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Beats Studio Buds Review: Balance and Sacrifice
Beats’ earbuds are getting into the active noise cancellation game, with the Beats Studio Buds also promising a much smaller package and more flexible product than its previous wireless headphones. The ANC earbud and headphone space is hotly-competitive right now, with mainstays like Apple’s AirPods Pro going toe-to-toe with Sony’s new WF-1000XM4, Google’s Pixel Buds A, and a host of rivals. The big question, then, is whether Beats’ mix of tight cross-platform compatibility can give its $149.99 Studio Buds an edge.
First impressions are off to a good start: it’s a far more convenient charging case than we’ve seen before from Beats, measuring in at 51.5 x 73 x 25.6 mm and 48 grams. The company’s packaging deserves a mention, too: the tiny box is also its smallest yet, and is made of 92-percent plant-based material that apparently comes from recycled fiber and sustainably-managed forests.
2023’s Powerbeats Pro – which remain on-sale alongside the Studio Buds, rather than being replaced by them – were among my favorites for general comfort, not least because of their soft earband. Studio Buds, like most of their rivals, rely on the silicone ear-tip to hold them in place. Beats says it considered thousands of different ear shapes as it figured out the small, medium, and large sets that come in the box.
Now, I have finicky ears, and that can make getting wireless earbuds to fit – and stay in place – tricky. With Studio Buds the result is good, but not quite as sticky as Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro. I wish Beats included a set of silicone “fins” like the new Pixel Buds A do, for a little extra security, though again I suspect I’m an edge case. Once they’re in place, each earbud is a little over 5 grams, and comfortable for extended wear; they’re also IPX4 water and sweat resistant.
While most rivals have opted for capacitive controls, Beats sticks resolutely with a physical multi-function button. A series of taps can control music playback or calls – one tap to play/pause; two to skip forward; three to skip back, for example – while a long-press switches between ANC modes. I like the button, and there’s definitely no uncertainty over whether you’ve pressed it or not, though it can be easy to accidentally tap when you’re pushing the Studio Buds into your ears.
By default, the long-press on each earbud is mapped to the same thing. You can change that, though, so that it triggers Siri – if you’d rather not use the “Hey Siri” wake word – or the Google Assistant, depending on whether you’re paired to an iOS or Android device. iPhone users will find those options in the iOS settings, while Android users will need to install the Beats app first; that also handles things like firmware updates. Usefully, Beats has also baked in “Find My” support for iOS and “Find My Device” support for Android, though you don’t get iCloud pairing sync, automatic Apple device switching, or audio sharing support as AirPods offer because the Studio Buds don’t use Apple’s H1 or W1 chip.
On the audio side, there’s a custom 8.2mm driver and a two-chamber acoustic design, relying on a two-piece diaphragm which Beats say was specially made with ANC in mind. Over the years, the company’s association with bass-heavy tuning has been tempered somewhat, and in fact Studio Buds are unexpectedly balanced in that regard. There’s low-end, sure, but not the heaping of extreme bass that you might first expect.
Still, it makes for enjoyable listening, plus a set of earbuds that aren’t just tilted toward dance, RnB, and rap. In fact the Studio Buds did better at classical than I expected, with an expansive soundstage and clean high-end that didn’t stumble into piercing shrillness. If anything I could’ve done with a little more bass thump; the bone-jarring rumble in Billie Eilish’s “Bury a Friend,” for example, fell short of the borderline-distortion that other headphones can deliver.
The flip side is that you can literally wear Studio Buds for hours and it’s not tiring. That’s thanks in part to a vented design, but the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) helps there of course. It’s a homegrown system, Beats says, rather than what Apple uses in its AirPods Pro or AirPods Max.
Beats’ handiwork is solid, though not quite what Apple’s (more expensive) earbuds deliver; there’s just that bit more outside noise that still makes it through. I do like how easy it is to switch between full ANC and Beats’ Transparency mode, though. That pipes through just enough environmental noise so as to leave you a little safer while trying to navigate busy urban streets, or have a quick conversation without pulling an earbud out first. You can also toggle between the two – or turn the system off altogether – in the settings.
Something I’ve missed is an in-ear sensor. With many other wireless earbuds, when you take one out of your ear the music automatically pauses; put it back, and it resumes again. It’s a neat way to handle those moments where you need to interact with the outside world, but sadly the Studio Buds lack the sensor for it; Beats argues it would’ve taken up too much space. Yes, I could switch on Transparency mode for those impromptu chats, but I still feel a little awkward with earbuds in when I’m talking to someone, even if I know I can hear them just fine. In calls, the microphones are underwhelming, with callers reporting more trouble hearing me when I was outside than I’d expected them to have.
