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Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Which of Apple's earbuds to buy?

Time to decide if you want a diversified feature set or to go all in on Apple's ecosystem.
By

Published onMay 25, 2023

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Studio Buds Plus hero image on a black and magenta background.
Harley Maranan / Android Authority

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are the default earbuds for most iPhone owners. But Beats, owned by Apple, has something to say about that with the Studio Buds Plus. These eye-catching earphones have unique features that work on Android and iOS. In our Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2 comparison, we’ll find out which premium earbuds deserve a seat in your ears.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: At a glance

The Beats Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro (2nd generation) share a handful of features, but they have quite a few key differences:

  • The Studio Buds Plus cost $169, and the AirPods Pro 2 cost $249.
  • The Studio Buds Plus don't have wireless charging, while the AirPods Pro 2 do have wireless charging.
  • The Studio Buds Plus have an Android app, and there is no Android app for the AirPods Pro 2.
  • The AirPods Pro 2 have better noise canceling than the Studio Buds Plus.
  • The AirPods Pro 2 case has an IPX4 water-resistance rating, while the Studio Buds Plus case lacks any kind of water resistance.
  • The AirPods Pro 2 support personalized spatial audio with head tracking on an iPhone, while the Studio Buds Plus only receive standard spatial audio settings.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Specs

Beats Studio Buds Plus Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Dimensions
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Earbud: 20.5 x 18.5 x 15 mm
Case: 72 x 51 x 25.5 mm
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Earbud: 30.9 x 21.8 x 24.0mm
Case: 45.2 x 60.6 x 21.7mm
Weights
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Earbud: 5g
Case: 49g
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Earbud: 5.3g
Case: 50.8g
Bluetooth connectivity
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Class 1 Bluetooth
SBC, AAC
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Bluetooth 5.3
SBC, AAC
Water resistance
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Earbuds: IPX4
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Earbuds: IPX4
Case: IPX4
Battery life (Listening time)
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Earbuds, ANC on: 6 hours
Case and earbuds, ANC on: up to 24 hours
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Earbuds, ANC on: 6 hours
Case and earbuds, ANC on: Up to 30 hours
Charging
Beats Studio Buds Plus
USB-C
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Lightning
MagSafe
Qi Wireless
Audio hardware
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Custom acoustic platform
Voice-targeting microphones
Vent system for pressure equalization

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Custom high-excursion Apple driver
Custom high dynamic range amplifier
Vent system for pressure equalization
Software features
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Apple Spatial Audio (no head tracking)
Apple Find My
"Hey, Siri"
Google Find My
Audio Switch (Android/Chromebook and iOS)
One-step pairing (Android/iOS)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Apple Spatial Audio with personalization and head tracking
Apple Find My
"Hey, Siri"
Device switching (Apple)
One-step pairing (iOS)
Noise canceling
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Yes
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Yes
Transparency
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Yes
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Yes, Adaptive Transparency
Ear tip selection
Beats Studio Buds Plus
XS, S, M, L
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
XS, S, M, L
Device compatibility
Beats Studio Buds Plus
iOS 16.4 or later
Android device running 8.0 or later
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
Latest versions of iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV
Android: Limited Bluetooth features only
Windows: Limited Bluetooth features only
Release date
Beats Studio Buds Plus
May 19, 2023
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
September 23, 2022
Price
Beats Studio Buds Plus
$169
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
$249

Although Apple manufactures both sets of buds, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Beats Studio Buds Plus look completely unrelated. The AirPods Pro 2 have Apple’s famed stems that protrude from each bud, making them easy to grab. Beats’ buds have a standard shape without stems, hooks, or wings. These are compact, but unlike the AirPods, I had trouble removing the Studio Buds Plus from their case. It’s also easier to confuse the left and right earbuds with the Studio Buds Plus than the AirPods Pro 2.

Apple’s force sensors are one of the most pleasant control systems I’ve used. With Apple’s squeezes and swipes, you don’t have to choose between adjusting the volume or toggling ANC on/off — you get both on the AirPods Pro 2. You can also remap the squeeze-and-hold function of the AirPods Pro 2 with an Android phone or iPad. To control the Studio Bud Plus, you have a multifunction button on each earbud. The controls are more limited with the Studio Buds Plus, but you can customize this on iOS or Android.

