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Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods – Which are better?

Ever since the release of the Apple AirPods back in 2016, every player in the audio world has realized the market potential of truly wireless earbuds. Having seen the wild success of the AirPods, every company you can think of has brought out their own model to try and claim a piece of this rapidly expanding market.

In 2019, Samsung released their long-awaited Galaxy Buds. Shortly after, Apple announced that the second generation AirPods would also be hitting the shelves.

You might think that this would be an easy choice…

If you’ve got an iPhone, you go with the AirPods. And if you’re an Android phone owner, you pump for the Galaxy Buds. But it’s not quite that simple.

We decided to run these two competitors against each other, taking a look at the pros and cons of both. If you’re not sure which is the superior earbud, by the end of this article, you’ll hopefully have a better idea. So, let’s get ready to rumble with our hard-hitting Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods showdown.

Design

Design

When the Apple AirPods were first released, the design was widely ridiculed. People used to laugh at the long dangling stem design. But, they went on to sell over 100 million units worldwide, so this wasn’t a problem for a lot of people. It’s fair to say that whether you love them or hate them, you can’t help but notice them.

The design has become somewhat iconic…

First of all, AirPods do not have ear tips and are designed to rest at the entrance to your ear canal. In practice, it will depend on the shape of your inner ear as to whether or not they fit properly. One thing they don’t do well is create a good seal, an important factor when it comes to noise isolation. We’ll get to that later.

The Galaxy Earbuds have gone for a more traditional design, with a housing that fits within the confines of your ear. They are quite small by truly wireless earbud standards. If you’d rather not be noticed, then the Galaxy buds are a far subtler option.

They also have a standard ear tip design. Samsung Galaxy Buds come with different-sized silicone ear tips and ear fins. It’s fair to say that the Galaxy Buds fit better than AirPods do. Furthermore, AirPods don’t offer anything in the way of color options, with white being the only choice. The Galaxy buds are available in black, yellow, or white.

Comfort

As long as they fit properly, the Apple AirPods can be worn for hours without causing any noticeable ear fatigue. The only problem is they don’t feel all that secure. If you’re looking for earbuds for running, you’ll be taking a gamble with the AirPods.

Similarly, the Galaxy Buds are ergonomic and lightweight. Once you’ve found the correct combination of ear tip and fin, a very snug fit can be easily achieved. They are also very comfortable for extended use and never feel like they’re going to fall out, regardless of what you decide to do with them on.

Controls

Both earbuds rely on a touch/tap control system rather than physical buttons. The Samsung Galaxy buds will play/pause with a single tap, play the next track, or answer/end a call with a double tap. A triple tap will play the previous track.

With a tap and hold, you can customize what you want the buds to do. You can set it to either access the voice assistant, enable ambient sound or use it for volume control.

A similar setup on the AirPods…

Although, there is no way to control the volume by using the touchpad. You can summon Siri to change volume, but it’s not exactly convenient. We were hoping that Apple would have addressed this issue in the second-generation AirPods, but they’ve neglected to do so for some unfathomable reason.

The touchpad on the Galaxy buds is much larger compared to the AirPods. As a result, Galaxy Buds are easier to use than AirPods. On occasion, the AirPods don’t always recognize the correct number of taps. However, one problem with larger touchpads is that they are prone to accidental taps. But the overall functionality is better.

Pairing and Connectivity

Pairing and Connectivity

When it comes to pairing, the process is extremely simple for both sets of earbuds. When pairing the Galaxy buds to a Samsung Galaxy phone or the AirPods to an iPhone for the first time, all you have to do is open the case, and they instantly pair with the device.

If pairing either of them to another device, then you have to go into the settings to find the earbuds.

In case you were wondering…

Both the Galaxy Buds and AirPods can be connected to pretty much any device that has Bluetooth. However, AirPods have a lot of features that will only work within the Apple ecosystem. The Galaxy buds are far more compatible with an iOS device than vice versa.

Connection-wise, the original AirPods were the first Bluetooth headphones to nail it. And Apple’s H1 chip is present in the latest incarnation to carry the torch forward. The connection stays strong regardless of what you are doing.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds also performed admirably well, with no cutouts when being used at home or in the office. There were a couple of blips when using them out in the street, but the vast majority of the time, they stayed on point.

Charging Case

The Galaxy Buds have a pillbox-style charging case with a nice matte finish. The case has a USB-C charging port on the back and an LED charging indicator on the front. It’s a very clean design all around.

The AirPods case resembles the kind of container dental floss comes in. There’s a pairing/reset button on the back and a lightning charging port at the bottom.

Both cases offer good protection for the buds…

And they are both very portable. Either will comfortably fit in your pocket. Both cases hold the buds in place magnetically, but the AirPods case has a much stronger grip on each bud. With the lid open, you can give it a good shake with no chance of either AirPods falling out.

The same cannot be said for the Galaxy case. The buds will come loose if mildly shaken with the lid open. This isn’t a problem, though, as the lid is designed well enough to stay firmly closed.