Studio Buds also support Spatial Audio. If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, tracks that support the Dolby Atmos-powered system will play by default, and as you move your head the soundstage will move around you accordingly. It’s a mighty clever thing, though right now Spatial Audio songs are in the extreme minority. Beats includes a four-month Apple Music trial if you’re not already a subscriber.
As for battery life, Beats says you should see 5 hours of music playback with ANC switched on from the earbuds, or 8 hours with ANC off. The case has enough battery for two full recharges of the earbuds: so, with ANC on, you’re looking at 15 hours in total, or up to 24 hours with it off. 5 minutes in the case is enough for an hour of ANC-off playback.
Beats’ numbers lined up pretty well with my own experience, and I liked being able to use a USB-C charger with the Studio Buds’ case rather than Lightning. The downside is that there’s no wireless charging support.
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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Review – ANC in the big leagues
Active noise cancelling earbuds were arguably the stand-out product of 2023, and Samsung is starting out the new year with its latest offering, the Galaxy Buds Pro. Launching alongside the Galaxy S21 family of smartphones, the new earbuds promise not only audio isolation from the hubbub of homeschooling and working from home, but the option to intelligently blend the real world with your bubble of silence.
It’s hardly a segment with no competition, however. Apple’s AirPods Pro are arguably the best-known, but there’s no shortage of alternatives from familiar names and otherwise. At $199.99, the Galaxy Buds Pro aren’t the most expensive out there, but they definitely sit in the premium category. To justify that, they need to stand out.
The charging case is the same as we saw on the Galaxy Buds Live, a squared-off clamshell with a USB-C port on the back and support for wireless charging. Flip it open and the two earbuds nestle magnetically inside, with a multi-color LED to show charging or pairing status. Samsung says you’ll get up to 5 hours of playback from each earbud with ANC on, or 8 hours with it off; the case adds a further 13 hours or 20 hours, respectively. Five minutes of charging in the case adds enough juice for about an hour’s more listening. I’ve found Samsung’s numbers to be accurate in my testing.
You can wear them more places, safely, too. There’s now an IPX7 rating for water resistance – making the Galaxy Buds Pro safe in fresh water for up to 30 minutes at up to one meter’s depth – which means rain and sweat are no problem. They’re not designed for swimming, though.
I have fussy ears when it comes to in-ear buds, particularly those which need a tight seal in order to deliver decent ANC performance. While I was a little skeptical initially about the way the Galaxy Buds Pro fit into your ears – the eartips at the bottom, with the rest of the bud nestled into your ear – and the fact that, at 6.3g apiece, they’re heavier than each 5.4g AirPods Pro, they actually turned out to be surprisingly comfortable.
One of the things Samsung says it has improved is how much the Galaxy Buds Pro protrude from your ear this time around. The Galaxy Buds Live looked a little like bubbles of liquid metal had settled on the side of your head; these new earbuds are definitely smaller and less obtrusive. Quite honestly, I wish Samsung had gone for a matte-finish top cap rather than the shiny version, as that would’ve left them even more surreptitious.
The design may not stand out, but the audio certainly does. There’s a 6.5mm tweeter and 11mm woofer in each unit, and I’ve been more than impressed both by the amount of bass on offer and the clarity of the high-end. I’d go so far as to say they’re the best-sounding Samsung earbuds for music so far, and the nice thing is that you don’t even need to tweak the EQ mode for that to be the case.
There’s more bass than you get from AirPods, and the soundstage is fuller and richer. If it’s absolute masses of bass you’re after, I think Sony’s WF-1000XM3 still have the edge – even with the Galaxy Buds Pro in “bass boost” mode – but Samsung’s sound is more balanced and its earbuds are definitely more discreet than the beefy Sonys.
If you’re using a Samsung phone then the Galaxy Buds Pro rely on the company’s own Scalable codec, potentially cranking up to a higher bitrate than the AAC and SBC codecs the earbuds also support, Bluetooth connection strength depending. Of course you don’t get that if you’re using them with an iPhone (though they’re otherwise compatible for the most part) but in my general listening I can’t say I particularly noticed a difference.
As for the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Samsung uses a mixture of external and internal microphones, along with its Wind Shield system to digitally and physically cut down on external sound and wind noise. The boast is 99-percent of external background noise can be cut out, though as always with ANC earbuds you’ll need to make sure you have a tight seal with the right sized eartips first.
Samsung offers two levels of full ANC – high and low – along with the option to turn it off completely. Or, you can switch to Ambient Sound mode, which offers a blend of ANC and external noise, adjustable across four levels. It’s useful if you’re trying to focus but still want to be able to hear someone else in the house or office; or, for that matter, if you’re trying to cross the road and not get taken by surprise by a truck.
