THE GOOD The Beats Studio Wireless is a very comfortable over-the-ear wireless headphone that offers excellent sound for a Bluetooth headphone and features active noise-canceling technology. The headphones fold up into a more compact form factor and battery life is decent at 12 hours of wireless listening. They also worked well as a wireless headset for making cell-phone calls.
THE BAD Expensive; if the integrated rechargeable battery dies, the music dies.
THE BOTTOM LINE While it’ll cost you a hefty $380, the Beats Studio Wireless is an excellent wireless Bluetooth headphone.
Easy to confuse the Beats Studio (2013) headphones with the company’s Studio Wireless over-the-ear headphones. That’s because the two headphones look nearly identical, the big difference being the latter model includes not only active noise-cancelling but Bluetooth technology, which allows for wireless streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled device. Oh, and at $379.95 (AU$479), the Studio Wireless costs $80 more.
Both these headphones are based on a new “re-imagined” design of the original, uber-popular Studio, which didn’t impress audiophiles and had other faults. These new models are lighter and built more sturdily. They also boast softer earcups and seem very comfortable (I know people who run in them), offering a snug fit and a fairly tight seal without feeling too tight.
I tested Studio Wireless for several weeks and came away really liking it. Soundwise, it measures up to many of the top Bluetooth headphones, and it’s a big upgrade over the older on-ear Wireless in every way. The big question, of course, is it worth $379.95?
The answer really depends on whether you’re OK with paying a premium for the Beats brand. But more on that in a minute.
FEEL YOUR MUSIC
The Beats Acoustic Engine™ makes your listening experience personal and real. Our signature DSP software is designed to generate the emotional experience that some of the music industry’s greatest rock, hip-hop, pop, electronic, and R&B producers want you to feel. This is how music would sound if the artist could play it back for you in person.
PUT THE WORLD ON MUTE
Silence the noise from your daily commute or the drama from your loud neighbors with dual-mode Adaptive Noise Canceling. When you’re listening to music, ANC automatically strikes the perfect blend between your music and the world outside. If you only want to use the headphone to cancel external noise, the ANC only mode automatically increases the level of noise cancelation, to put the world on mute.
Dead batteries can kill your vibe. The new Beats Studio Wireless comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts 12 hours when using wirelessly and 20 hours when you do decide to plug in. To prevent wasting energy, the Auto On/Off feature turns the headphone off when you unplug from a wired connection and with the Battery Fuel Gauge, you always know how much juice is left. Forget specialized adapters; the Studio Wireless can be charged via micro USB almost anywhere.
LIGHTER, STRONGER, AND MORE COMFORTABLE
When we reimagined the iconic Studio, we designed it like a beautiful sports car and made disciplined choices. It is streamlined with fast curves, smooth surfaces, and no visible screws. We reduced the original weight and gave it a lighter, stronger, and more comfortable headband. The softer ear cups have an ergonomic bellow that creates a flexible custom fit, so you can keep your music all to yourself.
- Beats Studio Wireless™ headphones
- RemoteTalk™ cable
- 3.5mm Audio cable
- USB 2.0 charging cable (USB-A to USB Micro-B)
- USB Power adapter
- Hard shell carrying case
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card
On the inside, there’s a new, “improved” DSP (digital signal processor) and software that Beats has, for marketing purposes, dubbed the Beats Acoustic Engine. These are active noise-canceling headphones, and they come equipped with two modes of “adaptive” noise cancellation. According to Beats, one mode is for music listening and offers “balanced” adaptive noise cancellation between your music and your environment, and the other mode offers stronger noise cancellation for when you’re disconnected and just want to shut out the world (you can’t play your music in this mode).
To power the Bluetooth and noise-cancellation circuitry, there’s an integrated rechargeable lithium battery that you juice up via a Micro-USB connection (a cable is included — again red). Battery life is rated at 12 hours of wireless listening and 20 hours of wired listening. A five-light LED “battery fuel gauge” under the power button on the right earcup indicates how much charge is left, and if you have an iOS device, a tiny battery gauge appears on your device next to the Bluetooth icon in the top right of your screen (as it does with all Bluetooth audio devices).
Like other stereo Bluetooth headphones, this model has a built-in microphone, and I thought the Beats Wireless worked very well as a wireless headset for making cell phone calls. Callers said they could hear me reasonably well, even when I was walking on the noisy streets of New York City on a fairly windy day.