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Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Powerbeats Pro (2021): Choosing True Wireless Earbuds

Compared to the new Beats Studio Buds, the Beats Powerbeats Pro’s age is starting to show. However, that doesn’t automatically mean they can’t keep up with the new pair of true wireless earbuds in town.

Two of the main selling points of the Studio Buds are active noise cancellation (ANC) and an attractive price point, but the Powerbeats Pro have a few advantages here and there. On that note, we compare the two to clear up the differences between them to help you make a more informed buying decision.

Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Powerbeats Pro Comparison Chart

ModelBeats Studio BudsBeats Powerbeats Pro
 New Beats Studio Buds – True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds – Compatible with Apple &...Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth Headphones, 9 Hours of...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
FitIn-earIn-ear with hooks
Active Noise CancellationYesNo
Transparency ModeYesNo
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 5.0
Water ResistanceIPX4IPX4
Hands-Free SiriYesYes
MicrophoneDual beam-formingDual beam-forming
ControlsMultifunction button per earbudVolume rocker and track control button per earbud
Auto Play and PauseNoYes
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours or up to 24 hours with charging case, up to 5 hours with ANC onUp to 9 hours or more than 24 hours
Fast Charging5 minutes for up to 1 hour of playback5 minutes for up to 1.5 hours of playback
PortUSB-CLightning
Dimensions (W x H x D)Earbuds: 0.73″ x 0.59″ x 0.81″
Case: 2″ x 1″ x 2.83″
Earbuds: 1.5″ x 0.9″ x 2.3″
Case: 3″ x 1.7″ x 3″
WeightPer earbud: 5g
Case: 48g
Per earbud: 11g
Case: 80g
ColorsBlack, White, Beats RedCloud Pink, Glacier Blue, Lava Red, Ivory, Black, Navy

Design

While the Beats Studio Buds and Powerbeats Pro have an in-ear fit, only the latter has ear hooks.

Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Powerbeats Pro Design
A closer look at the Beats Studio Buds (left) and the Powerbeats Pro (right) and their charging cases.

The Beats Studio Buds and the Powerbeats Pro both have an in-ear fit, but the first thing that’ll likely jump out at you is that the former doesn’t have ear hooks. In other words, the latter is better for workouts because of said hooks, providing a more secure fit. Speaking of, both are IPX4 sweat and water resistant.

Considering their form factors, it’s no surprise that the Studio Buds are lighter than the Powerbeats Pro. If nothing else, they’re less fatiguing, even by just a bit. It’s the same story with their charging cases too, as the Studio Buds come with a smaller and more portable one. But the best part is, it uses a USB-C port as opposed to Lightning, making it more universal in that regard.

Compared to the Powerbeats Pro, controls on the Studio Buds have been trimmed down to one multifunction button. It can pause and play audio, go to the next or previous track, answer and hang up calls, and toggle ANC and Transparency mode. Meanwhile, the Powerbeats Pro have a playback button too, but on top of that, they have volume controls.

The Studio Buds’ color options are Black, White, and Beats Red. In contrast, the Powerbeats Pro are available in Cloud Pink, Glacier Blue, Lava Red, Ivory, Black, and Navy.

Performance

The Beats Powerbeats Pro can deliver better audio than the Studio Buds.

Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Powerbeats Pro Performance
The Beats Studio Buds (left) may have ANC, but the Powerbeats Pro (right) have superior audio quality.

Right off the bat, the Beats Powerbeats Pro sound better than the Studio Buds. To keep things short, they have fuller bass, better clarity, and richer audio overall. It’s unclear why that’s the case, but it’s likely because they’re packing bigger drivers and running on Apple’s H1 chip.

But the Studio Buds do have ANC and Transparency mode, and that essentially puts them in the same playing field as the AirPods Pro. For what it’s worth, the Powerbeats Pro have decent passive noise isolation, but it’s not the best in the business.

The Studio Buds are rated to go up to eight hours or 24 hours with their case, but having ANC enabled will really eat up their battery life, reducing the total to only up to five hours on a single charge. On the other hand, the Powerbeats Pro can last up to 9 hours, and with their case, they’ll have enough power for “more than 24 hours,” so says the marketing blurb.

Both have fast charging as well, which Beats calls Fast Fuel. Put simply, the Studio Buds will have an hour’s worth of playback and the Powerbeats Pro will have 1.5 hours after five minutes of charging.

Click here for our comparison between the Powerbeats 4 and AirPods Pro.

Features

While the Beats Studio Buds have ANC, only the Powerbeats Pro have Automatic Switching and Automatic Ear Detection.

Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Powerbeats Pro Features
The Studio Buds (left) uses a custom chip by Beats, while the Powerbeats Pro (right) use Apple’s H1 chip.

These true wireless earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0, allowing them to deliver a reliable and stable connection. But as mentioned earlier, the Beats Powerbeats Pro have an H1 chip under the hood. In comparison, the Studio Buds have neither an H1 nor W1 chip. Instead, they use a custom proprietary chip from Beats. 

The absence of the H1 chip in the Studio Buds means they’re relatively lacking in the features department. Rather than Automatic Switching, they have one-touch pairing, which does make things a bit more convenient, but it doesn’t really compare. They also don’t have Automatic Ear Detection. 

The Powerbeats Pro have Automatic Switching and Automatic Ear Detection. For the uninitiated, the former lets them switch audio streaming between devices on their own, while the latter allows them to automatically play and pause sound when you put them on or take them off, respectively.

Both have hands-free Siri support, which is nice to see on the Studio Buds despite not having an H1 chip, and other features like Find My, so there’s that.

Verdict

The Beats Studio Buds are an affordable pair of noise-canceling true wireless earbuds, but even with ANC, they aren’t as feature-packed as the Powerbeats Pro.

All things considered, the Beats Studio Buds are worth considering because of their ANC, Transparency mode, and USB-C port, as well as their low price point. However, there are some trade-offs, namely the lack of Automatic Ear Detection and Automatic Switching, both of which the Beats Powerbeats Pro have. 

If we had to choose, we’d go with the Powerbeats Pro here. After all, their features, better audio quality, longer battery life, and H1 chip benefits tilt the scales to their favor. But the Studio Buds still have their audience, particularly those who are looking for a budget alternative to the AirPods Pro.

FAQs

📌 Are Beats Studio Buds better than AirPods?

Yes, the Beats Studio Buds are better than the AirPods because they’re the only one of the two that has IPX4 water resistance, ANC, Transparency mode, and a USB-C port, among other things. They have a similar price tag too.

📌 What’s the difference between the Beats Studio Buds and the Powerbeats Pro?

The Beats Studio Buds have ANC, Transparency mode, and a lower price, and they use a USB-C port rather than Lightning. The Powerbeats Pro have ear hooks (which are handy for workouts), a longer battery life, an H1 chip, Automatic Switching, and Automatic Ear Detection, and they sound better as well.

📌 Which is better, the Beats Studio Buds or the Powerbeats Pro?

It’s more of a mixed bag where each one has its own unique benefits. The Beats Studio Buds have ANC and Transparency mode, but the Powerbeats Pro have features like Automatic Switching and Automatic Ear Detection.

📌 Do the Powerbeats Pro have noise canceling?

No, the Powerbeats Pro don’t have active noise cancellation, but the Beats Studio Buds have the feature, as well as Transparency mode.

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

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.