Beats Studio Buds vs AirPods Pro – New Models, Same Winner

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by Ted S.

a member of The Greatest Song Team

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Summary and Rating: Beats Studio Buds vs AirPods PRO

Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds Plus transparent gray

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

Beats Studio Buds + – Our Rating

4.2 (out of five)

3.7 Sound

3.8 Noise-Cancelling

4.8 Build Quality

4.5 Comfort

4.3 Value

AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) – Our Rating

4.6 (out of five)

4.4 Sound

4.5 Noise-Cancelling

4.8 Build Quality

4.6 Comfort

4.6 Value

Pros – Beats Studio Buds +

  • Native support for Android
  • They look cool
  • Competitive price

Pros – AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

  • Excellent stock tuning – sparkly high mids, nice overall balance
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Seamless connection with Apple devices

Cons – Beats Studio Buds +

  • Poor stock tuning – odd midrange
  • Okay ANC

Cons – AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

  • Offer only basic connectivity for Android devices

Bottom Line:

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) offer better sound quality, noise canceling, and overall value. The Beats Studio Buds + offer a competitive price and are worth considering for Android users.

Intro: So many Buds

Apple holds their umbrella over a lot of headphones these days. They have their own AirPods, AirPods Max, AirPods Pro and all the Beats models. But with different chips and features, they vary quite a bit.

For this review we got our hands on the Beats Studio Buds +, the newer version of the Beats Studio Buds (no plus). The new model has better sound, ANC, and battery life than its predecessor.

We were curious about these buds compare to the AirPods Pro (2nd gen). We thoroughly tested these models side-by-side and compared them with current competitors.

See here for all of our IEM and Headphone Reviews. See here for all of our audio equipment reviews.

Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds plus transparent gray 1
Beats Studio Buds + (Transparent)

The Beats Studio Buds + are noise-canceling, wireless earbuds aimed at being a more affordable, Android-friendly earbud.

Instead of an Apple H1 or H2 chip, these Beats buds use a custom Beats chip. This gives them native support for Android with some Apple conveniences as well. (more on that in Connectivity

They charge with USB-C but do not support wireless charging.

The buds come in black, cosmic silver, ivory, and this kind of awesome transparent design (above). While they fall behind the audio and noise-canceling performance found in higher-end models, their combination of design, compatibility, and price makes them a competitive choice in the earbuds market.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

AirPods Pro 2nd generation
AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) maintain a design similar to their predecessors but introduce internal enhancements, the most notable being the H2 Chip which nearly doubles the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) performance.  

The latest models charge with a USB-C (Finally!) and wireless charging.

These earbuds offer excellent sound quality with a slightly warm sound profile, adapting to various music preferences. While they seamlessly integrate with the Apple ecosystem, offering features like Spatial Audio personalization, they’re versatile enough for general use. For Android users, they offer only basic connectivity.

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are tailored for those seeking a combination of high-quality sound, comfort, and cutting-edge tech, marking their spot in the premium earbuds segment.

Alternatives to the Beats Studio Buds Plus and AirPods Pro 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Best overall value and sound quality on the market for ANC earbuds in our book. Excellent noise cancellation, IPX7 rated.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

Sony WF-1000XM5

Superior noise-cancellation capabilities, better than the AirPods Pro. Very good sound with warmer, thicker bass frequencies.

Sony WF1000

Shokz OpenRun Pro

Our favorite fitness headphones. Bone conduction tech leaves ear canal open allowing you to hear your environment. (See here for our full OpenRun Pro review)

Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones, Blue

Beats Fit Pro

ANC buds with similar sound to the Studio Buds+. Use Apple H1 Chip. Secure fit design. (see here for more info)

Beats Fit Pro

Sound Quality

Winner: AirPods Pro

While the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) have a lovely, balanced frequency response with a little sparkle in the treble, the Beats Studio Buds +, have a similar frequency response to the Beats Fit Pro with similar problems in the middle and upper-middle frequencies.

Comparing the two, it is immediately clear that you’re getting better detail resolution and overall better sound performance with the AirPods Pro.  

To find out why, let’s dive into the details…

Beats Studio Buds Plus vs AirPods Pro 2 Frequency Response Chart

Beats Studio Buds vs AirPods Pro 2 Frequency Response Diagram
Measured with a IEC-711 compliant coupler that meets the industry standard for Earphone measurements. The results here are the average of 5 tests.


