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Beats Studio Buds vs Apple AirPods Pro (2021): Can The Newcomer Beat The Veteran?

If you’ve been saving up for the Apple AirPods Pro, you might want to hold off on that purchase because Beats just dropped its newest true wireless active noise cancelling earbuds. Called the Beats Studio Buds, they’re said to be so powerful that they can rival the AirPods Pro but for a fraction of the price. To help you decide if you should go for the tried and tested veteran or the impressive yet affordable rookie, here’s an in-depth comparison of the two earbuds, covering their design, audio quality, ANC, and battery life.

Beats Studio Buds vs Apple AirPods Pro Comparison Chart

ModelBeats Studio BudsApple AirPods Pro
 New Beats Studio Buds – True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds – Compatible with Apple &...Apple AirPods Pro
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
ColorsRed, white, and blackWhite only
Wireless Charging CaseNoYes
ControlsPhysical buttonTouch sensitive sensors
Water-Resistant IPX4 ratingIPX4 rating
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Transparency ModeYesYes
Spatial AudioYesYes
Battery Life5 hours with ANC on, 8 hours with ANC off, 24 hours with charging case4.5 hours with ANC on, 5 hours with ANC off, 24 hours with charging case
Fast Charge1.5 hours with 5-minute charge1 hour with 5-minute charge
Voice AssistantSiriSiri

Design

The Beats Studio Buds and Apple AirPods Pro have very different looks, controls, and charging cases.

Beats Studio Buds vs Apple AirPods Pro design
The Beats Studio Buds (left) come in black, white, and red while the Apple AirPods Pro (right) are only available in white.

The Beats Studio Buds look nothing like their predecessor, the Powerbeats Pro. With no sporty earhooks in sight, they boast of a much sleeker and compact design that will appeal to a wider audience. They’re comfortable to wear too, thanks to their lightweight construction, silicone ear tips, and nozzles that help relieve any pressure trapped in the eardrums. They’re available in red, white, and black and come in an oval charging case. Unfortunately, you can’t charge the charging case wirelessly but it’s unfair to expect that from affordable earbuds anyway.

As for the AirPods Pro, everyone knows that what they look like by now. It’s hard to miss the stems that protrude from the earbuds, plus they have an all-white design that’s unmistakably Apple. Unlike the Studio Buds, the AirPods Pro’s charging case supports wireless charging so all you have to do is pop it onto the charging pad whenever you’re low on juice. Another difference between the two models is their controls. The AirPods Pro have touch sensitive sensors while there’s an actual button on the Studio Buds.

If you’re wondering whether these earbuds can survive your sweaty workouts in the gym, you’ll be glad to know that they’re water-resistant. Both models boast of an IPX4 rating which means they can take water splashes but no more than that.

Audio Quality

The Beats Studio Buds and Apple AirPods Pro are on par with each other when it comes to audio performance.

Beats Studio Buds vs Apple AirPods Pro audio
Both the Beats Studio Buds and Apple AirPods Pro are compatible with Apple’s Spatial Audio feature.

Thanks to the Beats Studio Buds’ two-chamber acoustic design and 8.2mm dual-element diaphragm drivers, they’re able to deliver a better sound that the Powerbeats Pro. While their predecessor is heavy-handed with the bass, the Studio Buds are able to strike a good balance between the highs and the lows, giving way to a more bright and energetic performance. This puts the Studio Buds on the same level as the Apple AirPods Pro audio quality-wise. With the AirPods Pro, the mids are crystal clear, the vocals are vibrant, and the bass is pleasant.

Neither the Studio Buds nor the AirPods Pro is the best in class, both lacking in clarity and detail when compared to more high-end earbuds. But they’re definitely enjoyable to listen to and should be more than enough for casual listeners. What’s great about them is that they both support Apple’s Spatial Audio, allowing you to enjoy a cinematic and immersive experience whenever you listen to Dolby Atmos tracks. You do, however, need to have the iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 installed on your device to enjoy this feature as well as a streaming service that’s compatible with 5.1, 7.1, or Atmos.

