Beats Studio Buds True Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Oct 13, 2021 at 03:29 pm
Beats Studio Buds True Wireless  Picture
6.8
Neutral Sound
7.2
Commute/Travel
8.0
Sports/Fitness
6.7
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
5.3
Wired Gaming
5.8
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Beats Studio Buds Truly Wireless are headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC). These lightweight in-ears have a comfortable and well-built design. Unlike many other Beats headphones, they also have a more neutral sound profile versatile enough for lots of audio content. However, they lack an H1 or W1 chip, so you can't seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. Their ANC system also offers a disappointing overall performance, and they only last around five hours on a single charge, although their case holds roughly two additional charges.

Our Verdict

6.8 Neutral Sound

The Beats Studio Buds are okay for neutral sound. They have a neutral default sound profile, although their bass range is underemphasized, so your mixes lack warmth, thump, and boom. Vocals and lead instruments are also a bit veiled. Unfortunately, they lack sound customization features to help adjust their sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Comfortable, well-built design.
  • Very consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • No sound customization features.
  • Bad passive soundstage performance.
7.2 Commute/Travel

The Beats Studio Buds are decent for commute and travel. Thanks to their small and lightweight design, you can easily throw them into your pockets or bag when you're on the go. However, their ANC struggles to block out the low rumbles of bus or plane engines. They also provide roughly five hours of continuous playback time, which may not last through long trips without pausing to recharge them up again.

Pros
  • Comfortable, well-built design.
  • Don't leak a lot of audio at high volumes.
Cons
  • Disappointing ANC.
  • Bad passive soundstage performance.
8.0 Sports/Fitness

The Beats Studio Buds are great for sports and fitness. They're comfortable, well-built, and are rated IPX4 for water resistance. They're also lightweight and very portable. However, they don't have stability fins, and they may fall out of your ears with more intense head movements.

Pros
  • IPX4 rating.
  • Comfortable, well-built design.
  • Very consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • Bad passive soundstage performance.
6.7 Office

The Beats Studio Buds are alright for office use. Their comfortable fit is suitable for long days at the office, and they don't leak very much audio, so you can listen to your music at high volumes without bothering people nearby. Their ANC feature has a poor overall performance, but it's alright at reducing mid-range noise like ambient conversations. Unfortunately, their five-hour continuous battery life isn't long enough to last you an entire day without recharging.

Pros
  • Comfortable, well-built design.
  • Don't leak a lot of audio at high volumes.
Cons
  • Disappointing ANC.
  • Bad passive soundstage performance.
5.4 Wireless Gaming

The Beats Studio Buds aren't suitable for wireless gaming. You can use them with a Bluetooth-enabled PC, but their latency is likely too high for gaming. They aren't compatible with PS4, PS5, or Xbox consoles.

5.3 Wired Gaming

The Beats Studio Buds are truly wireless headphones that you can't use wired.

5.8 Phone Calls

The Beats Studio Buds are sub-par for phone calls. Their integrated mic has a sub-par recording quality, so your voice sounds a bit distorted, thin, and lacking depth. It also struggles to separate speech from ambient noise, so you may be drowned out if you're talking in a moderately loud environment like a busy street. Their ANC also struggles to block out background noise, so you may have trouble hearing your conversation.

Pros
  • Comfortable, well-built design.
Cons
  • Disappointing ANC.
  • Sub-par overall mic performance.
  • 6.8 Neutral Sound
  • 7.2 Commute/Travel
  • 8.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.7 Office
  • 5.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.3 Wired Gaming
  • 5.8 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jul 28, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 21, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Beats Studio Buds have a unique, glossy design. The front face of the buds looks like small, flat stems, and they have a small logo printed on the lower side. They come in three color variants: 'Black', 'White', and 'Beats Red'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.2 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Beats Studio Buds are comfortable earbuds. They don't put too much pressure on your ears, and registering commands using the physical buttons doesn't hurt either. They come with three pairs of differently-sized tips to help you get the best fit.

