Samsung unveiled new Galaxy S21 flagship smartphones in January, and alongside the new phones, introduced the Galaxy Buds Pro for $ 200, priced at $ 199 and offering active noise cancellation.
These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple’s AirPods Pro, so we thought we’d compare the two sets of headphones in our last YouTube video.
From a design standpoint, the Galaxy Buds Pro are nothing like the “ AirPods Pro, ” with a rounded in-ear design with no more stem. They have silicone tips like the AirPods Pro, but MacRumors Videographer Dan, who has tested the Galaxy Buds Pro, found them much more uncomfortable than the “AirPods Pro”.
They need to fit snugly inside the ear to get the right fit and proper seal, both to ensure they stay in the ear and to allow the ANC functionality to work properly. Without the right fit, the headphones will not sound correctly and audio quality will suffer. Samsung offers several silicone tips for a decent fit, but these headphones may not work well for some users.
Like the AirPods Pro, the Galaxy Buds Pro offer active noise cancellation (ANC), which is decent, but it’s not as good as the ANC in the AirPods Pro. It’s certainly better than the ANC in last year’s Galaxy Buds Live, but still not up to par with “AirPods Pro”. There is an Ambient Mode which equates to Transparency Mode to allow ambient sounds to pass through, but again, this is just fine and doesn’t perform as well as Transparency Mode.
There is a standout feature offered by the Galaxy Buds Pro that is not available in the AirPods Pro and that is Voice Detect. Voice Detect lowers the volume and activates Ambient Mode when it hears the sound of your voice, which is convenient.
When it comes to sound quality, the Galaxy Buds Pro are almost indistinguishable from “AirPods Pro”. Audio on both sounds great, and whether you prefer one over the other will depend on individual listening preferences. The Galaxy Buds Pro are warmer and heavier on the bass, which some prefer. You need a good in-ear fit for the best sound quality because if they don’t they don’t sound as good.
Galaxy Buds Pro come with a small, pocket-sized case, with the case adding an additional 18-20 hours of battery life depending on ANC usage. The Galaxy Buds themselves have five hours of battery life with ANC on and eight hours of battery life with ANC off. Comparatively, the AirPods Pro last 4.5 hours on a single charge with ANC on and five hours without, but the case offers an additional 24 hours of listening. Apple’s AirPods Pro charge wirelessly or via a Lightning port, while Galaxy Buds Pro use USB-C.
There are touch controls on either side of the Galaxy Pro earbuds, and the taps allow play / pause, skip tracks, and toggle the ambient sound feature on and off. AirPods Pro offers similar controls, but on the rod rather than relying on taps, which works better.
Apple designs “AirPods Pro” for use with Apple devices, and Galaxy Buds Pro are designed for use primarily with Samsung devices. There are several features that only work when used with a Galaxy device, which is a bit new to Samsung. Previous headphone models have been more feature independent and have been easily paired with other Android devices or even iPhones, but with the Galaxy Buds Pro you will run out of features without a Galaxy smartphone.
There is a one-click pairing feature to set up the Galaxy Buds Pro with a Galaxy smartphone (you will need to manually connect to an iPhone), and there is a 360 Audio feature which is equivalent to the spatial audio feature in the “ AirPods Pro. ”. We were unable to test 360 Audio because the update that activates it on Galaxy devices (other than the S21) is not yet available.
Besides one-click pairing, the Galaxy Buds Pro support auto-discovery devices and fast switching, but again, Galaxy devices only. There is an app to adjust equalizer and other settings, but this is Android only and there is no iPhone version available.
Overall, the Galaxy Buds Pro are solid earbuds if you have a Galaxy smartphone, but these aren’t earbuds you’ll want to pick up if you have an uniPhone because you’ll be missing out on a lot of features. The price is only $ 50 cheaper than “AirPods Pro”, so it’s better to spend $ 250 for “AirPods Pro” if you have an Apple device.