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Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Is it worth it to spend more for ANC?
By
February 25, 2022

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus long sat atop our list of the best true wireless earbuds. However, with the addition of active noise cancelling (ANC), the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 may be the new buds to beat. We’re putting the earbuds head-to-head to see if the more affordable Galaxy Buds Plus is still worth the money, or if you should go for the newer Galaxy Buds 2 instead.

What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus?

A picture of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus earbuds on top of the Galaxy S10e smartphone in flamingo pink.
Wingtips on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus ensure a snug fit.

Both of these Samsung earbuds are constructed from plastic, which doesn’t feel very premium. The benefit to this build is that both earbuds are lightweight, comfortable, and relatively affordable. A key difference in the design is that only the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus features wing tips. The wing tips on the outside of the earbuds ensure a secure fit, whereas the rounded design of the Galaxy Buds 2 makes it easier to fall out of the ears.

An IPX2 rating on both sets of earbuds offers some sweat and water droplet resistance, though neither earbuds are designed for an adventure-driven lifestyle.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earphones in the open charging case on top of a Samsung Galaxy S10e smartphone in pink.
The Galaxy Buds 2 supports Wireless PowerShare like all the Galaxy Buds that came before it.

Proximity sensors on both sets of earbuds automatically pause your music when an earbud is removed, though you still have to tap to resume playback. You can use the onboard touch controls to adjust playback or answer calls. These controls are also adjustable from within the Galaxy Wearables app.

Related: Best true wireless earbuds under $200

How do you connect the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus true wireless earbuds on top of a Macbook Pro with a Samsung Galaxy S10e in the bottom right corner of the image.
You can connect the earbuds to nearly any device via Bluetooth.

If you have the SmartThings app installed, both sets of earbuds instantly pair to your Samsung Galaxy device. Otherwise, you can pair the earbuds to other devices manually from within your Bluetooth settings. The Galaxy Buds Plus uses Bluetooth 5.0, whereas the newer Galaxy Buds 2 supports Bluetooth 5.2 which leaves an opportunity for LE Audio support.

Each supports the same three Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, and the Samsung Scalable Codec. There’s no support for aptX, but between the three aforementioned codecs, you shouldn’t have any connection problems to your device. The Samsung Scalable Codec is unique to Samsung Galaxy device owners and constantly balances connection with sound quality by dynamically adjusting the bit rate from 88-512kbps, akin to aptX adaptive.

Related: Understanding Bluetooth codecs

Neither earbud has support for Bluetooth multipoint, but the earbuds will remember previous devices you’ve connected to. Selecting the pre-paired Galaxy Buds Plus or Galaxy Buds 2 from your Bluetooth menu on a second device will automatically disconnect the earbuds from the original device. If you use your Galaxy Buds predominantly with Samsung Galaxy source devices, you can take advantage of automatic device switching.

What apps do you need for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in the open charging case while connected to the Galaxy Wearable app on a Samsung Galaxy S10e.
You can take control of the earbuds from the Wearable app.

If you own an Android phone, you should download the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (Android) to get the most out of the Galaxy Buds Plus or Galaxy Buds 2. The Galaxy Buds app offers support for the Galaxy Buds Plus on iOS, whereas there is no app for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 on the Apple app store. If you own an iPhone, you can go ahead right now and cross the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 off your wish list.

Only the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus has iOS app support through the Samsung Galaxy Buds app. On Android, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 has the option to toggle between ANC and ambient sound mode, the latter of which transmits background noise through the earbuds to keep you aware of the environment.

Learn more: Ultimate headphone buying guide

Other key features within the Galaxy Wearable app on both sets of earbuds include EQ presets, firmware updates, and find my earbuds. Within the Galaxy Labs tab, selecting “gaming mode” reduces latency to the earbuds. You can also enable Spotify Tap on either set of earbuds, which jumps you into a Spotify-recommended playlist with a quick tap.

Does the Galaxy Buds Plus or Galaxy Buds 2 have better battery life?

A picture of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus earbud atop a Galaxy S10e smartphone with the charging case open and off to the left-side of the frame.
The Samsung scalable codec functions similarly to aptX adaptive, and constantly balances connection and audio quality.

If you listen to music non-stop, go for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. The earbuds lasted 11 hours and 44 minutes in our battery testing of continuous playback at 75dB (SPL). Once depleted, throwing the earbuds in the case for just three minutes provides an additional 60 minutes of playback time.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 lasts 5 hours, though you might be able to extend that time if you disable active noise cancelling. To its benefit, the Galaxy Buds 2 charging case powers up the earbuds an additional three times, whereas the Galaxy Buds Plus charging case only supplies one extra charge.

Related: Where do batteries come from? And where do they go?

Both sets of earbuds support Qi wireless charging and Wireless Powershare. This means you can power up the charging cases with your Samsung Galaxy device, a wireless charging mat, or the old-fashioned way via USB-C.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have better noise cancelling than the Galaxy Buds Plus?

If you frequently find yourself in noisy environments, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. Active noise cancelling (ANC) attenuates low and mid-frequency sounds on the Galaxy Buds 2, whereas the Galaxy Buds Plus relies exclusively on passive isolation.

