Status Audio is a name that rings a bell in Amazon shopping circles. Many of their wireless headphones and earphones have earned high ratings from budget shoppers and make for great inexpensive gifts. With numerous releases already under its belt, the brand decided to expand its product line and enter the true wireless space, creating an Indiegogo campaign that would help launch their first-ever wireless earbuds: the Between Pro.
- Our expert picks for the best wireless earbuds, per budget and style
- Check out our Apple AirPods Pro review
- …and our Marshall Mode II review
Billed as the world’s first triple-driver earbuds, the Between Pro has the sound quality to satisfy audiophiles, along with some of the best battery life in the category and a contemporary design that is uniquely attractive. These buds are also one of the very few pairs to come with Bluetooth 5.2. However, a lack of special features and poor wireless range hinders their value as an AirPods alternative. But depending on your priorities, you may find the Between Pro to be well worth the purchase.
Status Audio Between Pro: Availability and price
The Status Between Pro is being sold for $169 directly through Status Audio, though the company is currently taking pre-orders for $149. These wireless earbuds are sold in one color option: Black/Silver. Bundled with the purchase are a charging case, USB-C charging case, three sets of silicon fit-wings, three sets of silicone earbuds, and a user guide.
Status Audio Between Pro: Design and comfort
Give credit to Status Audio for experimenting with the Between Pro’s design, as it’s executed very well. I know, the rectangular mold makes these buds stick out more than the AirPods, and the design can be likened to other wide-shaped models like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM3, but in dangling form. The difference is that these buds are much smaller and thinner than the pictures make them look. Not to mention very trendy. The two-tone colorway and matte finish are nice touches that add to their chicness as well.
Construction-wise, the Between Pro is solid and will keep internals secure whenever dropped on the ground. The casing does scuff easily, so you will want to be extremely careful if the goal is to keep these buds looking new and clean. Something else that makes them stand out is IPX5 water resistance, which is a higher IPX rating than what is featured on the AirPods Pro and QuietComfort Earbuds: IPX4. All that means is they can sustain rain, sweat, and water better.
The charging case won’t win any Red Dot Design awards, but it does complement the Between Pro’s sophisticated appearance. Its all-plastic build feels nice when held in hand, but is also a scratch magnet, and the lid hinge is flimsy. Luckily, the magnet that shuts the lid is strong to keep the buds safely stored. I’m not sure what Status Audio was thinking by placing the pair mode button and USB-C charging port at the bottom. These were two poor design decisions, especially since the latter is often found on the back for convenient charging.
Comfort is compromised a bit due to the angle and thickness of the sound port; it pinches the concha the longer you wear the buds. I used them for about an hour before experiencing any soreness. The good news is that you won’t have to worry about them falling off because while there is some heft (0.22 ounces), the weight distribution is on point to ensure the buds remain stable on your ear. The silicone tips also create a tight seal that keeps the buds locked in.
Status Audio Between Pro: Controls and digital assistant
Touch panels and motion sensors would have been ideal for these gorgeous in-ear monitors, though Status Audio thought differently. Instead, they settled on a multifunctional button for each bud that is located at the top. While I’m not opposed to the move, I’m also not a fan. Each button is slightly raised so you can feel it, and it produces nice tactility. However, it’s very small and difficult to locate. Also, pressing it requires holding onto the bud from the top and bottom, a technique that is awkward, yet also effective since it doesn’t push the buds further into your ears; this has been a common issue with most wireless earbuds carrying physical buttons.
Programming multiple commands to one button requires skill and Status Audio proved it was capable of accomplishing this with finesse. On top of playback, call management, and voice assistance, they also figured out how to add onboard volume controls to the equation. This is all executed through single, double, and triple presses, along with press-and-hold gestures. All you need to know is that everything works well.
Those who want hands-free voice assistance can use Siri and Google Assistant to handle common tasks. There was some bugginess in the beginning when using Siri on macOS, but the feature worked better the more I used it, picking up commands accurately and delivering quick responses. Google Assistant ran without a hitch.
