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Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. AirPods (2nd gen): Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus Red

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If you own an Android phone and don't care for phone calls, the Galaxy Buds+ are better than the AirPods in almost every other way.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

All around beast

USB-C and wireless charging case
Excellent comfort
Great sound
Great for Android phones
Longer battery on buds
Call quality isn't great
Only IPX2 water resistant

AirPods (2nd Gen)

AirPods 2

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The AirPods lose half of its features on non-Apple devices but they still perform decently well otherwise, especially if you take a lot of phone calls.

AirPods (2nd Gen)

Call King

Wireless charging case
One-size-fits-all design maximizes comfort
Excellent microphone for calls
Great for iPhone users
Longer battery life (with case)
Uses Lightning for wired charging
Lacks water resistance rating
Sound quality is OK at best

Both sets of earbuds have a lot in common and are obviously for two different ecosystems. The Galaxy Buds+ feature better compatibility across platforms and longer battery life. However, the AirPods feature a truly exceptional microphone for taking calls or recording voice memos.

Which set of earbuds are more convenient?

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus 2020

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Ultimately, both the Galaxy Buds+ and the second-generation AirPods share a common goal: to be the most compact, convenient true wireless earbuds on the market without skimping on features.

They both feature a wireless charging case, which means can place you earbuds on the same Qi wireless charging pad as your phone. If you plan on using either set of earbuds with any variation of the Galaxy S10, S20, or Galaxy Note 10, you can use PowerShare to wirelessly charge either the AirPods (2nd gen) or Galaxy Buds+. However, the Galaxy Buds+ use the more widely-used USB-C for wired charging while the AirPods use the proprietary Lightning connector.

In terms of battery life, the Galaxy Buds+ take the win here as well. On the earbuds side, the Galaxy Buds+ nets you 11 hours of juice before needing to recharge with the charging case. Meanwhile the AirPods only lasts five hours before you need to plop them back in the case. In terms of the charging case, the Galaxy Buds+' case nets you an additional 11 hours bringing you to a total of 22 hours. For the AirPods, you'll see 19 hours of extra juice, bringing you to 24 hours of audio playback.

Both sets of earbuds are comfortable in their own way. The AirPods simply rest on your outer ear, which means you won't really feel any discomfort or fatiguing, especially if you don't like earbuds deep in your ear canal. The Galaxy Buds+ come with multiple interchangeable tips in the box. This will help tremendoulsy with fit and overall comfort.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+AirPods (2nd Gen)
Battery life (buds)11 hours5 hours
Battery life (case)11 hours19 hours
Wireless chargingYesYes
Charging connector (wired)USB-CLightning
Interchangeable tipsYesNo
Coutomizable soundYesNo

AirPods

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

When it comes to sound quality, the Galaxy Buds+ annihilate the AirPods, full stop. If you even slightly care about good sound quality, the Galaxy Buds+ are the way to go. Out of the box, the Galaxy Buds+ feature a more balanced sound, while the AirPods are over the place. The sound on the AirPods is inconsistent and very much depends on how they rest on your outer ear. Overall, they lack in bass (unless you get a tight seal) and the treble can sound a bit muted if you don't have a great seal. Another bonus for the Galaxy Buds+ is that their companion app (that's now available on iOS in addition to Android) lets you customize the sound with EQ.

Neither set of earbuds are water-resistant enough. The Galaxy Buds+ are IPX2 rated, but that doesn't really translate to much protection beyond some sweat and "light drops of water." I guess that's better than having no rating at all, which is where the AirPods land. While they're not rated for it, either set of earbuds should be fine for going on walks or runs.

One area where the AirPods completely destroys the Galaxy Buds+ is when it comes to the microphone and call quality. The AirPods are great at making sure your voice comes in nice and clear while also reducing the ambience and environment around you. Last year's Galaxy Buds had a reputation for having poor call quality. The Galaxy Buds+ makes improvements in this regard but are still mediocre compared to the AirPods.

To conclude, unless call quality is your top priority, the Galaxy Buds+ will be a better overall choice for most people. They have better overall integration between platforms than the AirPods, which are designed to work with iOS and Apple's family of devices. The Galaxy Buds+ also feature better battery life, slightly better water resistance, interchangeable tips, and a lower price point.