An Apple product that works seamlessly with Android devices…what will they think of next?
There’s a lot to like about the Beats Studio Pro, Apple’s latest $350 over-ear wireless headphones from its Beats subsidiary, but the ease with which it works across operating systems might be the most impressive thing. From instant pairing to Find My support, the Beats Studio Pro has something close to true parity across Android and iOS — which, normally, you wouldn’t expect to see out of an Apple device.
Of course, that’s not all these headphones can do. High audio quality meets very long battery life in a portable form factor that makes the Beats Studio Pro work equally well at home or on the road. Sure, the price isn’t what I would call “low,” but anyone looking for a pair of noise-canceling over-ear headphones could do a heck of a lot worse than Beats Studio Pro.
SEE ALSO: Apple AirPods Max review: If you can’t Beats ’em…
Don’t fix what isn’t broken
There’s a row of battery life LEDs underneath the power button. Credit: Joe Maldonado/Mashable
As the follow-up to 2017’s Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones, you’d think the Beats Studio Pro would look or feel drastically different in some way from its nearly six-year-old predecessor. However, Beats chose to more or less retain the same appearance as last time, relegating all the improvements to the innards of the Beats Studio Pro.
That is to say, these are still pretty standard-looking over-ear headphones with a metallic texture on the exterior, rubber on the part that touches the top of your head, and foam ear cups.
Each ear cup looks the same at a glance, but both have a few distinguishing features. On the left side, the signature lowercase B logo you see on every Beats product is secretly a button you can press once to play or pause music, twice to skip ahead, and thrice to go back a track. The outer ring around that button acts as the volume control; press above the B to raise the volume and below to lower it. Simple enough!
Here’s where you’ll find playback controls. Credit: Joe Maldonado/Mashable
On the right side, a multi-function button sits just below where the volume-lowering button would be — if the right side had those buttons, anyway. I sort of wish that both ear cups had playback controls, but the base, that was not to be. Anyway, the multi-function button turns the headphones on and off with a one-second hold, switches between active noise canceling (ANC) modes with a double tap, and puts the Beats Studio Pro in Bluetooth pairing mode when held for several seconds.
This is the most minor of minor quibbles, but I wish there was a dedicated power button or switch on the Beats Studio Pro. Putting power, ANC switching, and Bluetooth pairing all on the same button is a bit much. You get used to it, but there were a few times early on in my time testing the Beats Studio Pro where I would hold the button for just a bit too long in a bid to turn the device off, only for it to enter Bluetooth mode instead.
Other odds and ends include a 3.5mm audio jack on the left ear cup and a USB-C port on the right side. Rather handy, both ports can be used for audio playback. Audiophiles will enjoy USB-C playback in particular because it supports lossless audio while charging the headphones.
That kind of eminent convenience extends to the headphones’ portability. You can fold them up just like the Beats Studio3 Wireless, easily fitting them into a bag. They also come with a simple black carrying case, complete with room for charging cables. Over-ear headphones can sometimes be a pain to transport from one place to another, so it’s nice that Beats prioritizes portability.
Cats and dogs living together
One of Apple’s big selling points with the Beats Studio Pro is how well they work with both Android and iOS devices. It’s not total 1-to-1 parity, but it’s close enough that these headphones earn a bunch of points in my book for it.
Beats Studio Pro can pair instantly via one-touch pairing on iOS and Fast Pair on Android, negating the need to fuss with a Bluetooth connection menu when you bring these bad boys out of the box. Apple’s and Google’s Find My features work natively with these headphones, too, adding a layer of security.
Of course, there are a couple of differences between iOS and Android that are of note. On iOS, the Beats Studio Pro gets native over-the-air updates; Android users need to download the Beats app to get these, instead. Android users get fast audio switching between different Android devices, though. Naturally, Siri is only supported on iOS.
Regardless of the tiny differences in support between Android and iOS, the Beats Studio Pro is about as device-agnostic as you could possibly expect from something that originated within Apple’s walls. That’s to be recommended.
Oh, the sound is good, too
Drown the outside world away. Credit: Joe Maldonado/Mashable
It almost doesn’t need to be said that the Beats Studio Pro sounds great. I’ve been a big proponent of the Beats brand since the excellent FitPro earbuds launched a couple of years ago, and everything I love about those is present here, too.
Dense compositions like Bruce Springsteen’s “Rosalita” play beautifully on the Beats Studio Pro. Sounds on the high and low ends of the spectrum are easily identifiable and everything is crystal clear. Without getting too deep into audiophile-land, everything sounds like it’s supposed to sound. That’s all you can ask for.
Well, not quite all. The bass is also boom on these headphones. Love that.
Also, the active noise cancellation is tremendous. My loud window air conditioner unit just a few feet away might as well not exist when I wear these babies. Transparency mode also works as you’d expect, amplifying sounds around you to make conversations possible with the headphones on. That said, I’d recommend just taking them off if you need to talk to someone, out of politeness.
One more thing to note about the general performance of the Beats Studio Pro: The battery life is awesome. They’re rated for about 24 hours of playback with ANC turned on (and up to 40 without), and that’s pretty accurate to my experience with them. Even with ANC turned on and regular use, I was able to go three or four days without plugging them in.
Beats does it again
As I’ve hopefully made clear by now, the Beats Studio Pro headphones are excellent at most of the levels that matter. They sound fantastic, last a long time, and support multiple playback styles. Most importantly, Android users don’t get the shaft, with near-parity between iOS and Google’s mobile platforms.
They’re highly portable, too. Really, the biggest complaint I can think of is that $350 is a large amount of money to drop on a pair of headphones. It’s not an uncompetitive price (my previous favorite over-ear headphones, the Bose NC700sretailed at $400 in 2019), but in today’s economic climate, it’s hard to call $350 “cheap.”
Still, if you can afford it (or if you find a good discount down the line), the Beats Studio Pro is more than worth it. Just make sure to keep the volume down enough that you don’t destroy your hearing as I’ve done over the years.