PROS / The short two-hour charge time and foldable headband make the Beats perfect for traveling.
CONS / These headphones are so bass-heavy and the ANC buzz so loud that both elements distract from your overall listening experience.
VERDICT / These headphones are only great if you prefer heavy bass and only slight noise-cancelling performance.
The Beats Studio Wireless headphones are the best noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones if you crave lots of heart-pounding bass. This set is designed to be very bass-heavy, and that’s pretty much it. Noise cancelling and comfort aren’t the headlining features of these headphones.
Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones like the Beats Studio Wireless are great for travel, as they cancel noise and have no cords to get tangled in. However, the noise cancelling on this pair isn't great. First, there’s no way to turn off ANC. If you want to listen to anything, you must listen with noise cancelling. During our decibel cancellation test, reviewers listened to 60 dB of a song and listened for outside noises. The Beats Studio Wireless only canceled up to 69 dB in this test, which is barely more than the song itself canceled out. These were the lowest-performing noise-cancelling headphones on our test.
Sound quality with these headphones can best be described in one word: bass. Beats as a company is generally known for its heavy-bass headphones, and the Studio Wireless doesn’t disagree. Bass was the number one complaint from our reviewer test group. Bass is the most prominent aspect of the soundscape, so much so that you lose definition in all audio. The bass is crazy heavy, muddy and head-pounding. So if you like bass, these are the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones, but if not, they’re not the best for lighter soundtracks. The noise-cancelling buzz didn’t fare any better. While most ANC sounds are indecipherable, the ANC buzz on the Beats sounds like the ocean through a seashell – loud white noise.
To listen to the Beats Studio Wireless, you must have the power button on. While it’s nice to have these headphones always on, you sacrifice battery life. During our full-volume battery test, these headphones only lasted 10 hours and 47 minutes (about an hour shorter than Beats claims) with ANC and Bluetooth on. If you listen with the wire, you can get up to 20 hours, but that’s still less than all but one of the other headphone sets in our review. The short two-hour charge time does make these headphones more comparable to the best noise-cancelling wireless headphones, though. Along with the foldable headband, this makes them convenient to take on trips.
The best design feature of the Beats Studio Wireless headphones is the Bluetooth pairing process. While most headphones took 30 seconds or longer to pair, this set connected after maybe five seconds. They’re truly painless to use – only one button and no confusion. Comfort is a different story, though: During testing we found this to be one of the hardest pairs to wear for long periods. The ear cups press hard, there’s no air circulation, and our ears started to sweat under the pressure and heat. Overall, these headphones are best described as tight and heavy.
The Beats Studio Wireless noise-cancelling headphones are great for listening cord-free but not so much for noise cancelling or sound quality. You need to really love bass to understand the appeal of these headphones.