Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Which are the best "Pro" buds
There's definitely a difference, this time around.
Perfect for Android
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro from Samsung improve on many different aspects compared to its predecessor. While there are some limitations, these are pretty great if you're an Android user.
- IPX7 water resistance
- More colors to choose from
- Improved ANC over the previous generation
- Customizable EQ
- Multipoint and audio switching only works with Samsung devices
- More expensive compared to the previous generation
- Limited functionality on iOS
Apple's original AirPods Pro arguably led the way for other wireless earbuds, but an update was long overdue. The AirPods Pro might look the same, but these earbuds are definitely different in all the right ways.
- Offers longer battery life (30 hours total)
- The charging case offers a lot of extra functionality
- Improved ANC over the previous generation
- Offers better Transparency Mode
- Multipoint and audio switching only works with Apple devices
- Still expensive for some
- Limited functionality on Android
- “Only” IPX4 water resistant
Apple's original AirPods Pro helped usher in the new age of truly wireless earbuds that provided excellent audio quality, deep integration with your smartphone, and impressive Active Noise Cancelation. Since then, we've seen other companies such as Jabra, Sony, Anker Soundcore, and Samsung try to replicate the success and reliability of Apple's offering. Samsung's original Galaxy Buds Pro were released alongside the Galaxy S21 series, offering a comfortable design, IPX7 water resistance, and ANC that was pretty good.
Fast forward to now, and not only has Samsung released the Galaxy Buds Pro 2, but Apple has finally released the AirPods Pro 2, three years after the original launch. After spending some time with both of these sets of earbuds, we're going to look at how the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2 stack up to help you decide which is the best for your needs.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Spec comparison
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Starting with specs, you'll find a lot of similarities when comparing the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2. Both of these offer Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, along with supporting Active Noise Cancelation and dedicated Transparency modes. Wireless charging is also available on both, with the Buds 2 Pro working with almost any of the best wireless chargers, and Apple's earbuds can be used with Qi chargers, MagSafe pucks, and even the Apple Watch charger. Samsung uses USB-C for wired charging, and Apple is still sticking with its outdated Lightning connector.
|Category||Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro||AirPods Pro 2|
|Sweat & water resistance||IPX7||IPX4|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.3||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Multipoint||Only with Samsung devices||Only with Apple devices|
|Active Noise Cancelation||Yes||Yes|
|Speakers (per earbud)||10mm driver tuned by AKG, 5.3mm tweeter||Custom high-excursion Apple driver, custom high dynamic range amplifier|
|Supported audio codecs||SBC, AAC, Scalable (proprietary)||Unknown|
|Voice (per earbud)||Three SNR microphones||Dual beamforming microphones, Inward-facing microphone|
|Sensors||Proximity, accelerometer, gyroscope, touch||Skin detection, motion-detecting accelerometer, speech-detecting accelerometer, touch|
|Charging||USB-C, Qi wireless||Lightning, MagSafe, Qi wireless|
|Battery (earbuds)||Up to 5 hours (ANC on), up to 8 hours (ANC off)||Up to 6 hours (ANC on)|
|Battery (case)||Up to 29 hours (ANC off)||Up to 30 hours (ANC off)|
|Dimensions||19.9 x 21.6 x 18.7mm (earbud), 50.1 x 50.2 x 27.7mm (case)||30.9 x 21.8 x 24mm (earbud), 60.6 x 45.2 x 25.7mm (case)|
|Weight||5.6g (earbud), 39.6g (case)||5.3g (earbud), 50.8g (case)|
|Colors||Bora Purple, Graphite, White||White|
Something that we did want to point out is that despite using Bluetooth 5.3, Apple has not actually provided the different audio codecs supported by the AirPods Pro 2. Thankfully, Samsung did so for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, with those earbuds supporting SBC, AAC, and Samsung's own "Scalable Codec."
