Beats' $80 Solo Buds Have a Continuous Battery Life That's 3x Longer Than AirPods 3

Finally, a more affordable option from Apple, sort of.

Beats $79.99 Solo Buds wireless earbuds in red with transparent red charging case

Your current best bet for an affordable pair of Apple wireless earbuds is the second-generation AirPods. But there’s a new Apple-made budget king as of today: Beats has announced its new Solo Buds, priced at only $79.99.

The Solo Buds may not carry the AirPods branding, but since Beats is owned by Apple, these rank as the most affordable wireless buds option under the tech giant’s umbrella. We shouldn’t take away from Beats as an individual brand, since the Solo Buds are also the cheapest choice in its own lineup. With solid battery life and a compact charging case (and wired charging capability via a phone), Solo Buds are gonna be very popular stocking stuffers.

Beats shrunk the case design and housed the battery in the wireless earbuds themselves with the Solo Buds.


Some Understandable Compromises

At such an affordable price point, we’re not surprised that the Solo Buds don’t offer active noise-cancellation (ANC). For that, you’d have to shell out a little more money for the Studio Buds. However, no ANC means the Solo Buds are even more comparable to Apple’s 3rd-gen AirPods.

It’s hard to determine audio quality without using the wireless earbuds, but Beats says the Solo Buds have a custom-built architecture and an audio profile designed to reduce music distortion. For call quality, each earbud has a microphone and relies on a noise-learning algorithm to block out unwanted noise. You won’t have to worry about the wireless earbuds slipping out of your ear either since they have an ergonomic design and can be customized with four included ear tip sizes.

Beats’ tiny case for its Solo Buds won’t get in the way.


A New Way to Charge

Looking at the charging case, the compact form factor is a major giveaway about the Solo Buds’ unique design. Instead of recharging the buds when you put them inside of the charging case like on pretty much all other wireless earbuds, the case doesn’t have a built-in battery. Instead, you put the empty buds into the case, and then plug it in through its USB-C port. The result is pretty impressive: The buds themselves can last up to 18 hours of listening time. For comparison, AirPods 3 only last 6 hours continuously on a single charge.

Also, unlike AirPods (or other wireless earbuds, for that matter), the Solo Buds can even be charged by connecting to your iPhone 15, Android smartphone, tablet, or laptop. With Beats’ Fast Fuel tech, you can get 1 hour of playback with just 5 minutes of charging. If you’re stranded without any power outlets nearby, at least you have a way to survive the day. The Solo Buds overall 18-hour battery life may not be as impressive as the AirPods 3’s 30 hours of charge (which factors in the case), but you also can’t charge them with your iPhone.

Let’s see your AirPods charge like this.


Solo Buds Release Date

The Solo Buds will be available starting in June in four colors: black, purple, gray, and transparent red. We’d argue that the transparent colorway looks more translucent, similar to Beats’ Studio Buds+, which has an attractive translucent white option. It’s a lot more interesting than Apple’s plain white AirPods design, that’s for sure.

While your money is still going to Apple, the Solo Buds does represent a better value-oriented deal than the 3rd-gen AirPods $169) and even second-gen AirPods ($129 full price and typically $99 on sale).

Related Tags