ANC performance is subjective, and tastes differ. What I can definitely say is that this is the best ANC on Samsung earbuds I’ve heard so far. Not only do the Galaxy Buds Pro do a solid job of isolating repetitive background sounds – the dishwasher churning, for example, or road noise – they do it with less of the hiss that some ANC earbuds seem to layer on instead. That’s not to say you should expect perfect silence, and as always irregular sounds will make it through, but I’d say it’s on a par with what AirPods Pro can do.
Voice detect is a little less useful, in my experience. The idea is straightforward: temporarily switch from ANC to Ambient Sound mode when the Galaxy Buds Pro hear you talking, so that you can speak to a barista, chat with a spouse, or try to plead with your cat that she’s already had three lunches and isn’t getting a fourth. After 5, 10, or 15 seconds of no speaking, the earbuds automatically switch back to the full ANC mode.
It works – as soon as you talk, the earbuds flip over and you can hear more ambient audio, and then after a pause they switch back – but it proved to be a reminder of just how much I talk, or sing, to myself. If you’re cruising through your favorite Spotify playlist, having an impromptu karaoke session, you can expect the Galaxy Buds Pro to keep automatically flipping into Ambient Sound mode.
You can tap an earbud to prematurely cancel voice detect, but in the end I just turned it off. Your music pauses when you pull an earbud out, after all, or you can tap the outer touch pad once to toggle play/pause. A double-tap skips a track or answers/ends a voice call, while a triple-tap skips back a track.
If you’re not a Bixby fan, then, you’re going to be frustrated. You could argue the same for Game Mode, which promises less lag between audio and video when you’re playing games: it only works on Android P or higher Samsung phones, or Multi Mic Recording, which allows for simultaneous phone and earbud microphone use in the Pro camera mode on Galaxy smartphones with One UI 3.1 or above. Clever? Sure, but I’m not convinced they’ll swing the needle on a purchase decision.
What is Trade Deficit?
The negative difference between a country’s Exports and Imports of goods and services in money terms is known as the trade deficit, and it is a part of the trade balance component of the balance of payments of the country for a period of time. As it is measured over a period of time, it is termed a flow variable in the study of Economics.Understanding the Balance of Payments
Download Corporate Valuation, Investment Banking, Accounting, CFA Calculator & othersa) Current Account
It is the net of the country’s income or payments and has the following components.
Balance of Trade: The difference between receipts’ monetary value from exports and payments for imports. In the Aggregate output equation used in Economic theory, it is symbolized by ‘NX’. If Exports value more, then we have a trade surplus; otherwise, we have a trade deficit.
Factor Income: The difference between interest and dividends received from foreign investments of the country and that paid to the foreign investors who have invested in the country.
Transfer Payments: This is the money sent back home by the country’s population working abroad. These are unilateral or one-directional, i.e. there are no goods or services provided in return for the same.b) Capital Account
Investments in Assets: In the current account, we record the income from and to the foreign asset investments while the actual investment is recorded under the capital account, for example, the purchase of foreign company’s stock or bonds or Greenfield investments, and the reverse of the same made by foreign investors in the domestic assets.How does Trade Deficit work?
We need to understand the factors affecting the balance of trade:1. Cost of Factor Inputs 2. Exchange Rates
In international trade, if a domestic currency is depreciated, it is a plus because the foreign consumer’s purchasing power increases as one unit of foreign currency is capable of buying more units of foreign goods. Therefore the exports get a boost leading to a contraction of deficit or widening of surplus.3. Taxes, Sanctions, Tariffs, Quotas
All of these policies restrict the flow of goods between two countries, and if these are imposed, they lead to a deficit for the exporting country and a surplus for the importing country. One of the reasons for such impositions is to boost the domestic economy.4. Quantum of Forex Available
For importing countries, the amount of Forex it possesses becomes significant because it cannot import goods unless and until it is in a position to pay for those goods. At times countries enter into a deal of making the exchange in domestic currency instead of using a third party exchange currency such as USD. It is easier to import in such cases because a country has greater flexibility over the amount of its own currency available in circulation. Recently, in 2023, India got into a deal to purchase Iranian oil and pay for it in Indian National Rupee; later on, the US imposed sanctions; however, such contracts are quite prevalent.5. Business Cycle
In the economic boom or expansion phase, the exporting countries show a surplus or a contraction of the deficit, while importing countries show a deficit or contraction of the surplus. The vice versa is true during the recession.Example of Trade Deficit
The imports in September fell by $4.4 billion while exports fell by $1.8 billion. One of the major contributors to this decrease was the Auto industry, where the import of parts and export of parts, vehicles, and engines decreased by approximately $1 billion each. That is concurrent with the current slowdown in the auto sector as a whole. Apart from this, the decline in consumer goods imports was significant at $2.5 billion. This deficit has widened by approximately 24.8 billion, i.e. about 5.4% from the last year’s deficit of the same period. The next release is scheduled for December 5th for the month of October 2023.Advantages of Trade Deficit
Greater Investments: FDI and FPI are part of the capital account, and if the current account has a deficit, the capital account shows a surplus; therefore, the countries with greater trade deficit may experience a greater inflow of investments as interest rates increase in such an environment. This is sometimes referred to as the self-correcting nature of the Trade deficit. However, it is more of a theoretical concept than a real phenomenon.
