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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro just got a big upgrade AirPods Pro can’t match

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
(Image credit: Samsung)

Credit where it’s due, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro launched last year as one of the most feature-rich pairs of noise-cancelling earbuds around — and Samsung has since added and improved the buds’ functionality through firmware updates.

The latest of these revives a feature that made the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live easier to use, but was absent from the Galaxy Buds Pro at launch: “Double Tap Earbud Edge” controls. Once the update is installed, owners of the Galaxy Buds Pro — a member of our best wireless earbuds list — can adjust playback volume by doubling-tapping on the edge of the buds.

Prior to this update, it was still possible to raise or lower volume using the Galaxy Buds Pro’s touch sensors, though you had to manually customize the tap-and-hold gesture in the Samsung Wearable app first. Mapping volume controls to this gesture also meant you couldn’t use tap-and-hold for its other possible inputs, like summoning a digital assistant or opening the Spotify app on your phone.

Now, with raising and lowering volume assigned to Double Tap Earbud Edge instead, you can have both handy volume adjustment and a more flexible choice of tap-and-hold commands. By comparison, the AirPods Pro doesn't even let you adjust volume using the onboard Force Sensors at all.

The update, part of Samsung’s firmware version R190XXU0AUD5, also adds the ability to assign a particular noise mode — either the active noise cancellation (ANC) or transparent Ambient mode — to a long press gesture. That’s a small but welcome improvement that means you don’t have to cycle through different modes until you reach the one you want.

Samsung’ patch notes also mention the addition of “stabilization code related to ANC motion/talk detection,” which sounds like an improvement to the Galaxy Buds Pro’s Voice Detect feature. This lets the earbuds detect when the wearer is speaking, and automatically enables Ambient mode to make the conversation easier; after the update, this could act more reliably.

Already one of the best Apple AirPods alternatives, the Galaxy Buds Pro seems to be getting better with age. While we’re currently on the lookout for more details on the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, the Galaxy Buds Pro will likely remain at the top of Samsung’s earbuds range for a while.

James Archer

James joined Tom’s Guide in 2020, bringing years of experience in consumer tech and product testing. As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also covers the occasional spot of computing and gaming news, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.