Beats Studio Pro review: keeping it classy

Beats' updated flagship noise-cancelling headphones are classier than ever and sound pretty solid, too

Beats Studio Pro review
(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
T3 Verdict

Beats' new flagship noise-cancelling wireless headphones, the Studio Pro, will no doubt be popular among fans of the brand and the predecessor of the cans. It's also likely that the improved sound quality, better fit, and refined feature set will attract even more people to try them. They might not be flawless, but the Beats Studio Pro are pretty darn good.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Premium build quality and materials used

  • +

    Impressive audio quality, even via Bluetooth connection

  • +

    Same price as Beats Studio 3

  • +

    Folding design

  • +

    Improved battery performance with ANC/Transparency on

  • +

    Native features on iOS and Android smartphones

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Noise cancelling could be better

  • -

    No wear detection

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No one can blame Beats for sitting on their laurels. Two months after the Beats Studio Buds Plus launch – my favourite noise-cancelling headphones so far this year – the Culver City-based brand is back with another exciting release: the top-tier Beats Studio Pro. In hindsight, it almost feels like Beats were trying the whet our appetite for the Studio Pro with the Studio Buds Plus. One thing is for sure: my appetite was thoroughly whetted for Beats' flagship cans when I received them.

The physical design of the noise-cancelling over-ear cans looks even sleeker than ever, and the audio quality feels more refined than the Beats Studio 3 (can't believe it was launched six years ago!), and those were pretty good, although certainly not flawless. Have the Studio Pro managed to iron out all the issues, or are you better off choosing one of the similarly priced alternatives, like the Sony WH-1000XM5 or Bose QuietComfort 45? Let's find out.

[First reviewed July 2023]

Beats Studio Pro review

Beats Studio Pro review: price and availability

Beats Studio Pro are available to order from 19 July 2023 in four colours, Black, Deep Brown, Navy and Sandstone, for $349.99/ €399.95/ £349.95 from Apple in the US, Canada, France and Germany with shipping and on-shelf beginning 20 July 2023. That's the same recommended retail price as the Studio 3 used to sell for (you can get it much cheaper these days). For comparison, the suggested retail price of the Sony WH-1000XM5 was £379 when it was launched. Bose's QuietComfort 45 was £319 when it was released.

Beats Studio Pro review: specifications

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)
  • Type: over-ear, closed-back wireless headphones
  • Weight: 260g/ 9oz
  • Clamp: moderate-to-firm
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 (Class 1), USB-C audio, 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Folding: yes
  • Tech platform: Beats Proprietary Platform (gen 2)
  • Spatial Audio: yes, with dynamic head tracking and personalisation (iOS only)
  • Active Noise Cancelling: yes, fully adaptive
  • Transparency mode: yes
  • Battery life: 40 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (ANC on)
  • Charging 1-100%: 2 hours
  • Fast charge: yes, 10 mins charge = up to 4 hours of playback
  • Microphones: 6 upgraded MEMS-type mics
  • Operating system compatibility: iOS and Android

Beats Studio Pro review: design and build quality

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Saying that Beats completely overhauled the physical design of the Studio would be a bit of a push, but it's safe to say there have been serious improvements. Beats enlisted Samuel Ross to 're-think' the colour, materials, packaging, and branding of the Studio Pro to bring the franchise up to speed in the new decade. I like what they did with the headphones, as I wasn't the biggest fan of the accents on the Studio 3.

The ear cushions underwent the most significant changes (more on this below), but minor tweaks had the most significant impact on me. The Beats Studio Pro feels sleeker than the Studio 3; the angles are more refined, and the almost monotone colours help further reinforce this feeling of unity and class.

Beats made an effort to make the Studio Pro more environmentally friendly. Of course, it's still made mostly of plastic, but Beats claims up to 26% of the headphones' plastic parts are recycled. The rare earth elements in the driver and the tin solder of the main logic board are both 100% recycled, and the Studio Pro are also PVC-, Beryllium- and Mercury-free.

The all-plastic construction (with brushed metal accents and metal sliders) feels good in the hand, and the Beats Studio Pro don't make any creaks when you flex or twist the headphones, either. I noticed that the brushed exterior of the Studio Pro does pick up grease and fingerprints easily, which in turn makes the headphones look less snazzy, so if you prefer your cans to look box-fresh, I'd recommend keeping your hands super clean when operating and putting on/removing the headphones.

Beats Studio Pro review: ergonomics and comfort

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Beats' Studio franchise is (in)famous for its clamp force, and the Studio Pro is no different. This helps the headphones stay on your head more efficiently, but it might get slightly uncomfortable for those wearing glasses. Beats addressed this issue (to a certain degree) by introducing UltraPlush ear cushions.

UltraPlush design is memory foam padding wrapped in a seamless engineered (vegan) leather cover. The ear cushions have a soft, leathery feel but without genuine leather's sweaty, ventilation-blocking properties. On occasions, I wore glasses while listening to music with the Beats Studio Pro; nevertheless, my ears felt fine, even after wearing the headphones for over an hour.

