Premium experience

Google Pixel Buds

Great value

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Some people put a value on design and a thought-out user experience, and these people will prefer the Pixel Buds. Excellent design throughout just elevates everything — a great case, good sound, great microphones, and smart features like adaptive sound, Hey Google commands and more.

$180 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Fantastic case design look and feel
  • Wireless charging case
  • Great microphone quality
  • Hands-free Google Assistant commands

Cons

  • You pay extra for this design
  • Shorter earbuds battery life than most
  • No customization options

Sometimes you don't need (or want) any of the extra features; you just want solid true wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Buds+ get the job done extremely well. You'll get compact case, good sound from earbuds with great battery life, and customizable touch controls and EQ settings — all for less money.

$140 at Amazon

Pros

  • Less expensive for same core features
  • Wireless charging case
  • Long earbuds battery life
  • Customizable touch controls and EQ

Cons

  • Cheap-feeling and looking case
  • Larger earbud design
  • Voice commands require touch control

True wireless earbuds are a massive category, and these are two of the leading players. Here's what you need to know when choosing between them.

Should you buy the Pixel Buds or Galaxy Buds+?

Both of these are great true wireless earbuds; choosing between them is all about the details.

At their core, the Pixel Buds and Galaxy Buds+ are the same — they get all of the basics done and are interchangeable for most of their functions. They're both true wireless earbuds with no cord, have standard rubberized eartips that hold the earbuds in your ears, don't have active noise cancellation, and use touch controls on the earbuds themselves. Both sets of earbuds are comfortable and light in the grand scheme of true wireless earbuds. Both also have a compact case that recharges the earbuds and recharges itself via USB-C or wireless charging.

It's the details of how they go about their functions, some of the extra features, and the details of their designs that makes the difference in which one you should buy.

Category Pixel Buds Galaxy Buds Plus
Battery life 5 hours (music)
2.5 hours (calls)
11 hours (music)
7.5 hours (calls)
Case battery 19 additional hours 11 additional hours
Case charging USB-C
Qi wireless
USB-C
Qi wireless
Water resistant Yes Yes
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0

The Pixel Buds win in the design department. The case is exquisitely designed with a nice soft-touch material, and the lid opens and closes with a reassuring click — a far cry from the glossy and cheap-feeling Galaxy Buds+ case. The earbuds themselves are also a bit smaller and more svelte, with a nice soft-touch coating that's great for using their touch controls. The Galaxy Buds Plus are larger and have the same glossy plastic finish as the case that just looks cheaper.

They have good sound, but really stand out with microphone quality in a variety of loud environments, which is important for calls but also for its exclusive hands-free "Hey Google" voice commands. You need to press and hold on the Galaxy Buds+ to make voice commands. The Pixel Buds also just feel a bit more polished, with nice subtle audio prompts and neat little additions like Google Fast Pair pairing and automatic volume adjustment to match your environment as it changes.

The Buds+ are a better pick for anyone price sensitive, and the Pixel Buds bring nice extras you can appreciate.

The Galaxy Buds+, first and foremost, win on battery life — you can get up to 11 hours of battery life out of these things, while the Pixel Buds top out at five (though the Pixel buds offer longer overall battery life with the case included). The earbuds also sound great, and have further EQ controls in their smartphone app. The app also lets you customize touch controls, which the Pixel Buds can't do, to change which controls do what function, and even have different controls for the left and right earbud. They're are also cheaper, which can make it a whole lot easier to decide that their design is just fine.

If cost is your primary concern, you'll be immediately drawn to the Galaxy Buds+ — they retail for $30 less than the Pixel Buds, and Samsung regularly applies further discounts and freebies to make them even more enticing. For that much less money, they're an easy buy if you're looking for the best value in true wireless earbuds — they get all of the basics done, with great battery life and a small case that still has wireless charging.

However, if you have more money to spend, and are a bit more discerning about design, you'll want to look at the Pixel Buds. Yes they're more expensive, but some will be able to see the value in them. Their case is much nicer to see and hold, and the earbuds are smaller and simpler. Plus, they have lots of little smart additions — Hey Google detection, adaptive sound, Fast Pair and beamforming microphones — that elevate the whole experience. They're great earbuds, they're just also expensive.

Premium experience

Google Pixel Buds

A super experience

Google applied so many little touches and bits of flair that improve the whole experience of the Pixel Buds. They're great, premium earbuds in every respect — with a high price to match.

Great value

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

You can't go wrong, or ever feel like you overpaid

The Galaxy Buds Plus aren't quite as flashy, and don't include as many fun little additions, but they're great at what they're designed to be: true wireless earbuds. And they're priced appropriately.

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