6.3
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

These headphones have mediocre controls. There's a physical button on both earbuds, and they're easy to use since the left and right buttons have the same controls. The buttons have mechanical feedback, but they're not very clicky. There are also beeps to let you know when you've registered a command, but there aren't voice prompts.

On either bud:

  • One press: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends calls.
  • Double press: Skips the track forward.
  • Triple press: Skips the track backward.
  • Press and hold: Cycles between ANC, 'Transparency mode', which is intended to let you hear ambient sound while listening to audio, and both modes off. You can change this command to activate voice assistant in the companion app.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 °C

These headphones have a very breathable design. They don't trap in heat around your ears, and you shouldn't feel a temperature difference, even if you're wearing them while working out.

9.7
Design
Portability
L 1.0" (2.5 cm)
W 1.2" (3.0 cm)
H 0.6" (1.5 cm)
Volume 0.69 in³ (11.30 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

The Beats Studio Buds are very portable, like most in-ear headphones. They're very portable and easily fit into most bags and pockets, even when you have them in their charging case.

7.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.0" (5.1 cm)
W 2.8" (7.2 cm)
H 1.0" (2.5 cm)
Volume 5.60 in³ (91.80 cm³)

The Beats Studio Buds have a decent plastic case. There's one small light near the bottom to indicate that it's charging. However, the lid is a bit flimsy, and it closes very easily.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Beats Studio Buds have a good build quality. They're mostly made of plastic but feel sturdy enough to withstand some accidental drops without being damaged. They're also certified IPX4 for resistance against being splashed with water. However, the silicone ear tips seem like a weak point and could rip over time.

7.0
Design
Stability

These in-ears are decently stable. They come with three differently-sized ear tips to help you get the best fit. However, they lack stability fins, meaning they may fall out of your ears with very high-intensity movements. They're also not as stable as the Raycon The Fitness Earbuds True Wireless, but they shouldn't fall out of your ears during more casual listening sessions.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Beats Studio Buds headphones
  • 3x tip options
  • Carrying case
  • USB-C to USB-C charging cable
  • Manuals
  • Beats sticker

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.46 dB
Treble Amount
-1.02 dB

The Beats Studio Buds have a neutral sound profile that's suitable enough for lots of audio content. Unlike most Beats headphones, they lack a bit of bass, so mixes lack thump, rumble, and boom. Vocals and lead instruments are also a bit veiled. Unfortunately, their companion app doesn't offer any sound customization features to help you adjust their sound to your liking.

9.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.16 dB

The Beats Studio Buds' frequency response consistency is outstanding. Once you achieve a proper fit and air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, you should achieve consistent audio delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.03 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
19.15 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.23 dB
Mid-Bass
-4.52 dB
High-Bass
-5.14 dB

The bass accuracy is decent. It's relatively flat, although completely underemphasized across the range. Mixes lack warmth as well as thump, rumble, and boom.

7.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.04 dB
Low-Mid
-4.34 dB
Mid-Mid
-2.56 dB
High-Mid
0.01 dB

The Beats Studio Buds have good mid accuracy. The low to mid-mid is underemphasized, which thins out vocals and lead instruments and nudges them to the back of your mixes. The high-mid is very flat, so vocals sound clear.

7.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.85 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.4 dB
Low-Treble
-2.53 dB
High-Treble
-8.79 dB

The Beats Studio Buds' treble accuracy is decent. It's underemphasized across the range, so vocals and lead instruments are veiled and lacking in detail. Sibilants like S and T sounds are also dulled.

8.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.15 dB
Dips
0.75 dB

The peaks and dips performance is great. A bump in the low-bass adds thump and rumble to mixes while a dip between the high-bass and low-mid thins out vocals and lead instruments. Another dip in the mid-mid nudges these sounds to the back of your mix, while a bump in the high-mid to low-treble makes the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments harsh. The uneven mid-treble makes sibilants like cymbals alternatingly dull and sharp.

9.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.22
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.86
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.16
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.13

The Beats Studio Buds have outstanding imaging. The group delay falls slightly above the audibility threshold in the bass range, but it shouldn't be noticeable, resulting in a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers are well-matched in terms of phase, amplitude, and frequency response, so objects like instruments should be accurately placed in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and your experience may vary.

