Choosing the best true wireless earbuds for your needs is increasingly challenging as technology improves and more brands enter the market. This is especially true when contrasting the second-generation wireless earbuds from two of the most well-known technology companies in the world, Apple and Samsung.
Apple and Samsung have competed in the smartphone market against each other for years, but their competition in the personal audio market is relatively new.
Apple released an updated version of their wireless earphones in 2019, called AirPods 2019, in 2018. Thanks to the H1 chip, Apple’s new headphones have “faster connect times, more talk time, and the convenience of hands-free Siri.”
Despite Apple’s subsequent release of the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro (and rumoured development of a less expensive variant, the AirPods Pro Lite), the 2019 AirPods remain the most popular of the company’s true wireless earbuds.
Also in the works as a sequel to the 2019 Galaxy Buds are Samsung’s improved true wireless earbuds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. Which model of the second generation of truly wireless earbuds do you recommend? We’ve considered the advantages and disadvantages of both brands, and it’s a tough pick.
Airpods Vs. Galaxy Buds Plus: Pricing
Apple’s 2019 AirPods retail for $159/£159/AU$249 without the new Wireless Charging Case and $199/£199/AU$319 with it. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are a bit less expensive than the Apple AirPods, coming in at $149.99 / £159 / AU$299; it’s also worth noting that, unlike the AirPods, the Galaxy Buds Plus have a wireless charging case as standard equipment.
However, it would be best if you didn’t take those prices as gospel, as you can often find good bargains on AirPods that bring the price down by at least $20 (or £20).
True wireless earbuds can range in price from $30 or £30 to $650 or £500 (looking at you, Klipsch), so these are at the middle of the price range. The Sony WF-1000XM3, widely considered the best true wireless earbuds of 2020, retails for $230 (£220; AU$400), though you can occasionally buy them for less if you keep your eyes out for a good headphones sale.
Apple AirPods vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: design
Actual wireless earbud manufacturers worldwide strive to copy Apple’s AirPods’ distinctive design. You’ll either adore or despise this novel design, eliminating the cords from the standard EarPod format and exposing the earbud’s stem. Although the stems are a bit shorter in the AirPods Pro, this design has been around since the original AirPods debuted in 2016, and it appears to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Although they fit comfortably throughout our testing, we wouldn’t recommend using the Apple AirPods for exercise because they are accurate to the relatively complex Apple design and don’t come with the convenience of removable silicone ear tips. The firm has solved this issue with the updated AirPods Pro by including silicone ear tips, making them more acceptable for use as a pair of running headphones.
In contrast to the AirPods (2019), which cram all of their technology into the stems, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus has a more ‘traditional’ actual wireless earbud design (if such a thing exists), with all the tech integrated into the housing.
They seem very similar to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, which is interesting given that both Samsung and Apple have focused on improving the internal technology of their second-generation true wireless earbuds rather than changing the product’s look.
The rubber wingtips on Samsung’s earbuds make them feel snug and comfortable in your ears. They come in a wider variety of colours than the Apple AirPods, including iridescent white, black, and light blue, and we think they look more excellent overall. However, that’s a matter of personal preference. Touch controls on both earbuds allow you to manage audio playback, initiate phone calls, and activate the phone’s voice assistant.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus include actual buttons, unlike the AirPods’ touch-sensitive housings, which necessitate only the lightest touch to activate. Pushing the switch forces the earbuds further into the ear canal, which can initially feel a little strange.
The AirPods and the Galaxy Buds have charging cases that look like little pillboxes and are compact enough to carry about in your pocket. The Galaxy Buds Plus charging case has a single LED that illuminates red, yellow, or green to indicate battery life, while the AirPods’ charging case has a row of LEDs that show how much juice is left.
Apple AirPods vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: Connectivity
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus support Bluetooth 5.0. In contrast, the Apple AirPods only support Bluetooth 4.2, so the former may be more reliable regarding wireless connectivity (though we didn’t encounter frequent dropouts with either model).
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and the Apple AirPods are accurate wireless earbud versions. Still, none supports high-end audio codecs like aptX or aptX Low Latency, so you may experience a slight delay when watching the video using these headphones.
Apple’s H1 chip, built within the AirPods, is touted to facilitate faster pairing and enhanced connectivity. When you open the charging case, your iPhone will display the remaining battery life of the AirPods and the case and a pairing option if you’re using an iPhone.
In contrast to constantly re-pairing your headphones whenever you switch between devices, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and the Apple AirPods feature multi-pairing.
Apple AirPods vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: Battery life
The Apple AirPods’ charging case provides an additional 20 hours of battery life on top of the five hours supplied by the earbuds. However, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus has 22 hours of battery life thanks to 11 hours in the earphones and 11 more in the charging case.
True wireless earbuds typically have a battery life of around 11 hours. However, the charging case only has a tiny battery. You can get the AirPods, with their various charging cases, or the Galaxy Buds, with their larger internal battery, but you can’t get both.
Both earbuds can be charged wirelessly, but as we’ve already discussed, the AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case will set you back about $40 more than the regular charging case. Samsung’s wireless charging case for the Galaxy Buds Plus is included at no extra cost. Thus the company does not place a high value on this feature.
You can use a Qi-compatible charging mat with both the Apple and Samsung wireless charging covers, but the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus have an extra trick up their sleeve: Wireless PowerShare.
With two-way wireless charging enabled on your Samsung Galaxy S20 or Galaxy S10, you can charge your headphones by simply placing them on the back of your phone. This neat feature may sway your decision to purchase the Galaxy Buds Plus if you already own a smartphone.
Apple Airpods Vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: Audio Quality
The sound of the AirPods is energetic and robust. However, they can be petite piercing at higher frequencies and aren’t the easiest earphones.
The original Galaxy Buds were significantly more accessible than the AirPods. Still, the new Galaxy Buds Plus feature a more balanced sound by decreasing the bass and increasing the mid and treble frequencies.
Therefore, bass heads who desire a thumping low end may want to check out the Beats Powerbeats Pro instead, even though both earbuds give a good amount of clarity and overall sound quite good.
Likewise, neither of these earphones has the highest sound quality on Earth; for that, you’ll need to check out some true wireless earphones, such as the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1.
These earbuds lack modern conveniences like noise cancellation, which is to be expected given their low cost. No noise-cancelling technology is built into any of Samsung’s true wireless earbuds, so if you want to block out annoying environmental sound, your best bets are the Sony WF-1000XM3 or the AirPods Pro.
Apple Airpods Vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus: Verdict
We used to recommend staying within your preferred ecosystem, so if you have an iPhone, get AirPods, and if you have a Samsung, get Galaxy Buds Plus.
While this is still somewhat true for the AirPods, which may pair more rapidly with iPhones than other models, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are significantly more device-agnostic than their forerunners. If you own a compatible smartphone, Wireless PowerShare is an excellent incentive to consider the Galaxy Buds Plus.
It’s difficult to recommend one of these earbud models over another because they all have comparable pricing points, sound profiles, and battery life. However, there are circumstances in which you may prefer the AirPods to the Galaxy Buds Plus and vice versa.
Admire the unmistakable style of your Apple products. Purchase some AirPods. Do you prefer the safety of rubber wingtips and the freedom to express yourself with various colour options? The best headphones are the Samsung Galaxy Buds. There are better-sounding, longer-lasting, and occasionally cheaper true wireless earbuds on the market than any of these options.
Suppose you want high-quality true wireless earbuds without breaking the bank. In that case, it’s worth your time to learn about specialized audio brands such as Cambridge Audio, Lypetek, Klipsch, and Audio-Technica rather than relying solely on Apple and Samsung.