When you're comparing Beats to Beats, it's always a case of great versus awesome. The brand has long been an innovator in the audio industry, and now that they've joined forces with Apple, the sound is unstoppable. Each earbud model has its own strengths and weaknesses, though, and it seems as though Beats is trying to reach different demographics by creating varied earbuds for different types of people. If you're trying to decide between the two, it's time to figure out what your "earbud personality" is, so to speak.
Beats Studio Buds vs. Powerbeats Pro: Key differences
Although they come from the same manufacturer, the similarities between the Studio Buds and the Powerbeats Pro are few and far between. As all Beats earphones, both sets charge via USB-C cable with no options for wireless charging. They both support some aspects of spatial audio, they have similar controls, and they come in three different colors. Other than that, you can see all the differences laid out pretty clearly.
|Beats Studio Buds||Powerbeats Pro|
|Type||Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds||Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds|
|Chip||MediaTek TWS chip||H1 headphone chip|
|Battery life||8 hours||9 hours|
|Charging||USB-C wired charging||USB-C wired charging|
|Active noise cancelation||Yes||No|
|Spatial Audio||Yes, with limitations||Yes, with limitations|
|Controls||Multi-function button||Multi-function button|
|Colors||Black, Ivory, Navy||Black, White, Red|
|Case||USB-C Charging Case||USB-C Charging Case|
|Weight||5 grams||11 grams|
|Microphones||Built-in microphone with wind reduction||Multiple microphones with voice accelerator|
|Voice assistant||"Hey Siri" and "Hey Google" hands-free voice assistant||"Hey Siri" hands-free voice assistant|
Here it's apparent that the two sets of earbuds pack two different chipsets, which plays an important part in functionality. One offers ANC, while the other offers a voice accelerator microphone. Even the battery life is slightly different between the two. But how do these differences play out during everyday use?
Beats Studio Buds vs. Powerbeats Pro: Subtle versus sporty
From the outside looking in, the design of these earbuds couldn't be more distinct. The Studio Buds come in a small pill shape that pops into the ear and almost disappears. Since they are equipped with an ear tip that comes in varying sizes, they can create the proper seal necessary to block out ambient noise. While this design is discreet and quite comfortable, it is not the most secure. This earbud is more likely to occasionally fall out, especially in sweaty situations.
The Powerbeats Pro, on the other hand, have a long wingtip on each earbud that keeps it firmly fastened to the ear. This design is infallible when it comes to a secure fit, whether you're playing basketball or doing actual gymnastics. The drawback to the secure fit is a certain lack of comfort. However, this design is more likely to cause ear fatigue after only an hour or two of use.
Studio Buds come in a small pill shape that pops into the ear and almost disappears, but it is not the most secure. Powerbeats Pro, on the other hand, have a long wingtip on each earbud that keeps it firmly fastened to the ear.
Both of the earbuds come in three colorways. While I'm partial to the bright red Studio Buds, the Ivory color offered by the Powerbeats Pro is also quite classy. As for controls, the Powerbeats do come with volume buttons, which I like, but both sets are mostly controlled by a multi-function button that provides a satisfying and tactile click when pressed. Finally, although it may seem trivial, the oversized protective case of the Powerbuds Pro is a bit much, in my opinion, but perhaps they built it this way for active users. The Studio Buds come with a much more reasonable and compact case.
Beats Studio Buds vs. Powerbeats Pro: ANC versus H1
You're never going to get lousy sound from a Beats earphone, but each has its audio advantages. The most obvious difference is active noise cancellation. Studio Buds provide ANC and Transparency mode, which is great if you work or listen in loud environments. The level of ANC they provide is decent. The Powerbeats Pro that don't provide this feature, but they do provide is the H1 chip.
Although Powerbeats Pro do not take full advantage of the H1 chip like the newer Beats Fit Pro do, they do support automatic device switching, audio sharing, "Hey Siri" voice assistance integration, and Find My device tracking. They can also reproduce impressive spatial audio, although the dynamic head tracking is not available in this model. In comparison, the Studio Buds do not support automatic device switching or audio sharing, but both earphones can be adjusted for the perfect fit using Apple's ear tip fit test.
The Beats Studio Buds are going to provide more clarity and detail, while the Powerbeats Pro have a bass-forward, punchier sound, and nice tone balance.
As for sheer sound, the Beats Studio Buds are going to provide more clarity and detail, while the Powerbeats Pro have a bass-forward, punchier sound, and nice tone balance. Overall, the Studio Buds have a better soundstage, but this may depend on your own preferences. Lovers of bass-heavy beats and hip-hop will likely prefer the sound style of the Powerbeats Pro. And since the Powerbeats Pro can offer a full hour more of listening time, they are also a good choice for those who like to keep listening all day long.
It's important to note that not all of the features offered by Powerbeats Pro are going to be available on Android. The H1 chip does not always play nicely with others, so you'll lose some features like audio sharing and automatic device switching. Since the Studio Buds operate off a different chip, they work beautifully with Android, providing the same range of features and sound quality for both platforms. This one even responds automatically to "Hey Google" if you're using it with an Android device.
Beats Studio Buds vs. Powerbeats Pro: Studio Buds bring bang for buck
While both of these earbuds are going for the same price at this moment, the standard MSRP is very different between the two. The Powerbeats Pro usually retail at $250 while the Studio Buds go for $150. That's quite a significant difference!
With the Powerbeats Pro, you are paying more for the H1 chip, longer battery life, and better voice isolation, but the price increase may not be justified when compared to the ANC and sound quality of the Beats Studio Buds. At the time of this writing, however, the Powerbeats Pro are being offered at a reduced price of $150 on Amazon, actually a great deal while it lasts.
Beats Studio Buds vs. Powerbeats Pro: Which should you buy?
Now for the ultimate question, which to buy? Both of these Beats buds will give you great sound quality, but the Studio Buds do offer a bit more clarity and detail, as well as a wider soundstage. And let's not forget ANC! For sheer sound quality, the Studio Beats are an excellent choice for the price, unless you just really prefer the bass-forward sound provided by the Powerbeats Pro.
If you're using your Beats earbuds to make a lot of phone calls or conference calls, however, the Powerbeats Pro will give you better voice isolation and environmental noise reduction for making calls in loud environments. These are also a great choice for serious athletes who need a pair of earbuds that provide a super secure fit, even in high-energy, high-sweat situations.
Studio Buds are the best pick for audiophiles who are really looking for that clear, authentic sound, and the Powerbeats Pro are ideal for athletes.
In short, I'd say the Studio Buds are the best pick for audiophiles who are really looking for that clear, authentic sound, and the Powerbeats Pro are ideal for athletes and anyone who makes a lot of calls. The Powerbeats Pro also offer longer battery life, which frequent travelers may appreciate, while the Studio Buds work better for Android users and come in at a lower average retail price. Consider each of these factors and how each will affect your day-to-day use, so you can make the best choice for your own needs. The good thing is, with any Beats earphones, you know you're buying a legacy of great sound backed by Apple's standard of excellence.
Crystal clear sound
Beats Studio Buds
One thing you can count on with Beats Studio Buds is beautiful sound reproduction that has incredible clarity and detail. When combined with ANC, it's an immersive listening experience that you can enjoy free from surrounding distractions.
Crystal clear calls
With a voice accelerating microphone and a no-slip fit, the Powerbeats Pro is great for conference calls and a very active lifestyle. They also bring a longer battery life for avid listeners and world travelers.
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