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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)

It's a battle between two major OS-specific players.
By
October 4, 2022
The hero image for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Apple AirPods Pro comparison article.

With the release of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, a new noise cancelling earbud competitor has entered the ring. However, the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) is still a popular choice for active noise cancelling earbuds (ANC), so it might be hard to choose between them. We put the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro against the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) to see which is a better fit for you.

Editor’s note: this article was updated on October 5, 2022, to address the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and to expand the list of buying options.

What’s it like to use the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro compared to the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)?

On a tropical themed outdoor blanket the open case of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro rests with the lid open.
The buds are prominent and bulb-shaped, making it easier to grasp them and perform touch commands.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds are made of a matte plastic, as is the case, which has a rounded rectangular shape. The material scratches easily, doesn’t buff out well, and holds on to lint. The earbuds have an IPX7 rating, making them great for exercising. Just be aware that the buds lack stabilizers and may jostle with extreme movement. Samsung provides three ear tip sizes (small, medium, large) that are easy to swap out to get the right fit, and the Galaxy Wearable app has an ear tip fit test so you can make sure no sound leaks.

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) is made of shiny white plastic, both the earbuds and the case. The earbuds have a stemmed design, which looks nice but makes it easier for the earbuds to catch on masks, clothes, or even your hands when you move your hair. With an IPX4 rating, the first-gen AirPods Pro earphones are slightly less water-resistant than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. It also has three ear tip sizes to get the best fit from your Apple’s ANC buds.

How do you control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)?

The Apple AirPods Pro in a man's left hand against a green background.
The Apple AirPods Pro stems have indentations to indicate where the touch controls are located.

You can control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro through the touch panels on the side of each earbud. This time around, the touch sensitivity is great. You can adjust an earbud without accidentally executing a command, so you don’t have to worry as much about misfires. The buds make a sound when you’ve tapped to tell you it has registered the command. However, after listening for an extended period of time, our reviewer found the buds stop registering touches. This issue is solved by re-pairing the earbuds, but that’s inconvenient.

INPUTACTION (music)ACTION (phone)
INPUT
One tap
ACTION (music)
Play/Pause
ACTION (phone)

INPUT
Two taps
ACTION (music)
Skip to track ahead
ACTION (phone)
Answer/end call
INPUT
Three taps
ACTION (music)
Skip to previous track
ACTION (phone)
Decline call
INPUT
Tap and hold
ACTION (music)
Right: increase volume
Left: decrease volume
Toggle ANC/ambient modes (change in settings)
ACTION (phone)
Reject call
INPUT
"Hey, Bixby"
ACTION (music)
Voice your request or inquiry (Samsung device only)
ACTION (phone)

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) is controlled using the stems, which are pressure sensitive. You squeeze the stems to control playback, ANC, and Siri. You can reconfigure some of the controls in the Settings app on iOS, but Android users aren’t able to make these changes.

INPUT (stems)ACTION
One press
Play/pause/answer call
Two presses
Next track
Three presses
Previous track
Press and hold
Toggle ANC/Adaptive Transparency modes
"Hey Siri"
Change volume, request directions, playback control, receive messages, and more

Should you use the apps of either Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)?

Two screenshots show the command customizations for touch and hold, and the EQ presets in the Galaxy Wearable app for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
You can only change the touch and hold command, and your only EQ options comprise of presets.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro uses the Galaxy Wearable app, which is only available on Android, so iPhone users won’t get any of the software benefits. The app requires a lot of permissions immediately upon downloading and won’t work unless you allow everything. Once those permissions are granted, you will be able to control listening modes, monitor battery status, do a fit test, select an EQ preset, access firmware updates, do some limited customization of the controls, and some more.

The app for the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) is the Apple Settings app, so Android users won’t be able to access software features for the AirPods Pro. The app has an ear tip fit test, ANC controls, some control customization, Spatial Audio controls, and more.

With either pair of earbuds, your software experiences are tied to your OS, so it’s very clear here that if you want to get the most out of your earbuds, you need to have an Android phone, preferably a Samsung, to enjoy the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to the fullest extent, and an iPhone to enjoy the AirPods Pro.

How do the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) connect?

