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Beats Studio Pro vs Beats Studio 3 Wireless
It’s been several years since the Beats Studio 3 Wireless were released, and now the Apple subsidiary has released the Studio 3 Wireless successor, the Beats Studio Pro. Are the new headphones worth the upgrade? Let’s take a listen.
Editor’s note: this article was published on August 10, 2023, and is the first version of the article. Updates will follow as the market changes.
What’s it like to use the Beats Studio Pro compared to the Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
The Beats Studio Pro succeed the Beats Studio 3 Wireless, and it’s not surprising that they are very similar. However, you could be easily forgiven for mistaking one for the other. Really, the main outward sign that you’re using the newer model is the upgrade from a micro-USB to a USB-C port. It definitely made me do a double-take the first time I saw the new headphones.
It is hard to find any headphones out there that are as similar to their predecessors as the Beats Studio Pro. Of course, that’s not really a good or bad thing, just an issue to be aware of. If you were reading this article because you liked the Beats Studio 3 Wireless and wanted to see if the new headphones are worth it, then this may be all you needed to hear. However, if you didn’t like the older headphones because they were uncomfortable, that hasn’t changed.
If you didn't like the older headphones because they were uncomfortable, that hasn't been fixed.
The newer headphones are 10 grams heavier, still aren’t water resistant, and sport the same plastic exterior design. We don’t recommend either set of headphones for working out. They might work okay for you — it’s just that moisture is a pernicious thing, and can cause unexpected problems with unprotected products.
The biggest difference between the two pairs of headphones is the updated dynamic drivers and internal circuitry of the newer model, which makes the audio quality and ANC much better than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. This also means you can use the headphones in more contexts with the USB connection.
How do you control the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
Controls on both the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Studio 3 Wireless are largely the same, as they primarily make use of clicky buttons hidden within the casing of the ear cup. This means that their shortcomings are shared, too. The clicky buttons can be a bit loud when you’re wearing the headphones, so you might find this annoying. The main difference is how you switch the EQ presets on the Beats Studio Pro, which aren’t available on the Beats Studio 3 Wireless because they’re exclusive to the USB audio feature.
Beats Studio Pro controls:
|Button||Single tap||Double Tap||Triple Tap||Long press|
|Single tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press|
Play / Pause
|Single tapDouble TapTriple TapLong press|
With no USB audio, controlling the Beats Studio 3 Wireless is a bit simpler, as the power button only controls pairing mode and power.
Beats Studio 3 Wireless controls:
|Button||Single press||Double press||Triple press||Press and hold|
|Double press||Triple press||Press and hold|
Play / pause
|Press and hold|
|Double press||Triple press||Press and hold|
Check battery level
|Triple press||Press and hold|
Should you use the apps of either Beats Studio Pro or Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
Considering that both products use the same software, this recommendation is easy: do it. If you have an iOS device, the operating system will handle all of the necessary functions the app would normally provide. If you have an Android phone, the app provides both the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Studio 3 Wireless with firmware updates, allows you to tweak the power button function (slightly), and other features like changing the device name.
Though most headphone apps tend to collect lots of user data, it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton of that going on with the Android app, at least. Of course, if you enable the Find My feature for the Beats Studio Pro, you’ll be sharing location data. Similarly, using voice assistants requires you to share audio and other data by default. Be sure you know what you’re good with beforehand because it can be a little scary when you think about it too hard.
How do the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Studio 3 Wireless connect?
One of the few ways these headphones differ significantly is the connection methods. Though both have a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right earcup, the Beats Studio 3 Wireless only have Bluetooth 4.0 and no wired digital input. The Beats Studio Pro, on the other hand, use Bluetooth 5.3 and has USB-C digital audio input (allowing lossless, digital playback) on the left ear cup.
Though both headphones support SBC and AAC, the newer version of Bluetooth should pay dividends in future compatibility with updated standards and features. Additionally, this version of Bluetooth should support LE audio, so it’s conceivable that a future update may use this capability.
Is battery life better on the Beats Studio Pro or Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
While we don’t have standardized testing to stack these headphones against each other, anecdotally, in real-world use, the battery life is better on the Beats Studio Pro than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. However, as Adam Molina (who reviewed the Studio 3) and I have different listening habits, that should not be taken as gospel. New headphones offer improved power efficiency (Bluetooth tends to get better about this from version to version), so even if the power cells vary in size, you’ll get more out of less with the newer product.
Do the Beats Studio Pro have better active noise canceling than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
As expected, the Beats Studio Pro have better ANC than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. It’s not really a fair comparison, given the years between release dates, but it is worth noting that this is one of the few straight upgrades to be had with the newer headphones. In large part, it seems like the Beats Studio Pro are able to isolate better (undoubtedly helped by the strong clamping force) than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless, making the whole task a fair bit easier for the newer cans.
