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The best Galaxy Buds 2 Pro alternatives: Sony, Apple, Bose, and more
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are here! Samsung’s top buds are feature-packed, but being at the forefront of the true wireless earbuds market comes with a pretty hefty price tag. Fortunately, we’re here to shed some light on a handful of other options that can give the new kid on the block a run for its money without forfeiting the top-of-the-range features that we all want and love. These are the best Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro alternatives.
Buying the right Samsung Buds 2 Pro alternative
There’s a suite of excellent features that you’ll want to take note of when searching for a suitable substitute for the Buds 2 Pro’s. Most notable of all is their impressive ANC capability which affects sounds below 100Hz down to about 30Hz, rendering low rumbles from cars, trams, and airplanes almost entirely mute. The sound quality is also very good, especially in the mid-ranges, which is great for the fundamentals such as guitars, vocals, and most drums. These ‘buds also boast an IPX7 water resistance rating and make for a pretty comfortable fit.
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find some more bespoke functions that set these earbuds apart from others on the market, including Samsung’s own “Samsung Seamless Codec” which yields high-end audio quality with little-to-no discernible latency.
The best Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro alternatives
- Sony WF-1000XM4: Sony really bought it home with excellent battery life, multiple Bluetooth codec options, a comfortable fit, and tremendous sound quality to boot. Arguably the best competitor to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
- Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: With hassle-free ear tips and stabilizers, customizable pre-sets, and a suite of Bluetooth codecs, these Sennheisers make for a very good alternative at a pretty competitive price.
- Apple AirPods Pro: If you’re an iOS user and have the available budget, look no further. With a string of bespoke features including “Spatial Audio” and truly impressive sound quality, these earbuds stand proud as some of the best on the market.
- Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds: Although slightly on the bulky side, these buds offer excellent ANC capability, as well as genuinely impressive and balanced audio quality. The Bose Music app is also incredibly user-friendly and hosts excellent control over the EQ options.
- Google Pixel Buds Pro: If you’re looking for a budget alternative, the Pixel Buds Pro are a great option. With Google Assistant integration, excellent battery life, and pretty sophisticated ANC, these are a huge improvement over their non-pro predecessors.
- Beats Fit Pro: If you live an active lifestyle, you won’t find a more suitable fit than the Beats Fit Pro. With their ergonomic fit and a little added bass boost, you’ll be able to achieve a snug fit that manages to isolate your audio from most external environmental sounds.
- Sony Linkbuds S: The most affordable option on our list, they also benefit from a very comfortable fit that is great for blocking out the outside world. You can also set up easy access to Spotify and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio functionality. These buds are also LDAC compatible and have very good audio quality in the low-mid ranges.
Sony WF-1000XM4: The best Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro alternative
If you’re looking for a bit of kit that can really hold its own, look no further than the Sony WF-1000XM4. As the successor to the flagship Sony WH-1000XM3 earbuds, the new models are more compact, come with smaller, recycled packaging, and with three sizes of comfortable polyurethane foam ear tips, making for an excellent fit. They further benefit from 360 Reality Audio support which is a decent challenger to Samsung’s own “Samsung 360 Audio” that forms a part of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s identity.
You’ll also find that the Sony WF-1000XM4 host SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs that work across all compatible Android devices, as opposed to users of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro which, without a Samsung phone capable of running the Samsung Seamless Codec, are forced to use the AAC or SBC codecs only. Sony’s option is the better pick for high-quality audio if you’re not using a Galaxy smartphone.
Just like other earbuds in this list, the Sony WF-1000XM4 come with their own app — Headphones Connect. This allows you to adjust the control scheme, virtual assistant, EQs, and much more. This is more versatile in fact than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s Galaxy Wearables app which, at present, has no iOS version and only pre-set EQ controls.
Turning back to the Sony WF-1000XM4, they last for about seven hours and 43 minutes per charge, which is superior to the very average battery life of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The case can charge the buds at least two more times for a total of 24 hours of use. The sound quality is generally very good, but you may wish to take a bit of the low and mid-range frequencies down a touch in the app. The Sony earbuds also have better noise isolation, but overall ANC isn’t quite as good as the Buds 2 Pro, which are some of best noise-cancelling earbuds in the business.
For an even deeper dive into how Sony and Samsung’s buds stack up against each other, check out our in-depth comparison right here.