Battery Life

Battery Life

Stand-alone battery life for the AirPods clocks in at just over four hours when subjected to a constant 75dB output. The Galaxy Buds blow this away with a solid 6.5 hours under the same conditions. When it comes to Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods, the Galaxy Buds have a better battery than AirPods.

The AirPods claw back a little respect by packing an extra 20 hours of power in the charging case, compared to a rather disappointing seven hours available from the Galaxy Buds case.

Both earbuds have quick charge capabilities…

A 15-minute charge will give you an extra 1.75 hours with the Galaxy Buds. And a more impressive three hours with the AirPods.

You can wirelessly charge both models. Although, to do this with the AirPods, you’ll have to purchase a separate charging mat. The Galaxy Buds case can be recharged by placing it on the back of any Galaxy S10 phone. It’s a pretty cool trick which you don’t have to pay anything extra for.

Extra Features

Open the accompanying Galaxy Wearable app, and you’ll find a host of extra features. Firstly, there’s an EQ section that has a range of presets and an option to boost the bass.

You can also turn on the ambient noise feature, which uses built-in microphones to let environmental noise into your ears. This is handy if you’re running in a built-up area and want to be aware of any potential danger around you.

In non-windy conditions, it works pretty well. But if it’s breezy out, the microphones can’t help but pick that up too. And it quickly leads to you turning ambient mode off.

If you misplace your Galaxy buds…

You can activate ‘find my buds’ mode, which will make them emit a tweeting noise until you can find them. The Galaxy buds also have a water and sweat resistance rating, something the Airpods lack.

AirPods also have some handy extras. An optical sensor picks up on whether the earbuds are in your ears or not. This allows the AirPods to automatically pause your listening the moment you pull either bud out and restart the moment it’s returned. You’ll be amazed at how often this feature comes in handy.

The AirPods will also automatically enter into sleep mode after two minutes of being left untouched, thanks to a built-in accelerometer. This goes a small way to make up for the rather lackluster battery life.

Sound Quality

Sound Quality

From a personal perspective, this one isn’t even close. The Samsung Galaxy Buds have a far more enjoyable sound profile when compared with the Airpods.

A warm and punchy bass packs plenty of oomph, with more than enough separation to allow the mid and treble ranges their share of the spotlight. Audio pros AKG are responsible for the fine-tuning, a move that certainly pays dividends.

True wireless earbuds have to pack a lot of components into a small unit. And often, the sound quality suffers because of this. It’s good to see this slowly changing as the technology improves and the Galaxy Buds are helping to lead the way.

Adding to sound quality…

They are also helped immeasurably by the fact the ear tips create a good seal. This helps keep unwanted noise from seeping in and stopping the sounds from leaking out.

The AirPods create no such seal, and this affects their output. Bass response is somewhat lacking. And there’s a harshness to the highest parts of the frequency range, which becomes especially apparent at higher volumes.

The lack of a decent seal also means that you can hear far more of what’s going on around you. A lot of people will compensate by raising the volume to mask the noise, which, needless to say, isn’t good in the long run.

Moving forward…

The newer AirPods Pro has gone a long way to fixing these issues with the addition of ear-tips. But the older generation lags way behind the Samsung Galaxy Buds when it comes to sound quality.

Need More Info on AirPods or a Great Pair of Earbuds?

We can help with that. Check out our helpful guides on How to clean your AirPods ProAirPods Pro vs Beats Powerbeats ProApple AirPods vs Powerbeats Pro, and 3 Simple Tips to Keep Airpods From Falling Out for more useful information.

You may also enjoy our reviews of the Best AirPods Alternative, the Best Lightning Headphones for iPhone & iPad, the Best iPhone Earbuds, the Most Comfortable Earbuds, and the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds you can buy in 2021.

And don’t miss our comprehensive Apple AirPods Pro Review, our Apple Beats Powerbeats Pro Review, and our Samsung Galaxy Buds Review for amazing items on the market.

Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods – The Final Verdict

Samsung finally hit the right formula with the Galaxy buds, which are superior to the Apple Airpods in several key ways. In terms of design and sound, they win the battle hands down, whilst battery life is also significantly better.

Samsung Galaxy BudsApple AirPods
Design8/105/10
Comfort9/108/10
Controls7/105/10
Pairing/Connectivity8/109/10
Charging Case8/109/10
Battery Life8/106/10
Extra features7/107/10
Sound Quality8/105/10
Final Score63/8054/80

If you worship at the shrine of Apple, the convenience and usability of the AirPods may be enough to stop you from looking at any other models altogether.

Likewise, the Galaxy Buds work best when used within the Samsung ecosystem. For those that don’t have an iPhone or a Galaxy device and are looking at either of these models, the Galaxy Buds are by far the better choice.

Until next time, may the music make you merry.

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About Jennifer Bell

Jennifer is a freelance writer from Montana. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and English, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Games and Simulation Design.

Her passions include guitar, bass, ukulele, and piano, as well as a range of classical instruments she has been playing since at school. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, yoga, eating well, and spending time with her two cats, Rocky and Jasper.

Jennifer enjoys writing articles on all types of musical instruments and is always extending her understanding and appreciation of music. She also writes science fiction and fantasy short stories for various websites and hopes to get her first book published in the very near future.

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