The Beats Studio Buds + and the AirPods Pro 2 both exhibit a slight emphasis on the bass frequencies. This means listeners can expect a warm and punchy bass response from both earbuds.

Although the bass is cleaner on the Beats Studio Buds + than some of the other Beats earbuds, the valley in the 100-600 Hz range on the Beats Studio Buds + gives a false sense of more bass. This imbalance makes the bass sound more powerful, but creates problems in the midrange.  


The midrange scoop from 100-600 Hz on the Beats Studio Buds + makes violins, trumpets, and high guitars sound unnatural and distant. Vocals also don’t get a fair shake on these buds.  

On the other hand, the AirPods Pro 2 seems to maintain a more consistent midrange, ensuring vocals and instruments are clear and well-represented. They even have a little sparkle in the high mids which adds a bit of excitement to some vocal tracks.  


Both earbuds have a similar frequency response in the high frequencies, with a slight emphasis. The Beats Studio Buds + have a bit too much air at the top for my taste, but this doesn’t create any obvious problems.

In summary, the AirPods Pro 2 have a very well-balanced stock tuning, much better than the AirPods Pro 1. The Beats Studio Buds + deliver decent sound, however, when compared with the balance of AirPods Pro 2, they fall short.

EQ Suggestions for the Beats Studio Buds +

I found that the Studio Buds + were reasonably responsive to EQ adjustments. EQ doesn’t fix them altogether, but things do sound much more natural after making the following adjustments in the image below.

Beats Studio Buds plus EQ adjustments
EQ suggestions for the Beats Studio Buds +: +2.5 dB from 100 – 600 Hz, -4 dB at 2.5 kHz.

Noise Canceling

Winner: AirPods Pro

From our tests, the best noise-canceling earbuds on the current market are tied between the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM5.

Although they aren’t as effective with ANC as these champs, the AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) have excellent noise canceling.  

The AirPods Pro have an improved H2 Chip which, according to Apple, cancels nearly twice as much noise as the H1 used in the previous generation.  

Instead of employing an H2 chip like the AirPods Pro 2, or even an H1 chip like the AirPods Pro 1 and Beats Fit Pro, the Beats Studio Buds + have their own custom Beats chip. In our tests, this custom Beats chip doesn’t live up to the competition in terms of ANC performance.  

Testing these buds, we found that on the whole the AirPods Pro 2 attenuate about twice as much noise as the Beats Studio Buds +. This was most obvious in the bass and midrange. Noise-canceling performance in the treble was about the same for both models.  

It is worth noting that both models now ship with 4 ear-tip sizes (they’ve added an XS size that was not offered on previous models).

This can be an important difference for users with small ears. Having a tight seal is not only key for sound quality but also noise cancellation, notably low-frequency sounds, such as the drone of engines or machinery.

Battery Life

Winner: Draw

The Beats Studio Buds + offer a commendable battery performance. With active noise canceling (ANC) enabled, they provide up to 8 hours of playback time. When factoring in the charging case, the total playback time with ANC on extends to 24 hours, allowing users to recharge the earbuds multiple times on the go.

In our tests, the numbers were even better than advertised. We got nearly 8.5 hours with ANC on out of our Beats Studio Buds + before they died.

The AirPods Pro 2 showcase similar numbers to the Beats Studio Buds +. In our tests, with ANC turned on, delivered the advertised 6 hours of listening time on a single charge. Using their MagSafe Charging Case, the total listening duration for the AirPods Pro reached approximately 28 hours.

Water, Sweat, and Dust Resistance

Winner: AirPods Pro

The Beats Studio Buds + are equipped with an IPX4 rating, ensuring they are splash-resistant from any direction. They can handle sweat during workouts, but they lack specific dust protection.

In contrast, the AirPods Pro 2 come with a more robust IP54 rating. This not only guarantees resistance to water splashes but also offers protection against limited dust ingress. This enhanced rating definitely makes them more versatile, and suitable for both active sessions and environments.

What is an IP Rating?

Terms like ‘waterproof’ or ‘dustproof’ can mean a lot of things. To clarify what a manufacturer means when they use such terms, the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) created the IP code or Ingress protection code. 

IP ratings typically have IP followed by two numbers. The first number indicates the level of protection against solids, ranging from larger solids (like fingers) to smaller solids (like dust ). The solid range is from 0-6, 0 being no protection, and 6 being dust-tight. 

