Compared: Galaxy Buds Pro versus AirPods Pro

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 21
Alongside the Galaxy S21 reveal, Samsung also unveiled its latest wireless earbuds. We got our hands on a set of the Galaxy Buds Pro to compare it to Apple's AirPods Pro.

AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro
AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro


When we reviewed and compared the Galaxy Buds Live, we were underwhelmed by their performance. Call quality was subpar, the ANC underperformed, and the fit was poor. Samsung is now trying to right the ship with these new Galaxy Buds Pro.

Samsung shunned the bean-shaped design for a more traditional earbud style. The company also touts several new features, improved audio, and much more, including adopting features like Spatial Audio in the AirPods Pro.




AirPods ProGalaxy Buds Pro
Price$249$199
Battery Life4.5 hours single charge,24 combined with case5 hours single charge,18 hours with case
Water ResistanceIPX4IPX7
Noise CancellingANC & Transparency modeANC & Transparency
3D AudioSpatial AudioSamsung 360
ColorsWhitePhantom Black,Phantom White,Phantom Violet
ChargingLightning,QiUSB-C,Qi
ConnectivityAuto Switch across Apple devicesAuto Switch between Galaxy devices
Unique FeaturesH1 chip,Audio Sharing,Deep iOS integration,Adaptive EQ,Siri integration,Force Stems,Hearing Fit Test Galaxy integration,Adjustable EQ,Bixby integration,Voice Detect,touch controls

Audio and noise cancelling quality

Audio quality is fantastic on both. AirPods Pro has a more impactful bass, despite their smaller size. AirPods Pro also shines best in the mids. The Galaxy Buds Pro provide vocals, which are just a hair clearer than AirPods Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro


Regarding Active Noise Cancellation, Galaxy Buds Pro blow away the poor performance of the Galaxy Buds Live. That said, Apple continues to reign supreme with its approach.

Apple offers Spatial Audio with AirPods Pro as well as AirPods Max which creates a 3D audio effect from supported sources. That includes HBO Max, Disney Plus, and Apple TV. There is an API available as well for developers to build this 3D audio into their apps and games as well. Samsung has borrowed this feature, and their implementation is dubbed 360 Audio. It is very similar to Spatial Audio but only works with the unreleased OneUI 3.1 Android update.

Samsung offers more EQ adjustments than Apple does for its earbuds. Apple allows you to adjust the EQ for the Music app specifically, but not from any other sources.

Noteworthy features

Each set of earbuds has unique features that they are all too willing to tout. Starting first with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.

Galaxy Buds Pro features

Samsung has done a lot of work with its new earbuds, from the all-new design to its improved sweat resistance. The Buds Pro offers IPX7 water and sweat resistance which is enough to be submerged in water a meter deep for 30 minutes. That outlasts Apple's rating of IPX4.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro


We'd like to see Samsung's Voice Detect feature integrated in to the next set of AirPods Pro. With Voice Detect, the earbuds are listening for your voice and once you start talking, it automatically switches the earbuds from ANC to transparency mode. This makes it easy to have a conversation with someone without ever having to take out the earbuds or having to manually switch modes. It works great and something we miss when switching back to the AirPods Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro


Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro can switch automatically between your other Galaxy devices, has customizable controls, adjustable EQ, tap-based controls, and quick access to Spotify. They also come in three colors, compared to Apple's one.

AirPods Pro features

Samsung's great progress on earbuds has made a big impact but AirPods Pro still has the lead in some areas, beyond noise cancellation.

It starts from the second you open the box with Apple's Fit Test that ensures you are using the correct set of ear tips when trying out your AirPods Pro. This makes a big difference and you may not be able to feel it, but the Fit Test can identify whether or not the earbuds are situated properly.

AirPods Pro
Apple AirPods Pro


Apple also is utilizing its H1 audio chip which still doesn't have a true rival. This wireless chip allows for Apple's incredible 100-foot range that is nearly three times its competition.

That H1 chip utilizes class 1 Bluetooth audio which ensures a more robust signal strength for fewer dropouts in audio. That chip is what leads to other features such as Audio Sharing, allowing users to connect two sets of H1-enabled headphones to the same device to listen to the same music or watch a movie together.

As you wear your AirPods Pro, Apple doesn't allow you to customize the EQ on your own. But Apple is using that in-ear microphone to adjust the audio on the fly so that it is tuned best for your ears.

One of Apple's biggest strengths is its ability to integrate the earbuds so deeply into its operating systems. AirPods Pro instantly can switch between any of your Apple devices, including your Apple TV. They show their battery life in the Battery widget and Siri is even able to tell you the battery remaining. Control show in Control Center on iPhone, iPad, and Mac so you can connect or adjust the ANC mode.

Other features include the Force Stems for control, hands-free Hey Siri support, and support for the Find My app.

Which to choose??

Early Samsung earbuds were more platform-agnostic with the Galaxy Buds working just as good on iOS as Android. This time around though, the Galaxy Buds Pro performs far better on Android than on iOS.

Samsung's 360 Audio, customizable controls, adjustable EQ, the device tracking, all are tied to Android just as many of the AirPods Pro features are tied to iOS.

AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro
AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro


If you're an iPhone user, and you probably are if you're reading this, it makes much less sense to pick the Galaxy Buds Pro over the AirPods Pro. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro is clearly a superior choice -- and if you have a Galaxy handset, the Galaxy Buds Pro makes much more sense because of that Samsung-specific integration.

Apple's AirPods work with Samsung devices, and vice versa -- but you just lose out on a good chunk of what makes either device "Pro."

