It’s official, the rumored Beats Studio Buds Plus are real, and they’re finally here. Early reviews indicate that the two year wait between these and the first model is worth the wait too.
The new buds feature better noise cancelling (1.6 times better, according to Beats), an improved Transparency mode, longer battery life (nine hours from the buds, 36 hours in total), "Hey Siri" support for Apple devices, Android auto switching between devices, and a new smaller eartip option, just like AirPods Pro 2. They're available to order starting today (May 17).
The earbuds are a complete improvement on the original Beats Studio Buds, judging by a review from iMore, which highlights improved sound quality and battery life. The earbuds are also said to have better noise cancellation than the previous model, however, the lack of wireless charging and on-ear detection let them down for Tom’s Guide.
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature about these new earbuds is the colors that you can purchase them in. There’s the stylish black and gold, the crisp ivory… and then there’s a bold transparent option that’s attracting a lot of attention.
It's so fantastically retro, partly because it still has that plastic sheen – the also-transparent Nothing Ear (2) are a little too cleanly transparent. The Beats look more like the see-through Game Boy Color options you could get.
According to the Independent, Beats went ahead with the design due to positive feedback when showcasing the mockups. Turns out the transparent look was simply to show the internal wiring in the product but it was such a hit that they kept it as a design option.
Are the Beats Studio Buds Plus worth buying?
Looking at early reviews circling, the Beats Studio Buds Plus are certainly an improvement across the board from the previous version. Again, The Verge largely agrees with other reviews we’ve seen, highlighting the step up but also notes that they still don’t offer all of Apple’s best-in-class audio technology. Likewise, Engadget has also highlighted in its own review that the earbud’s ambient sound isn't nearly as natural sounding as AirPods' is.
Indeed, when we reviewed the Beats Studio Buds, we highlighted that the lack of an H1 Wireless Chip let it down in places. While the earbuds were among the best sounding earbuds we’d come across, and were comfortable to wear, we also found that they had lackluster call quality.
Looking at recent reviews, it appears that voice calls have been improved thanks to a newly improved mic hardware, however they still fall short compared to other earbuds when in loud places. The Beats Studio Buds Plus still don’t offer wireless charging either, but they do offer longer battery life.
With a price tag of $169 / £179 / AU$269, the Beats Studio Buds Plus aren’t exactly the cheapest option out there. Whether they will join our best earbuds list of the year is not yet clear but, our initial hands-on Beats Studio Buds Plus evaluation should give you a sense of where things are heading…
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Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.