AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Which wireless earbuds win?

AirPods Pro 2 and Samsung Galaxy Earbuds 2 Pro side-by-side on a wall outside by a waterway
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

An AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro comparison is as essential as an iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 comparison. You have two true wireless models that cater to their own mobile platforms and audiences better than any other wireless earbuds on the market.   

The AirPods Pro 2 just hit stores and welcomes a variety of upgrades. We’re looking at Find My support for the MagSafe charging case, Personalized Spatial Audio, and smarter active noise cancellation (ANC). Not to mention Apple’s H2 chip that boosts acoustics, battery life, connectivity, and several other hallmarks.

Galaxy smartphone users have their own flagship buds to tote around with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Powerful specs and proprietary Samsung technologies (e.g., 360 Audio, Bixby voice activation, Wireless PowerShare) provide a terrific balance of exceptional sound and effective ANC. Stronger call quality, connectivity, and waterproof protection (IPX7) complete the package. 

These are two fantastic products. As for which are the better performers, our AirPods Pro 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro analysis breaks it down for you.

AirPods Pro 2 and Samsung Galaxy Earbuds 2 Pro side-by-side on a wall outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Specs compared

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Apple AirPods Pro 2Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Price$249$229
Wireless charging caseYesYes
ChipH2Unknown
Battery life (rated)5.5 hours (Spatial Audio and Head Tracking on) 6 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 30 hours (charging case with ANC on); 34 hours (charging case with ANC off)5 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 20 hours (charging case with ANC on); 30 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Water resistanceIPX4 (buds and charging case)IPX7
Size1.22 x 0.86 x 0.94 inches (per bud); 1.78 x 2.39 x 0.85 inches (charging case)0.19 (per bud); 1.53 ounces (charging case)
Weight0.19 ounces (per bud); 1.79 ounces (charging case)0.7 x 0.85 x 0.7 inches (per bud); 1.97 x 1.97 x 1.1 inches (charging case)
Special featuresANC, adaptive transparency mode, adaptive EQ, personalized spatial audio, automatic switching, Ear Tip Fit Test, physical volume controls, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Find My (AirPods), “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Live Listen, MagSafe charging case with built-in speaker, Apple Watch charging, lanyard loop supportANC, ambient sound, 24-bit Hi-Fi sound, 360 audio, auto switching, Auto Voice Detect, Bixby voice activation, Gaming Mode, SmartThings Find compatibility, Samsung TV connectivity, Wireless PowerShare support

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Price and availability

Apple sells the AirPods Pro 2 for $249 (£249 / AU$399) via the Apple Store (opens in new tab) at the same price as the original, while Samsung has the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro listed for $229 (opens in new tab) (£219 / AU$349).  

Amazon has the AirPods Pro 2 marked down to $239 (opens in new tab) since their launch. There are no price drops for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro at the time of publishing, although there are trade-in options with eligible products.   

Performance and features are aplenty on both sets of buds, making them equally valuable.

Bookmark our best AirPods deals and best headphones deals pages to stay notified of the latest wireless earbuds sales.

WinnerTie

AirPods Pro 2 on a wall outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Design

Sleeker, smaller, and available in more colors (Bora purple, graphite, and white), the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the more attractive option. These buds are 15% smaller than their predecessor and come with an expanded wind shield and wider touch control panel. The all-plastic exterior feels solid, has a nice soft-rubberized finish, and comes IPX7-rated for waterproof protection. Even the charging case has been scaled down to be conveniently portable. Samsung designed their buds for lengthy listening, with the built-in air vents relieving pressure and silicone tips forming a tight seal for proper on-ear stability. A Neck Stretch mode is also available to remind listeners when they’re practicing poor listening posture.

