8.2 millimeter drivers for these and I think the sound is overall slightly clear and more detailed than they are possible.
Pros and these just sound a little smoother and better balanced than the power beats pro.
As I said at the outset, these are a little bit of an unusual product for apple and the beats is catering to both iPhone and Android users.
Google's pixel buds, a series at $99 or a touch behind in sound quality and don't have active noise canceling, but they still may be a better value for Android users.
And you also have the very good Samsung Galaxy buds plus selling for around $100.
Now, with the little corners cut here, there's probably some room for discounts on these beats.
So, a few months from now you may see them selling for 20 to $30 less like the Airpods do now.
I did really like them overall, as I said they fit my ears well and they're nice and small and have good sound and call quality, the case is nice too It's just a shame Apple gimped them a little for Apple users by not including a couple of those key differentiating features you get with the air pods and other Beats headphones.
Maybe Apple didn't want these compete directly with the rumored AirPods three, or possibly coming out later this year.
I guess we'll find out soon enough.
So what do you guys think?
If you're an Android user, are you happy with what Apple's done with the Beats studio buds?
And what about you iPhone users?
Can you live without those missing features?
Post your comments below if you found this video informative at all, hit the like button, and subscribe if you haven't already.
I'm David Carter for CNET.
Thanks for watching.
One week with the Huawei FreeBuds 4
The headphones you wear all day
AirPods Max hands-on: New noise-canceling king
Beats Flex: Better sound than AirPods for less (but that damn...
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Best noise canceling
Galaxy Buds Live are the most innovative true wireless headphones...
Harman Kardon Fly TWS: Great sounding true wireless for $150
Shure's new Aonic wireless earbuds are Beats for audiophiles
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 dethrone AirPods Pro