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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Apple AirPods Pro (1st gen): Which should you buy?

A Pro vs Pro match inside two walled gardens.
By

Published onJune 2, 2023

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
MSRP: $229.99
Check price
Positives
Good sound quality
Excellent noise canceling
Extreme IPX7 water resistance
Comfortable design
Most important software features available on Android
First of the Galaxy Buds to have properly sensitive touch panels
Negatives
Inconsistent head tracking
Short battery life for flagship buds
Poor microphone quality
Mobile app lacks a custom EQ
Many Samsung-exclusive features
Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)
MSRP: $249.00
Check price
Positives
Good fit with three ear tip options
Sound quality
Good active noise canceling
The pressure-sensitive stems for controls
Portable charging case (Lightning/wireless)
MagSafe charging
Negatives
Price
Charges via lightning cable
Design not for everyone

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation) are top-of-the-line earbuds with active noise canceling (ANC) earbuds. Both sets of buds come with brand-exclusive features that you can only access with a matching smartphone. In our Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st gen) breakdown, we’ll help you identify which buds are best for your lifestyle.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): At a glance

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and first-generation AirPods Pro are similar, so we want to highlight the main differences:

  • The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have an app that works across Android, and the AirPods Pro require an Apple device to access software features.
  • The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have better noise canceling than the AirPods Pro.
  • The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro boost bass significantly more than the AirPods Pro (1st gen).
  • The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have an IPX7 water-resistant rating that makes them more durable than the AirPods Pro's IPX4 rating.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro retail for $229, and the AirPods Pro (1st gen) retailed for $249 but are now discontinued.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Specs

Galaxy Buds 2 ProAirPods Pro
Dimensions
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbud: 21.6 x 19.9 x 18.7mm
Case: 50.2 x 50.1 x 27.7mm
AirPods Pro
Earbud: 30.9 x 21.8 x 24.0mm
Case: 45.2 x 60.6 x 21.7mm
Weights
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbud: 5.6g
Case: 43.3g
AirPods Pro
Earbud: 5.4g
Case: 45.6g
Bluetooth connectivity
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Bluetooth 5.3
SBC
AAC
Samsung Seamless Codec (One UI 4.0+)
AirPods Pro
Bluetooth 5.0
SBC
AAC
Water resistance
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
IPX7
AirPods Pro
IPX4
Battery size
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbud: 61mAh
Charging case: 515mAh
AirPods Pro
Earbud: 45.4mAh
Charging case: 519mAh
Battery life
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbuds (ANC on): 5 hours
Case and earbuds (ANC on): 20 hours
AirPods Pro
Earbuds (ANC on): Four hours, 30 minutes
Case and earbuds (ANC on): 24 hours
Charging
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
USB-C
Qi wireless
Wireless PowerShare
AirPods Pro
Lightning
MagSafe
Wireless
Speakers and microphones
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
10mm driver
5.3mm tweeter
Three Microphones
AirPods Pro
High-excursion Apple driver
Four Microphones
Device compatibility
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Android 7.0 or later
1.5GB of RAM or more
iOS: Bluetooth only
Windows 10: Galaxy Buds app
TV: Samsung 2022 TVs and later
AirPods Pro
Latest versions of iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV
Android: Limited Bluetooth features only
Windows: Limited Bluetooth features only
Colors
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
White
Graphite
Bora Purple
AirPods Pro
White
Release date
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
August 28, 2022
AirPods Pro
October 30, 2019
Price
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
$229
AirPods Pro
$249 (discontinued)

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro (1st generation) look nothing alike. Samsung’s small, oval-like earbuds nestle into your ear and don’t stand out. In contrast, the AirPods Pro (1st generation) have stems that dangle from your ears. Both feature many sensors and vents for a comfortable, responsive listening experience. In my Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review, I found Samsung’s earbuds extremely comfortable but ultimately prefer the stemmed design as it’s easier to insert and remove Apple’s earbuds.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro earbuds size comparison
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

You can use Samsung or Apple’s earbuds for exercise as they both have a water-resistant build, but only Samsung’s earbuds can survive a dip in the pool. The IPX7 rating of the Buds 2 Pro allows the buds to survive up to 30 minutes underwater, so long as they don’t sink more than one meter below the surface. The AirPods Pro (1st gen) has a standard IPX4 rating, making them impervious to water splashes from any direction.

Controlling the earbuds varies a bit. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro use traditional touchpads that you tap to skip songs and answer calls. With Apple’s earbuds, you squeeze either stem for the same functions. You can control volume directly from the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro but must dig into the Galaxy Wearable app’s settings. With the first-gen AirPods Pro, the only way to change the volume is by saying, “Hey Siri,” when connected to an Apple device. You can do the same thing with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro when saying, “Hey Bixby,” with a Galaxy phone.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro let any Android user customize the controls, but AirPods Pro owners need an iPhone or iPad to do the same.

Hardware aside, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro (1st gen) have equally flush software features, but they’re both limited to their respective ecosystems. The Apple AirPods use the Apple H1 chip, which is only compatible with Apple’s devices. You get tight integration and features, including automatic device switching and battery optimization. Although you can use the AirPods Pro with Android devices, you’re stuck with the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. This means you may notice some audio-visual lag when streaming video on Android.

In a similar vein, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are designed to work best with Android devices, though you’ll get even more out of them if you have a Galaxy phone. Using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with these devices grants support for the Samsung Seamless Codec (SSC), AAC, and SBC, and you can seamlessly switch between Samsung devices. If you use the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on a non-Galaxy Android phone, you won’t have access to some of these features, but overall it’s better than using AirPods with Android. The Galaxy Wearable app is exclusive to Android and offers all listeners an ear tip fit test and EQ preset options to change the sound.

