Beats has been busy. After releasing the Studio Buds earlier this yr, at this time the Apple-owned model is again with the extra premium Beats Match Professional wi-fi earbuds. It’s uncommon to see two utterly new merchandise from Beats in a single yr, however maybe the corporate is attempting to make a degree that it’s not idly sitting by and taking part in second fiddle to Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Professional. If something, the $200 Match Execs display that Beats has discovered its focus.
The Match Execs are a splendidly designed pair of earbuds that combine one of the best of Apple tech. They’ve received energetic noise cancellation that’s on par with the AirPods Professional. The identical spatial audio with dynamic head monitoring. The identical Adaptive EQ. They even have the brand-new pores and skin detect sensor that solely simply debuted within the third-generation AirPods. There’ve been many questions on the place Beats matches into Apple’s long-term plans, and whereas a single product can’t actually present a solution to that, the Match Execs are strong proof that this model isn’t being pushed to the wayside anytime quickly.
Once I reviewed the Studio Buds, I praised their ambition and Beats’ try to cater to Android customers as a lot as iPhone homeowners. However regardless of their nice consolation, good sound, and compact design, these earbuds had some key lacking options and fell a bit flat on execution. Not so with the Beats Match Execs. They’re precisely what you’d need them to be.
These are one of the best earbuds Beats has ever made.
As Beats explains it, the Match Execs are supposed to fill a niche in its lineup between the Studio Buds and Powerbeats / Powerbeats Professional. Their wing suggestions make them extra gym-ready than the Studio Buds, however they don’t go so far as together with the Powerbeats’ signature hooks that wrap round your ears. I’ve marathon runner pals who swear by the ear hooks and say nothing comes near that stability for vigorous exercise. However Beats thinks it has discovered a fantastic different with the Match Execs — all in a design that’s far more compact, light-weight, and cozy than the Powerbeats.
The Match Execs are available a case that’s mainly a miniaturized model of the Powerbeats Professional case. Simply as with these, there’s no wi-fi charging — a really irritating omission at this worth — however the case at the very least makes use of USB-C as an alternative of Lightning. A longstanding gripe with the Powerbeats Professional is they are often finicky with charging until you place them within the case good. Their ear hooks make it simple to get this incorrect, and on many events I’ve gone to make use of them solely to seek out one earbud absolutely charged and the opposite utterly drained. I’m blissful to say this isn’t one thing it’s worthwhile to fret about with the Match Execs: every earbud drops into its cradle with a reassuring magnetic pull and I’ve skilled zero charging mishaps. The lid has a little bit extra play than I’d like, however I might be nitpicky about that type of factor.
As for the buds themselves, they’ve received a novel look due to their everlasting, curved wing suggestions. Beats is promoting them in black, grey, white, and a pinkish purple. The grey and purple have gotten one of the best suggestions amongst Verge employees. At 5.6 grams per earbud, they weigh in barely heavier than the AirPods Professional however lighter than some fitness-geared buds just like the Jaybird Vista 2s. The brand new Jabra Elite 7 Energetic buds are a hair lighter at 5.5 grams. Regardless, the Beats are extraordinarily snug and still have microventing to alleviate ear stress buildup.
Beats could be very happy with how a lot it crammed into the Match Execs, which have the corporate’s smallest enclosure but — not counting the wing suggestions, clearly. They comprise 30 p.c extra elements than the Studio Buds and the transducer is 15 p.c bigger. Three sizes of silicone ear suggestions come within the field, together with a brief USB-C cable.
However what about these wing suggestions? They’re meant to assist the earbuds keep put. However I’ve discovered that on some earbuds, just like the second-gen Pixel Buds, these wing suggestions and numbs may cause discomfort the longer you put on them, so there’s undoubtedly a threat in Beats making them a everlasting a part of the design. However the firm says it sweated the main points over the wing’s form and materials. And after a number of days spent testing the Match Execs — typically for a number of hours at a time — I haven’t seen any soreness. The wing tip is versatile and pliable sufficient that it doesn’t press into the concha of your ear in an annoying approach. You’ll really feel it there throughout prolonged listening, don’t get me incorrect, however at most it produces a little bit itchiness as an alternative of extra severe irritation. And you may alleviate that simply by adjusting the earbuds.
Beats says it designed the wing suggestions for “each ear possible,” however ears are all completely different, and there’ll all the time be exceptions. That mentioned, I let a number of individuals strive the Match Execs and even these with small ears may discover a approach to make the wing tip work for them and mentioned it resulted in a extra regular general match. They handed the health club check and didn’t come even barely unfastened throughout excessive depth runs. Additionally they stayed in whereas consuming, one thing that’s a problem for a lot of earbuds. The Match Execs are rated IPX4 for water and sweat resistance, which is satisfactory for exercise functions, however under the IP57 of Jabra’s newest energetic buds.