1.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
4.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.4

The Beats Studio Buds' passive soundstage is bad. To achieve a large and spacious soundstage, the outer ear has to activate with sound resonances. However, in-ear headphones completely bypass the outer ear. They produce a soundstage that seems small and as if coming from the inside of your head, rather than from speakers placed around you. Since they also have a closed-back design, their passive soundstage seems less spacious than open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

These headphones don't have any virtual soundstage features. While they support Apple's spatial audio by default, it only works on tracks mixed in Dolby Atmos.

7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.352
WHD @ 100
0.118

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. There are a couple of peaks in the treble range, but it's very difficult to hear this with real-life content. The rest of the frequencies fall within good limits, which results in clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
v1A174
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Beats Studio Buds. Our results are only valid when using the headphones with these settings.

Isolation
5.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-13.59 dB
Bass
-4.21 dB
Mid
-13.1 dB
Treble
-24.29 dB

The Beats Studio Buds have poor noise isolation. They have an active noise cancelling feature, but it can be hard to hear the difference between ANC on and off. They hardly block out any bass-range sounds like rumbling bus and plane engines and are just okay at reducing office chatter. The ANC does a better job of reducing high-pitched sounds like a humming A/C unit, but the headphones block out more of this type of noise if you turn the ANC feature off.

Note: We noticed that when the ANC is on, you can sometimes hear more white noise when you're in a quiet environment. If you have experienced this issue, please let us know in the discussion section below.

9.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
23.19 dB

The Beats Studio Buds' leakage performance is outstanding. The audio that escapes is concentrated in the bass range, so it sounds somewhat full, but it's not very loud, so even if you're listening to your music at high volumes, it shouldn't bother people sitting nearby.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
5.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
302.04 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.31 dB
HFE
2,313.87 Hz
Weighted THD
4.155
Gain
27.87 dB

The Beats Studio Buds' integrated mic has a sub-par recording quality. Your voice sounds natural, although thin, a bit distorted, and lacking in depth.

5.2
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
10.9 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The mic's noise handling performance is sub-par. The mic struggles to separate your voice from moderate ambient noise around you. If you're taking an important call, it's best to do so from a quieter environment so that your voice isn't drowned out.

Active Features
5.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
5.1 hrs
Additional Charges
2.0
Total Battery Life
15.3 hrs
Charge Time
0.9 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Beats Studio Buds have a disappointing battery performance. They're advertised to provide roughly five hours of continuous use from a single charge, and we measured a similar amount, so they likely can't last through an entire workday without recharging. However, battery performance can vary with real-life usage, meaning you may have a different experience. The case also holds roughly two extra charges, so you can top them up when you need to. They have a 'Fast Fuel' feature advertised to provide one hour of playback from five minutes of charging, and you can also use one bud while the other charges in the case.

5.5
Active Features
App Support
App Name Beats
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
No

The Beats app is sub-par. It doesn't offer any sound customization features like an EQ or presets. You can remap the press and hold command to summon your device's voice assistant or cycle between ANC, 'Transparency mode', and both modes off. You can also switch between the ANC modes in the app or rename your earbuds. Using the Android app, you can register your buds for updates, but this feature isn't available on iOS. Consider the Sennheiser CX True Wireless if you're looking for a pair of truly wireless in-ears with a fuller-featured companion app.

Connectivity
7.1
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
334.65 ft (102.00 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
283 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
83 ms
Android Latency
116 ms

The Beats Studio Buds have decent Bluetooth connectivity. Unlike other Beats headphones, these in-ears don't have an H1 or W1 chip, so you can't seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. They also don't support multi-device or NFC pairing. While their latency on PC is high, their iOS and Android latency is much lower, which is nice if you like to stream video. That said, some devices compensate for latency differently, so your real-life experience may vary.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection
No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

You can't use the Beats Studio Buds wired. They come with a USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are only compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

The Beats Studio Buds come with a carrying case that holds two additional charges. It has a USB-C port to charge the case.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Beats Studio Buds come in three color variants: 'Black', 'White', and 'Beats Red'. We tested the 'Black' variant, and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Beats Studio Buds are sleek true wireless headphones. While Beats headphones tend to be a bit more bass-heavy, these in-ears have a more neutral sound profile, making them very suitable for many audio genres. Unfortunately, their ANC doesn't perform as well as that of the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. They also lack an H1 or a W1 chip, so you can't seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem.