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Design and fit
Immediately when you put the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the AirPods Pro 2 side-by-side, there's absolutely no way for you to get these mixed up. Samsung largely retained the same design as the original Galaxy Buds Pro, as they just sit inside your ear with a bit of a "lip" on the outside to help keep them in your ear instead of using something like a wingtip. The AirPods Pro 2 is also pretty much the same as its predecessor, complete with the stem that essentially locks the earbuds into place after you've put them in your ear.
When it comes to comfortability, it's pretty darn close. In our review, we noted that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro felt more comfortable than the original AirPods Pro and that largely remains true this time around. That's because while Apple made a few changes to the overall design of the AirPods Pro 2, the dimensions and weight remain the same. The only real difference this time around is that Apple is now offering an additional XS size ear tip in the box for those with smaller ears. Of course, not everyone's ear is the same, so your mileage may vary, but we didn't experience any ear fatigue with either the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or AirPods Pro 2 when using them for multiple hours at a time.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Sound quality and ANC
As I've alluded to in previous articles, I'm by no means an audiophile, as my ears have been ruined after years of listening to music at higher-than-recommend volumes. But what I can tell you is that the audio quality from both of these earbuds is pretty darn good overall, with the AirPods Pro 2 pulling slightly ahead, regardless of whether they were being used with an iPhone or the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The truth of the matter is that, unless you are an audiophile, you probably won't be able to tell much of a difference between the two.
When it comes to Active Noise Cancelation, it's a whole different story. Samsung did improve its ANC over the original Galaxy Buds Pro, but it feels like Apple is working with some black magic or something. There are two "tests" that help me determine how well active noise cancelation performs, with the first being typing on my mechanical keyboard at my desk, while the other is simply determining whether I can hear my wife trying to talk to me while I'm working or not, as my back faces the doorway to my home office.
Using the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 with ANC enabled and the sound set to around 70-75%, I still heard the muffled rattle of my space bar, backspace key, and the "thock " of the keyboard with each key press. With the AirPods Pro 2, using the same settings, the sound felt as though it was reduced even further, which is rather impressive and jarring when you're used to hearing the sounds from a mechanical keyboard, even with other earbuds.
What really proved to me that the AirPods Pro 2 pulled away in the ANC department is that I've had to resort to wearing only one earbud when working. With ANC enabled and music playing, there have been a few instances where my wife actually has to come up and tap me on the shoulder, freaking me out because I didn't even know she was there. At least with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, I could hear something that sounded like a voice or a noise that would prompt me to turn around. But that hasn't been the case with the AirPods.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Battery Life
On paper, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro 2 seem as though the differences in battery life would be negligible. Unfortunately, "real-world usage" provides an entirely different experience. Samsung claims you'll be able to get up to 29 hours of juice on a single charge, including the charging case, while Apple claims to provide 30 hours of total battery with its case. As for the earbuds, the Buds 2 Pro are rated for five hours of listening time with ANC enabled and eight hours if you turn off ANC. The AirPods Pro 2 are rated for up to six hours of listening time with ANC, which drops down to 5.5 hours if you enable Spatial Audio with Head Tracking.
Even with the negligible "paper differences," the reality is that I still have yet to reach the advertised five hours of battery life on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with both earbuds. There have been times when one earbud would run out of battery before the other, despite taking them out of the case and putting them in my ears simultaneously. I'm not sure if there's some type of calibration that could be done, but it's definitely odd.
Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro 2 have already exceeded the rated six hours of battery life on a single charge, as I was able to get about seven hours of use before they just completely ran out of power. This is more than likely an outlier, as I don't expect these actually to last longer than the advertised amount of time. But there's definitely no doubt that Apple's offering provides longer battery life than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Features
Before diving into all of the different features offered by these two sets of earbuds, we have to point out that many of these features are "locked" to the respective Android and iOS ecosystems. Samsung does not provide its Galaxy Wearable app on the Apple App Store, and Apple hasn't released an application on the Play Store. When paired with an iPhone, all of the controls and options are found within the Settings app, integrating it directly into the operating system.
