AirPods-inspired Beats Studio Buds + offer "balanced sound", improved ANC and a new transparent finish

Beats Studio Buds Plus in ivory
(Image credit: Beats)

Beats has a new pair of wireless earbuds in its line-up. The Beats Studio Buds + (or Beats Studio Buds Plus) might be a mouthful to say (and type), but its proposition is fairly simple. A mid-priced pair of wireless earbuds with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a modern, features-packed model, backed with technology upgrades inspired by its more decorated parent company, Apple. 

There's no shortage of similarly-specced buds in this ever-crowded market, so what makes these Beats buds stand out? For one, they offer iOS-only features to Android users for seamless use and wider customisation (unlike AirPods' strictly iOS-focussed ecosystem). And secondly, to our minds, they've picked the right place to start with sound quality improvements.

Beats has taken a leaf out of Apple's acoustic design playbook by furnishing the new Studio Buds + with three new vents for better airflow through the buds, to deliver "powerful, balanced sound". Better venting and better airflow were key aspects in the acoustic design and resulting five-star sound of the brilliant AirPods Pro 2, so we're pleased to see this acoustic principle surface in the new Beats buds.

Those new vents and better airflow should improve both sound quality and noise-cancelling (ANC) quality. How? By offering better bass reproduction, a more open soundstage, and by relieving the pressure on the ears, meaning they should be more comfortable to wear for longer periods, even with ANC turned on.

Beats Studio Buds Plus in transparent

(Image credit: Beats)

Coupled with the new vents, there are three larger microphones and powerful processing that promises better ANC and Transparency quality than before, too. And while you can't customise the level of ANC in the app (you can't with AirPods either), the adaptive ANC with "custom tuning" is designed to offer the best sound profile, says Beats. You now get a fourth XS eartip to get a better fit, too.

Calls should also be clearer, thanks to the combination of a new voice mic and machine learning that zones in on just your voice in noisy environments. 

Battery life has been improved as well, to deliver 'all-day' playback. With ANC turned on, you get six hours on a single charge in the buds, with a total of 24 hours with the charging case. With ANC off, this extends to nine hours in the buds and 36 hours in total. Five minutes of fast charge will get you one hour of juice when the battery is flat.

Beats Studio Buds Plus all colours

(Image credit: Beats)

Bluetooth 5.3 is on board, with support for the standard SBC and AAC codecs. Spatial audio is supported but only of the fixed variety; the dynamic head-tracking variant remains the reserve of the flagship Beats Fit Pro, which sport the Apple H1 silicon chip. 

The Beats Studio Buds + currently comes in three colours: an on-trend transparent finish (not unlike the Nothing Ear (2) buds), ivory and black/gold. We imagine it won't be long before more colourful options are added down the line, too.

The Beats Studio Buds + are priced at £179.99 / €199.95 / $169.99. Pre-orders are open now for US customers, while UK buyers will have to wait for June 12th; shipping starts on 13th June. Will the new Beats offer that sweet spot of great features and improved performance for the price? They've got tough competition in this crowded market, but we're looking forward to finding out in our full review.

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Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and hanging out with her cat Jolene.