Beats’ case is a bit larger than the AirPods Pro 2 case and uses USB-C charging instead of Lightning. The Studio Buds Plus case lacks wireless charging, but you will find this on the AirPods Pro 2 case. Another difference between the cases: Apple’s has an IPX4 rating while Beats’ lacks water resistance. Both earbuds have an IPX4 water-resistant rating to resist splashes from any direction.

Interoperability is the most significant difference between the Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro 2. With Apple’s branded earphones, you don’t get an official Android app. The only way to make changes is via the iOS/iPadOS Settings app. In contrast, the Studio Buds Plus have a Beats app for Android. In the app, you can select your listening mode, play with some control customization, and receive updates. The app also lets you locate your Beats on a map.

The AirPods Pro 2 have wireless charging, while the Studio Buds Plus do not.

Alternatively, you can find the Studio Buds Plus with the Google Find My Device app. I liked this as the buds appeared in a centralized location alongside my Android devices and various earbuds. You can’t use this app to locate the AirPods Pro 2; instead you need an Apple device with the Find My app. Beats’ earbuds also support Google Fast Pair with Android devices. While you don’t get this feature with the AirPods Pro 2, Apple and Beats’ buds get one-step pairing with Apple devices.

The Studio Buds Plus work with Android’s Audio Switch feature, letting you seamlessly switch between Android sources. You don’t get this feature with the Studio Buds Plus across Apple devices. (I tried it to no avail with my iPhone and MacBook Air.) Conversely, the AirPods Pro 2 support audio switching across Apple devices under the same iCloud account, but Android Audio Switch doesn’t support the AirPods.

Both earbuds work with Apple’s Spatial Audio, but only the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) let you personalize the effect and add head tracking. I had to find compatible content from HBO Max and YouTube to use spatial audio. Spatial Audio with head tracking won’t be a make-or-break difference for most people. Still, it separates the AirPods Pro 2 from the Studio Buds Plus.

Of course, we must address the elephant in the room: price. The Studio Buds Plus cost $169, making them much cheaper than the AirPods Pro 2 which sport a $249 price tag.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Noise canceling

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) have better noise canceling than the Studio Buds Plus. When I compared the Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro 2 ANC, Apple’s earphones reduced low-frequency noises like train engines and street traffic more than the Studio Buds Plus. The Studio Buds Plus’ ANC is better than the original Studio Buds, but it can’t keep pace with current flagships.

Both earbuds have transparency modes to filter background noise through the earbuds. Not all transparency modes are equal, and it shows. The AirPods Pro 2 Adaptive Transparency is more pleasant than the Studio Bud Plus’. Unlike Beats’, Apple’s Adaptive Transparency mode lowers the volume of unpredictable loud noises. That way, you can still hear a car horn, but it won’t be so loud through your AirPods Pro 2 that it’s painful.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Sound quality

The AirPods Pro 2 sound excellent for portable earbuds, and most people will agree that Apple’s buds sound better than Beats’. When I listened to the song 27 Club by Raleigh Ritchie, the AirPods Pro 2 had a more pleasant bass response that allowed higher-pitched elements of the song to come through more clearly. On the other hand, the Studio Buds Plus had a louder bass response that made basslines and low-pitched voices more impactful. The Studio Buds Plus sound good, but if you want a more versatile sound profile, the AirPods Pro 2 are the better bet.

Another point for the AirPods Pro 2: Adaptive EQ. This allows for consistent audio quality with every wear and across listeners. Even if you have a loose fit, Apple’s automatic equalizer will adjust the sound for the best possible result. Adaptive EQ is always enabled and works with any operating system. The Studio Buds Plus don’t have Adaptive EQ or any EQ options for that matter.

The Studio Buds Plus emphasize bass more than the AirPods Pro 2, and neither set of buds come with a custom EQ.

The Beats Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro 2 support the same Bluetooth codecs (SBC and AAC). This means you won’t get better streaming quality from one set of buds over the other. You will, however, notice some audio-visual lag when watching videos with either set of buds on an Android device. aptX support would remedy this, but we don’t expect to see aptX in an Apple product anytime soon.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Microphone quality

The Beats Studio Buds Plus microphones are quite good and suppress background noise. With good noise suppression, the person on the other end of a call will always understand what you’re saying. In the Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2 microphone demos below, the Studio Buds Plus relay my voice clearly, even with 10mph winds. In our AirPods Pro 2 windy conditions sample, voices don’t sound quite as clear as they do with the Studio Buds Plus. Both sets of microphones perform well in quiet environments and will work for personal and professional calls.