Deals on Galaxy Buds Pro and AirPods Pro

Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro normally retail for $199.99, but Samsung is offering shoppers a $50 discount for a limited time with an eligible audio trade-in. Amazon also stocks the earbuds at MSRP.
Apple AirPods Pro are on sale as well, with AppleInsider readers eligible for bonus coupon savings on the popular earphones. At press time, AirPods Pro are priced at $199, a discount of $50 off retail.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,552member
    "Early Samsung earbuds were more platform-agnostic with the Galaxy Buds working just as good on iOS as Android. This time around though, the Galaxy Buds Pro performs far better on Android than on iOS.”

    Then why even present them as an option to Apple users? 

    "
    If you're an iPhone user, and you probably are if you're reading this, it makes much less sense to pick the Galaxy Buds Pro over the AirPods Pro. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro is clearly a superior choice -- and if you have a Galaxy handset, the Galaxy Buds Pro makes much more sense because of that Samsung-specific integration.”

    So AI is now officially catering to Samsung users? This article is complete bullshit.

    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,400member
    I'm glad to hear that the AirPods Pro still offer some advantages over their closest competitor, even if you take away the platform-exclusive features for either set. Unlike some of the more mentally-unhinged Apple zealots, I'm glad that Android users have an option that is "on par" more or less with similar Apple products -- it will help them to know what to buy in the future when they finally understand that one platform gives them this level of excellence several years sooner than the other ...
    watto_cobraFoodLover
  • Reply 3 of 9
    roakeroake Posts: 768member
    lkrupp said:
    "Early Samsung earbuds were more platform-agnostic with the Galaxy Buds working just as good on iOS as Android. This time around though, the Galaxy Buds Pro performs far better on Android than on iOS.”

    Then why even present them as an option to Apple users? 

    "If you're an iPhone user, and you probably are if you're reading this, it makes much less sense to pick the Galaxy Buds Pro over the AirPods Pro. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro is clearly a superior choice -- and if you have a Galaxy handset, the Galaxy Buds Pro makes much more sense because of that Samsung-specific integration.”

    So AI is now officially catering to Samsung users? This article is complete bullshit.

    As there is a base of iPhone users that purchased earlier versions of these Buds, there are iPhone users that may be considering buying the newer versions of them.  There may also be other iPhone users who are considering purchasing these because their friends love them, etc.  Some may just be curious how the two compare.

    This article would be useful for any of those groups.
    MplsPCloudTalkinelijahgwatto_cobrafred1FoodLover
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Nice comparison, but custom audio setup for AirPods are failed to be mentioned though
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 481member, editor
    Nice comparison, but custom audio setup for AirPods are failed to be mentioned though
    Are you referring to adaptive EQ? I have that listed in the chart above and it is also spelled out in the AirPod Pro's feature: "But Apple is using that in-ear microphone to adjust the audio on the fly so that it is tuned best for your ears."
  • Reply 6 of 9
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 481member, editor

    lkrupp said:
    "Early Samsung earbuds were more platform-agnostic with the Galaxy Buds working just as good on iOS as Android. This time around though, the Galaxy Buds Pro performs far better on Android than on iOS.”

    Then why even present them as an option to Apple users? 

    "If you're an iPhone user, and you probably are if you're reading this, it makes much less sense to pick the Galaxy Buds Pro over the AirPods Pro. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro is clearly a superior choice -- and if you have a Galaxy handset, the Galaxy Buds Pro makes much more sense because of that Samsung-specific integration.”

    So AI is now officially catering to Samsung users? This article is complete bullshit.

    I see this complaint from people often, and it is basically a chicken and egg situation. People want to know if they are an option and then when they find out they arent a good option they are mad they are presented as an option. Which is it? Do you want us to not cover it at all and let people wonder or do you want us to give the compare and honestly explain why they may not be a good option? 

    Even if you aren't looking for a set of earbuds it is always good to keep an eye on the competition and how Apple's hardware and software are stacking up to what else is out there. 
    muthuk_vanalingamentropys
  • Reply 7 of 9
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 1,220member
    Nice comparison, but custom audio setup for AirPods are failed to be mentioned though
    Are you referring to adaptive EQ? I have that listed in the chart above and it is also spelled out in the AirPod Pro's feature: "But Apple is using that in-ear microphone to adjust the audio on the fly so that it is tuned best for your ears."
    I think the OP may mean custom audio setup under headphone accommodations. I learned about this while watching the review for the Airpods Max from the Soundguys on Youtube. As he said that using the vocal range setting he got the best sound from the Max.

    Setting-Accessibility-Audio/Visual and under Audio toggle Headphone Accommodations on and then press to enter. Once you enter you will see three choices for Custom Audio Setup.

    • Balanced Tone
    • Vocal Range
    • Brightness

    There is a slider at the bottom that goes from Slight-Strong for each setting. There is also a brief description of what each setting does.  I personally have started to use Vocal range on the slightest setting for music on my Airpods Pro. Its a nice boost to the middle frequencies that cleans things up pretty nicely in my opinion with the Airpods Pro. Others may like something else...

    I honestly have never seen this mentioned whenever a discussion or comparison comes up between the Airpods and other headphones that have stand alone EQ apps. If you play with this a bit and remember that adaptive eq is only on when you are in either noise cancel or transparency modes. You can get a nicer sound out your pro's or whatever Airpods you may use. B)




  • Reply 8 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,167member
    Thanks AI for reviewing these.  I was wondering if it was any purpose for an iPhone user and this review clarified it without me needing to buy a pair to test.

    I wonder if they end up doing Samsung360 with Samsung TVs? That would be cool.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Sorry to say, neither the AirPods 2 nor AirPods Pro are anything close to my Etymotic in-ear phones. The Apple offerings are sonically disgusting; daring to call one pair "Pro" is ludicrously disingenuous. Acceptable for TV viewing, no one who listens to complex music for hours on end could survive the AirPods fatiguing reproduction.
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