Status Audio Between Pro: Audio quality
Status Audio did not skimp on audio firepower, stuffing a 10mm dynamic driver and 2 balanced armatures underneath the Between Pro’s handsome sheath. What ends up coming out of these buds is a compelling mix of warm and bright sound that lends itself well to most music genres, despite the bass being super aggressive on certain tracks.
The rolling percussion on Anderson .Paak’s “Room in Here” slaps hard, and I mean that as a compliment, blending superbly over the singer’s airy vocals. The piano riff rode smoothly over the chill production, which showed me the buds were engineered to handle highs, though I made sure to listen to some Jazz classics for reassurance. I wasn’t disappointed. Ahmad Jamal’s solo performance on “I Love You” was a thing of beauty, as the soundstage brought a surrealness to the recording with every piano chord striking my ear as if the musician was playing right in my living room.
As previously mentioned, bass can come on stronger than necessary. Oddly, on slow jams like Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee,” the low end was ramped up and seemed out of place over the melodic soundscape. I felt the Marshall Mode II handled this type of record much better, emphasizing the midrange to give vocals prominence.
The Between Pro also isolates noise incredibly well. I was completely oblivious to the distractions around me when working inside the house; my mother-in-law had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. Again, the tight seal created by the tips helped keep the soundstage clear of any environmental fracas, contributing to the buds’ full audio output.
AAC, AptX, and SBC codecs are supported as well to get high-quality wireless sound on compatible devices.
Status Audio Between Pro: Battery life and charging case
The Between Pro’s second greatest strength is battery life. Status Audio rates playtime on these buds at 12 hours, which is realistically about 11 hours when factoring in high volume and heavy streaming. That’s still incredibly lengthy and double the playtime of the AirPods (5 hours) and Mode II (5 hours). I was happy to get 5 days (2 hours daily) of use out of them before recharging.
The charging case gets you 36 hours, equating to 3 full charges on the go. Once again, a longer playtime than the AirPods (24 hours) and Mode II (25 hours) charging cases. Usually, a big charging case means longer charging times. Not in this case (no pun intended). Status Audio claims the buds can charge fully in 30 minutes, and the case can charge fully in 1 hour.
Wireless charging didn’t make the cut.
Status Audio Between Pro: Call quality and connectivity
I didn’t think much of the Between Pro as a calling headset. It’s serviceable at best if you need to make conversation with someone, but otherwise, you can get better performance elsewhere. Some of my clients said that my voice was hollow during calls and my wife mentioned that I sounded distant when talking outside, while also hearing background noise like keyboard clatter and wind. The buds performed slightly better during video chats.
These are one of the few models out there running on Bluetooth 5.2, though the results don’t always show that. For instance, the range is terrible, as I experienced stuttering when removed about 8 feet from my MacBook Pro and 15 feet from my Pixel 3XL; it should have been 30 feet at a minimum. Multipoint technology is also MIA. At least the pairing process is instantaneous with the buds appearing automatically on the available devices list during the initial process and re-pairing even faster to known devices.
Status Audio Between Pro: Verdict
The Between Pro appeals mostly to audiophiles and fashion-forward mobile users. These buds combine detailed mids and highs with just the right amount of low end for vibrant sound. Design-wise, they’re sleek and ultramodern, drawing all eyes to your ears when sporting them in any public setting. Battery life is clutch as well, doubling the AirPods playtime, so you can indulge in Spotify listening sessions for long stretches.
But any pair of wireless earbuds looking to compete against the AirPods must have the performance and features to justify its price point. The Between Pro doesn’t exactly accomplish this. The AirPods offer way more functionality, which continues to grow with every iOS update, along with superior call quality and sound personalization via iPhone settings. Also, the fact that Apple’s buds are occasionally on sale (with wireless charging case) only adds to their value.
Don’t get me wrong though, as I believe the Between Pro still makes for one fine pair of wireless earbuds. You won’t find many models that can match its audio performance or playtime. At the same time, $169 seems a bit expensive for buds with a very limited feature set.