Negatively Impacts GDP: As per Economic theory, the GDP = C + I + G + NX, where C stands for consumption, I for investments, G for government expenditure, and NX for Net exports or the balance of trade. If NX is positive, it will increase the GDP, while if negative; it will decrease the GDP.
Domestic Unemployment: Greater imports imply that foreign-produced goods are cheaper as compared to domestically produced ones. This would lead to a reduction in domestic production and, therefore, greater unemployment.
Currency Depreciation: To import more, the country needs to sell its own currency in exchange for foreign currency to be able to pay for the imports. This increases the supply of domestic currency in the international market and increases the demand for foreign currency, leading to an appreciation of the foreign currency and the simultaneous depreciation of the domestic currency. This can also lead to inflationary pressures for the domestic population as the currency declines its purchasing power of the currency.
Dutch Disease: In simple terms, if the resources of a country are concentrated on one sector where it has a comparative example, only that sector grows, and others don’t, so the dependency on one product becomes very high. An example is Middle-east countries’ dependency on oil exports.Conclusion Recommended Articles
Impressive sound quality
Premium bud design
Decent battery lifeCons
No virtual assistant support
Relatively expensiveOur Verdict
The Buds 4 Pro combines great audio with a very comfortable design and solid battery life. But plenty of cheaper buds deliver these too, and there are compromises in other areas.
These days, pretty much every leading smartphone company has started making wireless earbuds.
It makes a lot of sense: earbuds pair directly with a phone via Bluetooth, and are an easy way to begin building an ecosystem of related products that are designed to work together.
Xiaomi has been in the wireless earbud business since 2023, shortly after the company expanded its operations into Europe. But none of its releases have been quite as expensive as the £239.99/€249.99 Buds 4 Pro (not to be confused with the budget Redmi Buds 4 Pro), the company’s most premium audio product to date.
So, do they justify that high price? Despite a long list of positives, the short answer is no, although that’s primarily due to the strength of the competition. Read on to find out why.Design & build
Two-tone design on case and buds
Case feels flimsy, buds more premium
The Buds 4 Pro certainly look the part, although their design won’t be to everyone’s tastes.
It starts with the case, which features a two-tone blend of matte and reflective plastic. The latter means you’ll see yourself every time you go to open it, which is a little unsettling at first. Just don’t try to use it as a mirror – the image you see is very distorted.
Personally, I’d prefer it if the matte finish extended across the entire case. It doesn’t help that the reflective surface quickly accumulates fingerprint smudges and other dirt. That sleek appearance you see in the photos doesn’t last for long!
Xiaomi has kept things simple elsewhere on the case, with minimalist branding and a single indicator light for battery level of the case. As expected, there’s a USB-C port for charging, with the physical button alongside it only used while pairing.
But just 49.5g even with the buds inside, the case is very lightweight. Something slightly heavier would help it feel more premium, but being so portable is much appreciated.
If the case feels flimsy already, I’d be worried about its long-term durability
You also do have a choice of colours. If the understated ‘Space Black’ shown here isn’t for you, the much more eye-catching ‘Star Gold’ finish might be a better fit.
Those colours extend to the inside of the case and buds themselves, with the latter option for the same two-tone exterior. A short stem design has clearly been inspired by the AirPods Pro, although Xiaomi is far from the only company to follow Apple’s lead.
It also turns out to be a good choice, as the Buds 4 Pro are among the most comfortable wireless earbuds I’ve ever tested. I quickly forgot they were in my ears during a full 2.5-hour podcast, and could easily have worn them for much longer. If you need a companion for a flight or long train journey, these are a great option.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
However, you’ll want to take some time to ensure a snug fit. Medium-sized silicone eartips are pre-applied, but small and large alternatives are included in the box. Via the Xiaomi Earbuds companion app, you can get an ear tip fit test to see if any adjustments need to be made.
My only real frustration here is that the left and right text on the buds is difficult to read. It’s obvious once you put them in your ears, but hard to see at a glance.
