Beats goes compact with Studio Buds true wireless ANC earphones
Following numerous leaks, including references in beta versions of iOS and tvOS, and photos of LeBron James wearing them in public, Apple-owned Beats has now officially launched its second true wireless earphones – the Studio Buds.
The first thing of note here is the radical design change compared to 2019's Powerbeats Pro earphones, losing the wrap-over wings and stretched body in favor of a modern bud aesthetic packing raised ridges on the outer housings.
"In building a product this small, every minute detail was considered, analyzed and selected to optimize for sound quality, comfort and durability," said Oliver Schusser, vice president of Beats and Apple Music. "Studio Buds is our tiniest, most subtle form factor to date, yet keeps Beats’ promise of delivering an immersive sound experience in a beautiful design."
The Studio Buds come with adaptive active noise cancellation, which will cut down on external sounds – including bothersome wind noise – so the wearer can focus on the music, and they also make use of an algorithm to clear compromising artifacts from source audio at up to 48,000 times per second. A long press of the multifunction "b" button dials in a transparency mode to let outside noise in when needed, such as to hold a conversation with friends without removing a bud or listening out for announcements at the transport hub.
Each earpiece is home to an 8.2-mm driver in a dual-chamber design for the promise of "outstanding stereo separation and low harmonic distortion across the frequency curve," and a micro vent has been included to relieve pressure on the eardrum for long-haul listening comfort. Apple Music users can also immerse themselves in Apple's spatial audio for tracks mixed in Dolby Atmos.
The earbuds offer up to eight hours of per-charge playback, with the charging case able to offer two additional full charges for a total of 24 hours of combined battery life while out and about. However, if listeners engage the active noise cancellation or transparency modes this could drop to five hours of playback time, or a total of 15 hours with the help of the charging case. For music lovers caught short, a five-minute "Fast Fuel" charge could offer up to an hour of playback.
Beats has built the Studio Buds around Class 1 Bluetooth technology for the promise of extended range and fewer dropouts, with each earpiece connecting to a music source independently. One-touch pairing to iOS and Android devices is also supported. Dual beamforming microphones focus on the user's voice during calls, and will also filter out wind noise from the conversation.
The new true wireless earphones are compatible with Apple's Find My and the Find My Device feature for Android, where users can audibly locate misplaced buds if nearby, or get their last known location, and an IPX4 rating means they can be worn through the odd downpour, or at the gym.
The Beats Studio Buds are available in black, white or red for US$149.99, which undercuts Apple's own AirPods Pro, KEF's Mu3, and Sony's WF-1000XM4 earphones by a substantial margin. Shipping is expected to start from June 24.
Product page: Beats Studio Buds