With that out of the way, it's immediately apparent that there's actually a lot of feature-parity when comparing the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. the AirPods Pro 2. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro includes Samsung's "Enhanced 360 audio," which is similar to Apple's Spatial Audio with Dynamic Head Tracking. Essentially both earbuds are using microphones, sensors, and onboard processors to provide an immersive listening experience, making it feel like you're in a room with music playing as opposed to just having the music funneled into your ear canal.
When it comes to misplacing or potentially losing your earbuds, both Samsung and Apple have implemented features to help you find them. Samsung uses its SmartThings Find app, which can locate either earbud and the charging case. Thanks to Apple's implementation of the U1 chip in the AirPods Pro 2's charging case, along with the H2 chip in the earbuds themselves, iPhone owners can use the Find My app to locate misplaced earbuds.
Both Apple and Samsung's accompanying apps allow you to even have the earbuds play noises if you're having a difficult time locating them. However, Apple has surprisingly integrated an external speaker on the AirPods Pro 2 charging case, so you'll be able to pinpoint which couch cushion (or backpack) you left them in.
When you look at some of the other best wireless earbuds, especially those that cost more than $200, you'll notice one feature that continues to grow in popularity: Multipoint connectivity. Essentially, this allows you to pair your earbuds to multiple devices simultaneously without needing to unpair and re-pair them every time you want to move from your phone to a computer, tablet, or another device. Technically, both the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro 2 offer this, but it doesn't work the same way as something like the Pixel Buds Pro.
Instead of just being able to have your earbuds paired to two platform-agnostic devices at once, the only way that "multipoint" and "audio switching" works is through Apple or Samsung devices. If you're using the AirPods Pro 2 with an iPhone and a MacBook, the audio will switch to the iPhone when a call comes in and then pick right back up on your MacBook. The same goes for using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with a Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, with the only requirement being that you are signed into the same Samsung account (or Apple) on both connected devices.
However, this means that if you are using an iPhone and want to also use the AirPods Pro 2 with anything other than an Apple device (i.e., Mac or iPad), then you won't be able to enjoy seamless switching between devices. We feel as though both Apple and Samsung both missed the mark in this regard, as it just provides another method of ecosystem lock-in that really isn't necessary. And when you consider that the Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro 2 are priced at $230 and $250, respectively, there's no reason why true Multipoint functionality shouldn't be included.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Which is better?
This honestly might be one of the closest comparisons we've done for a set of earbuds, as both the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro 2 are both simply incredible. Of course, you'll have a much better experience when using the Buds 2 Pro on Android, and the same goes for using the AirPods Pro 2 on iOS. So naturally, if you own and regularly use one of the best Android phones, the Buds 2 Pro is the better option, while iPhone users will have a better experience with the AirPods Pro 2.
But there are some differences, even when using these earbuds with their intended platforms, that might encourage you to lean one way over the other. By and large, the AirPods Pro 2 sounded better and provided better ANC than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. And if you are an iPhone user, the speaker that is built into the charging case is a nice touch in the event that you need some audible help to find the case. Apple's offering also gets a big advantage in the battery life department, not just on paper but also in real-world usage.
Samsung gains an edge in a couple of departments, the first being the price. The Buds 2 Pro retail for $229, which is $20 cheaper than the $249 retail price of the AirPods Pro 2. Some might say that a $20 difference doesn't matter all that much, but if you're on a strict budget, then you won't be disappointed by Samsung's offering. Another advantage of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is water resistance, as Samsung's earbuds feature an IPX7 rating compared to the IPX4 rating provided by the AirPods Pro 2. So if you're planning to use the Buds 2 Pro for everything from office work to working out at the gym or running in the rain, you can rest easy knowing they'll survive pretty much everything.
As with most accessories, products, and devices, much of the decision between the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2 will come down to what devices you are already using. However, if we had to pick just one, we would still go with Apple's AirPods Pro 2 due to the better battery life and improved Active Noise Cancelation compared to the Buds 2 Pro.
Better than ever
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro might not have the best battery life, but these earbuds are still incredible in many different ways.
The best gets better
The AirPods Pro 2 offer long-lasting battery life and incredible ANC, all while retaining the same design that helped propel its predecessor to success.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.