Should You Spend $350 Or $550?

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Summary

  • Beats Studio Pro and AirPods Max have different aesthetics, with the former being sporty and the latter sleek. The Studio Pro are lighter and more comfortable for prolonged usage.
  • The Beats Studio Pro have adaptive noise cancelation and support high-fidelity lossless audio, while the AirPods Max have better noise cancelation and a transparency mode. Both offer Personalized Spatial Audio and Dynamic Head Tracking.
  • Beats Studio Pro offer more connectivity options, working with both iOS and Android devices, while AirPods Max are more suited to Apple users. The Studio Pro also have longer battery life and faster charging.

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Apple‘s Beats audio brand has released the Studio Pro over-ear noise-canceling headphones, but do they stand a chance against the AirPods Max? The Beats Studio Pro mark the company’s return to the flagship headphones category after six long years. They take after the Studio 3s that were released in 2017, but offer much more in terms of specifications and features. In comparison, the AirPods Max came out in 2020. Ever since, the headphones have held their ground as the most premium AirPods in Apple’s lineup.

The Beats Studio Pro and AirPods Max have very different aesthetics. The former feature a sporty look with plastic construction, engineered leather cushions, and metal touches. In contrast, the AirPods Max have a sleek design with an aluminum frame, knit mesh headband, and breathable mesh earcups. However, the premium materials add bulk to the AirPods Max (384.8 grams). The Beats Studio Pro (260 grams) should be more comfortable, especially for prolonged usage. Apple offers five vibrant finishes for the AirPods Max, including Green, Pink, Sky Blue, Space Gray, and Silver, whereas the Beats Studio Pro are available in Black, Deep Brown, Navy, and Sandstone.

Related: AirPods Pro 2 Vs. Beats Studio Buds: Should You Spend An Extra $100?


Beats Studio Pro Vs. AirPods Max: Audio & Noise Cancelation

Image of the Beats Studio Pro and the AirPods Max

Under the hood, the Studio Pros have a custom 40mm driver based on Beats’ acoustic platform for enhanced clarity, minimal distortion at high volumes, and a balanced sound profile. Even though the AirPods Max also feature a 40mm driver that produces clean highs and accurate mids, they have a bass-heavy sound signature.

Like other premium headphones, both devices offer active noise cancelation, albeit with a slightly different implementation. The Beats Studio Pro feature adaptive noise cancelation, which can cut out background noise at up to 48,000 times per second with the help of six microphones and a custom processor. The Beats Studio Pro also support high-fidelity lossless audio via the USB-C port.

On the other hand, AirPods Max offered the best-in-class noise cancelation at launch, with eight dedicated microphones and an H1 chip. Therefore, they should still have a slight edge over the Studio Pro. They also have a better Transparency Mode. Other common features on both devices include Personalized Spatial Audio, Dynamic Head Tracking, and Dolby Atmos. Both headphones have a dedicated button that cycles through the noise-canceling modes, although there’s no power button on the AirPods Max.

Beats Studio Pro Vs. AirPods Max: Connectivity & Battery

Image of the Beats Studio Pro in navy blue color

Regarding connectivity, Beats’ new headphones offer Bluetooth 5.3, a USB-C port, and a 3.5-mm headphone jack. Further, all their high-end features, including multipoint connectivity and quick pairing, work on both iOS and Android smartphones. Android users will need to download the Beats companion app from Play Store to access the entire array of features. The AirPods Max are better suited to users invested in the Apple ecosystem, as features like Active Noise Cancelation, Transparency Mode, and Automatic Switching aren’t available when using the headphones with an Android device. In terms of connectivity, users only get Bluetooth 5.0 and a Lightning Port (for charging only).

Beats claims that the Studio Pro can last up to 24 hours with ANC or Transparency Mode and up to 40 hours with the features turned off. They also offer fast charging, providing four hours of playtime with a 10-minute charge. The AirPods Max last up to 20 hours with ANC or Transparency Mode, and a five-minute charge results in about 1.5 hours of listening time. The AirPods Max also come with a Smart Case, which puts them into a low power mode to extend battery life.

In the end, choosing between the Beats Studio Pro and AirPods Max comes down to two main factors – compatibility and price. For Android and Windows users, the Beats Studio Pro are the obvious choice, given that they’re not locked into the Apple ecosystem. For Apple users, the AirPods Max are the overall better option, but only if they can justify spending $550 instead of $350.

Source: Apple, Beats