We highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus true wireless earbuds to all varieties of music lovers. Does the release of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro mean it’s time for the Galaxy Buds Plus to hang up its boots? The Galaxy Buds Pro have active noise cancelling (ANC), which was the main feature missing from the Galaxy Buds Plus. Let’s cover all the major differences and similarities between these two Samsung buds to see which is best for you.
Editor’s note: this versus was updated on November 24, 2021, to update the section about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Fit and hardware
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and the Galaxy Buds Pro feature similar designs. Both sets of earbuds are rounded and stem-free with replaceable silicone ear tips. The Galaxy Buds Plus earbuds have removable silicone wings that secure them in your ears. The buds are very lightweight and have an IPX2 rating, making them fine for exercise. While you can’t dunk these in a pool, they should withstand your sweat.
Related: What makes a good set of in-ears?
The Galaxy Buds Pro are more durable and have an IPX7 rating. These earbuds also have wings that secure them to your ears, but they’re built into the earbud housing’s shape, rather than as additional silicone pieces. The Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds are similarly lightweight, and the carrying case is just a tad heavier than the Galaxy Buds Plus case.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Bluetooth and software
Both the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro use Bluetooth 5.0 and support SBC, AAC, and the Samsung Scalable Codec. The Samsung Scalable Codec constantly adjusts the data transfer rate between the ‘buds and your device, which helps keep audio quality and connection stability at its best. If you have a lot of Samsung Galaxy devices connected to either pair of earbuds, you can seamlessly switch between source devices based on what’s playing audio, as long they’re all associated with the same Samsung account.
Learn more: Understanding Bluetooth codecs
Both pairs of earbuds feature touch controls, and you can remap the controls in the Galaxy Wearable app. Samsung offers you a host of shortcuts like the ability to access Spotify (Android only), adjust the volume, access your smart assistant, and more. For the Galaxy Buds Pro you can also toggle ANC levels and enable Samsung 360 Audio, which mimics the effects of surround sound, though it is only available when your earbuds are paired to a Samsung Galaxy device and watching content compatible with Dolby Atmos. The Samsung Galaxy Buds iOS app supports the Galaxy Buds Plus, but not the Galaxy Buds Pro, so iPhone users just won’t have access to any of the Galaxy Buds Pro’s additional features. These apps also allow you to toggle ambient sound mode, select from EQ presets, download firmware updates, and locate your earbuds if they’re lost in your house.
The iOS Galaxy Buds app doesn't support the Galaxy Buds Pro, though this may change with an app update.
You can integrate the Galaxy Buds Plus and Galaxy Buds Pro into your smart home through the Samsung SmartThings app on Android. Through this integration, you can use your earbuds to control things in your home through your smart assistant of choice. If you use Bixby as your smart assistant, you can even access it hands-free. You can also use SmartThings Find to locate either set of earbuds.
Which pair of earbuds has better battery life?
If we’re talking about battery life, one of the most exemplary pairs of true wireless earbuds is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. These buds last about 11 hours, 30 minutes on a single charge and three minutes in the case affords 60 minutes of listening time. The charging case only holds one extra charge cycle but when the battery life is this long, that’s not such a bad deal.
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The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are nowhere near as exceptional when it comes to battery life. They last about 5 hours on a single charge with ANC on, and the charging case holds roughly 13 additional hours of charge. If you use these buds with ANC disabled, their battery life will be longer. The case fast charges the buds, and when you place them inside for five minutes, you get 60 minutes of playtime.
Both cases charge via USB-C, wireless charging, and support Wireless PowerShare, which lets you charge the case by placing it on a compatible Samsung Galaxy device.
How good is the Galaxy Buds Pro’s noise cancelling?
The Galaxy Buds Pro have active noise cancelling, and it works better than most active noise cancelling true wireless earbuds. In the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (Android only), you can toggle the ANC between a low and a high setting. The high setting effectively cancels out low-frequency noises such as engine rumbles or the sound of a dishwasher. The passive isolation on these earbuds is also quite good, making them excellent commute partners.