See our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the best wireless earbuds for running and working out, and the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ear headphones.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Apple are better-built, have a more stable in-ear fit, and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. Their ANC also does a significantly better job of blocking out ambient noise around you, and they offer a better battery performance. They have an H1 chip, so you can seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Samsung have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and you can even customize it to your liking using their companion app's EQ presets. They also have a better noise isolation performance.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Sony are better-built, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have a significantly better noise isolation performance. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound, and their microphone offers a better overall performance. Their continuous battery life is longer too. However, the Beats are more comfortable. 

Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sony are better-built, and they have a significantly better noise isolation performance. They also have a longer continuous battery life and you can customize their sound profile using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Samsung have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and their companion app offers EQ presets. They also have a more stable in-ear fit. However, the Beats have a somewhat better battery performance. 

Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless

The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless and the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. While both headphones are comfortable, the Powerbeats are better for sports as they have a very stable in-ear fit, a longer continuous battery life, and an H1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them up with other devices in your Apple ecosystem. However, the Studio Buds are a bit better for commutes or office use. They have ANC, and while it offers a disappointing performance, it can still block out more background noise than the Powerbeats, and they also leak less audio.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Samsung have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and they're able to passively isolate you from more noise than the Beats with their ANC on. Their integrated mic also offers better overall performance, they have a longer continuous battery life, and you can customize their sound when using their companion app's EQ presets.

Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Apple have a better build quality, a longer continuous battery life, and a better overall mic performance. However, the Βeats have a more comfortable, stable fit and block out much more noise, although their ANC feature doesn’t perform very well overall.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless are better headphones than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Solo Pro are better-built, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC does a significantly better job of blocking out ambient noise around you. They also have longer continuous battery life, and they have an H1 chip, so you can seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. However, the Studio Buds are more comfortable and lightweight.

Beats Flex Wireless

The Beat Flex Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Flex have a more stable in-ear fit, a longer continuous battery life, and have a W1 chip for seamless pairing with your Apple devices. However, the Studio Buds have a truly wireless design, which some users may prefer. 

Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless are better than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. They have a longer continuous battery life, a better overall mic performance, and a better noise isolation performance. Their default sound profile is more neutral, which some may prefer, and their app includes a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. Their control scheme also has a volume function. On the other hand, the Beats have a more comfortable fit.

Google Pixel Buds A-Series Truly Wireless

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series Truly Wireless and the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless are similarly performing headphones. Both headphones are comfortable and well-built. The Google earbuds have a more stable in-ear fit, and their sound profile is more neutral, which some users may prefer. However, the Beats have ANC and can isolate you from more ambient noise, you can use one bud while the other one charges, and they leak less audio.

Raycon The Fitness Earbuds True Wireless

The Beats Studio Buds True Wireless are better in-ears for most uses than the Raycon The Fitness Earbuds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Beats have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and a better noise isolation performance. However, the Raycon have a more stable in-ear fit and a significantly better battery performance.

Sennheiser CX True Wireless

The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are better than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. The Sennheiser feature on-board volume controls, feel better-built, have a more stable fit, have a longer battery life along with an auto-off timer, and a companion app with a graphic EQ. In addition, while the Beats do have an ANC feature, they do a worse job of filtering out ambient noise than the Sennheiser. However, the Beats do charge faster, have superior microphone recording quality, and feel more comfortable to wear.

Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless

The Nothing ear (1) Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Nothing have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can significantly reduce more ambient noise. The Nothing also have more extra charges in their carrying case, and their companion app offers EQ presets. However, the Beats can deliver sound more consistently.

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