Both the buds and case have an IP54 rating, meaning they’re protected against dust, but only splashes of water.Sound quality
Detailed, high-quality music
Clear and crisp vocals
Decent microphone quality
In general, audio from the Buds 4 Pro is very impressive. The dual 11mm drivers deliver sound that feels genuinely immersive, without sacrificing key details. Thumping bass is a real highlight, although treble can be lacking at times. Disappointingly, there’s no way to adjust either of these, via the app or elsewhere.
Even so, modern pop songs are a key strength of the buds. They can handle complex vocals and a wide range of background instruments with relative ease. Even at high volumes, any noticeable distortion is usually avoided, meaning the Buds 4 Pro are among the best sub-£250/€250 earbuds for music reproduction.
Up tempo songs are a key strength, with the likes of Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran excelling with both the heavy beat and crystal-clear vocals. It’s a similar story on Lizzo’s About Damn Time, despite its frequent variation in pitch and tone.
The Buds 4 Pro are among the best sub-£250/€250 earbuds for music
But even on a much slower and stripped-back track like Strange by Celeste, the Buds 4 Pro sound great. None of the song’s atmosphere is lost here, while most other pop, rap and dance tracks I tested were just as good.
It’s certainly better with modern music, though. Classic rock songs aren’t quite as impressive, with Africa by Toto and Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine sounding a bit washed out. I also wouldn’t recommend the Buds 4 Pro for classical music, with the intricacies of Vivaldi and Prokofiev orchestras lost at times. The Nothing Ear (2) and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are both superior in this area.
But even on those weaker tracks, the audio isn’t bad by any means. It’s just that you’ll find better options elsewhere.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
It’s also worth noting that all these tracks were tested using Amazon Music in Ultra HD, which is supposedly better than CD quality and 10 times higher than the regular version. The buds support the SBC, AAC and LDAC codecs, with the latter meaning you get the full benefit of Ultra HD quality with high-res audio.
You’ll be limited to regular quality on the likes of Spotify, but Amazon’s equivalent ‘standard’ model still sounds really good.
You’re probably not buying earbuds just for podcasts and audiobooks, but the Buds 4 Pro is great for voice-based content. Voices are clear and crisp, with a real warmth and depth to the sound that you don’t always get.
Each bud includes three different types of microphones, for a total of six. They combine with Xiaomi’s AI-based noise reduction to deliver clear calls with minimal background noise, but sound still sounds a bit muddy and washed out at times.Noise cancelling & smart features
Underwhelming active noise cancellation
Transparency mode is very good
Intuitive bud controls
As you might expect from earbuds at this price, the Buds 4 Pro feature active noise cancelling (ANC). The companion app lets you customise this, with six different levels and an adaptive option for automatic adjustment.
But in general, the ANC is relatively disappointing. The first few levels barely make a difference, unless you’re in an environment that’s already relatively quiet.
Stepping up to the maximum setting is much more effective. It significantly reduces the ambient noise without any noticeable effect on sound quality, but I’d still dispute Xiaomi’s claim that the Buds 4 Pro “isolate every listener from unwelcome interference”.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
If it can’t drown out the sound of slow-moving cars outside my (closed) window, I have no confidence in it effectively handling a busy street.
However, it’s still much better than not having the feature at at all. However, many rivals do a much better job with ANC than the Buds 4 Pro, including the AirPods Pro 2 and Bose QC Earbuds II.
Bluetooth 5.3 means the Buds 4 Pro can technically connect to two or more devices at the same time, but I couldn’t get this to work despite enabling the feature in the app. Every time I linked it to my Windows 11 laptop, the connection would drop on the phone.
Many rivals do a much better job with ANC than the Buds 4 Pro
In terms of which phone to use, any Android handset will have access to the full range of features. None are reserved for Xiaomi users, although the Xiaomi Earbuds app isn’t available on iOS. It’s simpler than many companion apps, but offers all the usual core features.
The most obvious ones are for the transparency and ANC modes, but gestures can be customised too. Double, triple and long presses of the left and right earbud can be set to control volume, noise cancellation and song skipping.
I much prefer this solution to most touch-based controls, which tend to push the bud further into your ear canal and soon become uncomfortable.
Xiaomi’s take on spatial audio is known as “immersive sound”, and it does a good job of making it seem like sound is coming from all directions. As expected, the feature performs much better on songs with multiple voices or instruments, but there is a slight drop in audio quality.
Voice detection (activating transparency mode when voices are detected) and in-ear detection (auto-pausing music when a bud is taken out) both work very well. But the lack of any virtual assistant support is a significant omission. Not being able to ask Google Assistant or Alexa is something we’ve come to expect from wireless earbuds.
