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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4

It ultimately comes down to preference and the other devices you use.
By

Published onOctober 24, 2023

Best for Samsung users
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
MSRP: $229.99
7.7
Check price
Positives
Leading ANC
Good sound quality
IPX7 water resistance
Fast and wireless charging
Bluetooth 5.3; SBC, AAC, and Samsung Seamless Codec
Negatives
Case prone to scratches and nicks
Buds are dust magnets
App lacks custom EQ (has EQ presets)
Samsung-exclusive features
The Bottom Line.
Consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro as your next pair of buds for its excellent active noise canceling (ANC) of low frequencies and comfortable fit. For Samsung users, the integration with your devices is handy and good for productivity. We wish Samsung gave listeners a longer leash regarding control and sound customization, but the limitations are expected. The buds sound the best when paired with a Samsung phone, and non-Samsung Android owners get the short end of the stick with fewer codec options. Android phone owners who have made peace with forgoing features like 360 Audio and Wireless PowerShare will grow to love the Buds 2 Pro.Read full review...
Best Isolation
Sony WF-1000XM4
MSRP: $278.00
8
Check price
Positives
360 Reality Audio support
Excellent Isolation, ANC
Foam ear tips
IPX4 rating
Bluetooth 5.2; SBC, AAC, and LDAC
Negatives
Price
Out-of-the-box sound a little wonky
The Bottom Line.
If you want the best true wireless earphones, the Sony WF-1000XM4 has to be in the discussion among the most popular models. It has its foibles, but it's probably the most mature stab at the true wireless design that includes ANC. Still, the price is tough to surmount.Read full review...

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is another new set of active noise canceling earbuds (ANC) on the market, competing with lots of great performers out there. One of the best is the Sony WF-1000XM4, renowned for its noise canceling, comfort, and software. After spending a week with each pair of earbuds, we’ve put the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4 side by side to see how they compare.

What's new?

  • This article was updated on October 24, 2023, to adjust formatting to our current style and ensure the information within is current.
  • See how the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro compares to Sony's latest flagship earbuds, the WF-1000XM5.

What’s it like to use the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro compared to the Sony WF-1000XM4?

The case and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds are made of a soft finish and matte plastic. The material shows scratches and lint; marks won’t buff out well. The earbuds have three ear tip sizes to choose from for getting the best fit, and you can double-check the fit in the Galaxy Wearable app (Android). Samsung’s earbuds also have an IPX7 rating, and the case is unrated. With the case, you get the same jewelry box design that dates back to the Galaxy Buds Live, and it’s easy to open singlehandedly. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro comes in Graphite, White, and Bora Purple.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are sitting in and covered in water droplets on a tropical themed outdoor blanket with a water bottle in the background.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
The buds are IPX7 rated for waterproofing, which should cover most wet activities or environments where you’d take the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds and case are similarly made of black matte plastic, though Sony adds flair with some gold accents to the black and white colorways. It comes with three polyurethane foam ear tips, making for a more comfortable fit and better seal. Like the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you can take an ear tip fit test in Sony’s app to ensure you’ve chosen the best tips. The earbuds have an IPX4 rating and are exercise-friendly, and the case lacks any water resistance.

While both earbuds have water-resistant ratings, neither has stabilizing wing tips, so there’s always a chance the earbuds will jostle around or fall out of your ear while you exercise. If you’re searching for the best wireless workout earbuds with noise canceling, we recommend the Jaybird Vista 2 or Beats Fit Pro (though the latter has prevalent ANC issues).

How do you control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4?

A photo showing someone using the touch controls of the Sony WF-1000XM4.
The capacitive touch controls are straightforward but somewhat customizable.

You have a touch panel on each earbud to control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The sensitivity of the touch panels is great. Unlike other Samsung Galaxy Buds, making fit adjustments doesn’t cause misfires. When you tap the earbuds, a sound alerts you that the buds registered your command. However, it’s not without issues: when our reviewer wears the buds for extended periods, the touch commands no longer register. This can be solved by re-pairing the earbuds to your device, which is inconvenient.

Controls aren’t solely via touch; you can also pause music by removing both earbuds. Unlike wireless earbuds with automatic wear detection, you must reinsert the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and tap one bud to resume playback. You also get hands-free Bixby access when the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro pairs to a Samsung device.

INPUTACTION (left bud)ACTION (right bud)
INPUT
ONE TAP
ACTION (left bud)
Play/Pause
ACTION (right bud)
Play/Pause
INPUT
TWO TAPS
ACTION (left bud)
Next track
Answer/end call
ACTION (right bud)
Next track
Answer/end call
INPUT
THREE TAPS
ACTION (left bud)
Skip to previous track
Decline call
ACTION (right bud)
Skip to previous track
Decline call
INPUT
TAP AND HOLD
ACTION (left bud)
Volume down
Reject call
Toggle ANC/ambient modes (change in settings)
ACTION (right bud)
Volume up
Reject call
Toggle ANC/ambient modes (change in settings)
INPUT
"Hey, Bixby"
ACTION (left bud)
Voice your request or inquiry (Samsung device only)
ACTION (right bud)
Voice your request or inquiry (Samsung device only)

Controlling the Sony WF-1000XM4 is similar since it also features touch controls. It also has automatic ear detection, so you can auto-pause your music by taking out an earbud. Unlike the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, media playback automatically resumes when you reinsert the earbud. You don’t get direct voice access to any smart assistants on the WF-1000XM4, but a long press will do the trick.