That’s not to say that the Beats Studio 3 Wireless aren’t decent — on the contrary, the ANC is one of the better things about these headphones — but it’s been a long time since these headphones were released!
This is a noticeable upgrade, however, and the benefits here — namely the much-improved noise reduction in the sub-1kHz region — will allow you to listen to your music at a lower volume when you’re out and about, meaning you are more likely to avoid accidentally giving yourself noise-induced hearing loss.
How does the Beats Studio Pro sound quality compare to the Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
The Beats Studio Pro sound better than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless, and it’s not a particularly close contest. Not only are the older headphones laden with poor tuning choices, but the newer Beats Studio Pro have a slew of improvements in this area, including USB-C connectivity (allowing lossless digital audio) that simply make this a one-sided beatdown.
Beats has made great strides in its audio products since the Beats Studio 3 Wireless were released, and nowhere is it more apparent than the Beats Studio Pro. The newer headphones have fixed all of the weird issues found on the older ones, especially the performance in the mids and bass. The older headphones also had a comparatively lower emphasis on highs, making the bass appear louder. The opposite is true for the Beats Studio Pro: highs are now more prominent, and bass is about where it should be.
A notable plus with the Beats Studio Pro is that you’re not limited to Bluetooth or wired listening via an analog connection. The USB-C port on the bottom of the left ear cup gives the job of decoding audio to the headphones, rather than your source device’s digital-to-analog convertor (DAC). This means you can enjoy lossless audio without the compression of lossy Bluetooth connections or unnecessary conversions between digital and analog.
There seems to be the misconception that lossless audio is automatically better than what you’d get from a lower-tier streaming service, but the truth is that it comes with several tradeoffs for marginal benefit. Now that Bluetooth has come so far, you won’t notice a massive difference in fidelity while you’re in a noisy environment like a train or bus. Even at home when it’s reasonably quiet, you might have a hard time picking out the difference between compressed media and lossless.
What’s the microphone quality like on the Beats Studio Pro and Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
You’ll notice right away that the microphones of the Beats Studio Pro are a lot less sensitive (quieter) than that of the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. Depending on the application, though, your phone can automatically apply gain to the signal to fix any volume issues.
Beats Studio Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Beats Studio 3 Wireless microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Beats Studio Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):
Beats Studio 3 Wireless microphone demo (Street conditions):
Beats Studio Pro vs Beats Studio 3 Wireless: Price and availability
Given that the Beats Studio 3 Wireless are so old and probably on its way out, it might be time to forget they exist. However, they’re still worth taking a flyer on at a sale price. They’re already about half the cost of the Beats Studio Pro (currently selling for $149.99 at Best Buy), so any further discounts would mean their shortcomings will be that much easier to tolerate. However, that does mean that you will be missing out on the advanced features of the Beats Studio Pro, and they definitely will feel ancient pretty quickly with the micro-USB charging port.
The Beats Studio Pro are still sitting at their release price of $349.99 at Amazon, and will be slowly replacing the Beats Studio 3 Wireless on shelves in big box electronics stores as stock of the latter product dwindles. As Beats is one of the most popular brands of headphones out there, there is absolutely zero reason to believe that it will disappear from the market any time soon.
Should you get the Beats Studio Pro or Beats Studio 3 Wireless?
Neither of these headphones will top anyone’s list for the best noise canceling headphones out there, but the Beats Studio Pro is a much better bet for the long term than the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. Not only do they sound better and have more effective ANC, but they have a modern connector that’s still in use with smartphones and other mobile tech today. At this point, there’s really no reason outside of cost to pick up the older headphones, but even that isn’t very wise because you’re only delaying the need for an upgrade by spending the money on the older headphones.
Of course, we’re pretty cool on the Beats Studio Pro to begin with because they’re best matched with smaller ears and heads. So you might want to shop around if you find that your headphones are a little on the small side for you. However, if you know you want either the Beats Studio 3 Wireless or the Beats Studio Pro: get the Beats Studio Pro.
Frequently asked questions
No. Neither set of headphones are waterproof, nor do they bear an ingress protection rating that would indicate this.
Despite the tighter fit being able to keep each set of headphones on your noggin during periods of heavy movement, we don’t recommend these headphones for working out.
The Beats Studio Pro support head-tracked spatial audio, though you’ll need an iOS device to use it.
Yes, but for the PS5, you might want to use the wired connection, and for the Xbox, you’ll likely use the adapter or the headphone jack on the controller.