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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4: Which should you buy?

Which flagship buds are the best?
By
August 11, 2022
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WH 1000XM4 in charging case
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Sony WF-1000XM4 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are both flagship true wireless earbuds, though they actually target pretty different markets. Sony designed its buds for noise-cancelling enthusiasts and packs industry-leading ANC technology. Meanwhile, Samsung clearly designed the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with its Galaxy ecosystem in mind. Let’s see which pair is right for you in this Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WF-1000MX4 comparison.


Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4

Design

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WH 1000XM4 laying on table next to charging case
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

If you look at the two models of earbuds next to each other, you’ll see that they both use the same basic design language. Both have small, oval-ish earbud bodies with ear tips attached to one end. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are a bit sleeker overall, with nothing sticking out of the earbud body compared to the small peg protrusion on the Sony model. Still, this aesthetic difference likely boils down to personal preference.

You’ll get three sizes of ear tips to choose from with both earbuds. The Sony buds, however, use foam tips while the Samsung model has silicone.

Samsung claims the new buds are 15% smaller than their previous model and have better airflow. The Sony WF-1000XM4 buds are slightly bulkier than the Galaxy earbuds, but they also weigh slightly less. Both models are pretty similar, though.

Sony's choice of foam ear tips can help you get a more secure fit.

The Sony earbuds have an IPX4 rating, meaning they can stand up to sweat and droplets. Samsung’s buds are slightly more rugged with an IPX7 rating, which should let them survive a plunge into water for up to 30 minutes.

Sony’s model claims to give you eight hours of listening time with ANC enabled, and our tests showed it mostly lived up to this with a result of seven hours, 43 minutes. Samsung’s buds advertise a battery life of five hours with ANC enabled. We’ll have to test them, but it seems Sony is the winner here. This makes sense, though, because the WF-1000XM4 have 75mAh batteries in their buds while the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 61mAh.

You change either model wirelessly or via USB-C, which is handy. The charging case for the WF-1000XM4 provides up to 24 hours of total battery life when you drop the buds back in to charge. According to Samsung, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can get up to 18 hours total with ANC and 29 without ANC, so it falls a little short in that regard, too.


Features

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WH 1000XM4 in charging cases
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro support the Samsung Scalable Codec, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs, but the first one is only available on Galaxy devices. In contrast, the Sony WF-1000XM4 support LDAC, AAC, and SBC. LDAC is more widely available across a range of Android devices — though you will have to enable higher bitrates through your device’s settings. AAC is a good choice for iPhone users and is available on both models.

Furthermore, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro take a walled-garden approach to device integration. It’s not as tight as the AirPods Pro, but only Galaxy phone owners can use every single feature the Samsung earbuds offer. You can use the Samsung Wearables app on other Android devices, but not every feature will be available — and there’s no app for iOS. In contrast, the Sony WF-1000XM4 use the Sony Headphones Connect app, and it can be installed on iOS and Android.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 don’t have multipoint support, but they remember a list of previously connected devices. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can automatically switch between devices if you’re within the Galaxy ecosystem.

Controls

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WH 1000XM4 earbud size comparison
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

You get multifunction touch controls on both of these models. Both let you adjust volume, control playback, and more. And if you insert or remove any of these earbuds, content will play and pause automatically.

You can use the Sony Headphones Connect app to change and tweak the controls on the WF-1000XM4, and the Samsung Wearables app lets you do the same for Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Both also include an ear tip fit test to see if you’ve picked the proper size.

Sony's approach is more platform-agnostic than Samsung's when it comes to feature availability.

Samsung’s SmartThings Find can alert you if you’ve left your earbuds behind and help you find lost buds. The Sony WF-1000XM4 don’t have their own such feature. Instead, Sony directs you to use Google’s Find My service.

Either model of earbuds has voice assistant support. By default, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro use Bixby, but you can change this to Google Assistant or Alexa if they’re available on your device. The Sony WF-1000XM4 let you use Alexa or Google Assistant.

Noise-cancelling

The short answer here is that the Sony WF-1000XM4 have excellent ANC. You’ll still need a good fit from the ear tips to get solid isolation, as is usual with any model of noise-cancelling earbuds.

