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Beats' new Solo earbuds may be the 'sub-$100 AirPods' you've been waiting for

Available sooner than this year's new AirPods, here's everything you'll get with the ultralight Beats earbuds.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
Beats Solo Buds

Beats just announced the upcoming release of a new pair of earbuds, the Beats Solo Buds, the company's smallest, lightest wireless earbuds yet. After an extended hiatus in product releases, Beats dropped news of the upcoming Solo Buds today, alongside its new headphones, the Beats Solo 4, which ZDNET's Jada Jones recently had the chance to review.

The ultralight earbuds come in four colors: Matte Black, Storm Gray, Arctic Purple, and Transparent Red, the last of which screams Beats' iconic style. In addition, they're going for $79.99, putting them at a very competitive entry-level price point.

Also: The best budget earbuds under $100: Expert tested

So what do you get for a pair of earbuds that cost less than $100? The 217-gram Solo Buds claim to offer big sound in a tiny package, with dual-layer transducers in each earbud, one-touch Bluetooth pairing with both iOS and Android-powered smartphones, and customizable press-and-hold functions on the earbuds themselves.

Note, however, that the Solo Buds do not feature active noise cancellation technology, although Beats claims the earbuds' acoustic design facilitates noise reduction on their own.

In addition, the case -- which is 100% fiber-based from recycled materials -- does not actually charge the earbuds; you'll need to plug in the USB-C charger to a power source. However, with a reported 18 hours of battery life, charging sessions should be manageable. The fast charging feature reportedly juices up the earbuds with five hours of playback from a 10-minute charge. 

At less than $100, the Beats Solo Buds will join an increasingly competitive price point with other earbuds that are considered "budget" but include features seen in more expensive devices, such as the JLabs JBuds ANC 3, which do feature active noise cancellation, and run $60. 

Also: Beats Studio Pro: So close to being my dream headphones

If you want to get your hands on the new Solo Buds, you'll have to wait a bit, as they won't be shipping until after the Solo 4 headphones do, in June 2024. Apple owns the Beats line of headphones, so their release early this summer was likely planned to drop well before their flagship line of earbuds. With two new models of AirPods expected to be unveiled this fall, the Beats Solo Buds' summertime release should give them some time in the sun. 

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