The rivalry between Samsung and Apple has long gone beyond smartphones. As the Korean tech giant expands its ecosystem, we see more head-to-head competition with Apple’s wearables and headphones. With the Galaxy Buds 2, Samsung’s latest foray into wireless earbuds offers active noise cancellation (ANC) sans the steep price of the AirPods Pro.
But it also misses out on some hallmark features from Apple, including spatial audio and adaptive EQ. Though competitively priced, is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 a convincing purchase to rival the AirPods Pro? Or does it all boil down to the ecosystem you’ve already invested in?
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs AirPods Pro Chart
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Audio||Dynamic 2-way woofer and tweeter||Custom high-excursion Apple driver, custom high dynamic range amplifier, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking|
|Microphone||3 microphones + VPU||Dual beam-forming microphones, inward and outward-facing microphone|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)||Yes||Yes|
|Touch and Tap Controls||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple Ear Tips||Included||Included|
|Battery Life with ANC On||5 hours (Buds 2), 20 hours (total with case)||4.5 hours (AirPods Pro), 24 hours (total with case)|
|Battery Life with ANC Off||7.5 hours (Buds 2), 29 hours (total with case)||5 hours (AirPods Pro)|
|Earbud Dimensions||17.0 x 20.9 x 21.1mm||24.0 x 30.9 x 21.8 mm|
|Case Size||50.2 x 50.0 x 27.8 mm||60.6 x 21.7 x 45.2 mm|
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 does away with the bean-like design of the divisive Galaxy Buds Live. Instead, it takes its cue from the Buds Pro but features less gloss while being smaller and lighter. As a result, you get earbuds that rest more securely in your ear. Controlling them remains the same, however. The Galaxy Buds 2 still features a touch and tap interface to carry out functions.
Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro retains the stem that has become emblematic of Apple’s wireless earbuds. On the Pro version, however, the component is shorter. It still comes with the force sensor that triggers a variety of functions, like switching between ANC and transparency modes. The earbuds are also equipped with black vents for pressure equalization.
Between the two devices, Samsung’s wireless earbuds are more comfortable to wear. The egg-shaped form of the Buds 2 simply has a better fit over the AirPods Pro. Where Apple has the edge, however, is its smart ear tip fit test. On the Galaxy Buds 2, the earbud fit analysis doesn’t seem to be as accurate or helpful.
In terms of color, you can get the
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 and Apple’s AirPods Pro deliver comparable sound quality.
Like most wireless earbuds, the
Most consumers, for instance, will appreciate the AKG-tuned drivers on the Galaxy Buds 2. The result is a forward and vibrant sound suited for today’s music. You can customize the EQ to your liking or simply choose from the presets. Each earbud is now equipped with a separate woofer and tweeter — an upgrade from the original Galaxy Buds. This translates to a more balanced profile, though not as loud or impressive as on the Galaxy Buds Pro.
Apple’s AirPods Pro also performs much better than its predecessor. Here, you get a balanced soundstage that gives a full taste of the lows, mids, and highs. The overall profile is warm, with crisp vocals and thumping bass. Like the Galaxy Buds 2, however, some of the detail is lost in higher frequencies. With the AirPods Pro, however, you do get the three-dimensional Spatial Audio — an immersive Dolby Atmos-like experience for headphones.
The AirPods Pro has a slight edge over the Samsung Galax Buds 2 when it comes to active noise cancellation and ambient mode.
A key feature of the
Reliable, however, means it’s not perfect. Now and then, some noise will seep through the ANC of both the Galaxy Buds 2 and AirPods Pro. This is true with higher-frequency sounds like a loud siren or a baby crying. But if you had to choose between the two, then the AirPods Pro will have the slight edge canceling out background noise.
Apple’s earbuds also have the lead when it comes to ambient mode, which it calls Transparency Mode. Here, the AirPods Pro captures the sound of your surroundings more naturally and comfortably compared to the Galaxy Buds 2. Nonetheless, both devices allow users to easily switch between ANC and ambient modes through touch/press and hold gestures.
Battery Life and Other Features
The Galaxy Buds 2 leads in terms of battery life. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, has more seamless connectivity to other Apple devices.
As great as ANC and ambient modes are, they do impact battery life. With the Galaxy Buds 2, you’re getting about 5 hours of use from the earbuds with the ANC turned on. Combined with the charging case, that’s about 20 hours of battery life in total. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, claims 4.5 hours of listening time with ANC turned on. But it also offers a longer 24-hour battery life total with its wireless charging case even when ANC is enabled.
If you’re not using noise cancellation or ambient mode, Samsung says you can get 7.5 hours of playtime from the Galaxy Buds 2. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro bumps its battery life to 5 hours with ANC disabled. Neither are class-leading, but they’re good enough to last the day if you have your charging case with you.
Both earbuds also work well within their respective ecosystems. Thanks to the H1 chip, the AirPods Pro works more seamlessly across Apple devices. It’s almost the bread-and-butter for the company. Auto-switching across multiple Samsung devices is also possible on the Galaxy Buds 2. However, it’s not yet as streamlined as what Apple offers, especially when connecting the Buds 2 to the Galaxy Watch, for instance.
For Samsung loyalists, the Galaxy Buds 2 is an affordable alternative over the Galaxy Buds Pro. Apple fans, on the other hand, will find the AirPods Pro as the best wireless earbuds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is a welcome addition to the company’s strong lineup of wireless earbuds. For a device with decent active noise cancellation, it’s an affordable option, too. Like Apple’s strategy, however, the Galaxy Buds 2 works best if you’re also using Samsung and Samsung Galaxy devices. In this context, the Buds 2 is more of a budget alternative to the Galaxy Buds Pro.
If you’re deep into the Apple ecosystem, however, it’s unlikely you’ll get the Buds 2 or even Buds Pro over the AirPods Pro. After all, Apple’s wireless earbuds are seamlessly integrated with the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac, among others. It also comes with premium features like spatial audio and adaptive EQ — making it a better option over the original AirPods. For those with deeper pockets, it’s simply the best wireless earbuds to get from Apple.
Apple shares that five minutes of charging in the case already gives the AirPods Pro 1 hour of listening time.
For a 3-minute charge, the Galaxy Buds 2 will give your 40 minutes of playtime. Five and ten minutes of quick charging, on the other hand, will give the Buds 2 60 minutes and 150 minutes of playtime, respectively.
If budget isn’t an issue, then the AirPods Pro is definitely worth it. It’s the best wireless earbuds from Apple so far. Moreover, it’s equipped with premium features, including adaptive EQ and spatial audio.
Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API