The Beats Studio Buds arrived as the spiritual successor to the second-generation AirPods. Though the AirPods 3 (technically called the "AirPods third-generation") have since launched with popular iOS features like Spatial Audio, the Studio Buds are a better choice for those seeking a more traditional experience.
Offering clear sound, a slick and comfortable design, and even active noise canceling that ramps up when things get louder, these funky little buds are a welcome refresh that screams "Apple." They even offer some of the AirPods’ most prized Apple-centric features. You’ll find one-touch pairing for iPhone, voice-activated Siri, and Find My Earbuds via your iPhone settings.
It’s not too surprising that a pair of Beats buds can step into the AirPods’ shoes. Apple owns Beats, after all. What is surprising is how well the Studio Buds cater to the Android crowd. You’ll find similarly breezy one-touch pairing, and an app to toggle the noise canceling and ambient audio modes. There’s even a Find My Earbuds feature via the Android menu.
There’s a lot that these buds get right. Their splash-proof, ergonomic design tops the list, followed closely by affordable ANC. But they are missing some key features. Other Apple buds with the H1 chip can auto-sync to all your Apple devices via iCloud. These don’t.
They also don’t offer a wireless charging case or sensors that pause your earbuds when you take one out. (Though you can use one earbud at a time). While their mirrored controls make things simple, there’s also no onboard volume control, something we see on nearly all non-Apple earbuds at this price.
Their incredible ease of use, comfy fit, and simple setup could make up for those transgressions, though—especially if you're looking for Apple-centric buds at a great price.
Amazon’s second attempt at true wireless earbuds are a huge step up. The tech giant found a way to revamp the new Echo Buds’ blueprint, improve both their sound and features, and add true active noise cancellation.
The best part? Even with all of these added perks, the second-generation Echo Buds cost exactly the same as the originals.
True wireless earbuds are all about usability. Amazon’s first earbuds didn’t have it, with their bulky size and uncomfortable fit. With round two, Amazon made the Echo Buds 20% smaller and far comfier.
The seal in your ears is tight, which helps to cut out noise around you. They’re also better with jostling movements like running or going to the gym. They’re also comfortable enough to avoid substantial ear fatigue after long periods of listening.
Aside from a smaller design, adding full active noise cancellation is perhaps the new Echo Buds’ standout feature. It may not be on par with higher-end options like Jabra’s Elite 85t, and certainly can't match up against Sony's WF-1000XM4. But for their price point, they are very effective. It’s a significant step up from the Active Noise Reduction found in the first Echo Buds.
Like the originals, the battery life of the second-generation Echo Buds isn’t anything to write home about. You get just 5 hours with ANC and 6.5 hours without. There also aren't a lot of customization options when it comes to sound quality.
Besides that, though, Amazon’s second-gen Echo Buds are a workhorse pair of earbuds. A compelling combination of comfort, features, and sound quality to make them easily among the most value-packed buds we’ve tested. And that’s without mentioning the inclusion of Alexa, the world’s favorite voice assistant.