Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds+ and Apple’s AirPods Pro are two of the best earbuds available in 2020. And while there’s no shortage of options these days, those are the two most buyers are interested in so here’s how they compare.
You can find the regular AirPods at a discount, but getting the best new earbuds is probably a better idea. If you’re trying to decide just know they both have pros and cons, not to mention AirPods don’t play very nice with Android phones, making the choice easier for some people.
Here, we’ll break down the design, specs, features, battery life and sound for those considering some wireless earbuds.
Part of the decision will likely come down to which phone you have, whether that’s an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or some other Android device. And with so many brands making headphones, Apple vs Samsung isn’t your only choice. That said, if you have an iPhone you’re probably considering the AirPods while Galaxy owners are looking at the Galaxy Buds. Just keep in mind that there’s more to the decision than that.
iPhone owners can still use and enjoy the Galaxy Buds, and some Android users might even consider the AirPods for multiple different reasons. Samsung recently released its companion app for iPhone, too, making the Buds+ work great on Apple devices.
So, if you’re not sure which one to choose between Apple’s AirPod Pros and the Galaxy Buds+, we’re here to help.
Galaxy Buds+ vs AirPods Pro: Design
There’s no arguing that the original AirPods from 2016 really kicked off the truly wireless earbud movement, even if they do look like Q-tips coming out of your ears. Still to this day, you see them everywhere, brands are copying the design, and they’re still wildly popular. Since then, Apple has improved the design with a sleeker frame and a more compact package with the Pros.
Both of these earbuds have a very distinctive style that likely won’t be changing, as its part of the “brand” identity. With the AirPods, you’ll probably love them or hate them, and there’s not much of a middle ground. It’s basically Apple’s popular earbud stem without the wire. Memes are everywhere making fun of the look but Apple is still using it proudly even if the Pros are smaller and less noticeable.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus comes with three ear tips and wingtips for customization, and are also available in four color choices: black, white, red, and blue. As for Apple, the AirPod Pro come with three different ear tips but only one color choice.
Next, we have the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ with a bigger yet more traditional design. They fill your entire ear-opening but don’t protrude out beyond your ear. All the tech is crammed inside, instead of out of your ear in the stem like Apple. It’s a completely different design approach. Overall, even though they look a lot bigger in your ears than the AirPods do, they’re still very compact — especially compared to some of the cheaper competition on the market.
In all honestly, the decision in terms of the design comes down to personal preference as one isn’t necessarily better than the other. They both have adjustable tips for a perfect fit in your ear, and they both have their own unique style.
This year these are both true in-ear earbuds, compared to just sitting on your ear like previous models. Again, it’s not only a personal preference, but it’s also a ‘love it or hate it’ thing when it comes to the Pod design.
Galaxy Buds+ vs AirPods Pro: Battery Life
Perhaps the most important aspect for most people is the battery life and charging, as this is one more thing to worry about. This year Samsung really stepped it up in terms of battery life.
By the numbers and the spec sheet, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds beat Apple in terms of battery life — kinda. That’s because the Galaxy Buds+ reportedly last for around 11 hours of playback, which is twice as long as previous models and the AirPod. However, Samsung claims the charging case gives them another 11, for 22 hours total.
However, Apple’s charging case is more efficient, because it lasts for about 24 hours before you need to recharge your AirPods and the case they rest in. Keep in mind that the AirPods only have about 5 hours of playback battery life, and even less when you use noise cancellation.
Both headphones charge while inside the carry case, which is nice, but Samsung has another advantage here. They accept USB Type-C so recharging is fast, plus the case supports wireless charging like the AirPod Pro. Additionally, Samsung says just three minutes in the case will give you 1-hour of music playback — perfect for those last-minute stops at the gym.
Both wireless charging cases can be used with most charging mats, Qi chargers, and wireless charging solutions inside supported vehicles. As an added bonus, the Galaxy S20 supports reverse wireless charging and you can actually charge your Galaxy Buds by sitting them on the back of your phone, which is really cool.
Galaxy Buds+ vs AirPods Pro: Sound Quality
Neither of these are audiophile-grade headphones, but for the average person that wants the convenience of wireless earbuds they sound great. Sound is objective and everyone has different ears, wants or needs. That said, these are two of the better options in the wireless earbud category. Furthermore, you can highly customize the Galaxy Buds+ sound, which you can’t do on the Pros.
