Need to exchange a holiday gift? Compare top Apple and Beats earbuds

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AirPods Pro are still Apple's flagship earbud, but the others featured in the tables below make for stiff competition.
AirPods Pro are still Apple's flagship earbud, but the others featured in the tables below make for stiff competition.
Photo: Apple

In gift-giving season, sometimes you get something you already have or something that isn’t quite what you wanted. So, if you can exchange the item for something you truly covet — like a killer pair of Apple AirPods or Beats earbuds — you probably should.

But how do you choose between earbuds made by Apple and earbuds made by Apple subsidiary Beats by Dre? We’ve laid out the specs for four popular sets of buds, below, pitting AirPods Pro against Beats Fit Pro and the new AirPods (3rd gen) against Beats Studio Buds. But all the specs listed in each chart are the same, so it’s not difficult to compare and contrast all four.

New limited-edition Beats Studio Buds celebrate Year of the Tiger

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Add some Lunar New Year style to your earbuds.
Add some Lunar New Year style to your earbuds.
Photo: Beats

A new, red-and-gold, limited-edition design for Beats Studio Buds will celebrate the Lunar New Year in China and other countries — the Year of the Tiger — Apple said on Monday.

This follows a recent release of another predominately red, limited-edition design in collaboration with the men’s fashion store Union we wrote about earlier in December.

Get a load of Beats Studio Buds’ first limited-edition design

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Beats Studio Buds get a bold design for Union's 30th anniversary.
Beats Studio Buds get a bold design for Union's 30th anniversary.
Photo: Beats

Beats released a new version of its Beats Studio Buds on Tuesday in a joint effort with the trendy mens fashion store Union. The limited-edition wireless earbuds commemorate Union’s 30th anniversary. You can snap them up at the store’s Los Angeles and Tokyo locations and, as of Wednesday, online.

6 brilliant but affordable AirPods alternatives

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AirPods might just be the best wireless buds you can pair with Apple devices, but they’re also pretty expensive. Plenty of more affordable options that deliver stellar sound and reliable connectivity in a neat design are available.

So, if you’re buying on a budget this holiday season, skip the Apple Store and check out these six brilliant but more affordable alternatives to AirPods.

Kim Kardashian spills unreleased Beats Fit Pro wireless headphones

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Beats Fit Pro wireless headphones
Just days after they were leaked in iOS 15.1.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s upcoming Beats Fit Pro wireless headphones have been spilled by Kim Kardashian. The reality TV star was spotted wearing the unreleased buds, which are expected to debut next month, in paparazzi snaps published this week.

It’s not the first time celebrities have appeared wearing new Beats headphones before they’ve been officially unveiled by Apple. Beats Studio Buds were donned by LeBron James weeks before they made their debut back in June.

Tiny Beats Studio Buds will hit ears near you on July 21 [Updated]

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Apple preps Beats Studio Buds to compete against AirPods
Apple’s rival to its own AirPods are apparently just a month or so away.
Photo: 9to5Mac

It seems Apple can’t keep a lid on Beats Studio Buds. Celebrities keep getting photographed wearing the not-yet-announced in-ear wireless headphones, and now the launch date has leaked out.

They are still MIA for regular folks to buy. But since they showed up in yet another social media post by a famous athlete, Apple is seemingly playing a calculated long game when it comes to ramping up anticipation.

Want to glimpse unreleased Beats Studio Buds? LeBron James is your hookup

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LeBron
That's LeBron. But, no, these aren't the new Beats earbuds.
Photo: All-Pro Reels/Wikipedia CC

NBA superstar LeBron James shared an image of himself on Instagram wearing what could *just possibly* be the as-yet-unannounced Beats Studio Buds in white. The new, wireless Beats earbuds sound like they’re Beats’ version of Apple’s AirPods.

Beats is, of course, owned by Apple — thanks to Cupertino’s massive $3 billion acquisition in 2014. For whatever reason, it seems Apple will continue to release Beats-branded earbuds, despite the fact they stray into AirPods territory.