The newest audio product from Apple has just been announced: Beats Studio Pro. These are the first Beats Studio headphones since 2017 and the first to say Pro in the name. Not only are they significantly cheaper than AirPods Max, they offer features Apple’s cans do not.
I’ve been testing them for just over a week. Here’s all you need to know.
Of course, they look like Beats headphones, with the familiar chunky earcups and Beats logo, though the new colors mean that distinctive “b” is subtler than before, missing from the top of the headband and closer in color to the earcups. Subtle.
There are four new colors, none of them with the familiar bright red logo on them. Choose from Black, Deep Brown, Navy, and Sandstone. I tested Navy and it’s a very satisfying color: discreet but still eye-catching.
The headphones feel great. At first, I thought they clamped a little tightly to my head, but it was still comfortable and it created a great seal which improved noise isolation.
This is the big one. There’s no point in headphones if they sound rubbish. Beats has a strong pedigree for great sound and these are better than ever, easily the best yet from Beats. That’s overall, whether noise-cancelling is on or off, and there’s excellent clarity and fidelity, with vocals coming through loud and clear.
Spatial audio is great, and you can use an iPhone to scan your ears to personalize this sound, just as you can on AirPods Pro second-generation and AirPods Max.
Active noise-cancelling is tremendous, which, like on some other Apple headphones, is adaptive. This means big rumbling background noises are quelled and wind noise reduced, but you can still be aware of voices nearby. It’s a good balance.
Where AirPods work with any phone, for instance, but are most seamless and feature-packed with iPhones, and most other brands favor Android over Apple, Beats treads a middle way. Pairing is as easy with Android or iPhone, and you can use Apple Find My or Google’s equivalent, for instance.
You can listen to these headphones for 24 hours with noise-cancelling or transparency mode turned on, or up to 40 hours without. There are headphones which beat these numbers, but they’re pretty impressive.
This doesn’t make the headphones sound better, you understand, but it’s cool. It opens at the side and it’s a soft but resilient fabric that perfectly fits the cans when folded. It also has pockets for cables.
Why is this even something to mention? Because it’s something Apple doesn’t include with AirPods Max. Sure, there’s a charging cable in both pairs but Beats additionally has a 3.5mm cable, which is great for using on a plane, for instance, so you can access the inflight entertainment.
Pricing And Verdict
If you’re comparing the headphones to Apple’s other headphones brand, I’d say AirPods Max have the edge, though only just, and the Beats’ lighter weight (260g against AirPods Max 385g) is a real benefit. And then there’s the kicker: Beats Studio Pro cost $349 (£349 in the U.K.) where AirPods Max are priced at $549 (£549 in the U.K.). That price difference may be enough to turn anyone’s head.