The AirPods Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have 360 audio support. Apple calls this “spatial audio,” and Samsung dubs it “360 audio.” You can enable head tracking with either pair of earbuds and their compatible phones. With spatial audio, you’re centered among the action of your favorite shows, movies, and music — you need compatible content for this, though. Apple’s version takes things a step further and can personalize the sound based on your ears. (This requires an iPhone to snap photos of your head.)

Ultimately, using the AirPods on Android is a bit more flexible than using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with an iPhone. Android developers have third-party apps that let you view the AirPods’ battery status, enable automatic ear detection, and more. No App Store apps let you do this with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Noise canceling

A chart shows the combined isolation and ANC of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation).

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have more effective noise canceling than the AirPods Pro. If you’re boarding a plane and want the quietest trip possible, I recommend the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. These buds significantly quiet low frequency sounds more than the AirPods Pro, but it requires a good fit. Apple and Samsung’s buds block out ambient noise like chatter and room sounds equally.

You can see the difference in noise canceling performance illustrated in the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro chart above. Here, the cyan line represents the Buds 2 Pro and the pink, dashed line represents Apple’s buds. The higher the line, the quieter that specific frequency will sound with the earbuds.

The 0-2,040Hz range is critical for isolating you from your surroundings. As you can see, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro line is vastly higher than the AirPods Pro line from 0-100Hz, which is where you’ll find those engine and A/C unit rumbles.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Sound quality

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro laying next to charging case closeup
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Out of the box, the Apple AirPods Pro have a more versatile frequency response than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. With the AirPods Pro, you get a slightly subdued bass response that allows vocals and instrumental detail to shine. Contrasting this, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro boost bass quite a bit. EDM, rap, and hip-hop fans will prefer Samsung’s sound profile.

Ultimately, both earbuds sound very good, but the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have the added benefit of 24-bit audio with Galaxy devices. The AirPods Pro lack this. Further, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have EQ presets within the app. With these, you can change the sound to suit specific music genres. Apple doesn’t offer EQ presets; its earbuds benefit from Adaptive EQ. This automatic equalizer works no matter what device the AirPods Pro are connected to, and it ensures consistent sound quality with every wear.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Microphone quality

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro (1st gen) microphones sound good when speaking from a quiet space. Samsung’s mics amplify voices a bit louder than Apple’s, and this volume comes at the expense of clarity.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

AirPods Pro (1st generation) microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

With background noise, neither the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro nor the AirPods Pro relay clear voice quality. That said, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro do a better job than the AirPods Pro (1st gen), which drop the speaker’s voice now and then. Take a listen to our demos below.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):

AirPods Pro (1st generation) microphone demo (Street conditions):

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Battery life

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro case size comparison
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have an official battery life of five hours with ANC, and 8 hours without ANC. The case provides an extra 15 hours of playtime with ANC, or 22 hours with ANC off. The AirPods Pro (1st generation) have a four-hour, 30-minute official battery life with ANC on. The case provides an extra 19 hours, 30 minutes of ANC listening.

We subjected the earbuds to constant music playback peaking at 75dB (SPL), and these were the battery results:

  • Galaxy Buds 2 Pro (ANC on): Four hours, 50 minutes.
  • AirPods Pro (1st gen) (ANC on): Five hours, six minutes.

Both cases support Qi wireless charging but accept different cabled charging methods. You need a USB-C cable with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro case and need a Lightning cable for the AirPods Pro case. Later versions of the AirPods Pro (1st generation) came with a MagSafe charging case, and all Galaxy Buds 2 Pro cases support Wireless PowerShare. This feature lets you charge your Galaxy Buds’ case atop a Samsung device.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Price

  • Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: $229
  • AirPods Pro (1st generation): $249

The AirPods Pro (1st gen) launched at $249 but have been discontinued with the advent of the AirPods Pro (2nd generation). You can still find the first-gen model secondhand or refurbished, and white is your only color option.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are now available for $229. You can snag them in White, Graphite, or Bora Purple. These earbuds go on sale around holidays like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We’ve seen the price drop as low as $179 for a new pair of Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Like the AirPods Pro (1st gen), you can find the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro refurbished for even less.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro (1st generation): Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro in charging case
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro take a similar approach to different listener bases. With both sets of earbuds, you get a flagship experience replete with handset-exclusive features that add convenience and a bit of that “wow” factor. This Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro comparison, like many others, boils down to what phone you own.

If you own a Samsung Galaxy phone, you’ll get the most mileage from the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Again, here you can enjoy 24-bit audio, advanced surround sound that can track your head motions, and more. I love the comfortable, compact design of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Unlike other Galaxy Buds that preceded them, the touch controls are a joy to use and don’t register every accidental tap as a command.

Which earbuds would you rather own?

11 votes

Likewise, when it comes down to it, the AirPods Pro make the most sense for iPhone users. Sure, you can use them on Android, but it won’t be a great experience. Pairing the AirPods Pro with an iPhone makes for a powerful duo that offers many of Samsung’s features but within Apple’s walls. If you want a more neutral frequency response, you’ll get it from the AirPods Pro. The main downside to the AirPods Pro (1st gen) is their limited availability. Apple discontinued these buds shortly after the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), but the performances are similar. You’re getting a great deal if you can find the older buds for around $100.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
22%off
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Comfortable fit
Enhanced noise-cancelling technology
Satisfying battery life
See price at Amazon
Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)
ANC support
Perfect for iPhones
Deep Apple integration

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