The previous Galaxy Buds Pro model still did well in noise-cancelling, and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro claim they have an extra 3dB of attenuation compared to their predecessor and “intelligent noise-cancelling.” For now, it is not clear if Samsung means this across every frequency as an average or in a particular range.

Getting good isolation on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro might be trickier with the silicone tips, but if you can get a tight seal, it’ll still be pretty good.

Sound

By default, the frequency response of the Sony WF-1000XM4 tends to emphasize bass and drop down the highs. That’s kinda wonky out of the box, but there is a customizable equalizer in the Headphones Connect app you can use to adjust this. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro give you EQ presets, in contrast.

We’ve not had a chance to test the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro yet, but their predecessor doesn’t drop the highs down nearly as much as the Sony earbuds. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro support 24-bit audio playback exclusively with Galaxy devices, while Sony’s earbuds rely on LDAC, which can go up to 990kbps, but connection stability may suffer at that setting.

Samsung’s buds also give you Dolby Atmos compatibility, while Sony offers 360 Reality Audio. Both are spatial audio standards, so you’ll need content supporting the relevant one to take advantage of this feature.


Price and colors

The Sony WF-1000XM4 come in Silver or Black and debuted at $278. These days, you can snag them for around $30 less, but they sometimes go on sale for cheaper, too.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are priced at $229.99 and go on general sale from August 26, though pre-orders opened on August 10. You can buy them in White, Graphite, or Bora Purple.

Sony WF-1000XM4
11%off
Sony WF-1000XM4
Great ANC
IPX4 rating
360 Reality Audio
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Excellent ANC
Good quality audio
Fast charging earbuds

Specs

Galaxy Buds 2 ProSony WF-1000XM4
Dimensions
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbud: 19.9 x 21.6 x 18.7mm
Case: 50.1 x 50.2 x 27.7mm
Sony WF-1000XM4
Earbud: 25.4 x 20.3 x 20.3mm
Case: 40 x 69 x 30mm
Weights
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbud: 5.6g
Case: 39.6g
Sony WF-1000XM4
Earbud: 5.4g
Case: 41.1g
Bluetooth connectivity
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Bluetooth 5.3
SBC, AAC, Samsung Scalable Codec
Sony WF-1000XM4
Bluetooth 5.2
SBC, AAC, LDAC
Water resistance
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
IPX7
Sony WF-1000XM4
IPX4
Battery size
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Earbud: 61mAh
Charging case: 515mAh
Sony WF-1000XM4
Earbud: 75mAh
Charging case: 520mAh
Listening time
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
5 hours with ANC, 8 hours without ANC
With case: 18 hours with ANC, 29 hours without ANC
Sony WF-1000XM4
8 hours with ANC, 12 hours without ANC
With case: up to 24 hours
Talk time
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
3.5 hours with ANC, 4 hours without ANC
With case: 14 hours with ANC, 15 hours without ANC
Sony WF-1000XM4
5.5 hours with ANC, 6 hours without ANC
With case: up to 24 hours
Charging
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
USB-C
Wireless
Sony WF-1000XM4
USB-C
Wireless
Speakers and microphones
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
2-Way Woofer and Tweeter
Three Microphones
Sony WF-1000XM4
6mm driver
Two 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
Sony WF-1000XM4
Android
iOS
Windows 10: Bluetooth only
macOS: Bluetooth only
Colors
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
White, Graphite, Bora Purple
Sony WF-1000XM4
Black, Silver

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WH 1000XM4 cases
Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are best known as the king of noise-cancelling wireless buds, but we can’t say for sure how close Samsung comes to knocking them off until we’ve further tested the Samsung Buds 2 Pro. Still, Sony has a well-earned reputation with ANC, and at least on paper, it likely still holds the crown here. Where the Samsung buds stand out is in their walled-garden approach. If you’re already in the Galaxy ecosystem, the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 will suit you perfectly. They offer tight device integration and some platform-exclusive features that are handy. Regardless of which headphones you buy, both have a ton of great features and so it’s really hard to go wrong here.