Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Apple AirPods (2nd generation)
Apple and Samsung are still clashing in one way or another, so why not another wireless headphone shootout? They’re two sequels, but they’re also somewhat sequential as they weren’t released at the same time. The Galaxy Buds 2 were released in 2021, while AirPods (2nd generation) joined the Apple lineup in 2019. Two years makes a big difference in this category, and the contrasts stand out even more when you dive into what each. pair can do.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Apple AirPods (2nd generation): What sets them apart?
The differences are already apparent just looking at their respective specifications. Apple never implemented Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) in the AirPods Pro, leaving its standard AirPods to fend for itself without any noise control. For Samsung, the Galaxy Buds 2 are actually the third iteration, after the original Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds +, and the first to have the ANC for the company’s entry-level line of headphones.
Despite these differences on paper, both headphones cost roughly the same price. They also have exclusive features designed to work with their own product ecosystems. Cross the platforms between them and things get a little muddy along the way.
|Samsung Galaxy Buds 2||Apple AirPods (2nd generation)|
|Durability||IPX2||N / A|
|Bud battery life||7.5 hours||5 hours|
|Enclosure battery life||20 hours (29 without ANC)||24 hours|
|Wireless charging case||Yes||Yes (optional)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Digital assistant support||Bixby, Google Assistant, Siri||Siri|
|Supported audio codecs||SBC, AAC, scalable||SBC, AAC|
|Speaker size||11.5mm drivers||6mm pilots|
|Active noise cancellation (ANC)||Yes||No|
|Ambient sound mode||Yes||No|
For starters, none of these headphones are particularly durable. Samsung barely bothered to give the Galaxy Buds 2 minimal water resistance, which is worth knowing if you plan on exercising while wearing them. Likewise, AirPods (2nd generation) determine if they can withstand a lot of punishments during workouts. To me, neither pair engenders confidence in these types of scenarios.
The launch gap – plus two previous iterations – has given Samsung plenty to understand things with the Galaxy Buds 2, not to mention the Galaxy Buds Pro and the influence they have on them. listeners. Longer battery life, better connectivity, bigger drivers, ANC, ambient mode, wireless charging – it’s all here. And all of those things trump the second-gen AirPods.
So why even compare them? That’s because nuances matter, and based on those specs, Samsung should win hands down. This is undoubtedly true for Android users, where the Galaxy Buds 2 are more in tune with Google’s operating system. It’s not just the speed at which they pair; it is also their performance in some key respects.
For example, the Buds 2 sound better than the AirPods. The riders make this clear by playing on them, although fit and comfort are equal contributors. As is usually the case, Samsung uses ear tips to help you determine which size gives you the best seal, which is the best way to preserve as much bass as possible. It is also one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones Samsung has produced to date. It also offers equalizer (EQ) presets in the Galaxy Wearable app, which unfortunately you can’t manually set to your own custom sound preferences, but at least you get something.
AirPods (2nd generation) do none of these things. Open design proves problematic when it comes to isolating audio content from the outside world. Without ear tips, there isn’t much you can do to adjust the fit and tightness as a remedy. Not only that, but the custom options are limited and virtually non-existent for non-Apple users. An ambient mode isn’t necessary due to the amount of sound that is passively leaking anyway, and when it comes to ANC, you quickly realize that the fit you get in your ears is just as good as that of the ANC. Apple headphones.
Open design proves problematic when it comes to isolating audio content from the outside world.
And yet, despite the lack of all of these features, AirPods have less battery life. Leave the ANC on and the Buds 2 can last six hours, give or take, while AirPods only work for a maximum of five hours, but usually do less because you have to turn up the volume when there is a lot of people around you. You get more juice from the AirPods charging case, but it’s a moot point if they don’t last that long per charge for a number of reasons.
Onboard controls are probably a wash, although Apple could be a bit more consistent. Samsung is improving in this area, and it shows with the Buds 2. Both pairs rely on touch controls that sometimes act capriciously but get a handle on them, and you’ll be fine.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Apple AirPods (2nd generation): Ask for help
Both have their own voice assistants and each have their own set of issues. Siri is a non-factor in Android devices, while Bixby is arguably a non-factor with everything. Unlike Apple, Samsung doesn’t put you in a functional corner by forcing you to choose Bixby. You can ignore it completely and use Google Assistant. You can use Google Assistant with AirPods using workarounds, but it’s not native integration and requires a few compromises for it to work.
This can be a problem if you just want the assistant to wake up and do something on command. The Galaxy Buds 2 have an inherent advantage this way, as they can do it with any Android device (and even iOS). You don’t need a Samsung phone for this to work.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Apple AirPods (2nd Generation) Make a call
Samsung has dramatically improved call quality over past efforts with previous Galaxy Buds + and added further enhancements to Buds Pro. The Buds 2 sits in the middle, with excellent call quality that falls short of what Samsung’s flagship headphones can do. On the other hand, the AirPods (2nd generation) are very reliable for calls, in part thanks to the robust connection and the solid microphones that Apple equips them with. It’s just a lot easier to drown out the background further with the Galaxy Buds 2.
Buds 2 also have the ability to automatically switch between devices. You’ll need Samsung phones and tablets running on the company’s One UI 3.1 overlay on Android, but if that’s where you are, you’re good to go. The integration allows you to watch or do something on a tablet and switch the audio to the call you just took on your Galaxy phone.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. Apple AirPods (2nd generation): Which one should you go with?
For Android users, whether or not it’s a Samsung-made Android device, the Galaxy Buds 2 simply offer more for the dollars you spend. If the AirPods (2nd gen) had been considerably cheaper, they could be an alternative, but in the same price range, Apple’s headphones feel like they’ve fallen too far behind. A glance at the best wireless headphones currently available clearly shows just how far the needle has moved on this.
The Galaxy Buds 2 are super comfortable, play great sound, offer more settings in the app, and come at a good price. Then there are the color options. They provide a better experience all around and easily win this duel between rivals.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung takes its latest entry-level true wireless headphones a step further by focusing on a solid combination of performance and comfort.
Apple AirPods (2nd generation)
Apple’s own headphones
Everyone recognizes AirPods, and while they can be handy at times, they’re not the best when you want good sound or are on Android.
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