With battery life, comfort, features, and active noise cancelling performing as one of the worst I’ve tested, the Beats Studio Wireless headphones are in dire need of a revision.
Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. These Beats Studio Wireless have been out for some time. I’ve tested a wide assortment of headphones, specifically Active Noise Cancelling headphones on the website over the past several years, and I’m only now getting to these – so, I do apologize for the delay. Nonetheless, I have always wanted to test these, and considering I have experience with a lot of the other competitors, it would be great to see where these stand. The Beats Studio Wireless retails for $379, however, they’re going for $299 to $279 on both B&HPhoto and Amazon at the moment. As always, I’ll place my affiliate links above – click on my links for the most up to date prices in real-time, you never know when these things might go on sale.
The color I have here is titanium. I know many have ripped Beats for poor build quality in the past, and I will admit, the first generation of Beats were poorly made. Reviewing the more recent Solo 2’s, Solo 3’s, and now the Studio Wireless here today, they’ve made significant improvements. I know my stress test is extreme, but at least we can get an assessment on where some weak spots may be apparent. From the twisting and turning, you can tell most everything on the headset is snapped into place as seams start to reveal themselves. There is little chatter when you handle them, or when you give them a shake, but most other headphones I’ve recently tested feel tighter, or assembled within a smaller tolerance. Overall, the Studio Wireless build quality is good, nothing’s broken, but Beats is starting to show it’s age in craftsmanship.
Taking a closer look at the earcups, you have a 3.5mm port for physical connections on the left. Although the wire is plugged in, the headphones will not play if they’re not on. Still on the left earcup, on the Beats Logo, there are buttons built in to adjust volume up and down, skip or go back on songs, pause and play. The letter B when held down for two seconds puts the Studios into Pairing mode. On the right ear cup, you have an on and off button with a micro-USB port for charging the headphones.
Five LED’s offer a sophisticated white glow indicating how much battery life you have remaining. I didn’t see any indication that the Studios have Fast-Charging or the W1 chip inside, but from my testing from a dead battery, it took an hour and 22 minutes to get it back up to full – not bad at all. Battery life is claimed to be up to 20 hours wired which is good, but it’s only 12 hours when used with Bluetooth. With my testing, I was able to achieve 11 hours and 23 minutes at 50% volume. With that being said, I’m getting at least 20 hours on other top-tier $300-and-up ANC headphones.
Overall features that are unfortunately missing are a way to turn-off Active Noise Cancelling; there’s no NFC, there are no voice prompts which I think many take for granted – a voice stating battery life remaining or a voice telling me if I’m paired and which device I’m paired to would have been helpful.
There are no sound profiles, no extra bass mode, no app for additional enhanced features. And I’m not ripping on Beats – one of my favorite headphones, the Bose QC35’s, don’t have any bells and whistles either, but at this price, it would have been nice to offer at least NFC. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Sony MDR-1000x and Sennheiser PxC550’s are loaded with features – check out my reviews on those if you’d like.
COMFORT AND NOISE ISOLATION
Overall, they are comfortable enough, they stay on the head well, barely any clamping force at the jawline and the crown of my head, I don’t feel any wearing fatigue over time. One area I found odd – with my other Active Noise Cancelling headphones, this includes my recent Sony 950N1’s, my ears fit inside the earcup. With the Beats Studio Wireless, the earpads sit against my ears and don’t allow my ears to “breathe” as well as other ANC headphones on the market. My ears did warm up faster than other headphones; however, in a 70 to 73-degree room, while sitting and testing, my ears didn’t sweat.
As for sound leaking, the Beats do a good job at keeping sound in. At 50 to 60% volume, the headphones are barely audible by the person next to you. At 75% volume and higher, it does get loud, and only in quiet settings will someone identify what you’re listening to. In regards to signal strength, I was able to walk 84 linear feet with the signal going through a wall before the headphones started to cut out. That’s impressive.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING
Now, jumping into Active Noise Cancelling – this was possibly the biggest downfall of the headphones. Walking through the city during lunch hour, mostly everything around me was distinguishable. The Beats Studio Wireless performed as one of the worst in Active Noise Cancelling performance when I compared them to the competition. The noise cancelling didn’t seem to offer much in helping with the immersion into my music. In addition, when you have a quieter song, or a song that’s loud and fast, then slows down before the hook, you hear a very noticeable hissing noise indicating that the ANC is trying to do it’s best to block out noises. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t recommend these if your primary goal is to buy noise cancelling headphones.
Jumping into the audio test, and keep in mind, I’m staying completely unbiased here. For what the Studio Wireless lack in its physical features and functions, it makes up for its audio performance. Testing these against some of the best of the best ANC headphones, the Studio’s do offer more bass. The only other pair of headphones that offers deeper and more resonating bass is the recently reviewed Sony 950N1’s. For what Beats offer today, they don’t sound bass heavy at all as their bass performance is similar to other competitors on the market. It’s clean, bass-boosted, and punchy, all without destroying the mid-range. As for the mid-range, it’s on par with the Sony 1000x’s in providing detailed instrumental performance and vocals being articulate and clean.
If you’re comparing these and the QC35’s, my Bose headphones do provide a slightly more forward and brighter mid-range which I personally prefer. As for the highs, there is ever so slight roll-off on the very high S’s in vocals, to snare drums and cymbal crashes. There is slight detail lost because of the roll-off experience. On a positive note, you don’t an ear ringing sensation after long listening sessions, and you don’t get listening fatigue. The soundstage was slightly lacking, I do wish more of an open presence was available, however for Active Noise Cancelling headphones, that is hard to pull off.
Overall, the Beats Studio Wireless offers an audio experience similar not in characteristics, but quality, as the top 2 or top 3 ANC headphones out there. No pair of headphones sounds identical, but the quality that the Beats is offering is good. The reservations I have are simply the battery life, the lack of features in this price range, them being less comfortable and airy as the other’s out there, and lastly: Active Noise Cancelling performance is one of the worst.
So in the end, I’ll let you decide, in the comments section below, write down if you would you go with Beats, Bose, Sony, Sennheiser: who’s your go-to pair for Active Noise Cancelling headphones right now? In my personal opinion, Beats are really showing their age and need a revision soon. So, that’s it for this review, I’m Jimmy with Jim’s Review Room and I’m here to help you make that purchase decision. You guys take care, and I’ll see you on the next one.