Beats Studio Buds review: Big sound and impressive features for a much smaller price

8 mins read


The new Beats Studio Buds sound like the ultimate wireless earbuds. Despite being made by the Apple-owned firm they work just as well on Android as iPhone, they feature Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology and can be popped in your ears for a price that’s £20 cheaper than Apple’s standard AirPods or £100 less than you’d pay for the AirPods Pro. That makes the Studio Buds a seriously attractive option but are they really as good as they sound?

Express.co.uk has been booming out our favourite playlist for the past few weeks and there’s no question that the Beats Buds are good. In fact, they are really, really good.

Let’s start with the all-important set-up processes as everyone now gets the same simple one-touch pairing no matter what phone they own. Just flip open the lid, hold the Buds near your device and a pop-up box appears on-screen with one tap getting everything connected. This means you won’t need to start digging into the Bluetooth settings to get the music started.

Beats users have had this easy setup for a while on iPhone but it’s the first time that Android fans have also been given a speedy way to get their tunes playing. So, you’re all up and running in a matter of seconds but how do the Beats Studio Buds sound?

Despite the low price we have absolutely no complaints whatsoever. Audio sounds rich, clear and there’s plenty of bass without things being overbearing.

Noise is pumped into your ears courtesy of an 8.2mm dual-element diaphragm driver and Beats has worked its usual magic to make sure the overall experience is enjoyable no matter what your taste in music is.

To help boost things further, the Studio Buds feature ANC which is no mean feat considering the £129 price – as a comparison, the AirPods Pro with ANC cost almost double that.

This noise cancelling is pretty solid and, although not market-leading it does a good enough job of keeping the sound of screaming kids in the local coffee shop down to a minimum.

What also helps is the fit as the Beats Studio Buds come with a number of changeable rubber tips that mean all ear sizes are catered for.

Once we’d found the ideal tips the fit was so tight it blocked out a large portion of background sound even before we’d applied the ANC.

If at any point you want to switch off the sound blocking tech, a quick tap on the side of the buds turns things on or off.

There’s also a transparency mode that lets all background audio enter your ears and should help to avoid missing your train being called.

Of course, like all wireless buds, you get a neat pocket-sized charging case that boosts the battery when things run flat. You’ll get around 8 hours of playback before they need refilling with the case offering a total of 24-hours of battery life.

There’s also a nice Fast Fuel charge option with a quick 5-minutes in the case offering an hour of music playback. If you happen to lose them then don’t panic as Beats Studio Buds are the first Beats product to support both Find My in iOS and Find My Device on Android.

Finally, the design should mean they survive the British weather and your trips to the gym with an IPX4 water-resistant rating.

So, that’s all the good stuff but are there any niggles? Sadly, the Beats Studio Buds aren’t perfect.

To start with the controls on the buds are pretty limited and there’s no way to adjust the volume without reaching for your phone. When adjusting the fit, the touch controls also have a very annoying habit of pausing the music when you don’t want it stopped.

These wireless music makers also miss out on Apple’s clever H1 chip so that means you can’t seamlessly switch between your Mac and iPhone without heading to the Bluetooth menu and they don’t auto-pause when you take them out of your ears which is a bit annoying.

The charging case can’t be refilled unless you have a USB-C cable to hand with the Buds not featuring an Apple-style Lightning connector or wireless refilling. Finally, we found the call quality was very hit miss with one of our contacts less than impressed when we tried to chat via the Buds.

BEAT STUDIO BUDS VERDICT

FOR – Price offers serious value • Good sound • Easy connection to Android and iPhone • ANC is included
AGAINST – No seamless switching on Apple gadgets • Touch controls could be improved • Charging case needs a wire for refills

If you’re looking for a solid pair of wireless buds that don’t break the bank you can’t go wrong with the Beats Studio Buds.

These mini music makers offer great sound, simple setup and despite being owned by Apple, Beats has made them just as easy to use on Android as the iPhone.

The fact they get ANC is a huge bonus and the great fit means you won’t have your music ruined by background noise.

There are a few niggles including pretty basic touch controls and, unlike most Apple devices, they don’t get the H1 chip which means you can’t quickly switch between a FaceTime call on your Mac and some music on the iPhone.

That said, these are really excellent earbuds that come packed with features at a price that’s a whole lot less than AirPods. We like the sound of that!



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