One of our favorite pairs of wireless earbuds, the Beats Studio Buds, has been updated for 2023 and we couldn’t be more psyched. That’s because this is no small update – Beats claims that 95% of the Beats Studio Buds Plus components are new.
The updated Beats Studio Buds + lineup includes a transparent earbud and case design with a retro vibe. In addition to this neat new translucent option, the Beats Studio Buds Plus offers plenty of improvements and upgrades. That includes improved voice-calling, ANC, audio performance, comfort, battery life, and the addition of spatial audio support.
Improved sound quality
While the speaker drivers remain unchanged, the Beats Studio Buds Plus now operates on a newly developed, custom chipset and a revamped acoustic architecture. The result is a sound profile that is significantly more crisp and dynamic than before. Bass is also stronger this time around while being balanced and not too overpowering.
As we’ve come to expect from Beats, the Beats Studio Buds Plus especially shines with pop music, EDM, and hip-hop tracks. That said, the Beats Studio Buds Plus probably won’t satisfy an audio purist, but the vast majority of users are going to love the dynamic sound that the Beats Studio Buds Plus produce. Being someone that mostly listens to pop and EDM, I personally enjoy the soundstage on the Beats Studio Buds Plus more than most other wireless earbuds on the market.
This time around Beats has added spatial audio support for a more immersive sound experience with supported Dolby Atmos tracks. However, there’s no support for spatial audio with head tracking, but we hardly feel that that’s a deal breaker at the Beats Studio Buds Plus’ $169 price tag.
Is translucent the new rose gold? The Beats Studio Buds Plus look nearly identical to the original Beats Studio Buds in terms of design and sizing, but this time around they have a transparent option which is quickly becoming a design trend amongst electronics in 2023.
So no tear downs necessary – you can see right through the Beats Studio Buds + frosty translucent casing into its circuitry. It’s a design that is a bit reminiscent of the semi-transparent Nothing Ear 2 wireless earbuds.
Otherwise, the Beats Studio Buds Plus’ design is more or less the same as its predecessor. To that effect, they’re pretty compact and they don’t stick out of your ears too much. They’re certainly more discreet than the AirPods Pro’s stem design.
Unlike other Beats earbuds that have been released in the past, the Beats Studio Buds Plus have acoustic vents that increase airflow into the earbuds and reduce ear pressure, effectively improving the quality of music/calls and increasing comfort levels for users who would like to wear their earbuds for longer periods.
I personally didn’t notice a huge amount of improvement when it comes to comfort, but that’s a testament to just how comfortable the original Beats Studio Buds already are.
The Beats Studio Buds Plus earbuds now come with multiple ear tip options (XS, S, M & L) so users can get the perfect fit and achieve a tighter seal. That set of extra small tips is particularly good news for those with smaller ears.
For those wondering if the Beats Studio Buds Plus are good for running, as long as you’re using the right eartips, they do work well and fit pretty securely for running. However, if you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds that are primarily used for the gym and working out, we recommend the Beats Fit Pro.
Voice-calling is something that even in 2023, most wireless earbuds struggle with. Fortunately, call quality on the Beats Studio Buds Plus is one of the best I’ve experienced on a pair of wireless earbuds. This is likely due to the fact that each bud is equipped with three brand-new microphones that are three times larger and possess heightened sensitivity compared to their counterparts in the original Beats Studio Buds.
As a matter of fact, the voice-calling performance is so good on the Beats Studio Buds Plus, that it’s similar to the AirPods Pro 2 which is known for its excellent call quality. I could hear callers clearly and they said they heard me pretty well too, even when I spoke to them on the noisy streets of New York City.
Improved battery life
The Beats Studio Buds + offers improved battery life over its predecessor – offering up to 27 hours of battery life from the case and an impressive 9-hour session from the earbuds on a charge.
There’s also fast-charging that lets you get up to an hour of use from a 5-minute charge. Unfortunately, there is no wireless charging support, which is somewhat surprising at this pricepoint.
The Beats Studio Buds Plus comes with upgrades to its Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency functions and now uses a two-layer transducer. Beats says that the ANC is up to 1.6x stronger than its predecessor and that transparency has been improved by 2X. During testing, I noticed a significant, but not huge improvement when it comes to ANC and transparency.
Like with its predecessor, the Beats Studio Buds Plus use a physical control button on each bud. I wholly prefer this to touchscreen controls on wireless earbuds which I have generally found to be very finicky in use.
The easy-to-use physical controls on the Beats Studio Buds + allow users to easily control music and calls, toggle between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency, and activate their respective voice assistants (i.e. Google Assistant or Siri).
Some other notable features include instant pairing with Apple devices and Find My Device support.
Like with the original Beats Studio Buds, Android users are not left behind. The Beats Studio Buds Plus support Google Fast Pair, Audio Switch functionality that allows users to switch between Android devices, Google’s Find My Device, and more customization options through the Beats app.
Beats Studio Buds vs Beats Studio Buds Plus
In comparison to the original Beats Studio Buds which are no slouch, audio on the Beats Studio Buds Plus sounds more dynamic, with a significantly richer soundstage. Furthermore, voice-calling has been drastically improved on the Beats Studio Buds Plus. That said, we didn’t notice a huge improvement when it comes to comfort, but both generations of Beats Studio Buds excel when it comes to comfort.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Studio Buds Plus
In comparison to the Beats Studio Buds Plus, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 sound more powerful with stronger bass and more detail, but the Beats Studio Buds Plus still sound fantastic and rich. The Apple AirPods Pro 2 also offers superior ANC. However, voice-calling on the Beats Studio Buds Plus is just as good as the AirPods Pro 2.
Should you buy the Beats Studio Buds Plus?
Absolutely. The Beats Studio Buds Plus is another home run for Beats and Apple. The updated model offers plenty of significant improvements over its predecessor, including voice-calling that is just as good as AirPods Pro 2, significantly improved sound, the addition of spatial audio support, and longer battery life.
As a matter of fact, unless you’re an audio snob, there’s not much reason to opt for the AirPods Pro 2 which is pricier. This is why we consider the Beats Studio Buds Plus to be a pretty good value, and absolutely one of the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now – even if you’re an Android user.
If you’re looking for an over-the-ear alternative to the Beats Studio Buds Plus, we recommend checking out the Beats Studio Pro.