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  • Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro resting in an open charging case
    Source: Samsung
    Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
    Great on Android

    The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are Samsung's smallest, lightest, and best wireless earbuds yet. They improve on the Galaxy Buds Pro in every way, with better sound quality, more fulsome active noise cancellation, and support for 24-bit audio. They're also IPX7 water and dust resistant.

    Pros
    • Fun, bassy sound
    • Comfortable and lightweight
    • Samsung-exclusive features are neat
    Cons
    • Battery life isn't great
    • Not ideal for iOS
  • Apple AirPods 2nd Gen
    Source: Apple
    Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
    For iOS fans

    Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are fantastic earbuds — if you spend all or most of your time using other Apple devices. On Android, the earbuds still offer strong audio quality, thorough ANC, and a comfortable fit, but most of what makes AirPods a great option for Apple users is exclusive to Apple's ecosystem.

    Pros
    • Great audio and strong ANC
    • Comfortable fit
    • Excellent functionality with Apple devices
    Cons
    • Many features don't work on Android
    • Middling battery life

Every major device manufacturer offers their take on wireless earbuds to complement the smartphones they offer. Giants in the industry don't get much bigger than Samsung and Apple; both make an array of earbuds to complement their bigger-ticket devices, and each provides a Pro model for the most discerning listeners.

Samsung's most premium buds to date are the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, while Apple's current headliner is the second-generation AirPods Pro model. These are both fantastic earbuds, but selecting the buds that best conform to your needs primarily revolves around the phone in your pocket. Let's dive in.

Price, specs, and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro cost $230 at retail but can often be found on sale for around $200 (or less on occasion). They come in three colors — Graphite, Bora Purple, and White — and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H and directly from Samsung.

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are a little more expensive, with an MSRP of $250. Apple's earbuds only come in one color (white) and can be found at most of the same retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. You can also order a pair from Apple.

Note that in 2023 Apple updated the AirPods Pro to use a USB-C charging port, instead of its proprietary Lightning. That means you can sometimes find the older Lightning models at a discount - but that you should make sure you buy the version with the port you want.


  • Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProApple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
    Battery Life5 hours (ANC on), 18 with case6 hours (ANC on), 30 with case
    Noise CancellationYesYes
    IP ratingIPX7IP54
    Supported codecsSBC, AAC, Samsung SeamlessAAC, SBC
    Weight (earbuds)5.5g5.3g
    Dimensions (earbuds)19.9 x 21.6 x 18.7mm30.9 x 21.8 x 24mm
    ChargingUSB-C, wirelessUSB-C, wireless
    Driver size10mm driver + 5.3mm tweeter11mm

Design and fit

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in a tray with some keys, a ring, and a phone.

All true wireless earbuds perform in the same general manner, with design and delivery following a rough blueprint that necessitates a distinct measure of similarity. However, Samsung and Apple take different approaches to the buds experience. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are small buds that sit almost entirely in your ear, with touch-sensitive surfaces on the outside for playback control.

The second-gen AirPods Pro stick to the design Apple helped popularize, with a short "stem" extending out of the earbud and down toward your mouth. Playback is controlled by squeezing these stems.

Both pairs of earbuds are light, weighing in at 5.5 grams or less per bud. Both have delivered an in-ear component that's relatively small as well, and both pairs come with several silicone ear tips in varying sizes to create the perfect fit for each user. Most people should be able to find a comfortable fit with either pair of earbuds.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's clamshell case is squarer than the AirPods Pro 2's rectangular flip-top design, but they're both about the same size and are easy to fit in pockets, including smaller ones. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro charge over USB-C or wirelessly; for the first time, the AirPods Pro offers the same connectivity for charging. They plug into a USB-C for wired power and can be charged with a MagSafe or Qi wireless device or the magnetic charger used to power up your Apple Watch.