- Comfortable polyurethane foam ear tips
- 360 Reality Audio
- Hosts Bluetooth LDAC codec
- Excellent battery life
- Quite bass-heavy
- ANC isn’t quite as good as the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: The premium pick
In an already strong wireless earbuds market, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 manage to bring additional functions to the table, albeit for a little more money. With aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC, and SBC codecs onboard and impressive noise cancellation, these earbuds are a great high-end alternative to the Buds 2 Pro.
If the sound isn’t quite right, Sennheiser’s Smart Control app lets you modify the bass, mids, and treble, although it’s difficult to know which frequencies these bands alter. Best to play it by ear (literally)! Unlike the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, however, you can customize your pre-sets and it also has Bass Boost and Podcast pre-sets that you can toggle on and off.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 boast five hours and 33 minutes of battery life on a single charge, which is very similar to that of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The charging case provides an additional three charges, totaling 22 hours of battery altogether.
Satisfyingly, the ear tips are possibly the most hassle-free on the market — they fit perfectly over the 7mm earbud nozzles without having to exert any extra force trying to get them on (the same goes for the stabilizers). This doesn’t necessarily translate into a snug fit, however, so you probably wouldn’t want to go for a run or spend more than a couple of hours with these buds in your ears.
- Hassle-free ear tips and stabilizers
- Customizable pre-sets and EQ
- aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec
- Good ANC in the lower frequencies
- Not the snuggest fit on the market
- Vague EQ features in the Smart Control app
- Bluetooth connection isn’t particularly stable
- Average battery life
Apple AirPods Pro: The best Galaxy Buds 2 Pro alternative for iPhone users
Apple’s AirPods Pro may look very different from the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but Apple and Samsung share some very similar features when it comes to Spatial Audio 3D sound simulation, ear tip testing, and ANC control, making them a great alternative if you’re into Apple’s ecosystem. Though it’s worth noting that Spatial Audio and seamless pairing are only supported with iOS devices.
The AirPods’ sound quality is very good, with loud low-end (albeit not as pronounced as on some budget earbuds) and clear mid and treble notes. Apple’s “Adaptive EQ” also equalizes your music to correct for the shape of your ears, which means they’ll sound more consistent from person to person than other headphones on the market. They also host a pretty clear-sounding microphone for all of your audio-capture needs.
The battery life sits just above that of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro — you can expect to see about five hours of constant playback whilst the ANC is activated. The charging case will also provide you with 24 hours of listening time and is fully compatible with any Qi wireless charger, MagSafe charger, or wired Lightning cable (which might be pretty annoying if your other gadgets are USB-C).
Speaking of drawbacks, the AirPods Pro underperform in comparison to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in terms of ANC functionality, but they are improved over the regular AirPods. Their IPX4 rating is also somewhat thwarted by the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s IPX7 rating. Something to keep in mind.
Check out our in-depth comparison for more on Apple and Samsung’s top buds.
- Very good sound quality
- Spatial Audio
- Good noise cancellation
- Adaptive EQ for bespoke equalization
- Hefty price tag
- Average battery life
- Lightning cable charging
- Missing features for Android users
Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds 2: The choice for daily commuters
If you’re a regular commuter like me, the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds 2 active noise-cancelling is a must-have. It effectively reduces low droning sounds and offers a sliding scale to control the transparency mode intensity and the ANC. To this day, they have possibly the most natural-sounding transparency-mode execution on the market.
The sound you’ll get from these earbuds is also pretty remarkable, too. Aside from having quite a noticeably louder treble frequency response, these earbuds sound very balanced and deliver excellent sound quality.
It’s true that while Bose scaled down its Quietcomfort Earbuds (having caught plenty of flak for their size), these still protrude from the ear more than most alternatives on the market. Similarly to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Bose Quietcomfort Earbuds 2 come with a pretty chunky matte black charging case that seems prone to collecting scratches and oils quite quickly. Like all the other buds here, Bose has its own handy little app (the Bose Music app), which you’ll want to download in order to quickly switch between devices, reconfigure the controls, create a custom EQ, and adjust the ANC levels.
Also similar to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds boast SBC and AAC Bluetooth connectivity.