Anyron Copeman / FoundryBattery life & charging
Around 5 hours with ANC on
Case adds around three full charges
Supports wired or Qi wireless charging
Xiaomi claims the Buds 4 Pro can last up to nine hours on a single charge, but my experience suggests you’re looking at around half of that.
With ANC turned on, the buds went from around 80% battery to 10% by the end of that 2.5-hour podcast I mentioned above. Getting the low battery warning was a real surprise, and it was pure luck that my listening session was coming to an end. You might not be so fortunate.
Of course, you can eke out a bit longer with ANC switched off, but why wouldn’t you want to use one of the buds’ main features? Battery life certainly isn’t terrible, but it’s not class-leading, either.
Battery life certainly isn’t terrible, but it’s not class-leading, either
Charging is via USB-C, with Xiaomi saying five minutes plugged in is enough for three hours of usage. Going from 5% to 22% in that time is impressive, but your mileage will vary here.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
While slower, it’s also great to see wireless charging support. The Buds 4 Pro case works with any Qi charger.Price & availability
When paying full price, the Xiaomi Buds 4 Pro cost £239.99/€249.99. For now, they’re only on sale via the Xiaomi website in the UK and Europe, with no US availability.
It makes them one of the most expensive pairs of true wireless earbuds from a phone-first company, with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Google Pixel Buds Pro and Nothing Ear (2) all more affordable.
Apple’s second-gen AirPods Pro are only slightly more expensive, and Xiaomi doesn’t quite provide the same premium experience here. When considering the alternatives, the Buds 4 Pro feel overpriced.Verdict
With the Buds 4 Pro, Xiaomi has proven that it can make a solid pair of premium earbuds. But that doesn’t mean you should buy them.
That’s despite the fundamentals of great wireless earbuds being achieved here, with great sound quality, excellent comfort and decent battery life. A classy bud design and several high-end features – including active noise cancellation – make things even better.
But sadly, the implementation of ANC here still needs work. Alongside a flimsy case and no virtual assistant support, that premium price tag becomes harder to ignore.
If you buy the Xiaomi Buds 4 Pro, you’ll probably still be satisfied. But the same could be said for many alternatives, including those which are significantly cheaper.Specs
Active Noise Cancelling
Wireless: Bluetooth 5.3, LDAC
Voice control: Yes
Touch controls: Yes
Battery life: 9 hours from buds, 38 hours total (without ANC, claimed)
Ear tips and wing tips: Three sizes
Colours: Space Black, Star Gold
Weight: 49.5g (including charging case)
Balance sheets and income statements are invaluable tools for business owners to measure their company’s performance and prospects, but they differ in key ways.
A balance sheet provides a snapshot of a firm’s financial position at a specific point in time, while an income statement – also known as a profit and loss statement – measures performance over a period of time.
Accounting software helps to manage both of these financial statements.
This article is for small business owners who want to understand how to use balance sheets and income statements.
Balance sheets and income statements are important tools to help you understand the health and prospects of your business, but the two differ in key ways. This guide will give you a comprehensive overview of both financial statements.
The balance sheet and income statement represent important information regarding the financial performance and health of a business. An income statement assesses the profit or loss of a business over a period of time, whereas a balance sheet shows the financial position of the business at a specific point in time.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right accounting software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
The balance sheet and income statement complement each other in providing a complete picture of a company’s financial position and future prospects. Both are crucial for decision-makers, investors and financial institutions.
If you don’t have a background in accounting or finance, these terms may seem daunting at first, but reading and analyzing financial statements remains a requisite skill for business owners and executives.What is a balance sheet?
The balance sheet is the cornerstone of a company’s financial statements, providing a snapshot of its financial position at a certain point in time.
It includes what the company owns (its assets), what it owes (its liabilities), and owner’s equity, which includes money initially invested in the company, along with any retained earnings attributable to the owners or shareholders.
This statement is divided into two columns, based on the following equation:
Liabilities + Shareholder’s equity = Assets
This equation forms the foundation of a balance sheet, with assets in one column, equal to the liabilities and the owner’s equity in the other.
The balance sheet reflects the company’s performance since its inception, encompassing every single transaction, the amounts raised, the debts accumulated, the assets acquired, and their present valuations, all presented in a single statement.
This provides insight into the operations, finances and future prospects of the company using financial ratios such as debt-to-equity, which reflects the company’s ability to pay its debts using equity, or the current ratio, which divides current assets by current liabilities to determine the company’s ability to meet its obligations over the next 12 months.
Did You Know?
The acid-test ratio adds further clarity to the current ratio by only considering easy-to-liquidate assets, providing a more accurate picture of a company’s ability to meet obligations.What’s included in a balance sheet?