Unlike the Pro, the Galaxy Buds Plus don’t have active noise cancelling, but the passive isolation effectively attenuates high-frequency, incidental noises (higher than 1kHz) like the sounds of a busy public space. While the Galaxy Buds Plus lack ANC, they have an ambient sound mode which lets you remain aware of your surroundings. This can help you stay safe if you’re using the Buds Plus to exercise in public; it’s also available for the Galaxy Buds Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Sound quality
AKG tuned the drivers in both the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, and sound quality is very good with either headset for the price. Neither pair of earbuds boasts a reference-like frequency response, but that’s okay: these are both billed as everyday earbuds.
That being said, the Galaxy Buds Pro frequency response (cyan) barely deviates from our house curve (pink). The earphones somewhat amplify low-midrange notes, making it easier to you to hear vocals. You can use the Galaxy Wearable app to cycle through a handful of EQ presets (Bass Boost, Soft, Dynamic, Clear, and Treble Boost).
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus frequency response slightly differs from the Galaxy Buds Pro, and the 1kHz bump makes it easier for you to perceive harmonic detail. You can also pick from a variety of EQ presets for the Galaxy Buds Plus in the mobile app (Android and iOS).
Note: Sound quality depends heavily on how well the earbuds seal to your ears and isolate outside noise, both of which are only possible if you’re wearing the right size ear tips. Make sure you try out all the included ear tip options before settling on the right one for you.
Are the Galaxy Buds Plus or Galaxy Buds Pro better for phone calls?
All in all, the microphones in the Galaxy Buds Plus sound very similar to the microphones in the Galaxy Buds Pro. Both earbuds’ mics do a pretty good job at cancelling out environmental noise, but you probably still wouldn’t want to take any business calls with them in a crowded area.
Individuals with deeper voices may find that the Galaxy Buds Plus quiets their voices a bit, but not nearly as much as some other true wireless earbud microphones we’ve seen. The Buds Pro don’t have this issue, and there’s actually a small boost in the bass frequency response. Listen to and rate our samples below!
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone demo:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo:
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
The Galaxy Buds Pro and Buds Plus are quite similar headsets, which makes sense, since they’re both from Samsung. The major differences you should keep in mind are that the Buds Pro offer ANC and the Buds Plus rely completely on passive isolation. As a consequence of ANC’s power-hungry nature, the Buds Pro have a much shorter battery life than the Buds Plus. If you’re someone who wants the option to listen for an entire work day without pause, the Galaxy Buds Plus are the marathon buds for you.
Both of these true wireless earbuds from Samsung have very good sound quality, and you can adjust it in the Galaxy Wearable app. They also both have decent microphone systems and sport the same Bluetooth firmware, though the Buds Pro support 360 Audio. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have an IPX7 rating whereas the Buds Plus just have an IPX2 rating. The Buds Plus have wing tips to help them stay put in your ears, but if you’re an athlete who trains rigorously and wants a pair of versatile earbuds that you know can endure everything you throw at them, the Galaxy Buds Pro is the better investment.
Should I get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 instead?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is Samsung’s latest release of true wireless earbuds, and it is priced right in the middle of the Buds Plus and Buds Pro. Like the Buds Pro, it has active noise cancelling and roughly a 5 hour battery life. The Buds 2 has better ANC performance than the Buds Pro, which is a pleasant surprise considering the Buds 2 is cheaper. It dulls low-frequency sounds to roughly one quarter as loud as their actual volume making it a great companion for your commute or studying in a crowded cafe. This coupled with its consumer-friendly frequency response makes it a great sounding pair of buds.
Unlike any of the Galaxy Buds before it, the Buds 2 includes an ear tip fit test and uses Bluetooth 5.2. It doesn’t have wing tips like the Buds Pro does, and has an IPX2 rating rather than the Buds Pro’s IPX7 rating. It’s also missing the Samsung 360 Audio that the Galaxy Buds Pro offers. The new Buds 2 features automatic ear detection and ambient sound mode. If you download the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app you’ll get a selection of EQ presets too.
Frequently Asked Questions
The fin protrusions on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are interchangeable and removable whereas those on the Galaxy Buds Pro are one-size-fits-most. If your ears aren't perfectly shaped to the Galaxy Buds Pro you might run into some discomfort.