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

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with AirPods Pro side-by-side on a stone surface
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro face-off focuses on two of the market’s best wireless earbuds, and we're here to help you decide which pair best suits your needs and budget.

The new Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro serves as the mobile giant’s flagship wireless earbuds. It features proprietary Samsung technologies (e.g., 360 Audio, Bixby voice activation, Wireless PowerShare) and powerful specs that culminate in great sound and effective active noise cancellation (ANC). Improvements in call quality, connectivity and water resistance make these buds a well-rounded package.

Nearly three years on the market and the AirPods Pro continue to outperform many of the best noise-cancelling earbuds. These buds seamlessly integrate with Apple’s ecosystem, receiving new features via iOS updates, which have helped extend their shelf life. Crisp sound with spatial audio support, effective ANC, instantaneous pairing with all iDevices, remarkable call quality and top-notch voice controls come guaranteed as well.

Each pair of buds cater to a particular audience, escalating the mobile war between Apple and Samsung even further, but only one can be considered the superior model. Our Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs AirPods Pro face-off crowns a winner for you.

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

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProApple AirPods Pro
Wireless charging caseYesYes
Battery life (rated)5 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 20 hours (charging case with ANC on); 30 hours (charging case with ANC off)4.5 hours (ANC on), 5 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case)
Water resistanceIPX7IPX4
Size0.7 x 0.85 x 0.7 inches (per bud); 1.97 x 1.97 x 1.1 inches (charging case)0.9 x 0.85 x 1.2 inches (per bud); 1.8 x 0.9 x 2.4 inches (charging case)
Weight0.19 (per bud); 1.53 ounces (charging case)0.19 ounces (per bud); 1.6 ounces (charging case)
Special featuresANC, ambient sound, 24-bit HiFi Sound, 360 audio, auto switching, Auto Voice Detect, Bixby voice activation, Gaming Mode, SmartThings Find compatibility, Samsung TV connectivity, Wireless PowerShare supportANC, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, spatial audio, automatic switching, Ear Tip Fit Test, audio sharing, announced messages with Siri, Enhanced Find My, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, Live Listen, MagSafe charging case (2021 version)

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

Apple sells the AirPods Pro for $249, but you can find it for less at major online retailers (Amazon currently has them discounted to $179).

The Galaxy Buds Pro 2 go on sale on August 26 for $229 and can be pre-ordered via the Samsung store. Samsung is offering an exclusive $75 credit when you trade-in any Galaxy Buds in any condition, along with $30 Samsung credit and a free Wireless Charger with your purchase. 

Present sales opportunities make Apple’s buds the more enticing purchase in terms of value.

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

WinnerAirPods Pro

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

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro displayed atop a white and gold fabric cloth

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The more attractive and durable model is the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, while the AirPods is the comfier option, though Samsung has unique features that make their wireless earbuds a pleasant wear.   

Samsung made these buds 15% smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro, expanded the wind shield and gave the sturdy plastic exterior a nice soft-rubberized finish. They also come rated to IPX7 for sweat and water resistance. 

The redesign creates more effective air flow and enhances on-ear stability, which Samsung’s earbud fit test helps achieve. The sleek, compact charging case is the real eye-grabber, weighing just 1.53 ounces and properly sized to fit inside any denim pocket.  

The AirPods Pro displayed on a white and gold cloth

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Notable changes were made to the AirPods Pro’s design compared to past versions. It has smaller stems with force sensors, installed eartips, and IPX4 certification for sweat and water resistance. Apple’s Ear Tip Fit helps optimize fit.

The tips form a tight seal around the canal and the cavity rests gently on the concha. If only the craftsmanship was better. The plastic used to compose both the earbuds and compact charging case is of poor quality, resulting in occasional cracks and scratches. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

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

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

(Image credit: Alex Bracett/Future)

Apple’s force sensors work like a charm, responding to all single and multi-press gestures instantly, and “Hey Siri” voice activation operates flawlessly to execute voice commands in seconds.

Using Siri with Announce Messages and Announce Notifications to have incoming updates sent directly to your ears is awesome. We also love that Siri can manage playback and other functions when paired to an Apple Watch.

Employing the AirPod Pro's force sensor contorls

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro come stacked with touch and voice-activated controls, but stumbles with certain functions. All the tap gestures work well, plus you have cool features like Double Tap Earbud Edge that make operation a breeze; double tap the top of your ear to either lower (left ear) or raise (right ear) volume.

Voice Detection will drop volume down to 15% when hearing your voice. Something else these buds offer is compatibility with Google Assistant and Bixby, with the latter being activated through wake-word functionality. Unfortunately, Samsung’s AI bot isn’t as obedient as Siri.

Winner: AirPods Pro

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

Toto's "Africa" playing on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro come with sound features similar to the AirPods Pro and enhanced audio performance that can be enjoyed on Galaxy smartphones. Samsung’s soundstage is wide, so you’ll hear vocals and instruments with precision. 360 Audio produces compelling 3D sound with accurate head-tracking that creates sense of realism when watching flicks.

You’ve also got the Equalizer to personalize sound and Game Mode for lowering latency during mobile gaming sessions. Samsung’s 24-bit Hi-Fi Sound is said to give you high-fidelity audio, though there are two caveats: you need a Galaxy smartphone compatible with Samsung's Scalable Codec (SSC) and a subscription to a high audio quality music streaming service such as Tidal or Qobuz.