Sound and call quality.

samsung-galaxy-buds-2-pro-in-case-texture

Being the top-end earbuds in their respective ecosystems, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the AirPods Pro 2 sound great. Each pair of earbuds offer ample bass, clear mids, and bright highs. Neither will please the pickiest audiophiles, but the two are broadly comparable in audio quality. They also offer strong noise cancellation technology to help block out unwanted environmental noise while you're out and about.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have some distinct advantages, though. For Android users, the Galaxy Wearable app allows for EQ customizations through presets or manually using an equalizer. The 2nd-gen AirPods Pro don't allow for the same customization options, either on iOS or otherwise. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro also have support for 24-bit audio playback when connected to modern Samsung phones. Only certain music apps can take advantage, though — and the list doesn't include Spotify or YouTube Music.

Both are great for calls, too, offering strong background noise suppression. The AirPods might lead there in this head-to-head comparison by a nose, partially thanks to the stem-style design putting the microphones ever so slightly closer to your mouth, but it remains a tight race among superb performers.

Software and compatibility

apple-airpods-pro-2nd-generation-ipad-mini-pixel-7

While you can technically use either pair of earbuds on either Android or iOS, Samsung's buds work better with Android devices and Apple's with iPhones. There's no compatible Galaxy Wearable app available on iOS, so you won't be able to change the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's settings, configure preferences, or update the earbuds' firmware while pairing them with an iPhone.

Likewise, AirPods are managed in the system settings of paired Apple devices. Therefore, many features won't translate to the Android platform — features as simple as in-ear detection only work with other Apple gear, reducing their effectiveness sharply when paired with alternative smartphone builds.

Battery life

apple-airpods-pro-2nd-generation-plugged-in

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 last longer on a single charge than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The AirPods Pro 2 can make it about six hours with ANC engaged, compared to the five hours (with ANC) offered by the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The AirPods' charging case also holds a greater battery reserve than the Galaxy Buds', at a max of 30 hours of ANC listening time when fully charged. Samsung's earbuds case offers up a comparatively dismal 18 hours of recharge battery life.

Both cases now offer wired charging over a USB-C connection, and they each allow for wireless charging as well. The switch to USB-C for the Apple earbuds is a welcome change that will make them even more effective in your arsenal, considering that most other devices these days utilize this connectivity standard.

Which is right for you?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are excellent earbuds, but neither will be a universal front-runner. Which accessory you should select ultimately boils down almost entirely to the type of phone you carry most often.

If you're an Android user, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are going to provide a better experience than the AirPods. Apple's earbuds are limited when connected to non-Apple devices. If you're established in Samsung's ecosystem, all the better: the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have features like easy pairing and automatic device switching when used with multiple Samsung devices.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro resting in an open charging case
Source: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Great on Android

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are Samsung's smallest, lightest, and best wireless earbuds yet. They improve on the Galaxy Buds Pro in every way, with better sound quality, more fulsome active noise cancellation, and support for 24-bit audio. They're also IPX7 water and dust resistant, making them some of the best true wireless earbuds around.

If you've got an iPhone, you'll have a greater time tuning in or taking hands-free calls with the AirPods Pro (2nd generation). Using AirPods with an Android device eliminates the intuitive features like in-ear detection built into the buds, and crucially, firmware updates aren't possible. But when used in concert with Apple's ecosystem, they provide many of the same benefits as Samsung's earbuds do on Samsung devices.

Pairing AirPods to Apple devices is effortless, and if you're using an iPhone and an iPad or Mac, the earbuds will automatically connect to the right audio source as needed. You might also get by with AirPods if you use an Android phone and a Mac or iPad, but the benefits are limited unless you're all-in on Apple.

Apple AirPods 2nd Gen
Source: Apple
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
For Apple fans

Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro are fantastic earbuds — if you spend all or most of your time using other Apple devices. On Android, the earbuds still offer strong audio quality, through ANC, and a comfortable fit, but most of what makes AirPods a great option for Apple users is exclusive to Apple's ecosystem.

Pros
  • Strong audio quality
  • Comprehensive ANC
  • Comfortable fit
Cons
  • Android experience lacking
  • Pricey
  • Only white color option