Just like the Studio Buds, these have a pleasant and clicky “b” button on every earbud with the standard management scheme: press as soon as to play / pause / reply name, twice to skip to the following monitor, and 3 times to return. However there’s one attention-grabbing tidbit: for the primary time, you’ll be able to remap a protracted press to regulate quantity as an alternative of toggling noise cancellation or summoning Siri. This may be finished proper within the iOS settings menu and is one thing that the AirPods Professional can’t do, nor can the Beats Studio Buds. I like having the choice, even when I ended up sticking with the defaults. Convey that remapping functionality to your different earbuds, Apple.
Beats has outfitted its newest earbuds with 9.5mm drivers, and so they produce very satisfying sound high quality that I’d rank above the AirPods Professional. This isn’t the bloated bass Beats of outdated: the corporate shed that popularity fairly a very long time in the past. The Match Professional buds may need barely much less general growth and oomph than the Powerbeats Execs, actually, however switching forwards and backwards between the 2, it was shut — and I most well-liked the extra refined sound of the newer buds. If there’s one weak spot I’ve seen, it’s most quantity. The Match Execs appear to have a decrease quantity ceiling than a few of their opponents, so when you are likely to crank issues up for motivation throughout a run or health routine, you could be underwhelmed.
In contrast to the Studio Buds, which didn’t have Apple’s standard earbud chipset inside, the Match Execs have the H1 and all of the options that come together with that. The principle advantages are:
- Dynamic head monitoring for spatial audio
- Automated machine switching between iPhone, iPad, and Mac
- Automated syncing with your whole iCloud gadgets
- Audio sharing
- Discover My integration
- Arms-free “Hey Siri” voice instructions
Beats notes that a whole lot of different performance — ANC, transparency mode, one-step setup, Apple Music spatial audio (minus head monitoring) — works simply as effectively on Android as on iOS. You’ll want the Beats app for some issues like management customization and extra detailed battery standing. The Studio Buds supported Android’s native Quick Pair function, however the Match Execs don’t. That’s not stunning contemplating there’s as soon as once more Apple silicon inside. Nevertheless it signifies that there’s an additional layer of seamlessness when utilizing the Match Execs inside Apple’s ecosystem. You will get a lot of the approach there on Android, however not fairly.
As I discussed earlier, the Match Execs basically have the identical noise cancellation system because the AirPods Professional — additionally powered by the H1 chip. Efficiency between the 2 is kind of similar, and transparency mode sounds pure right here in the identical approach it does on the Execs (with the identical sound results as you turn between modes). When ANC is off, Beats refers to this as “Adaptive EQ” mode. That’s the place you’ll get one of the best battery life: seven hours of steady playback and as much as 30 hours together with case recharges. Utilizing ANC or transparency drops these figures to 6 hours and 27 hours, respectively, so that you’re not dropping a lot regardless of the way you’re utilizing the buds. Beats says you’ll get an hour of playback (with ANC) from a fast five-minute prime off, and absolutely recharging each earbuds and the case takes round 90 minutes.
The Match Professional buds additionally embrace Apple’s new pores and skin detect sensor, first seen within the newest AirPods, for extra correct computerized play / pause when eliminated out of your ears. This sensor can inform the distinction between pores and skin and different tight confines like pant pockets, so the earbuds are much less prone to resume taking part in whenever you don’t need them to.
Voice name efficiency is sort of good however falls in need of the AirPods. If you happen to’re sporting one of many earbuds alone, three mics are used for voice calls. When each earbuds are in use, the voice system leverages 5 mics. The Match Execs make the most of beamforming mics and voice detection algorithms to assist isolate your voice from background commotion. My co-workers heard me loud and clear on Zoom calls, and folks I chatted with on the cellphone mentioned I sounded fantastic, if barely much less pronounced as when utilizing the AirPods.
The Match Execs efficiently thread the needle between on a regular basis and fitness-focused earbuds. They’re objectively a better option than the AirPods Professional for exercises and operating, and so they deal with extra informal listening equally as effectively. They enhance upon the lackluster noise cancellation that dragged down the Studio Buds, and so they restore Apple’s full arsenal of ecosystem tips. Additionally they deliver again options that Beats ignored final time like in-ear detection. Making wing suggestions a part of the core design was a raffle, and there’ll little question be circumstances the place that call causes points for some individuals. All I can say is these are among the many most snug wing suggestions I’ve ever had in my ears — and so they succeed at their goal of protecting the Match Execs locked in place.
If you happen to already personal a set of AirPods or purchased the Studio Buds earlier this yr, these aren’t a will need to have. However when you’ve been trying to find one thing worthy of changing your Powerbeats Professional, the Beats Match Professional would possibly simply be the ticket. They’re the sporty AirPod Execs lots of people have been ready for.
Images by Chris Welch / The Verge