INPUTACTION (left bud)ACTION (right bud)
INPUT
ONE TAP
ACTION (left bud)
Mute/ANC/Ambient sound
ACTION (right bud)
Play/Pause
INPUT
TWO TAPS
ACTION (left bud)
N/A
ACTION (right bud)
Track forward/answer call
INPUT
THREE TAPS
ACTION (left bud)
N/A
ACTION (right bud)
Track backward
INPUT
TAP AND HOLD
ACTION (left bud)
N/A
ACTION (right bud)
Smart assistant

Should you use the apps of either the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or the Samsung WF-1000XM4?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro uses the Galaxy Wearable app, which is only available on Android. The app will ask for a lot of permissions upon downloading and won’t work until you allow all permissions, which is a pain if you care a lot about data privacy. After that, you can control listening modes, monitor the battery level, conduct an ear tip fit test, choose between EQ presets, update firmware, and more. The controls are customizable in a minimal manner, and you can’t make your own custom EQ. Since the app is only available on Android, iPhone users won’t be able to access any of these features.

The Sony Headphones Connect app is the software for the Sony WF-1000XM4, which is available on Android and iOS. In the app, you can test your fit, change your EQ, customize touch controls, optimize Sony 360 Reality Audio, and more. One of our favorite features of Sony’s app is the ability to prioritize connection stability over streaming quality and vice versa. Since the app is available on any OS and has no differences in experience, the Sony WF-1000XM4 will work the same everywhere. You won’t miss out on anything just because of the phone you own, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

How do the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Sony WF-1000XM4 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 in pairing mode.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro uses Bluetooth 5.3 and supports the SBC, AAC, and Samsung Seamless codecs. Only people with Samsung Galaxy devices can listen to music using Samsung Seamless Codec. The Seamless Codec is different from Samsung’s Scalable Codec, and this time around, those with devices running One UI 4.0 and later can enjoy 24-bit audio. You can also auto-switch between Samsung devices you sign into with the same Samsung account.

On the Sony WF-1000XM4, you get Bluetooth 5.2, which supports the SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs. Since LDAC is part of the Android Open Source Project, you can listen to high-quality audio with LDAC on any Android device.

Is battery life better on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM4?

A photo of the Sony WF-1000XM4's case open, revealing the earphones sitting within.
The battery life is quite a bit longer on the Sony WF-1000XM4.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro lasted 4 hours 50 minutes with ANC on in our battery testing. It uses USB-C and supports wireless charging using a Qi mat or Wireless PowerShare atop a Samsung Galaxy device.

On the other hand, the Sony WF-1000XM4 lasts 7 hours 43 minutes in our testing and so outdoes the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Another benefit to longer battery life is that the battery will likely keep a fuller capacity over its lifetime for longer than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. This is because you won’t have to charge the Sony earbuds and case as much as you would the Samsung ones. If you care about battery waste and its environmental impact, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is the slightly more eco-conscious choice. The WF-1000XM4 also charges using USB-C and supports Qi wireless charging.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM4 block noise better?

Noise canceling comparison chart for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4, showing better noise canceling in the low end from the Samsung earbuds, but Sony does better in the high end.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro cancels out noise better in the low end, but the Sony WF-1000XM4 blocks out more high-end frequencies.

This is where the competition ramps up a bit more. The ANC on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is excellent, especially at the low end. Isolation is fine, though, with the caveat that you can find a good fit in your ear. Without a proper fit, you risk turning up the volume too high to compensate for the lack of isolation, heightening your risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Sony’s earbuds don’t do as much to eliminate low frequencies as Samsung’s, but passive isolation is much more effective. This means the WF-1000XM4 earbuds will do more to passively block out incidental, high-frequency noise due to the memory foam ear tips that seal any shape of the ear canal, unlike silicone ear tips. But that’s not to say the WF-1000XM4 has poor low-frequency ANC: it does a great job here, too; the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro happens to be particularly good in this department.

Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro scores slightly higher on ANC, but the Sony WF-1000XM4 still performs excellently and has much better passive isolation.

Does the Sony WF-1000XM4 sound better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sounds quite good, coming close to our target curve in our testing. Notably, there’s a boost in the bass and sub-bass frequencies and a boost above 10kHz. The boost in the highs can make upper harmonics sound prominent, though most listeners won’t mind this. You can cycle through six EQ presets but can’t set your own. You’ll need a third-party EQ app if you need to go beyond the presets offered.

The frequency response comparison chart for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4, showing both earbuds having a bass boost, but a bigger difference in the highs.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro has more lows than the already-bass-boosted Sony WF-1000XM4.