The AirPods Pro 2 look no different than the original. You have the same stem design constructed from subpar plastic. Details like the aluminum accents, black grilles, and indentations on the stems went untouched. IPX4 still protects the buds from sweat and heavy splashing. However, the MagSafe charging case now shares the same IP certification and introduces new features like a lanyard loop and built-in speaker unit. What does the latter do? Send out a tone to indicate different statuses (e.g., battery levels, pairing, location via Precision Finding function). These buds can be worn for several hours before fatigue sets in, plus the new tips and Ear Tip Fit Test help establish optimal fit.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Demonstrating the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's Double Tap Earbud Edge feature

(Image credit: Alex Bracett/Future)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Controls

Apple’s force sensor is the best and most responsive input method for wireless earbuds. On top of single, multi-press, and long-hold gestures, they now support sliding to increase or decrease volume, and the function works flawlessly. The skin-detect sensors immediately activate auto-pause/play whenever removing/wearing the buds. “Hey Siri” is still unbeatable for precise voice command operation. Siri can also send incoming updates directly to your ears via Announce Messages and Announce Notifications. If there is one complaint, it’s that Apple needs to enable the digital assistant function for use on non-iOS/macOS devices.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have their fair share of touch- and voice-activated controls. Tap gestures are highly responsive and features like Double Tap Earbud Edge simplify operation; double tap the top of your ear to either lower (left ear) or raise (right ear) volume. Voice Detection drops volume down to 15% when hearing your voice. Bixby integration is reliable for hands-free voice commands, though it isn’t as intuitive as “Hey Siri.” Keep in mind Google Assistant and Siri work with these buds too. Wear detection is available, but only initiates auto-pause.

Winner: AirPods Pro 2

AirPods Pro 2

(Image credit: Future)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Sound quality

Both of these share similar sound features such as 3D audio, customizable settings, and dynamic headtracking.

We give the sonic edge to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro for several reasons. Samsung’s 360 Audio with Dolby Head Tracking Technology is equally great compared to Apple’s spatial audio platform. The company’s Scalable Codec adjusts the bitrate dynamically from 88kbps to 512kbps and makes music sound fuller, louder, and more vibrant on Galaxy smartphones. AKG’s custom coaxial 2-way speaker (dedicated tweeter and woofer drivers) delivers vibrant, well-balanced sound. Game Mode improves audio synchronization when gaming and watching videos on mobile devices. Samsung’s Equalizer only offers six presets compared to the 20+ available in iOS, but they are more fine-tuned. Lastly, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are set to receive Bluetooth LE Audio support “later this year.” The jury is still out on Samsung’s 24-bit HiFi Sound.

The AirPods Pro 2 have their own audio perks, many that are no different from what you would find on the first-gen model. As previously mentioned, iOS lets you tweak the adaptive EQ by selecting from a wide variety of presets catered to different music genres. Headphone Accommodations allows users to tune audio balance/range/brightness and Headphone Audio Customization tailors audio to your hearing. Then comes the biggest feature, Personalized Spatial Audio, which analyzes your ears and head to create a personalized profile for optimal 3D audio output. It works well and places effects and vocals accurately on songs and movies. Apple developed a new low-distortion driver and custom amplifier for richer bass and clearer frequency response, though it lacks the imaging and depth produced by Samsung’s speaker unit.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) with single bud in ear

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Active noise cancellation

The AirPods Pro 2 was designed to deliver twice the amount of ANC as the original AirPods Pro. We never got that impression during testing, but we can attest to the buds’ highly effective noise neutralization, especially with high frequencies and wind. They put a muzzle on disruptions like airplane engine rumble, loud TVs, and talkative pedestrians, while heavily minimizing blaring sounds like ambulance sirens. Adaptive Transparency keeps listeners aware of their surroundings and reduces harsh environmental noise at the same time — it’s awesome. Don’t forget that Apple provides other ambient listening alternatives as well, including Conversation Boost to emphasize vocals for those with mild hearing impairment and Live Listen, which picks up sounds using the iPhone mic and sends them to your AirPods.

Samsung has made some significant strides with their ANC technology. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro claim to filter 40% more external sound than their predecessors, with the three-mic array doing a tremendous job of blocking out noises across the frequency spectrum. A stronger wind shield was installed, which transforms whisking effects into mere whispers. Ambient Sound performs up to par, so you can hear incidental sounds distinctively within your vicinity. There’s also Accessibility, a hearing impairment feature that adjusts sound/noise cancellation to your ears.