A macro close up shows the details and texture of the case and earbuds included in the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, with the case open on a colorful blanket.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The indicator light blinks red, blue, and green when in pairing mode.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro uses Bluetooth 5.3 to connect to your device, and supports the SBC, AAC, and Samsung Seamless codecs (One UI 4.0+ required). Down the line, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will support LE Audio and the LC3 codec, which can’t be said of the AirPods Pro. You can also auto-switch between Samsung devices you’re signed into with the same Samsung account. To connect to a Samsung device, just open the case with the earbuds in and a pop-up will appear on your screen to connect. If you’re connecting to another Android device, open the case with the earbuds inside, go to the Galaxy Wearable app, and follow the on-screen instructions to pair. Otherwise, go to your Bluetooth menu to find the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and connect.

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) uses Bluetooth 5.0, and supports the SBC and AAC codecs. The AirPods Pro has an H1 chip, which allows you to switch between other Apple devices logged into the same iCloud account. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro will automatically try to connect with your phone once you open the case close to your phone. If you’re connecting it to a different device, you can open the Bluetooth settings on your device with the case open, and you’ll see the AirPods Pro in the menu.

Is battery life better on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)?

The Apple AirPods Pro touch settings on an iPhone.
A pop-up card informs you of the AirPods Pro battery life at a glance.

When it comes to battery life, these earbuds are very similar. The battery in the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro lasts 4 hours, 50 minutes with ANC on in our battery testing, just under the 5 hours advertised by Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro charges using USB-C, is wireless charging compatible, and supports PowerShare so you can charge the case atop a compatible Samsung device.

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) has a slightly longer battery life of 5 hours, 6 minutes, with ANC on. You can charge the AirPods Pro using the Lightning input, and its case supports Qi and MagSafe wireless charging.

Neither has great battery life, and this short battery life means more charging cycles, which means the lifetime of the battery will be short in comparison to earbuds with longer battery life. This means when it comes to e-waste from batteries, both the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) are not the most environmentally conscious options.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) block noise better?

Noise cancelling comparison chart for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Apple AirPods Pro, showing the superior noise cancelling performance from the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro has significantly better active noise cancelling than the AirPods Pro.

The ANC on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is really good. While there are a lot of spikes up and down at different frequencies in the ANC chart pictured, the low-end ANC is great compared to other noise cancelling earbuds.

The ANC performance on the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) is not as good as the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. It doesn’t cancel out low-end noise nearly as well, and the high-end leaves something to be desired too.

If noise cancelling is the most important thing to you, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is the better performer here by far. Whichever you choose, if you don’t have a proper seal with your earbuds, sound can leak in and render the isolation and ANC a lot worse, which can make you turn up the volume, potentially leading to noise-induced hearing loss.

Does the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) sound better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sounds good, measuring really close to our target response curve. There is a notable boost in the bass and sub-bass frequencies, which can be good if you like a lot of bass in your music. There’s also a boost above 10kHz, which can make upper harmonics sound prominent, but most people likely won’t notice or won’t find this objectionable. If you don’t like the standard sound profile, you do have the choice of some EQ presets, but you can’t set your own. Additionally, none of the presets affect that boost above 10kHz, so you won’t be able to fix that if you don’t like it.

The frequency response comparison chart for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation), illustrating how much bass heavy the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is much more bass-heavy than the AirPods Pro.

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) sounds very good, with its frequency response following our target curve very closely. Bass and sub-bass are very slightly under-emphasized, and there’s a bit less emphasis in the highs as well. This frequency response will be very pleasing to most people, and won’t result in any unwanted emphasis on your music, regardless of genre. Outside of Apple music, there are no EQ presets to choose from if you want a bit of a change, however.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) have their own surround sound tech, with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro having Samsung 360 Audio, and the AirPods Pro having Apple’s Spatial Audio. Both features can be enabled in the earbuds’ respective apps, meaning Apple users won’t be able to use Samsung 360 Audio and Android users can’t use Spatial Audio.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) have a better microphone?

The microphone in the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is fine, though there are some noticeable issues. The microphone sometimes makes it sound like your voice has a lisp, or can make plosives (sounds like the letter p) sound especially emphasized, especially with deeper voices. Noise suppression is pretty good, cancelling out wind sounds and street sounds really well.

The Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) has a good mic system, though you might notice in the mic demos that voices occasionally cut out for no clear reason. It should be fine for phone calls, though noise suppression isn’t great, so take your phone calls indoors in a quiet environment if you can.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone sample (Ideal conditions):

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) microphone sample (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone sample (Windy conditions):

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) microphone sample (Windy conditions):

Which microphone sounds better?

197 votes

Should you get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is worth it only if you have an Android phone, and even more so if you have a Samsung phone. iPhone users won’t be able to download the Wearable app, leaving them out of firmware updates, EQ presets, and any customization. Samsung users get the benefit of having the Samsung Seamless Codec for good quality audio with lower latency, and quick switching between Samsung devices. This is one of the best pairs of earbuds for ANC, since low-frequency noise is cancelled out so well. For $229 USD, it’s a pretty great pair of noise cancelling earbuds.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Excellent ANC • Good audio quality • Fast charging earbuds
A good companion for your Samsung phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is one of the best options for Android phone owners for its solid active noise cancelling (ANC), good sound and various features.

On a similar note, the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) is only really worth it if you have an iPhone. If you don’t, you miss out on important software features in the Settings app. For $249 USD, you want those features available to you, otherwise, you’re spending that money on missed opportunities. If you have an iPhone, the AirPods Pro is a great choice that makes listening super convenient.

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)
Immersive audio features • Great sound quality • Good ANC
Apple's first pair of great AirPods
The Apple AirPods Pro wireless earbuds use SBC and AAC for reliable, high-quality audio. They support spatial audio and active noise cancelling.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is available now, and features the new H2 chip for better ANC, battery life, and more. You also get a new U1 chip in the case, which helps locate it through the FindMy app. Apple’s flagship earbuds have a standard consumer-friendly frequency response that’s sure to please most listeners, and the Adaptive Transparency mode is a game-changer. We encourage readers to learn about how the first and second-generation AirPods Pro compare to one another.

What should you get instead of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)?

The Sony WF-1000XM4 on a wet, red bench, also with moisture on the earphones.
An IPX4 rating means splashes, sweat, and humidity won’t kill your earphones.

The best OS agnostic alternative to both earbuds is the Sony WF-1000XM4, packed with amazing ANC, memory foam ear tips, LDAC support, and software that does a lot on any OS. It’s also IPX4 water-resistant, so it has similar durability to the AirPods Pro in this regard. This is a pricier option at $278 USD, but well worth it if you want one of the best noise cancelling earbuds around.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro is a great option for Android users. It has good ANC, though not as good as the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The earbuds are rated IPX4, and the case is IPX2, so it can survive a bit of water too, which is uncommon. You also get a better battery life of 7 hours, 6 minutes. Top that off with the Pixel Buds Pro being $30 USD cheaper than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, it’s a great choice for Android users. It’s even slated to get spatial audio in Fall 2022!

The Beats Powerbeats Pro logo.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro have the same over-ear hook design as the standard Powerbeats, but they ditch the wire connecting them.

Apple users may enjoy the Beats Powerbeats Pro, which also has an H1 chip like the AirPods Pro. The ear hook design keeps your earbuds in place if you’re working out, making it a great companion to athletes, alongside its IPX4 rating. It also has a battery life of more than double that of the AirPods Pro, at 10 hours, 52 minutes. It doesn’t have ANC, but its isolation performance is decent. For Beats workout earbuds with ANC and a similarly good fit, we recommend the Beats Fit Pro.

Frequently asked questions

Apple’s ear tips are proprietary, so not all third-party ear tips will fit. If you purchase them, you have to make sure they’re specifically made for AirPods Pro.

Ear tips can be cleaned easily with cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol. For a full explainer, check out our article on cleaning ear tips.

Neither the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro nor the Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) feature Bluetooth multipoint. Instead, they both offer quick switching between devices. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro switches seamlessly between Samsung devices logged into the same account, and the Apple AirPods Pro switches quickly between Apple devices logged into the same iCloud account.

The AirPods Pro is only IPX4 rated, so it isn’t rated to survive submersion in water. It can handle splashes, rain, and sweat. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is IPX7 rated, meaning it can survive being immersed in one meter of water for 30 minutes.