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Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Studio Buds: Are the translucent earbuds worth it?

Beats' translucent buds stand out, but are they actually better than the original Studio Buds?
By

Published onMay 17, 2023

Beats Studio Buds Plus earbuds case
Beats by Dre

Update, May 17, 1:37 PM ET: This was updated to address the Studio Buds Plus release and features, and how they compare to the Studio Buds.


Beats’ earbuds come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. With the Beats Studio Buds Plus, the company caught our attention with the buds’ translucent exterior. Listeners fell in love with the original Studio Buds for their compact design and Android-friendly features. In this Studio Buds Plus vs Studio Buds rundown, we’ll address the differences and similarities between these earbuds to see if it’s worth splurging for the new Studio Buds Plus.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Studio Buds: What’s different?

According to Beats, the Studio Buds Plus’ active noise canceling (ANC) is better than the original Studio Buds. The Studio Buds Plus use new pressure relief vents for a comfortable, all-day fit, which the original earbuds lack. Beats adds extra-small ear tips to the Studio Buds Plus’ caddy, whereas the Studio Buds only include small, medium, and large ear tips.

Beats promises better noise canceling with the Studio Buds Plus.

The Studio Buds Plus support audio switching, which lets you seamlessly hop audio between Android, Chromebook, and more. (As before, you can switch between iOS devices under the same iCloud account.) Beats also increased the size of its microphones: they’re three times larger than before. Hopefully, this will yield improved call quality and more natural-sounding voices. You can hear how the Studio Buds microphone sounds below.

Beats Studio Buds microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Beats Studio Buds microphone demo (Street conditions):

Battery life is better this time: the Studio Buds Plus have a six-hour standalone battery life with ANC, compared to the Studio Buds’ five-hour battery life with ANC. The Studio Buds Plus case supplies 18 extra hours of ANC playback, while the original case only supplied an extra 10 hours of battery.

Another big difference is the price. The Studio Buds Plus retail for $169.99, which is $20 more than the original Studio Buds. The Studio Buds Plus come in three colors: Transparent, Ivory, and Black/Gold. Meanwhile, the Studio Buds come in six colors: Ocean Blue, Moon Gray, Sunset Pink, Black, White, and Beats Red.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Studio Buds: What’s the same?

The Beats Studio Buds Plus work on Android and iOS, and you can access various settings through the Beats app. The app is necessary for receiving updates, bug fixes, and new features down the line.

The Studio Buds Plus and Studio Buds support Google Fast Pair and one-step pairing with Apple devices. You get hands-free Siri access when paired to an Apple device and access to Apple’s Find My network. The Studio Buds work with “Locate My Beats” in the Beats app, but the Studio Buds Plus are compatible with Google’s Find My Device network.

The Studio Buds Plus work with Google's Find My Device network.

While the Studio Buds Plus boast better ANC than their predecessors, they share the same Transparency mode and spatial audio support on iOS. Both sets of earbuds also boast an IPX4 water-resistant rating, making them solid picks for working out.

The Studio Buds series cases charge via USB-C and lack wireless charging. Beats Fast Fuel is the same on the Studio Buds series: five minutes of charging the buds yields one hour of playtime.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Beats Studio Buds: Should you upgrade to the newer buds?

Beats Studio Buds noise cancelling true wireless earphones on a wooden desk next to a plant.
Chase Bernath / Android Authority

The Beats Studio Buds Plus make welcome improvements to the Studio Buds. The larger microphone capsules should have an easier time suppressing background noise, improving call quality from noisy environments. Further, we’re relieved to know that Beats improved the ANC from the first to second-generation Studio Buds. That said, a 1.6x performance increase isn’t saying much, given the original Studio Buds’ lackluster ANC.

If you have an Android phone and want to own a pair of Beats, the Studio Buds Plus are enticing. They’re even more integrated into the Android ecosystem with features like Google’s Find My Device. The Studio Buds Plus are available on the Beats by Dre website.

The Studio Buds are still good earbuds, but you’re best off waiting for them to go on sale. Currently, the Studio Buds cost $99 at Amazon, and we’ve seen the price drop as low as $99.

Which earbuds would you rather own?

128 votes

That said, if you own an iPhone, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) ($239 at Amazon) are still the best earbuds. They have battery optimization, spatial audio with head tracking, and much better ANC. If you own an Android phone and want a better value than either of Beats earbuds, look into options like the Jabra Elite 4 ($79 at Amazon).

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