Active Noise Cancellation

The Apple AirPods Pro deliver better ANC quality over the Beats Studio Buds.

Beats Studio Buds vs Apple AirPods Pro ANC
The Apple AirPods Pro can block out 85% of external sounds.

Both the Beats Studio Buds and Apple AirPods Pro are equipped with active noise cancellation although we have to give this round to the latter. With their two-mic noise-cancelling array, they’re able to block out 85% of external sounds. So if you’re listening to music at home, you won’t be distracted by the sounds of the TV, the humming of appliances, or the squabbling of your siblings anymore. The AirPods Pro’s ANC is just as effective against noises outside such as traffic and the wind. As for high-frequency sounds, they might be able to leak through but they shouldn’t sound any louder than background noise.

Just like the AirPods Pro, the Studio Buds boast of quite an impressive ANC array. They have a filter, internal feedback mics, as well as external feed-forward mics. This setup allows them to gauge the level of external noise and adjust the ANC accordingly. However, they’re not quite able to measure up to the AirPods Pro’s performance and can only eliminate softer sounds like the rain, chatter, and maybe the humming of power tools from afar. Expect harsher sounds like the wind, sirens, and the crying of babies to come through.

For those who need to be able to hear their surroundings while listening to music, both the AirPods Pro and Studio Buds have a transparency mode. But again, the former takes the cake as they’re able to make ambient noises sound clear yet not too harsh.

Battery Life

The Beats Studio Beats have a better battery life than the Apple AirPods Pro.

Beats Studio Buds vs Apple AirPods Pro battery
The Beats Studio Beats can last up to 8 hours when the ANC is turned off.

Battery life is where the Beats Studio Buds leave the Apple AirPods Pro in the dust. They’re pretty much on par with each other when their ANC is turned on, the Studio Buds clocking in at 5 hours and the AirPods Pro at 4.5 hours. However, the Studio Buds are able to churn out an additional 3 hours once you turn the ANC off, able to last for a total of 8 hours. Even with their ANC off, the AirPods Pro can only manage 5 hours. But with the help of their charging cases, the playing field is even once again, both boasting of a 24-hour battery life.

The Studio Beats have the upper hand yet again when it comes to fast charging, able to deliver 1.5 hours of playback time with a 5-minute charge. With the same amount of charging time, the AirPods Pro can only muster an hour.

Verdict

The Beats Studio Buds are better value for money but Apple users are likely to enjoy the Apple AirPods Pro more.

The Beats Studio Buds are definitely capable of giving the Apple AirPods Pro a run for their money. They look good, they sound great, their battery life is so much more dependable, and they’re platform-neutral. The best part is that they won’t burn as big of a hole in your pocket as the AirPods Pro will. We definitely think they’re better value for money. However, those who are immersed in the iOS ecosystem might enjoy the AirPods Pro more for their Apple-exclusive features. Also, the AirPods Pro are the better choice for those who have ANC quality as a priority.

If you’re interested in other Beats and Apple earbud models, you can check out our Beats Flex vs Apple AirPods comparison.

FAQs

📌 Do the Beats Studio Buds have good sound quality?

Thanks to the Beats Studio Buds‘ two-chamber acoustic design and 8.2mm dual-element diaphragm drivers, they’re able to strike a good balance between the highs and the lows. This gives way to a bright and energetic performance.

📌 Do the Beats Studio Buds have ANC?

Yes, the Beats Studio Buds have ANC. They have a filter, internal feedback mics, as well as external feed-forwards mics, allowing them to gauge the level of external noise and adjust the ANC accordingly.

📌 Are the Beats Studio Buds waterproof?

The Beats Studio Buds are not waterproof. They do, however, have an IPX4 rating. This means that they’re water-resistant and can withstand splashes of water but no more than that.

📌 Which one has better battery life, the Beats Studio Buds or the Apple AirPods Pro?

With the ANC turned off, the Beats Studio Buds can outlast the Apple AirPods Pro. They can deliver 8 hours of playback time while their rival can only do 5 hours.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.