- ANC that reduces sound by up to 90%
- Easy-to-use app
- Organic-sounding transparency setting
- Great sound quality
- Hefty price tag
- Bulky size
- Not many Bluetooth codec options
- Charging case easily scratched
Google Pixel Buds Pro: The best alternative for long battery life
As the successor to the Google Pixel Buds, the vastly improved battery life and noise cancellation in place of the old Adaptive Sound feature, and Google Assistant integration are the main reasons to give the Pixel Buds Pro earbuds a try instead of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Just like the Buds 2 Pro’s companion app, the Pixel Buds app will help you to run an ear tip fit test, though its actual usefulness is questionable considering it seems to think every size is a great fit. Nevertheless, these make for some comfortable buds, albeit not so great for exercising as there are no external grips.
Curiously, just like the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Google doesn’t include high-end audio codecs like aptX, relying again on SBC and AAC. Battery life is better than the Buds 2 Pro though; you’re looking at around seven hours and six minutes on a single charge (with ANC on) from the Pixel Buds Pro, with an additional 13 hours supplied by the case.
However, the Pixel Buds have an uneven application of ANC filtering and isolation, which can produce a notable hiss. This pales in comparison to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro which have excellent ANC technology. The Pixel Buds Pro are quite bass-heavy (similar to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro) but also have quite a harsh high-end, distracting from the mid-ranges where most vocals and synth lines live.
- Affordable price tag
- Google Assistant integration
- Great battery life
- Vents to alleviate pressure in the ears
- Fast Pair and Bluetooth multipoint
- The ear test feature isn’t great
- Fit can be a bit loose
- No equalizer
- Limited Bluetooth codec options
Beats Fit Pro: The best alternative for fitness
Compared to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Beats Fit Pro try to appeal to a wider market that includes both Android and Apple platforms. The Beats app opens access to listening modes, ear tip fit test, streamlined pairing, and other features previously reserved for Apple users. If you’re using an iPhone, you get the added bonus of being able to use the Spatial Audio feature, rivaling that available on the Buds 2 Pro.
The main benefit to be had from using these earbuds is their ergonomic fit, which is extremely useful for exercise. Their great fit, paired with ANC, blocks out a lot of unwanted low-mids to help close the gap on Samsung’s excellent noise-cancellation. The battery life of the Beats Fit Pro slightly bests that of the Buds 2 Pro too, at six hours with 18 hours of additional charge from the case.
See also: The best workout earbuds to buy
In terms of sound, the Beats Fit Pro favor bass notes, which is typical of workout earbuds. Because of the added emphasis on the low-end, you’ll notice that the mids become a bit harder to hear. Best suited in an environment other than your living room, perhaps.
- Great fit, especially for exercise
- Easy-to-use integrated app
- Spatial Audio
- Decent battery life
- Not many Bluetooth codec options
- ANC only blocks a limited amount of sound
- Sounds a little bass-heavy
Sony Linkbuds S: The best budget alternative
The Sony Linkbuds WF-L900’s trademark “ring-shaped” form factor — conceived to keep you in touch with your surroundings without needing to rely on a transparency mode — was received, well, poorly. But with the Sony Linkbuds S, Sony leaves all of that behind. The ergonomic shape of the Sony Linkbuds S ensures they nestle nicely into the ear and create a uniform seal for good isolation.
Similar to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, there’s support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio functionality. One of the main differences between these two sets of buds comes in the form of their Bluetooth connectivity. The Sony Linkbuds S connect to your device of choice with Bluetooth 5.2, and supports the default SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs for high-quality playback with supported devices.
In terms of battery life, the Sony Linkbuds S last approximately five hours, 41 minutes on a single charge, slightly outperforming the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The charging case provides an additional 14 hours of charge, bringing the total to nearly 20 hours. Not bad for under $200.
When it comes to noise cancellation, these earbuds are remarkably good at rending environmental noise in the low-frequency range to roughly one-eighth as loud. The overall sound quality of these earbuds performs best in the low-mid range, with a bit of drop-off in the high frequencies. However, with a bit of EQ tinkering, it would be pretty easy to make those cymbals on the drum kit shine through the mix!
- Very affordable price
- Ergonomic shape for good isolation
- 360 Reality Audio capable
- Bluetooth LDAC support
- Case attracts dust, scratches, and grime
- Average battery life
- Sound lacks high-end