Beats Studio Buds Plus microphone demo (Non-standardized):

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Battery and charging

The Beats Studio Buds Plus and Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) share the same six-hour battery life with ANC on. Apple pulls ahead of Beats when it comes to the charging case. The AirPods Pro 2 case provides an extra 24 hours of playtime. Beats’ charging case supplies 24 spare hours of battery. Apple and Beats’ fast charging rates are identical too. Five minutes of charging the buds provides one hour of listening.

The Studio Buds Plus case requires a USB-C cable to recharge, which matches most Android phones’ charging methods. To recharge the AirPods Pro 2 case, you need a Lightning cable. You can also recharge the AirPods Pro 2 case with a Qi or MagSafe wireless charger. Again, the Studio Buds Plus don’t support wireless charging.

The AirPods Pro 2 and Studio Buds Plus have identical standalone battery life specs and fast-charging rates.

Apple’s AirPods also have battery optimization, which the Studio Buds Plus lack. This prevents the AirPods Pro 2 case from charging your earbuds beyond 80%, until it expects you to use them. Battery optimization extends the life of your AirPods’ batteries, making your earbuds last longer. You need a device running iOS/iPadOS 15 or later, and it will take a few weeks for your device to learn your listening schedule.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Price

  • Beats Studio Buds Plus: $169 / €199 / £179 / CA$229
  • Apple AirPods Pro 2: $249 / €299 / £249 / CA$329

The Beats Studio Buds Plus cost $169, making them much cheaper than the AirPods Pro 2. You can find the Studio Buds Plus in three colors: Ivory, Black, and Transparent. While these earbuds are new, we expect to see them go on sale throughout the year like other Beats products.

The AirPods Pro 2 cost $249 and are only available in white. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) often go on sale throughout the year. You can expect the price to drop around major US holidays, and we’ve spotted them for as low as $199 new. Of course, this is still more expensive than the Studio Buds Plus’ debut price.

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs Apple AirPods Pro 2: Which earbuds should you buy?

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs Beats Studio Buds Plus hero image on a black and magenta background.
Harley Maranan / Android Authority

There are no two ways around it, Android phone owners are better off with the Beats Studio Buds Plus than the AirPods Pro 2. With Beats’ earphones, you get a sanctioned mobile app for updates and some customization. Audio switching on Android is a breeze with the Studio Buds Plus, but remember you don’t get this feature across Apple devices. Even though the Studio Buds Plus’ ANC isn’t as good as the AirPods Pro 2, it’s better than before.

However, if you have an iPhone and other Apple products, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are the clear winner. Yes, these earphones are pricier than the Studio Buds Plus, but they’re also more powerful when paired with Apple devices. Even OS-agnostic features like Adaptive EQ, Adaptive Transparency, and excellent sound quality make the AirPods Pro 2 more appealing than the Studio Buds Plus.

Which earbuds would you rather own?

58 votes

Don’t get it turned around: the Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro 2 are both excellent earphones for their respective markets. You can’t go wrong with either set of earbuds, but the Studio Buds Plus are the better value.

See price at Amazon
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Beats Studio Buds Plus
Lightweight, compact, and translucent design
Android-friendly features through Beats app
Longer battery life than before
See price at Amazon
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Impressive ANC
Comfortable fit
Wireless charging

FAQs

Neither the Studio Buds Plus nor the AirPods Pro 2 are waterproof, but both have an IPX4 water-resistance rating. This means the buds can bear splashes of water from any direction, and you can use them for exercise.

No, you cannot shower with the Studio Buds Plus or AirPods Pro 2. That kind of exposure could short-circuit the earbuds and break them.

The Studio Buds Plus do not have wireless charging, but the AirPods Pro 2 do support MagSafe and Qi wireless charging.

You can connect the Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro 2 to an Android phone, but the experience is better with Beats’ earbuds. The Beats app on Android lets you customize some controls and listening modes. Meanwhile, if you want AirPods Pro 2 software features on Android, you’ll need some third-party apps.

Yes, both sets of earbuds work with Apple Spatial Audio. For personalization and head tracking, you’ll need to use the AirPods Pro 2 with a compatible Apple device; the Studio Buds Plus lack these features.

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