The balance sheet comprises assets, liabilities and owner’s equity toward the end of the accounting period.Assets
Cash and cash equivalents: Listed under current assets, this figure represents the value of the cash held by the company toward the end of an accounting period, along with other cash equivalents, which may include marketable securities and short-term deposits.
Accounts receivable: This is debt owed to a company for goods and services delivered, but not yet paid for. It can be used as collateral for borrowing money and is listed under current assets in the balance sheet.
Inventory: This refers to finished goods ready for sale, along with raw materials intended for the production of goods or services. Inventory is also classified under current assets.
Plant, property, intellectual property and more: These are long-term investments that cannot be turned into cash quickly, aren’t directly used in the production process, and have a life of more than a year. This type of property might include trademarks, copyright and goodwill. They are depreciated or amortized based on usage or value. On the balance sheet, they are listed under non-current assets.Liabilities
Debt: Debts are any sums of money owed to lenders, banks or suppliers. They can be classified as either current liabilities or non-current liabilities, depending on whether they are long-term or short-term debts. Even for long-term debts, upcoming repayments are included under the current portion of long-term debt.
Accounts payable: This is the company’s outstanding payments owed to suppliers or vendors for goods and services delivered. Given the short-term nature of these obligations, they are classified under current liabilities, often payable within 90 days.
Underfunded pension plan: Company-sponsored retirement plans with more liabilities than assets are considered underfunded plans, unable to meet their current or future obligations. They are often classified as a non-current liability, and the company is obligated to pay and fill the gaps as and when the need arises.
Deferred tax liability: This represents taxes that are accrued, but not yet paid. Deferred tax liability often arises from the gap between when the tax is owed and when payment is due, in circumstances of installment sales, or to make up for the accrual/cash timing difference.Owner’s or shareholder’s equity
In simple terms, owner’s or shareholder’s equity is equal to the total assets attributable to owners or shareholders in the event of the company’s liquidation, after paying all debts or liabilities.
This segment of the balance sheet includes return of equity (ROE), calculated by dividing net income by shareholder’s equity. ROE measures management’s effectiveness in employing and driving returns based on equity.
Shareholder’s equity also includes retained earnings – the portion of the net income that hasn’t been distributed to shareholders as dividends – to be used for funding further growth and expansion of the business.
Management will generally aim to maximize return on equity, and return funds to shareholders in the form of dividends or share repurchases when it is unable to generate sufficient returns with these retained earnings.
Realized gains and losses: Also referred to as “other income,” these are one-time, non-recurring gains that arise from the sale or disposal of assets. These may include sales of real estate, minority holdings in other firms, or even a subsidiary company. On the other hand, a loss-making sale or disposal of assets is listed under “other expenses,” and is often a result of assets selling for prices lower than their valuations on the balance sheet during the specified period in question.
Expenses: This includes all the costs arising out of the normal course of business, such as the cost of goods sold (COGS), which is the direct cost of materials and labor incurred during the production of goods and services. Expenses also include general administrative costs, which aren’t directly linked to the production process, but are essential for the organization, and depreciation or amortization of assets based on usage or fixed schedules.
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My gym plays awful music. Yours probably does, too. The typical fitness soundtrack oscillates between hair gel “hard rock” from the early 2000s and current pop songs that are only popular because the hook went viral on TikTok or Instagram. That’s what makes a solid pair of noise-canceling workout earbuds so valuable. I’ve tried many of the most popular options, and the Beats Fit Pro earbuds stand out in several aspects, including overall sound quality, ease of use (as long as you’re an iPhone user), and the ability to stay in my oddly shaped ear canals. While they aren’t cheap, the Beats Fit Pro are some of the best gym earbuds available.What are the Beats Fit Pro earbuds?
The Beats Fit Pro earbuds are basically first-gen. AirPods Pro in a muscle suit. The Beats offer Apple’s H1 chip, which enables quick and simple Bluetooth pairing with an iPhone and Apple Watch. Also, like the AirPods Pro, the Beats offer active noise cancellation (ANC) that constantly adjusts its performance to match your content and surroundings. They even provide true spatial audio with head tracking to create a truly immersive sound stage—same as you find on the less workout-friendly AirPods 3.
All of that tech comes wrapped in a pair of rugged true wireless housings with an IPX4 rating, which makes them tough enough to survive extended workouts even if you’re the type to start sweating during the warmup and never stop until an hour after you get home. The standard model is offered in white, black, sage grey, and stone purple, while the Beats Fit Pro x Kim Kardashian collection offers three neutral shades (moon, dune, earth).