See: The best noise cancelling true wireless earbuds

Passive isolation forms when the ear tips seal to your ear canal openings, and this blocks out incidental high-frequency noises, but it doesn’t do much to block out lower frequency sounds such as the rumble of an airplane engine. ANC on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 reduces these sounds by an additional 10dB, which means they’ll sound half as loud compared to the Galaxy Buds Plus.

Hold up! Something’s different:

This article’s frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements, ANC performance plots, and standardized microphone demos. These changes will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white) and mic samples that begin with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”

Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus sound better?

The sound quality of the Galaxy Buds 2 is extremely similar to the Galaxy Buds Plus. Both sets of earbuds closely follow our house curve, which means most people will enjoy the sound of the headphones out of the box. Of course, if you don’t like how the earbuds sound, you can simply adjust the EQ preset from within the companion app.

Both earbuds slightly amplify sub-bass notes, but not significantly enough that you’ll strain to hear high frequencies. A dip in the mid-range leaves some vocals and instruments sounding a bit quieter than they should. On the other hand, emphasis on specific high-end frequencies makes it easier to hear resonances from certain instruments like violins. All-in-all, these earbuds sound great and work fine for listening on the go.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 better for phone calls?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Galaxy Buds 2 each equip a three-microphone array. These microphones aim to block out background noise while focusing on your voice. Neither set of earbuds should be used for professional microphone work, but both are serviceable for taking calls on the go. Let us know which you think is better in the poll below.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Ideal):

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone demo (Old):

Which microphone sounds better to you?

1906 votes

Which is better, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds with one 'bud out of the open, angled charging case.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is best for listening on the go.

If you plan on using your earbuds in noisy environments such as on a bus or at the gym, you should go for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. The inclusion of ANC ensures you hear your music clearly without having to crank up the volume and risk damaging your ears.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling earbuds in black against a white background.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

On the other hand, if you take part in extensive listening sessions you will appreciate the much longer battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. Since these earbuds have been around for a while, you may be able to find them at a significant discount. With nearly identical fit, features, and sound quality to the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, you could be getting much more bang for your buck.

A product render of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus in black and against a white background.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

What about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?

Man holding up the open charging case for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro takes the best features from all of the previous Galaxy Buds generations.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro takes the best features from both the Galaxy Buds Plus and Galaxy Buds 2. Similar to the Galaxy Buds Plus, fin-like protrusions keep these earbuds stabilized in the ear; however, the Galaxy Buds Pro is IPX7 rated, making it much more suitable for rain and sweat. The earbuds borrow ANC from the Galaxy Buds 2, which means listening in noisy environments is no problem.

See also: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Plus

Additionally, when connected to a Samsung device, 360 Audio creates a virtual surround sound environment with head tracking for media consumption using Dolby Atmos. If these features sound appealing to you, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro might be worth the extra cost.

What are some alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Amazon Echo Buds (Gen. 2) sit atop a wooden table.
The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) have a sleek, albeit boring design.

If you own an iPhone, steer clear of any Samsung Galaxy Buds and go for the Apple AirPods Pro instead for its H1 chip that enables hands-free Siri access, battery optimization, and more. The AirPods Pro has a more durable IPX4 rating compared to the Galaxy Buds’ IPX2 ratings. Both iPhone and Android users should also consider the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen), which features good sound and ANC alongside the Alexa assistant.

Looking for durable workout earbuds? There are many better alternatives out there. The JBL Reflect Pro offers IP68 dust and water resistance. There’s also the Jabra Elite 7 Active, which has great durability and a feature-packed companion app. You get premium features like wireless charging with Jabra’s buds too. Then again, maybe you want something more economical. If thats’ the case, check out the Jabra Elite 3 instead.

Read more: The best true wireless earbuds under $200

What are some frequently asked questions about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The original Samsung Galaxy Buds is a solid all-around set of earbuds, with some noticeable drawbacks such as no ANC and weaker microphone quality. If you find these earbuds at a reduced price, you’re getting good value even in 2022.

Good question, the Beats Fit Pro has a lot going for it: it works as well on Android as it does on iOS (in theory), it fits extremely well with its small ear wings and interchangeable ear tips, and it has key features like fast charging and noise cancelling. What’s not to love? Well, Beats Fit Pro owners have reported ANC issues where the ANC will just stop working for no apparent reason. This actually happened to our review unit, too, and we’re still troubleshooting the issue. Once Apple resolves this, we may feel comfortable giving it a strong recommendation, but until then, you’re better off looking into the Beats Studio Buds or Beats Powerbeats Pro if you must have a pair of Beats.

The Galaxy Buds Plus has small wing protrusions on each earbud, whereas the Galaxy Buds 2 does not. The outside of the charging case of the Galaxy Buds 2 is always white, whereas the charging case of the Galaxy Buds Plus always matches the color of the earbuds.

Both sets of earbuds have an IPX2 water resistance rating which protects against drops of water, but not submersion in water. You should avoid anything more intense than a couple of beads of sweat or drops of rain.