Beats Studio Wireless headphones review

Are Beats a bad pair of cans? No, but they are expensive

Beats Studio Wireless headphones review

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But before the Studio Wireless wins your praise (or derision), there are still a few more hurdles to jump. Namely, the internal battery and feature set.

Battery life

It's no secret, making long-lasting rechargeable batteries isn't easy. Beats's website promises a battery life of about 12 hours while using the wireless functionality and about 20 hours while connected via the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The battery mostly lives up to the claim, but comes with a small caveat that even if the headphone isn't playing music, the battery is still getting taxed. Pause the music but forgot to turn it off? Don't expect the headset to turn on next time you want to use it without a slightly long, 1 hour, 30 minute power nap first.

And because the battery is internal and rechargeable, when the battery begins to degrade months or years down the road, you'll eventually be stuck with an exuberant paperweight.

Beats Studio Wireless headphones review

This is the Beats in paperweight mode.


Now wait, before you go commenting about how wrong this review is and that Beats are the best thing since sliced bread, I found some pretty redeeming features.

First, they're travel friendly. They fold up into a compact size that fits nicely in almost any carry-on. And since they're sturdy, you can trust they'll survive the jostle and shake of your everyday commute.

Plus, there's active noise cancellation that's fairly effective. Having a conversation while wearing the headphones is understandably difficult, and they drown out all but the most annoying of noises while traveling.

Again, something like a mixer or pro-bono subscription to Beats Music would've added extra value. But in the end, a sleek design and easy-to-navigate controls won out.

Beats Studio Wireless headphones review

They look good on a desk but even better on your head.

The big question: Are Beats bad headphones?

The answer here is a simple one: Beats are not a bad set of cans. The Studio Wireless is a significant improvement on the original, Monster-made models. If this were a perfect world where everything is free I would gladly take these over the majority of everything else that's out there.

Sadly, until we see a world where cats and dogs frolic in the streets and cowboys and aliens learn to get along, the Beats face a significant hurdle: their $400 price tag.

The Beats sound almost identical to the Creative Sound Blaster EVO ZxR headphones from last year, and those were over $100 less. Kudos are in order for Beats's beautiful industrial design, but does a sleek design warrants the extravagant price? Beats are a status symbol – plain and simple.

Beats Studio Wireless headphones review

Who's that good-looking editor?

We liked

With an overwhelming adoration for bass, the Beats Studio Wireless headphones are resonant and intense. They produce a rich, full sound and are extremely comfortable, thanks to the supple earcups. Active and passive noise cancellation work in tandem to create an almost ideal listening environment, drowning out all but the most grating of annoyances.

They're one of the sleekest sets of headphones, too. The reflective black exterior with red accents makes a lasting impact. There aren't many headphones that I'd wear outside the house, but the Beats exude style wherever you take them.

We disliked

Getting it out of the way, the exorbitant price tag. Sure, they sound fine and look even better. But when they're astoundingly similar in almost every way to a $250 pair of headphones released last year, well, that's a tough pill to swallow.

Sound leakage hurts the overall package. Plus, the lack of a mixer or tie-in to Beats's surprisingly pleasing music streaming service are potential points lost. Still, the functionality of the headset is spot-on and, for some, that will be enough.

Final verdict

After wearing these cans around for the past three weeks, I understand why the Beats Studio Wireless headphones are so appealing. The sound quality is better than most lower-end cans and, in the right mood, the boosted bass serves a guilty pleasure.

These are some of the best looking headphones around and are both utilitarian and understated in their design. Most headphones in this price range typically offer more features or value-added content, but if you can live without all the bells and whistles, the Beats may be for you.

At $379.95, these aren't an impulse buy and would make for a risky present. People who don't mind a slightly less stylish exterior are better off elsewhere, as the same audio quality can be found at a much lower price point.

The Beats are an above-par headset with an incongruent price tag that should make customers understandably leery. But if you're about style and intensity over audio purity, the Beats Wireless Studio Headphones could be a must-own travel companion.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.