The padding at the top is made from a different material and feels almost sticky. I liked this a lot as it ensured the headphones didn't slide forward or backwards on my head – a nice touch. I'm sure the moderate clamp of the headphones also helped.

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Beats Studio Pro have three tactile buttons on the left faceplate, allowing you to perform basic action without having to interact with your smartphone. These work fine and the interactions are also straightforward – no issues here. I have a slight problem with the system button, though, which is tiny and not easy to locate and operate.

Granted, it's not like you have to fiddle around with it all the time, but when you do, you'll be sliding your finger back and forth around the edge of the right faceplate until you get bored and take off the Studio Pro to see where that darn button is. I'm sure it wouldn't have been impossible to make this button more detectable, maybe by raising it ever so slightly.

Beats Studio Pro review: audio performance

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Beats went above and beyond to improve the sound quality of the Studio Pro. They use a fully custom 40mm active driver, and the diaphragm is constructed using a two-layer design, combining a rigid inner core with a flexible outer surround for "exceptional performance across the frequency spectrum," as Beats put it. It also features 25% stronger magnets compared to the Beats Studio 3.

The driver also employs a precise array of micro-vents and fine acoustic mesh to optimize airflow and minimise distortion, Beats claims. Coupled with advanced digital processing, Beats says this acoustic architecture delivers tonally balanced audio with less than .02% total harmonic distortion – even at high volumes.

The Studio Pro headphones moved away from the Apple W1 platform and now use Beats' second-generation Proprietary Audio Platform instead. This is so the headphones can provide a better listening experience on all platforms, not just iOS devices. Indeed, Studio Pro offer native features on both Android and iOS smartphones.

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

The Beats Studio 3 already had fully-adaptive active noise cancellation, but Beats say they improved this on the Studio Pro. Plus, they added a Transparency mode, which can be toggled with the System button mentioned above (if you can find it). Transparency mode is said to be different from Apple's AirPods Pro 2 (that uses Apple silicone), although it's very similar from the user's point of view.

Beats Studio Pro features playback correction, a secondary filter driven by the feedback microphone, designed to identify and remove any sonic artefacts that may have inadvertently been introduced via ANC or Transparency processing. The source audio is said to be analysed up to 48,000 times per second for real-time correction.

Spatial Audio isn't a new feature for the Studio franchise, either, but the Studio Pro headphones now feature Dynamic Head Tracking with personalisation on iOS devices. The headphones have a built-in IMU (inertial measurement unit) consisting of a gyroscope and accelerometer. You can still enjoy Dolby Atmos sound on Android, but it won't track your head.

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

How do the Beats Studio Pro sound? I found them pleasantly well-rounded, with minimal distortion across the spectrum. The sound stage feels balanced with some bassy undertones. The Studio 3 was criticised for having a somewhat lacklustre mid, but the Studio Pro sound more tonally accurate overall. I haven't done any scientific tests to verify this, so you just have to take my word for it.

The UltraPlush ear cushions provide decent passive noise cancelling, and ANC seems to be coping okay. I'm not the biggest fan of commuting on the train, but it allows me to test ANC properly. The Beats Studio Pro struggled occasionally, but o could drown out the noise by raising the volume slightly (it was still well below the recommended maximum limit, though).

If you want to enjoy USB-C audio, you need an Android smartphone or buy a USB-C to Lightning cable separately, as there are only two cables in the box: USB-C to USB-C charging cable and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable. Even sadder, you can only try the three EQ- optimised sound profiles when USB-C audio is enabled.

That said, I appreciate Beats offer these equaliser modes to provide a well-rounded package of sound customisation options. They allow you to tailor the headphones' sound to your liking and make the most of your listening experience. It's a commendable feature that enhances the overall versatility and appeal of the Beats Studio Pro headphones.

Beats Studio Pro review: verdict

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

I'm becoming increasingly fond of Beats' audio products these days. I like the brand's approach of not churning out yearly iterations of its most popular headphones. Instead, Beats focuses on addressing any issues the products might have, not being afraid to move to a completely sound different platform if needed. 

Granted, I got instantly hooked on the Studio Buds Plus, but I can't say the same about the Studio Pro. Don't get me wrong; I like the headphones and love the changes Beats introduced. But there are a couple of niggles that hinder the otherwise harmonious audio performance.

The sound profile of the Beats Studio Plus headphones is geared towards fans of lively, energetic music with peppy treble and resonant bass. Mid is better than it used to be on the Beats Studio 3, but still imperfect. 

If you're looking for a pair of noise-cancelling over-ear headphones that can make your favourite beats (pun intended) come alive with vigour and vitality, the Beats Studio Pro are worth considering. However, those seeking a more neutral sound signature or audiophile-level soundstage might want to explore other options in the premium headphone market.

Beats Studio Pro review: also consider

Beats Studio Pro review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

For something more premium, check out the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2. It's priced similarly to the Beats Studio Pro and has immaculate audio performance as well as superb build quality you'd expect from the bard. Read Simon's brilliant Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review.

A well-balanced sound, terrific sound imaging, and effective noise cancellation are only a few of the many things you'll love about the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. If you want to elevate your listening experience without going full audiophile (just yet), this one's an excellent introduction. Read Michelle's full Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.