The black colorway picks up dust and grime. Stan HoraczekSetting up the Beats Fit Pros
The Beats Fit Pros spend downtime in a battery-equipped, clamshell-style charging case that holds each bud magnetically in its resting place. If you have an iPhone, you can simply open the case, tap the phone to it, and fast-pairing will begin automatically. It’s extremely similar to the AirPod setup process, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since they share the H1 chip. Once you’re done setting them up, they’ll automatically pair with your phone every time you take them out of the case.Getting the fit
Inside the box, these earbuds include three sizes of interchangeable silicone ear tips. Once you’ve chosen the tips that sit comfortably in your ear, the earbuds can perform an automated test to ensure that you’ve achieved a snug fit—a must for proper bass response and noise cancellation. The process involves playing some sound through the buds while the built-in microphones listen for audio spilling out where it shouldn’t. If it detects a bad fit, the phone will suggest trying a different set of tips to see if it solves the problem.
The medium tips seemed to work just fine for me right out of the gate and the fit test confirmed that I was getting optimal results. I tried the small tips just out of curiosity and it recommended I try another set.
Once the Beats Fit Pros are in your ears, a small rubbery wing nuzzles itself into each ear’s concha to establish a hold firm enough to withstand dynamic movements like air squats or even burpees. Inserting the buds requires a specific but intuitive twisting motion that ensures a secure seat.
I’ve done everything from jumping squats, sprints, heavy bag work, kettlebell swings, power cleans, and just about every other exercise you can think of with these in my head, and they have always demonstrated impressive staying power. Even if I just shake my head vigorously side to side—a move that would literally send typical AirPods flying under the weight racks—the Beats Fit Pros didn’t budge.How the Beats Fit Pros sound
Sonically speaking, the Beats Fit Pros perform very similarly to the first-gen. AirPods Pro. The combination of drivers and ANC create very similar sound characteristics. As you’d expect from a Beats product by now, they emphasize bass. DMX’s “Party Up” booms just enough to rattle my brain a little at maximum volume without making things sound muddy or introducing distortion. (Not that I’d recommend testing the top volume for more than quick curiosity purposes, and iOS has a convenient decibel meter to help ensure you’re listening at safe volumes.)
Listening to one of my go-to gym tracks, “Human Carrying Capacity” by Harms Way, the Beats Fit Pro remained loyal to the crunchy-and-punchy production. The screamed vocals are just the right amount of grating, and the breakdown lands like a punch to the face … or the ears.
I find myself using these as my go-to earbuds even when I’m not at the gym. With ANC/Transparency off, they feature Adaptive EQ—using microphones and dynamic digital signal processing to adjust the lows and mids for balance. They produce crisp voices when listening to podcasts, and the impressive spatial audio performance makes watching content feel more immersive than you’d expect when you’re looking at a 6.3-inch screen. I watched the Russell Crowe and Christian Bale remake of 3:10 to Yuma during a ride on an Amtrak train and the surround sound effect is even more pronounced—without being offputting—than it would be on the simple soundbar setup I’m currently using at home.
Because of the H1 chip inside, the Beats Fit Pro pair easily with an Apple TV, so they’re a solid option if you want to get the full impact of an explosion-laden action movie with full surround after everyone else has gone to sleep. That fancy audio couldn’t get me absorbed into Black Adam, but I don’t think I can blame the headphones for that.Other features and performance
I don’t want to have to charge my gym earbuds every day and that hasn’t been an issue with the Beats Fit Pro. The buds themselves promise up to six hours of playback with ANC and Transparency on (seven hours in Adaptive EQ with ANC/Transparency off), and that’s roughly accurate. Even with all the fancy features turned on over a three-hour train ride, I still had more than a quarter of a charge left.
The USB-C (not wireless) charging case holds enough juice for up to 18 hours of extra playback. I’ve found that my best bet is to keep the Beats Fit Pro in my car’s glove box and bring them inside to charge on the weekend.Voice calls
Beam-forming microphones do a solid job picking up my voice and canceling out environmental noise, even in loud settings. I’ve taken several work and personal calls while on a moving treadmill, and the other person could hear my words (and often my wheezing) without issue.
The microphones also enable voice control for Siri, which I regularly use to skip tracks, search for specific songs, and reply to messages. It all works as I’d hoped most of the time.So, who should buy the Beats Fit Pro earbuds?
At $200, the Beats Fit Pros aren’t the most expensive true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds around, but they’re up there for fitness-focused ones. That said, you’re essentially buying an IPX4-rated, ruggedized pair of AirPods Pro. For Android users, there are probably better options that can provide a more streamlined experience without the need for a companion app. For iPhone users, however, these are my favorite workout headphones full stop. I lost a pair and re-bought them because I like them so much. They won’t make working out fun, but they can block out all the Creed and Yung Gravy and grunting while you’re trying to deadlift, and that makes them worth the price of admission alone.
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