With the Sony WF-1000XM4, the bass area is still a bit boosted, but less so than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The highs are under-emphasized, which can make vocals and harmonics a bit quieter and affect the overall tone. If you don’t like the sound profile, you can change the EQ in the Sony Headphones Connect app, either using an EQ preset or by setting your own custom EQ.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM4 have virtual surround sound modes, with Samsung having Samsung 360 Audio and Sony having Sony 360 Reality Audio. You can enable either in the headset’s respective app.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Sony WF-1000XM4 have a better microphone?

The memory foam tips of the Sony WF-1000XM4.
The embedded microphones on the Sony WF-1000XM4 are good enough for a call in ideal conditions but not a lot more than that.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone is fine, though the processing can sometimes make it sound like your voice has a lisp or can make plosives (sounds like the letter “P”) say unnatural, specifically with deeper voices. A significant positive is that the noise suppression is good, so noisy weather or streets won’t mask your voice on a phone call.

While noise suppression is good on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the same can’t be said for the WF-1000XM4. Wind noise makes voices much less audible, so phone calls outside with this microphone won’t be as well received. In ideal conditions, the mic is just fine for phone calls, but it’s not suitable for much more than that.

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

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone sample (Ideal conditions):

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

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone sample (Windy conditions):

Which microphone sounds better to you?

7046 votes

Should you get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or the Sony WF-1000XM4?

As you can probably tell by now, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is great if you have a Samsung phone, though it’ll also work well with Android phones in general. Samsung users get the Samsung Seamless codec and seamless switching between Samsung devices, making for a better, more integrated experience. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is also one of the best sets of ANC earbuds, especially considering how well it blocks out low frequencies. It’s also the more affordable option of the two, coming in at $230.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Comfortable fit • Enhanced noise-cancelling technology • Satisfying battery life
MSRP: $229.99
Samsung's reliable earbuds upgraded
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds provide great sound and feature active noise canceling. They meld a great fit and comfort with a vast range of ear tips. Efficient ANC and five hours of battery life sweeten the deal.

If you want to use great earbuds on any device almost equally, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is the best of the two for that. You can adjust the EQ to your liking in the app so you can personalize your listening experience, and the ANC is really great, even if it falls a bit short in the low end compared to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The only thing tied to OS is the LDAC codec, which is unavailable to Apple users. The WF-1000XM4 is pricier at $279, but that extra price for memory foam ear tips, a great app, and excellent ANC make it well worth it.

Sony WF-1000XM4Sony WF-1000XM4
SG recommended
Sony WF-1000XM4
Great ANC • IPX4 rating • 360 Reality Audio
MSRP: $278.00
Powerful active noise canceling earbuds.

What should you get instead of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Sony WF-1000XM4?

The Google Pixel Buds Pro lays on a wooden table with a Google Pixel 6 behind it.
The Pixel Buds Pro is a good option for Android users.

Android phone owners may enjoy the Google Pixel Buds Pro. The ANC isn’t quite as good as the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or the WF-1000XM4, but it’s still effective. The earbuds are IPX4 water-resistant, and the case is IPX2, so you can even get the case a little wet without damaging it. The battery life is between the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the WF-1000XM4, coming in at 7 hours and 6 minutes. It’s also cheaper than both of them, coming in at $199 at Amazon. They also now support Spatial Audio with the latest update, making them much more similar to the other two.

iPhone owners should consider the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) since it integrates perfectly with iOS. You get good ANC, Spatial Audio, and quick switching between Apple devices due to the H2 chip. It’s also IPX4 water-resistant like the Sony WF-1000XM4. At $239 at Amazon, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is similarly priced to the other options mentioned here. You can also read our more in-depth comparison between the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Another iOS-friendly option is the Beats Powerbeats Pro, which has an H1 chip. The ear hook design keeps your earbuds in place if you’re working out and has IPX4 water resistance. It also has a long battery life of 10 hours, 52 minutes. It doesn’t have ANC, but it does have decent isolation. The PowerBeats Pro is available for $159 at Amazon.

A hand holds the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds above concrete.
The new stabilizers help give the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 a more universal fit than its predecessor.

If you want an OS-agnostic option with ANC, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 is great. It has multiple ear tips and fins to keep the buds in place, has good noise canceling, and supports the aptX and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs alongside SBC and AAC, so there’s a higher-quality audio option for Android users, too. It also has an IPX4 rating, so with that, along with the stable fit, this pair of earbuds is great for athletes and regular use as well. The price sits between the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and WF-1000XM4 at $169 at Amazon.

Frequently asked questions about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Sony WF-1000XM4

Neither the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro nor the Sony WF-1000XM4 features Bluetooth multipoint. Instead, they both offer quick switching between devices. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can switch seamlessly between Samsung devices on the same Samsung account, and the Sony WF-1000XM4 can switch between devices that have been paired with the earbuds before.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can handle being submerged in a meter of water for 30 minutes due to its IPX7 rating. The Sony WF-1000XM4 has an IPX4 rating, so it can only take light water splashes, not submersion.

Samsung’s site lists only “stability” improvements, so you’re unlikely to notice new features. This update may not be flashy, but improved wireless stability helps avoid cutouts and stutters.

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