• My Beats Studio Wireless 2.0 Review


    I have a confession to make; I’m now a member of the “my mom bought these for me headphones” club. Yes, I picked up a pair of Beats headphones.



    I spend most of my day in front of my computer, but I'm also away from my desk quite frequently. While I work, I like to listen with a pair of corded headphones. However, they tend to get caught on my office chair plus I frequently forget to take them off when I get up which leads to a lot of pulled cords.

    I finally had enough and decided to pick up a pair of around the ear Bluetooth headphones. I didn’t need noise cancellation but it’s often a mandatory feature on this style of Bluetooth headphone.

    I heard some good things about the AKG K845’s and picked up a pair for myself. If I were to describe them I’d have to use the “N” word - Yes, they’re too damn Neutral. While they do allow you enjoy music in a way you couldn’t before, the bass was too neutral and I usually wished they had a bit more oomph to them.

    Next up, where the Parrot Zik 2.0’s which I reviewed here. They are powerful with bright trebles and deep bass - I had a lot of fun with them. They also had outstanding build quality and just look amazing. However, they were also very expensive, overly complicated and just lacked a certain something in the sound quality department. To be honest though, at $400 USD/$430 CDN, it was mostly the cost that kept me from buying a pair for myself.

    After that, I decided to give the Beat Studio 2.0 Wireless a try. While they normally cost about the same as the Zik’s, I found a pair for $300 (taxes included) and decided to pull the trigger.
    You can get the Studio’s in a variety of colours but I opted for the matte black ones mostly because they look low key. If you want something less subtle, it’s also available in many other colours like white or red with a white logo along with many other colours.



    The matte finish is menacing in a good way but I wonder how durable it is. Many electronics have a clear coat on them to protect them from scratching too easily but the Studio’s seem to lack that.

    Fit and finish is decent - while they’re mostly made from plastic, they don’t groan or creak when you handle them.

    They’re not weighty but at the same time, they’re just heavy enough so that they don’t feel cheap.

    The parts that touch your head are all covered in a soft-touch finish.



    They’re quite comfortable though like many headphones, the ear cups can get a little warm after a while. Otherwise I was very happy with the fit. They clamp with enough pressure to stay on your ears when you move around but not so much that they’re uncomfortable. They also don’t make much noise when you’re moving around.



    I like how they can fold down in case you want to put them in a carrying case. The Zik’s don’t fold down. Then again, the Zik’s can swivel sideways which makes them more comfortable to leave on your neck.



    The hinges are metal but rest of the headband feels like it’s plastic



    Speaking of that, they come with their own carrying case. It’s very thin and light. You could argue that it feels cheap but then again, making the case feel more expensive would add bulk and weight. If you’re comparing, the Zik’s only come with a fabric bag.



    Compared to the Zik’s, the Studios are much simpler. On the left side are the volume buttons above and below the “b” logo.



    The logo itself handles playback controls; You press it once to play or pause, two times to skip to the next song or press once and then press and hold to fast forward. Three times skips to the previous song while pressing twice and then holding the third rewinds.

    It can also put the Studios in pairing mode if you press and hold it for a few seconds.

    I appreciate how this simplifies the controls but at the same time, having to press the same button multiple times is kind of confusing too.

    The buttons have a nice click when you press them. I prefer them over the Zik’s touch sensitive ones which can be unpredictable at times.

    There’s also a jack in case you want to use them as wired headphones.



    On the right is the power button, battery level indicator and the MicroUSB charging connector.



    Pressing the power button will show the battery level.

    Unlike most noise cancelling headphones which allow you to turn the noise cancellation off, the Studios only allow you to turn the music off so that they become the world’s most expensive ear protection. I don’t have a problem with this but there are times I wish I could turn the noise cancellation off.

    Sound quality:

    I tried the Studios with my iPhone 6 Plus and my desktop computer. I didn’t notice much difference in sound quality between either device.

    While I try to be unbiased when I review, I have to admit I had some preconceived notions on how the Studios would sound. I figured they strong bass that would drown everything else out.

    Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong. While the Studios definitely aren’t bass neutral, the bass is nice and juicy without being overpowering.

    Treble is also nicely tamed. Heck, they’re actually kind of warm sounding.

    Aside from the boosted bass, the only other part that really sounds different is that vocals sometimes have a tiny hint of reverb on them.

    Anyways, while they don’t sound perfect, they’re actually very well behaved and not at all what I was expecting. They’re surprisingly grown up sounding.

    Compared to the Zik, they actually have tighter bass while and warmer trebles.

    While they can get insanely loud, they distort badly at maximum volume. Still, the point where they begin to come apart is way louder than I’d ever listen to them at so this isn’t something to be too concerned about.

    If you listen to them indoors, you'll notice that the noise cancellation results in an quiet but audible rushing sound. It reminds me of when you’re using noise cancelling headphones on a plane only the rushing sound is much quieter.

    Depending on what you’re listening to, you may not notice them but if you’re indoors you’ll hear it during quiet passages. This is why I’m surprised that you can’t turn the cancellation off.

    I didn’t get a chance to compare them head-to-head with the Zik’s but the noise reduction is pretty effective.

    Beats claims 12hrs of battery life. I didn't test them for 12 hours straight but I feel that this number is pretty accurate.

    Considering their price, I’m disappointed that the battery isn’t removable.

    Conclusion:



    While it’s not perfect, I was pleasantly surprised by the Beats Studio Wireless grown up sound.

    They’re comfortable and while the controls are a little too simple, they’re easy to use.

    The body is mostly plastic but it has quality finishes plus it feels well put-together.

    My only complaint is that the retail pricing. In the US, they’re $379 (less desirable colours go on sale for $269) while in Canada they’re $399CDN (usually on sale for around 350).

    That’s similar to what the Parrot Zik 2.0’s go for. While I also feel the Zik’s are a bit expensive, dollar for dollar, I’d go with the Zik’s. The Studio’s aren’t ugly or cheap looking but the Zik’s design have that certain something that give it the edge.

    I also think the Zik’s with their strong sound will also appeal to more people.

    Still, I like how you can fold the Beats up when you’re not listening to them. This is important since it makes them more bag-friendly since I don’t like to wear headphones if I’m not actually listening to them.

    Another advantage of the Beats is that they have superior battery life. Both will make it through the day but the Beats are a better choice if you need a little bit more (like on a long flight).

    In the end though, considering what I paid for them, I’m pretty happy with them.

    3.5 out of 5 Howies:

    Pros:
    • Decent sound quality
    • Included carrying case
    • Folds up for storage
    • Easy to use


    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Can’t disable noise reduction
    • Noise reduction causes hiss
    • Battery isn’t removable
    This article was originally published in forum thread: My Beats Studio Wireless 2.0 Review started by howard View original post
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. cloneman's Avatar
      cloneman -
      I've done the bluetooth dance a few times. my 2c is that SQ tends to be good enough for me, but low points for me are range, A/V Sync, and paring.

      For instance my, bluebuds x have excellent sound quality, but as per usual the range is about 15 feet. For me, that's pretty much tethered. And, depending on the Device I'm pairing with, what I'm doing, and the way the moon shines, there could be A/V Sync issues for video. It's more striking when playing a video or a game on my Nexus 4. It's frustrating because propritary, non-bluetooth solutions seem to do better - enough range for 2 or 3 rooms and negligible latency. Heck, even FM does okay if you consider all the factors.

      Anyway, that's my 2c. I'll be interested in bluetooth as a daily driver once I get whole house range, and no latency. Bluetooth has too many compromises and uncertainties for me, and oddly enough Sound Quality isn't really one of them.

      I'll look into an APTX reciever with builtin headphone amplifier someday (read: someday where these things aren't super rare with no reviews to them).

      Really, I'm just angry at bluetooth and that it exists. For me, it should come in 2 forms:

      1) Lossless audio with no concern for latency
      2) Lossy audio with excellent latency.

      Most products I see are somewhere in the middle and miss the mark for me. That said, I'd imagine a popular product like beats when paired with Apple stuff would do better than your average BT device with android.