2023 Beats Studio Pro headphones review: leaning on a legacy
They look like a lazy refresh from the outside, but the noise-canceling Studio Pros include a ton of new features like transparency mode and lossless USB-C audio. And they solidify Beats’ unique appeal as a dual-ecosystem brand.
Related video: NEW Beats Studio Pro Unboxing & Review!
The iconic design of Beats headphones has been a cultural legacy, but how long can it remain fresh and relevant? With the release of the new $349.99 Beats Studio Pro headphones, the company seems to be treading a fine line between retaining its signature style and embracing innovation. Let's dive into the revamped Studio Pro headphones and explore the new features that set them apart in the competitive audio market.
1. Unboxing the Familiar Design
When you unbox the Beats Studio Pro headphones, the first impression is their striking resemblance to the Studio 3s released in 2017. Beats has held onto its design language over the years, and this continuity has contributed to the brand's cultural cachet and popularity among celebrities and sports stars. Despite the familiarity, there are notable changes in the audio architecture inside the Studio Pro headphones.
2. A Closer Look at the Studio Pro Headphones
The Studio Pro headphones still retain some of the familiar traits of Beats, such as a plasticky build with metal hinges and headband sliders. While the company has introduced improvements like the UltraPlush ear cushions, concerns about long-term durability and replaceability remain. Nevertheless, Beats has worked on the audio quality by incorporating custom 40mm drivers designed for optimal clarity and a balanced sound profile.
3. Sound Quality and Noise Cancellation
One of the strengths of the Studio Pros is their clarity across the volume range. The new micro-vents and acoustic mesh contribute to an improved audio experience, free from fuzziness and imprecision even at high volume levels. However, those seeking an energetic and bass-heavy sound signature might find these headphones less satisfying compared to other audio-focused models like the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 or Sennheiser Momentum 4s.
4. Unique USB-C Audio Experience
An exciting development is the use of USB-C audio by Beats. When connected to a compatible source device, the Studio Pros support lossless and high-res audio playback. This allows for a higher quality listening experience, but curiously, USB-C playback disables noise cancellation and transparency modes. Despite this limitation, the Studio Pros offer three sound profiles (Beats Signature, Entertainment, and Conversation) exclusively when in wired USB-C mode, enhancing their versatility for different use cases.
5. Beats and Apple's Dual-Ecosystem Approach
Beats has fully embraced its position as Apple's Android brand. The Studio Pros come with native software features supporting both iOS and Android platforms. From personalized spatial audio to hands-free "Hey Siri" and OTA firmware updates, Beats seeks to cater to users in both ecosystems. Although some platform-specific features are sacrificed, the headphones strike a good balance in appealing to a broader audience.
6. Optional Software Agreements
7. The Verdict: A Bold Mix of Iconic Design and Innovation
The Beats Studio Pro headphones offer a unique combination of iconic design and innovative features. For fans of the brand and those seeking lossless USB-C audio, these headphones are certainly worth considering.
However, when compared to some audio-focused competitors, they might not stand out in terms of sound quality and active noise cancellation. Despite this, Beats' commitment to blending the best of both Apple and Android ecosystems has created a compelling product that appeals to a wide range of users.
In conclusion, while Beats has played it safe with its design, there is potential for more daring ventures while still maintaining its cultural legacy. By striking the right balance between the past and innovation, Beats can continue to make a significant impact in the audio world.