The AirPods 3 are the new hotness on the block. The Beats Studio Buds offer great features at a lower price. Which one should you buy? Let’s find out.
AirPods 3 are AppleThe latest and greatest headphones from, but how do the more affordable Beats Studio headphones stack up? In 2021, it’s hard to overstate Apple’s dominance in the consumer audio space. By far the most popular true wireless headphones are AirPods. They were originally laughed at for their bizarre design and high price tag, but now they dominate a niche that Apple has essentially helped create overnight. Combine that with the premium focused AirPods Max and growing Apple Music subscribers, and it’s clear that the audio / music niche is a serious topic for Apple.
In addition to everything it does with its own brand, Apple is also focused on growing its Beats products. Founded in 2006 and purchased by Apple in 2014, Beats is one of the most iconic audio brands on the planet. From its bass-rich headphones to portable speakers, it’s a name that’s just as synonymous with Sony or Bose. It also happens to have its own wireless headphones in the form of Beats Studio Buds. The Beats Studio Buds and AirPods 3 are two of the most compelling headphones on the market today, but which one is ultimately worth buying? Here are a few things interested buyers should know.
Design-wise, the AirPods 3 and Beats Studio Buds take slightly different approaches with their form factor. Just like the last two generations of AirPods before them, the AirPods 3 have a unique design with no customizable eartips. It’s a design that works well for some people, terribly for others, and really depends on the shape / size of someone’s ear. In comparison, the Beats Studio Buds are much more traditional. They have customizable gel tips to achieve the perfect fit, no shank, and use physical buttons to control audio playback (the AirPods 3 use a pressure-sensitive ‘force sensor’). Both headphones boast an IPX4 water resistance rating, but Beats has the edge with its color options – offering Beats Black, White, and Red. White AirPods might be iconic, but Apple’s unique color offering is more than boring at this point.
Compare specifications, features and price
Things are getting a bit hotter when it comes to competing headphone specs. Both are marketed as supporting spatial audio, but Studio Buds only work with standard Dolby Atmos tracks in Apple Music. The AirPods 3 take it a step further with full head tracking support in Apple Music and supported video apps, adding a level of audio immersion that Studio Buds simply can’t match. That said, the Studio Buds are the only headphones in this comparison with active noise cancellation and transparency mode. The performance of these two modes isn’t the strongest, but it’s still better than the AirPods 3 which don’t have them at all.
Another thing to consider is how each pair of headphones works with the iPhone. During the initial setup, connecting them is as easy as opening the case near your phone and pressing the “Connect” button that appears automatically. Both headphones also have easy access to playback settings in the iPhone Control Center, “Hey Siri” voice command and work with the Find My app if lost. However, the AirPods 3 have a few exclusive features not found on the Studio Buds. If someone wants their headphones to seamlessly switch between different Apple devices, auto play / pause with in-ear detection, or share audio with another set of AirPods, they’ll have to buy AirPods 3. Last but not least , there is the battery / charging experience. AirPods 3 offer up to 6 hours of continuous play and 30 hours of total listening time. The Beats Studio Buds have a longer battery life of 8 hours for continuous listening time, although the total battery life is slightly less than 24 hours. USB-C charging for the Studio Buds case is great, but Apple offers more charging options with the AirPods 3 (Lightning, Qi Wireless, and MagSafe).
The last thing to consider in this comparison is the price. The AirPods 3 are available for $ 179, while the Beats Studio Buds are $ 149. It’s not a dramatic difference, but it does make Studio Buds the best choice for price-conscious buyers. The earbuds from Beats also stand out as the go-to choice for anyone who needs customizable ear tips, noise reduction and / or a longer continuous battery. So who should buy AirPods 3? Assuming you can handle the $ 30 price hike and you don’t mind the one-size-fits-all approach, the AirPods 3 are absolutely worth it for someone. Deep in the Apple ecosystem. They have better spatial sound, work well with other Apple gadgets, and generally provide the best experience for someone who uses Apple.
Next: AirPods 3 Vs. AirPods Pro
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