With a unique transparent design, Beats Studio Buds + are the best looking earbuds that work well with both Apple and Android smartphones.

Beats Studio Buds + are an update to the non-plus Beats Studio Buds that debuted in 2021. Along with improved sound, voice calls, noise cancellation, transparency mode and battery life, the new plus model comes in a unique transparent case and buds design, which is reminiscent of transparent tech products of the past, like the iMac G3 and Gameboy. Black/Gold and Ivory colours are also an option.

Starting with sound quality, a custom acoustic platform, including a two-layer transducer and three acoustic vents, improves audio quality and relieves pressure for long listening sessions. As on the Beats Studio Buds, the plus model support Dolby Atmos spatial audio. Compared to the Beats Studio Buds, the plus model features 3x larger voice-targeting microphones for clear calls, up to 1.6x more Active Noise Cancelling, and up to 2x improved Transparency.

The buds are still IPX4 sweat and water resistant, which should protect you from the rain and heavy exercise. As on the non-plus earbuds, the flat surface is a physical button, which allows you to play/pause, skip foward/back, answer/reject calls, switch ANC/Transparency mode, and active the voice assistant.

As with past Beats, they stand alone in supporting the smart features offered by both Apple and Android phones. On iOS, the Beats Studio Buds + support one-touch pairing, to quickly connect to all devices logged into the same iCloud account, “Hey Siri” hands-free voice assistance, Find My to see the last connected location on a map, automatic software updates, and Control Center integration. On Android, you’ll find support for Google Fast Pair, which instantly pairs with all Android and Chrome devices registered to the same Gmail account, Audio Switch to seamlessly transition between Android and Chromebooks, Google Find My Device which shows the last connected location, as well as the Beats app, for further customization and software updates. Note, there are a few missing features offered by Apple’s top-of-the-line 2nd generation AirPods Pro, such as in-ear detection, Find My ‘Nearby’ tracking, audio sharing, automatic device switching (on Apple devices), personalised spatial audio, head-tracking spatial audio, and the ear tip fit test, to help you decide between the XS, S, M and L sized tips included in the box.

Battery life has also been improved over the Beats Studio Buds. With ANC turned off, the plus model now support up to 36 hours of listening with the case. That’s 9 hours from the earbuds with three additional charges from the case. Turn on ANC or Transparency mode and you’ll get up to 24 hours with the case – 6 hours from the earbuds with three additional charges from the case. With Fast Fuel, pop the buds back in the case for 5 minutes, to get an additional hour of playback. Unfortunately, the Beats Studio Buds + case does not add wireless charging. A USB-C to USB-C cable is included in the box.

The Beats Studio Buds + are available to order today for $169.99. This price sits in their lineup between the Beats Studio Buds at $149.99 and the Beats Fit Pro at $199.99. There are plenty of new and improved features that makes them well worth the $20 over the non-plus model. The $200 Beats Fit Pro, with their wing tip may be more suited for gym use. Those with $200 to spare should also consider the 2nd generation AirPods Pro, which are currently on sale on Amazon. While you sacrifice Android smart features, they offer better audio quality and ANC, as well as wireless charging and more smart features on Apple devices.