The second number indicates the level of protection against liquids, ranging from drops of water to full immersion and high-pressure water jets. The liquid range is 0-9.

An ‘X’ indicates that there is insufficient data for that category. For example, IPX4 means the device is not dustproof, but it is level 4 waterproof.

(Level 4 means the device can handle splashed water from all directions. Higher levels offer protection against pressurized water and immersion.)


Winner: Draw

Your ecosystem will determine which of these buds you like best. The Beats Studio Buds + are more Android friendly while the AirPods are IOS friendly.  

The AirPods Pro, being part of the Apple family, are deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem, ensuring a seamless experience with iOS devices. All of the conveniences like auto device switching, spatial audio, and the Find My app are working in the background.

That said, Android support is bare bones. They will connect and play music. That’s it.

On the other hand, the Beats Studio Buds +, with their custom Beats chip, natively support Android better than earlier Beats models (like the Beats Fit Pro, which uses Apple’s H1 chip). They work out of the box with Android ‘audio switch’, and ‘Fast Pair’, and they can be located with ‘Find My Device’.

Additionally, the dedicated Android app allows you to download firmware updates.

On the downside, the Beats Studio Buds + support some of the Apple connection conveniences but not all of them. Basic stuff like hands-free Siri voice commands will work and they will appear on Apple devices signed into iCloud. (like the image below)

Beats Studio Buds Plus connecting to Iphone
Beats Studio Buds + custom chip allows native support for Android connections and some of the Apple tricks ( like auto connect above) but not all.

But conveniences like automatic switching and spatial audio are not available with the Beats Studio Buds + on Apple devices.

As far as Bluetooth is concerned, it is limited to the AAC and SBC codecs for both models. Neither model supports high-quality Bluetooth codecs such as AptX or LDAC. 


Winner: AirPods Pro

We found both models offered intuitive controls, with the AirPods Pro having a slight edge.

Beats Fit Pro and the Apple AirPods Pro can be controlled with similar touch commands. The touch-sensitive control areas on the AirPods Pro are located on the stems while the Beats Studio Buds + use a clickable button on the ‘B’ logo of each bud.

Surprisingly, the Beats Studio Buds + have no automatic ear detection to play and pause music when the buds are inserted or removed. This feature has been standard on AirPods for several models going back.

Taking Calls

Winner: Beats Studio Buds +

Taking calls in our tests, we found that both models performed about the same under normal conditions. The Beats Studio Buds + delivered a better performance in windy conditions.   

You can hear the results below:

Microphone Test, Beats Studio Buds + – Normal Conditions

Microphone Test, AirPods Pro (2nd gen) – Normal Conditions

Microphone Test, Beats Studio Buds + – Windy Conditions

Microphone Test, AirPods Pro (2nd gen) – Windy Conditions

Price and Overall Value

Winner: AirPods Pro

At current sale prices, the Beats Studio Buds + are significantly cheaper than the AirPods Pro 2. For this reason, they are worthy of consideration. The sound is not ideal, but with EQ, it’s decent. The noise cancellation is also mediocre.  

With excellent sound quality and ANC performance, we think the 2nd generation AirPods Pro offer great overall value. For Apple users, they are very easy to recommend.

For Android users, the best value on the current market are the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds Plus transparent gray

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

AirPods Pro (2nd generation)


Q: Are the AirPods Pro (2nd gen) worth it?

A: Yes. Considering the competition, we think the 2nd generation AirPods Pro offer excellent overall value.

Q: When is the release date for the AirPods Pro 3?

A: The AirPods Pro 2 came out 35 months after the AirPods Pro 1. If that schedule remains consistent, the AirPods Pro 3 expected release date is sometime in the summer of 2025.

Q: Do the Beats Studio Buds + and AirPods Pro 2 charge with USB-C?

A: Yes. The latest AirPods Pro 2 can be charged with a USB-C cable and all Beats Studio Buds+ are charged with USB-C.

Q: Is Beats owned by Apple?

A: Yes. Beats by Dre was purchased by Apple in 2014.

Q: Can the Beats Studio Buds + be tracked?

A: Yes. They work with Google ‘Find my Device’ and the Apple Find My App.

Questions or Comments?

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Ted Schmitz (aka Wanderingted) is both a seasoned tech expert with over 10 years experience in the industry and a working songwriter and performer.

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