Spotify streaming on the AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Bass on the AirPods Pro is given more punch and the midrange is balanced well to hear voices clearly. Despite not having a companion app to tweak sound, Apple makes audio personalization available through the iOS settings with over 20+ presets.

Audio share is a sweet feature for those who want to hear the same music on two Apple or Beats headphones/earbuds that have the H1 processor. Lastly, there’s spatial audio which does a fantastic job of creating a 360-degree sound indulging in select Apple Music tracks and Dolby Atmos-supported videos.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

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

Our reviewer testing the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's ANC mode

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Samsung stepped up their ANC game with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. These are easily the company’s best noise-cancellers to date, employing 3 highly effective mics and a stronger wind shield to minimize background interference.

These buds neutralize frequencies better than the AirPods Pro, especially high-frequency sounds. Ambient Sound is great for keeping tabs on nearby activities. You even get hearing impairment features like Accessibility to adjust sound or noise cancellation to your left or right ear.

The AirPods Pro's ANC mode being tested in New York City

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

Since their launch, the AirPods Pro have been revered for their solid ANC performance. Not much has changed. Apple’s technology still performs well, cancelling out close to 85 percent of external sounds and drowning out most distractions on flights. High-pitched frequencies occasionally make their way onto the soundscape.

Transparency Mode is reliable for increasing environmental awareness. There’s also an alternative called Live Listen that sends sounds to the mic on your iPhone to hear what’s happening around you.

WinnerSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

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

Testing Apple's Ear Tip Fit Test being used on the AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

We’re giving this round to the AirPods Pro because of Apple’s better voice activation and great track record with expanding functionality every few months via iOS updates.

The H1 chip acts as a conduit between all Apple devices, blessing users with numerous perks such as automatic switching, Find My [AirPods], Siri Announce Messages, and Conversation Boost to enhance clarity on calls. Let’s not forget aforementioned features like ANC, audio sharing, Ear Tip Fit Test, “Hey Siri” voice activation, and spatial audio. Here’s a list of the other cool AirPods Pro tricks worth checking out. 

Apple’s buds pair instantly with iOS/macOS devices. Users can achieve up to 45 feet of wireless listening and enjoy steady connections when engaged in FaceTime calls.

The Galaxy Wearables app connected to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Samsung equipped the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with numerous high-end features. We previously mentioned the big ones, including 360 Audio, Accessibility, Bixby voice wake-up, control customization, earbuds fit test, Equalizer, Gaming Mode, Noise Controls (ANC/Ambient), 24-bit Hi-Fi Sound, and Voice Detect. What else is there?

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio (coming soon), Samsung TV connectivity (2022 models), and Wireless PowerShare to power up the charging case by placing it on the back of a compatible Galaxy smartphone. Well, it turns out the AirPods Pro can do much of the same, easily pairing to Apple TV devices and providing reverse wireless charging (available on the latest version with MagSafe charging case),

WinnerAirPods Pro

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

A FaceTime call being taken on the AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

You’ll find both of these on our list of the best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls, but the AirPods Pro is the better calling headset overall. Apple’s beam-forming mics produce clear-sounding calls and reduce background noise very well. 

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

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is just as serviceable and demonstrates excellent wind resistance, but muffle is frequent during indoor and outdoor chats. There’s minimal muffle when using the AirPods Pro.

Winner: AirPods Pro

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

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and AirPods Pro charging cases sitting on a wireless charging pad

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

When it comes to ANC use, the Galaxy Buds 2 barely outlast the AirPods Pro — we’re talking a 30-minute difference between the two. Users can extend playtimes on both models by turning off ANC, though the Galaxy Buds 2 still comes out on top: 8 hours versus 5 hours. Keep in mind that the AirPods Pro have better battery management, and that high volume and special features drain the battery quickly on each model.

Each comes with a wireless charging case that supports quick and reversible charging. Samsung’s case holds more juice (18 to 29 hours) than Apple’s case (24 hours), depending how you use the buds.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

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

It’s impressive to see the AirPods Pro still compete at an elite level and defeat many next-gen releases, including the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Apple’s focus on adaptive noise cancellation, immersive sound, and seamless usability culminates in a satisfying listening experience for iPhone and MacBook owners. Battery life and craftsmanship remain its only legitimate flaws.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProApple AirPods Pro
Price and value (5)45
Design (15)1312
Controls (10)810
Audio quality (20)1917
Active noise cancellation(20)1817
Special features and apps (15)1315
Call quality (5)45
Battery life (10)65
Total score (100)8586

Samsung has had several tries — the Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds Pro, and Galaxy Buds 2 — to take on the AirPods Pro. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is an outstanding attempt that gets very close indeed thanks to its great sound, solid noise cancellation, and lots of fun features in an appealing design. The only compromises are the short battery life and unreliable voice activation. 

If you’re someone who values the Android or Galaxy experience and want premium audio and noise cancellation in a Samsung package, then the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are a great option. Otherwise, the AirPods Pro deliver remarkably solid performance in the face of strong competition and remain fantastic value.

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

Alex Bracetti

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.