We declare this round a draw.

WinnerTie

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on a wall outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Special features and apps

Apple gives you more to work with on the functional end. The AirPods Pro 2 carry over every feature from their older sibling and adds a few more into the mix. New to the scene are the previously mentioned Adaptive Transparency, Personalized Spatial Audio, Precision Finding for the MagSafe charging case, skin-detect sensors, and stronger ANC. A dedicated AirPods section has also been introduced in iOS to adjust device preferences. Returning favorites include automatic switching, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Ear Tip Fit Test, Find My, “Hey Siri,” Headphone Accommodations, Headphone Levels, Live Listen, and pairing with Apple Watch/TV devices. You’ll also want to keep some of these other AirPods Pro tricks in mind.

The AirPods Pro 2 operate on Bluetooth 5.3 and employ the H2 chip to establish instantaneous connectivity with all Apple devices. If only the buds were more platform neutral. Pairing to Android devices becomes a hassle. Even worse is that the audio mutes after 30 seconds of playback when streaming from any media program (e.g., Spotify, YouTube).

Samsung equipped the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with a plethora of special features, many of which have already been mentioned. On the list: 360 Audio, Accessibility, 24-bit Hi-Fi Sound, Bixby voice wake-up, control customization, earbuds fit test, Equalizer, Gaming Mode, Noise Controls (ANC/Ambient), Neck Stretch, and Voice Detect.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro support Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio and Samsung TV connectivity (2022 models). These buds are also platform-neutral, granted you’ll get a more user-efficient experience on Galaxy devices, thanks to exclusive features like auto switch and one-tap Easy Pairing.

Multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) isn’t available on either model.

WinnerAirPods Pro 2

Our reviewer using the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to take a video call

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Call quality

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the better calling headset and a model you’ll find on our best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls. Calls sound clear and the mics minimize background interference better than most noise-cancelling earbuds. The AirPods Pro 2 don’t perform as well as the original, with muffle and ambient noise disrupting most calls.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

AirPods Pro 2 and Samsung Galaxy Earbuds 2 Pro side-by-side on wireless charger on a wall outside

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Battery life

Apple finally increased the battery life on their noise-cancelling earbuds. A full charge on the AirPods Pro 2 gets you 6 hours of ANC use and turning off the feature extends playtime to 7 hours. Headtracking and other features bring playtime down to 5.5 hours. The charging case holds between 30 to 34 hours, depending how you use the buds. A 5-minute quick charge generates 1 hour of use.

ANC playtime is lower on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: 5 hours. Turning off the feature increases battery life to 8 hours. The charging case holds between 20 to 30 hours. Samsung’s quick charging technology is slightly stronger, producing 2.5 hours of listening time in 10 minutes, or 1 hour in 5 minutes.

Both cases support multiple charging solutions. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro uses USB-C, Qi-enabled, and PowerShare charging, which powers up the case when placed on the back of a compatible Galaxy smartphone. Meanwhile, the AirPods Pro 2 case accepts Lightning, Qi-enabled, MagSafe, and Apple Watch charging.

Winner: AirPods Pro 2

AirPods Pro 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro side-by-side on a wall outside by a waterway

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: Verdict

It was a close battle, but the AirPods Pro 2 is the victor. Adaptive Transparency and Personalized Spatial Audio are engineered extremely well. Find My integration with the MagSafe charging case is ingenious. Most importantly, these buds retain everything that made their predecessor a smash hit, while also improving on key areas such as controls, fit, and battery life.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Apple AirPods Pro 2Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Price and value (5)54
Design (15)1213
Controls (10)108
Audio quality (20)1819
Active noise cancellation(20)1818
Special features and apps (15)1413
Call quality (5)34
Battery life (10)76
Total score (100)8785

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro come with better ANC, audio, and call quality. Music and movies sound superb, with features like 360 Audio and Samsung Scalable Codec boosting audio quality several notches. However, the finicky touch controls and middling battery life hold it back from being a category leader.

Next: Check out the best noise-cancelling earbuds to find out where each ranks compared to the rest of the models we've reviewed.

A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.