Beats Studio Buds vs. AirPods Pro

Apple in June unveiled new Beats Studio Buds, which are $149 noise cancelling earbuds that are stemless and smaller than the AirPods and AirPods Pro. There are some key differences between the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and the Beats Studio Buds that make them unique for different use cases, so we thought we'd compare them in our latest YouTube video.


Design wise, Beats Studio Buds are smaller and more compact than the ‌AirPods Pro‌, but the design is similar because they offer silicone tips. Beats Studio Buds actually have a stemless design rumored for the next-generation ‌AirPods Pro‌, so in the future, the two sets of earbuds could be even more similar when it comes to overall look.

Like the ‌AirPods Pro‌, the Beats Studio Buds have Active Noise Cancellation with a Transparency mode. Fit always varies from person to person, but we found the ‌AirPods Pro‌ to be more comfortable with a more snug fit and a better seal. That said, the noise cancellation was about the same on the Beats Studio Buds and the ‌AirPods Pro‌. There's also very little difference in sound quality.

Both come with a charging case that functions in the same way, but the Beats Studio Buds case is more oval and slightly larger. As with the ‌AirPods Pro‌ case, the Studio Buds case offers additional battery life and you can get between 15 and 24 hours depending on how often you use ANC.

There is one major difference that separates the Beats Studio Buds and the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and accounts for the price difference - there's no H1 chip. The ‌AirPods Pro‌ have an H1 chip that allows for useful features like cross-device switching.

The H1 chip is responsible for a lot of the "magic" that makes the ‌AirPods‌ and ‌AirPods Pro‌ just work with Apple's devices and it's also been included in prior Beats headphones, but with the Beats Studio Buds, Apple wanted a more platform agnostic experience.

Apple designed the Beats Studio Buds to appeal to both iPhone and Android users, rather than catering solely to ‌iPhone‌ users as with the ‌AirPods Pro‌. Apple has still built in quick pairing and Hey Siri activation, so Beats Studio Buds users aren't missing too many features. It's worth noting, though, that the Beats Studio Buds are also missing Spatial Audio support and ear detection.

Apple has been successful with its multi-platform approach. The Beats Studio Buds work well for ‌iPhone‌ users, and for Android users, the earbuds are the closest you're going to get to an AirPods-like experience on an Android device. At $149, they're cheaper than ‌AirPods Pro‌, and with their feature set, the Beats Studio Buds are well worth the cost.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Neutral)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Rated Comments

bpeeps Avatar
15 weeks ago

The AirPods Pro have an H1 chip that allows for useful features like cross-device switching.

Cross device switching is one of the worst things about the AirPods Pro. It rarely works well and I find myself just using control center to switch devices accurately. I'd really love Apple to implement a feature like the Jabra Elites have. Where you can stop playing music on your iPhone and then start watching a Youtube video on your iPad and it automatically switches over. In its current form, auto switching is more of a headache than anything else.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ahmamies Avatar
15 weeks ago
I use my Pros with iPhone, iPad and Apple TV and lately it has been quite a hit and miss with automatically connecting to the device I want.

Actually Pros are my least favorite Apple device as they have too many minor issues.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tom4ick Avatar
15 weeks ago
So like AirPods Pro just without the gimmicky H1 chip? Seems like the beats are a better deal
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kingfish78 Avatar
15 weeks ago
I've had AirPods, AirPods Pro, and PowerBeats Pro. The H1 chip never worked reliably in any of these - sometimes, but never always. I also have never been pleased with the fit of the AirPods or AirPod Pros. Probably my ear canal, but for me - it wasn't a good fit. I didn't like the Sound Quality of the PowerBeats Pro and their size was heavy on my ears after awhile. I got the new Beats Studio Buds, and I really do prefer the fit and sound over the others. The transparency mode doesn't work nearly as well as it did with the AirPod Pros, but this isn't a feature that I use that often. (If I'm not listening, I take them out.) I added Comply foam tips in lieu of the silicone tips that they ship with, and I REALLY love the sound quality it adds. With the foam tips, they fit nice and snug, don't slip out and allow for sound degradation, and are among some of the best bluetooth buds I've used (especially on Apple Music and tracks with Atmos Spatial Audio done well.) The case fits comfortably in my pocket, and the buds pair immediately as soon as I flip the lid. If I want to switch to my iPad or MacBook, it's just a matter of double clicking the line in the bluetooth menu. A minor inconvenience for a $100+ savings.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tom4ick Avatar
15 weeks ago

Beats can't even do head-tracking spatial audio or in-ear detection so unless you don't care about that, it is not the better deal.
Well I never used the feature, so yeah, seems like a better deal if the sound quality is the same
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
15 weeks ago
"Fit always varies from person to person, but we found the AirPods Pro to be more comfortable with a more snug fit and a better seal."

As to the bolded word, "we," how many people representing MacRumors tested the Beats Studio Buds and what was the individual assessment of the reviewers involved? Dan is the only person I see reviewing.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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