Galaxy Buds Plus are $100 cheaper than AirPods Pro. So should you buy them?
Apple’s AirPods Pro has excellent wireless earbuds that have active noise cancellation and better sound than the original AirPods. But at $ 250 (£ 249 or AU $ 399) they don’t come cheap, and options like Samsung’s $ 150 (£ 159 or AU $ 299).You might be wondering if you’re paying an unnecessary premium for Apple’s version. I wore both of these wireless earbuds for two weeks to compare them on fit, sound quality, battery life, and smart features to find out if the AirPods Pro is really worth the extra $ 100, or if you want the Galaxy Buds Plus are better for saving money.
Angela Lang / CNET
AirPods Pro are Apple’s premium in-ear buds and have incredibly effective active noise cancellation. Calls, podcasts and music also sound great. Although you can control many features in pulldown control centers or Bluetooth settings menus, the lack of a dedicated app to adjust the sound interface or settings from one interface is disappointing. You can use AirPods Pro on Android, but you will get the best experience when added to iOS.
Read AirPods Pro Review
Angela Lang / CNET
Samsung improved the sound of the Galaxy Buds Plus compared to the first generation and they are an excellent choice for Android or iPhone owners. They don’t have active noise cancellation, but the noise-isolating design blocks a fair amount of sound, and the music sounds more dynamic than the AirPods Pro. The battery also lasts a long time, so you can wear the Galaxy Buds Plus all day.
Read the review of Galaxy Buds Plus.
Galaxy Buds Plus’ in-year design is more flexible
The Galaxy Buds Plus comes with three tip sizes, with three different wingtips fitted to fit it. AirPods Pro has three tip sizes that you can swap in and out at the base of your ear canal.
How each earbud fits varies wildly depending on the size and shape of your ear, so what suits my ears may be completely different from what you like. I like the fit and feel of the Galaxy Buds Plus because they feel safer than AirPods Pro. I have smaller ear canals, and the shortest tip on the buds feels more comfortable than the equivalent on the AirPods Pro. As a result, the Galaxy Buds Plus optimally stayed in my ear during an outdoor workout such as an active workout.
Note that both of these wireless earbuds have an in-ear design that provides a layer of noise isolation, but only the AirPod Pro has Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).
Both wireless earbuds will be fine during your sweat-filled workouts or if you get stuck in the rain. But AirPods Pro is IPX4 rated, meaning they are more water resistant than the Galaxy Buds Plus, which satisfies the IPX2 rating. There is wireless charging in each case, but you can use a USB-C or Lightning cable to charge the Galaxy Buds Plus or AirPods Pro.
the winner: Although not as water resistant as AirPods Pro, I like the Galaxy Buds Plus for its more comfortable fit.
AirPods Pro has noise cancellation, but Galaxy Buds Plus is better
Here’s the thing: If you want ANC, look no further and get AirPods Pro. It is incredibly effective and makes the listening experience great for traveling or traveling. But if the ANC isn’t the top priority, the Galaxy Buds Plus really sounds better to my ears.
In addition to tracks with heavy bass that sound better on AirPods Pro because they are not so distorted, I prefer the default sound profile of Buds Plus overall. While using Buds Plus Ios, I prefer the dynamic sound profile that slightly amplifies the bass without being too heavy. When I am on Android phone, my regular sound profile is my go-to.
To my ears, the overall sound on the AirPods Pro is more neutral. This is great for calls and podcasts, but for music I would choose Galaxy Buds Plus.
Both earbuds can give more external sound in situations where you need to hear more, such as the office or if you are walking outside. AirPods Pro calls it transparency mode while Galaxy Buds Plus calls it ambient sound. I prefer the transparency mode, as the amplified sound from the outside world sounds more natural and “less” than the Galaxy Buds Plus.
AirPods Pro also has a live listening mode that helps enhance sound for hearing loss. It works by using your iPhone’s microphone to amplify the sound and send it to your AirPods so that you can hear conversations better in noisy rooms, for example.
The calls sound great on both earbuds. AirPods Pro was better at isolating the caller’s audio (thanks to the ANC), and the caller commented that it sounded less noisy when I was standing on the street. From the same situation, I called back on the Galaxy Buds Plus and the same person said that my voice was loud and slightly clearer, but they could hear more of the street noise.
the winner: This is a toss-up; I like the noise cancellation and live listen mode of AirPods Pro, and the Galaxy Buds Plus for sound quality.
AirPods Pro has better range
using the iPhone 11 Pro For the AirPods Pro and the Galaxy Buds Plus for a Note 10 Plus, I was incredibly impressed by how solid the connections with both earbuds were. I can only remember a time when the Galaxy Buds Plus failed to connect to the iPhone when taken out of the case. I then had to establish the connection manually via Bluetooth settings. AirPods Pro, meanwhile, is attached to the Note 10 Plus without any problems.
AirPods Pro has slightly better range. I did an informal range test by dropping each phone on one table and a hallway with AirPods Pro in one ear and the Galaxy Buds Plus in the other. Samsung’s wireless earbuds were out first, while the AirPods Pro went about six feet ahead.
the winner: Airpods pro
The Galaxy Buds Plus are more customizable, but AirPod Pro are the best to get hands-free
You can also use a voice assistant on both of these earbuds, but only AirPods Pro will allow you to synchronize with your voice by saying “Hey, Siri” (on Galaxy Buds Plus you have to tap or press the touch panel). Both can also read the message to you.
Another difference between these buds is that the AirPods Pro has a stem that you can pinch to change tracks or switch between modes, while the Galaxy Buds Plus has a touch panel. You can also customize these controls to some extent. With AirPods Pro, the settings are tucked into the iOS Bluetooth Settings menu and the Galaxy Buds Plus has its own app.
While none of these earbuds have physical volume control (such as PowerBeats Pro, for example) there is a setting on the Galaxy Buds Plus that lets you tap the edge of the buds to move the volume up or down. It is located in the Labs section of the app.
If you lose your earbuds around the house or in a bag, you can play a sound to find them using Find My On iOS or the Galaxy Wearable app. But AirPods Pro has the added feature of being able to see its final location on a map.
the winner: Galaxy Buds Plus for more customization overall, but AirPods Pro has a clear advantage if you’re a heavy Siri user.
Want the Longest Battery Life? Get galaxy buds plus
Samsung rates the Galaxy Buds Plus for 11 hours of listening and the case has enough charge for 22 hours of total listening time. AirPods Pro will give you around 4.5 hours of listening time with the ANC turned on (you can push it closer to 5 hours with the ANC) and the case is 24 hours. Both cases also support the Quick Charge feature, so three minutes in the case will give you an hour of listening time on the Galaxy Buds Plus, while charging five minutes gives you the same listening time on the AirPods Pro.
the winner: The Galaxy Buds Plus is the clear winner here.