As far as sound goes there is no clear winner. As I said earlier the Samsung Galaxy Buds seal in your ear a little better, which technically gives you a better soundstage, deeper bass, and a more full sound. They’re warm, balanced, and support some advanced wireless audio codecs. For the price and being over Bluetooth, they sound pretty great.
Apple’s AirPod Pros sound pretty good too. If you’ve ever used the wired Apple Buds several years ago with an iPod or iPhone you basically know what to expect. Yes, the sound is a little better these days thanks to the tighter seal and noise cancellation, but that’s more of a feature upgrade more so than a sound upgrade.
The AirPod Pros have a clean and lively sound, a decent soundstage, and actually really good treble. Sometimes higher volume levels things start to get pitchy, but overall they’re pretty great too.
At the end of the day these are two of the best earbuds that sound good, work great, last plenty long and are perfect for around town, at the gym, or wherever else you’re casually listening to music.
Galaxy Buds+ vs AirPods Pro: Features
When it comes to features both the Samsung Galaxy Buds and Apple AirPods lead the pack, as long as you’re using that brand’s smartphone at the same time. This is also where things get a little muddy and confusing.
Both earbuds have easy touch controls to fire up Siri, Bixby, or the Google Assistant, which is nice. Not to mention pause/play, answer calls or quickly change tracks to the next song. Those are all standard features we all expect to have. They both pair quickly to your phone, too, as long as that’s an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy. Otherwise, you’ll be fumbling through the Bluetooth settings menu on your device.
However, you can use hands-free voice controls for Siri, while you have to touch the Galaxy Buds to fire up Bixby.
Apple’s AirPods pair very quickly to an iPhone thanks to the new H1 chip built by Apple for its headphones. Those using an iPhone will instantly see the Pros on-screen when they open the charging case, and connectivity is a breeze. Honestly, it’s a far better and more elegant solution than Android has, even though Samsung’s tried to integrate something similar to its latest software updates.
Perhaps the biggest benefit in terms of features or where Samsung is ahead is in the design of the earbuds or the accompanying Galaxy Wearable app. They have extra tips and seal in your ear a little better, giving you better sound and less environmental noise, but they are missing active noise cancellation, which is a big one.
Furthermore, with the Galaxy Wear app, you can adjust the bass and have access to a full EQ settings list. You can even allow some outside noise in with the “ambient sound” controls. And while you don’t get ANC, the Buds+ do have multiple microphones that use software to block outside noise.
The biggest feature difference here is likely the noise cancellation of the AirPods Pro, and the fact that the Galaxy Buds+ are customizable with EQ and other options inside the app. In all reality though, most likely iPhone owners will get the AirPods while Galaxy users will get the Buds. That said, the Galaxy Wear app now works with iPhone, so it could be worth it to try out Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ with your iPhone 11 Pro.
Galaxy Buds vs AirPods Pro: Pricing & Availability
Yes, they’re way more expensive than the $159 regular AirPods, so keep that in mind.
Right out of the gate though, Samsung undercuts the AirPods as the Galaxy Buds+ only cost $149. Is noise cancellation worth the extra $100 you’ll have to pay for Apple’s earbuds? That’s something you’ll have to decide.
Basically, this one is a toss-up. The Galaxy Buds+ are cheaper, come in multiple colors and sound great, but they aren’t quite as fancy as the AirPods Pro and don’t have active noise cancellation. Plus they don’t look as “hipster” if that’s something you’re worried about.
Conclusion (and Alternatives)
Honestly, Android and Galaxy owners should just get Galaxy Buds+ while Apple users should try both and see which one you like the best. Does that help you, like, at all?
Both the Galaxy Buds+ and AirPods Pro have similar battery life, good specs, excellent sound, but one is way more expensive than the other. So, what it really comes down to is your style preference and which phone you have in your pocket. Instead of comparing the weird design or if the Buds will fit your small ear canals, think about which smartphone ecosystem you use.
Then, if you’re not sold on either of these options consider one of the awesome earbud alternatives from our selection below.