Apple acquired Beats in 2014, both to convert its music streaming service into what eventually became Apple Music, and to market its iconic headphones brand. Apple sells a number of Beats headphones, some of which overlay with its own AirPods, and some of which are unique.
There is a lot of shared technology between the two brands. Depending on your need for headphones, Beats models may be better for you than Apple’s AirPods. Here’s the Beats headphones product line in 2023.
The Beats brand
Apple highlights its AirPods products on the top navigation menu of its website, but to find Beats headphones, you need to click the Accessories link, then Beats by Dr. Dre. They’re not hidden, but since there is some overlap between the two brands, Apple doesn’t want to foreground them too much. In addition, Apple’s descriptions of Beats headphones are limited; you can find out more about these headphones on the Beats by Dre website.
Beats headphones tend to have a punchier, bassier sound than AirPods, and if this is how you like to listen to your music, then you might prefer these. The Beats brand also sells earphones and earbuds that may be more appropriate for exercise than AirPods.
While AirPods are designed for use with Apple products, most Beats are more platform agnostic; they have enhanced Android capabilities, so if you only use Android devices, or you use a combination of Apple and Android devices, you might want to consider Beats headphones.
And don’t forget that Beats headphones come in many colors. If you don’t want Apple’s boring white for your earbuds, you have plenty of options with Beats.
Beats has a number of earbuds in different styles. Here’s an overview of each one.
Beats Flex in-ear earphones
The least expensive are the Beats Flex in-ear earphones, only earbuds connected to each other by a cable that you run behind your neck. These are great for exercising, because if one earbud falls out, you won’t lose it. They also offer 12 hours of listening, more than any other Beats earbud. And a 10-minute Fast Fuel charge gives 1.5 hours of playback, if you need to quickly give some juice to your Beats Flex earbuds before going out for a run.
Beats Flex earbuds have Apple’s W1 chip, which connects quickly to an iPhone or iPad, and this configuration syncs via your iCloud account, so you can easily switch between Apple products. You can also use Apple’s Find My app to track down lost or misplaced Beats Flex. These are also the least expensive earbuds in the Beats line at only $69.
Beats Studio Buds wireless earbuds
Beats Studio Buds and Studio Buds+ True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds are also in-ear buds, and they provide active noise cancellation. With up to 8 hours of listening time for the $150 Studio Buds and 9 hours for the $170 Studio Buds+, extended to 24 hours and 36 hours using the charging case, you have plenty of listening time. In addition to the extended battery life, the newer + model features better noise cancellation, and they both offer transparency mode, so you can hear what’s going on around you when you want. Both feature one-touch pairing for both Apple and Android devices and support spatial audio.
Beats Fit Pro earbuds with wingtips
The Beats Fit Pro is an earbud that has what the company calls “flexible, secure-fit wingtips” that hold the earbuds in your ear more securely. These are great for when you’re moving around a lot, and are ideal for runners and serious exercisers. With up to 6 hours of listening time, and 24 hours with the charging case, these $200 earbuds also offer active noise cancellation and a transparency mode, and they support spatial audio. They are compatible with both Apple and Android devices.
Powerbeats Pro with ear clips
The $250 Powerbeats Pro are similar to the Beats Fit Pro, but have clips that go behind your ears, which may be more comfortable than the wingtips of the Fit Pro model if you need earbuds that stay on when you’re active. Noise cancellation, spatial audio, and Apple/Android support are all available on this model, but not transparency mode. You get 9 hours of listening time, with up to 24 hours from the charging case.
The company sells two headphones, one on-ear model and one over-ear.
Beats Solo 3 Wireless on-hear headphones
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless is an on-ear headphone, with an adjustable, folding headband, and up to 40 hours of listening time. They support spatial audio, are compatible with both Apple and Android, and have soft, comfortable ear pads. These don’t have active noise cancellation, but they stay tight over your ears, so the passive noise cancellation provided by the ear pads might be enough for your needs.
Beats Studio Pro over-hear headphones
If you like wearing over-ear headphones, then the $350 Beats Studio Pro are for you. They are the top of the line, offering a folding headband, active noise cancellation, spatial audio, transparency mode, and even lossless audio when connected to a device via a USB-C cable, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack for connecting to analog devices. With 40 hours of listening time, and a 10-minute Fast Fuel charge that provides up to 4 hours of playback, you can listen to a lot of music.
The Beats headphone line has a wide range of devices. Together with Apple’s AirPods, there’s a headphone or earbud for every style and every type of headphone user.
How can I learn more?
Check out our companion article on the Apple AirPods line of earbuds and headphones, too.
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