Beats Studio Buds Plus vs. Sony WF-1000XM4

By Tinh Lee, October 1, 2023

Probably you've seen a lot of positive reviews on both the Beats Studio Buds + and Sony WF-1000XM4 and you’re uncertain which one is the best bang for the buck. It depends on your use cases and your sounding profile preference, and we’ve made comparisons for you based on the fit and comfort, build quality, sound quality, ANC performance and voice call quality.

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 at a glance

 Beats Studio Buds +Sony WF-1000XM4
Release yearMay, 2023Jul, 2021
Photo Beats Studio Buds + Sony WF-1000XM4
Bluetooth versionBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.2
Battery lifeRated up to 9.00 hoursRated up to 8.00 hours
Weight5.00 grams (per bud)7.40 grams (per bud)
Water-resistantIPX4 (earbuds only)IPX4 (earbuds only)
Driverø8.2mm dual-element dynamic driversø6mm Dynamic Driver
Noise reduction Tech3 Mic with Noise Reduction3 microphones (2 for NC and 1 for voice call)
Fast charging5 mins = 1 hour5 mins = 1 hour
Wireless charging caseNoYes, Qi Wireless Charging
Transparency modeYesYes
MultipointAuto-switching between Apple devicesYes
Personalized hearingNoNo
Spatial AudioApple's Spatial AudioSony's 360 Reality Audio
HR Tracking
Dynamic head tracking

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: The good and The bad

 Beats Studio Buds +Sony WF-1000XM4
Pros Great for making and taking voice calls, Lightweight with secure fit, Comfortable fit Top-notch build quality, Excellent bass performance
Cons No wireless charging, No spatial audio with head tracking, Missing: in-ear detection sensor May be a bit big, bulky, Expensive
Short reviewThe good is made to the better. Redesigned to the transparent housing - you're exposed to the components that's haven't been seen on the old Beats Studio. The Beats Studio Buds Plus are not the most secure fit earbuds we've tested, but they deliver excellent call quality, solid NC performance and just a better sound for sports. The XM4 did a great job on how the emphasis distributes over ranges. In order of bass, mid, treble the emphasis becomes less. This makes the sound feel way more richness, less harsh on treble. Balanced with strong bass but won't lose characteristic of treble.

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Fit and Comfort

The Beats Studio Buds + are the refine look and feel of original Studio Buds, they even have a translucent model for both earbuds and charging case, which the inner components are exposed, and what we see is novel. Apple claimed they redesigned both hardware and the look of the original Studio Buds. We closely inspected, found out that not much change in earbud housings, just refining some ead and layout.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have a weight of 7.40 grams for each bud (vs 5.00 grams) and they offer better noise isolation, especially with foam tips. The Beats Studio Buds + are smaller in size. We took both pairs for running and the Beats Studio Buds + fit even more snugly and more comfortably.

Charging case:Beats Studio Buds +vs wireless charging Sony WF-1000XM4

The Beats Studio Buds + case measures 72 x 51 x 25.5 mm vs Beats Studio Buds + measures 69 x 30 x 30 mm. Both are portable and pocket-friendly. 

Winner: Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: App and Control

The Beats Studio Buds + have control with Siri and control button, you control everything with a physical button located on outer surface of earbud.

On either earbuds, you can press once to play/pause the mussic, answer/end a call or answer a second coming call, press and hold to decline an incoming call, press 3 times to stop listening from your earbuds and send the call to your phone. For track navigation, press the control button twice to skip to the next track, press 3 times to listen to the previous track. Apple doesn't give users option to control volume by pressing the button, you have to tell Siri to increase/decrease the volume to do so or do it on the music app you're listening to. You can also toggle back and forth between ANC, Transparency mode by press and hold the control button. 

There are a few reports that users may sometimes accidentally tap the control button on Beats Studio Buds +, while adjust earbuds in their ears. If it's true and happens a lot the winner will be Sony WF-1000XM4.

For Sony WF-1000XM4, on the left you control the Ambient Sound and ANC modes, just tap to toggle back and forth between modes or switch them off. 

On the right you can tap to play/pause the music, double tap to skip to the next track, double tap to listen to the previous track. The WF-1000XM4 have a default setting that doesn't allow to change the volume on the earbuds, you have to adjust on your phones or do the control customization on Sony|Headphones Connect apps, you can assign the function to the touch control following, tap the touch panel to increase volumen by 1 increment, or tap and hold to decrease the volume and realease until you get the desired volume level. 

On both earbuds, you can double tap to answer a phone call/end call.

On Sony|Headphones Connect app you can also customize the control to activate the voice assistant - for example tap and hold on either buds to trigger Google voice assistant (this is equal to "OK Google")

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Call quality

The both works quite well for calls in quiet environments, however, the Beats Studio Buds + have clearer, louder voice call. When increasing the background noise, like it gets a bit more windy or people chatting in coffee shop, the other end will start to hear a bit more cracking sound and difficult to hear your voice - probably because they pick up the noise, and the mic with algorithm isn't that good at separating your voice from noises. 

Winner: Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Sound quality

The Beats Studio Buds + have lively, dynamic and energetic sound. The bass is deep, and improved in both amount and quality, and feel less distortion compared to the orginal Studio Buds. Beats just keeps the orginal sound and fine-tune it better - in both clarity and enhancement over ranges. But over ranges the Sony WF-1000XM4 render the sound in a more refined way, bass feels more rumbling and detailed, mids are warm and highs are present. You may feel the Beats Studio Buds +'sound more energetic since they sound a bit forward (neutral mid growing up), but less rich than XM4. 

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Battery life

There is a slight improvement in battery life, the Beats Studio Buds + provide up to 9 hours of listening time and more 27 hours in the case, for Sony WF-1000XM4 you get 8 hours of listening time and their case includes another 16 hours of juice. 

Winner: Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Codecs

iPhone users don't care much about codecs since Apple implements the AAC brilliantly. Just in case you (as Android users may be concerned about) want know which codec both pairs support. 

The Beats Studio Buds + support AAC, SBC while Sony WF-1000XM4 support AAC, LDAC, SBC

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Immersive Sound

The Beats Studio Buds + and Sony WF-1000XM4 support 3D surround, Apple spatial audio and Sony 360 Reality Audio, respectively. It depends on the content for immersive sound, while spatial audio relies on the Dolby Atmos content, the Sony WF-1000XM4's 3D surround does require compatible content mixed, mastered with Sony's 360 Reality Audio. When played on both pair the performance is varied depending on the tracks. 

Winner: Draw

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Noise Cancelling Performance

After conducting some test in harsh conditions (intense noise background) we can conclude that the Studio Buds Plus are not on a par with the Sony WF-1000XM4, despite Apple claimed the Beats Studio Buds + perform 1.6x better than the original Studio Buds in term of noise cancellation.

However, the Beats Studio Buds +'s transparency mode is also better than Sony WF-1000XM4, listening ambient sound feels more real and natural, and its quite close as if your weren't wearing earbuds.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Beats Studio Buds + vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Which pair should you buy?

The $93 Sony WF-1000XM4 cost more than the $149 Beats Studio Buds + at the time of writing (sometimes they are they on sale with much cheaper prices), they offer better ANC performance and sound, feature EQ and wireless charging case. The $149 Sony WF-1000XM4 offer better transparency mode, voice call quality and more comfortable fit. 

Winner: Beats Studio Buds +