Ever since late 2018, I’ve been a devout AirPods user. I love how Apple’s earbuds feel, sound and pair seamlessly to my iPhone, and I think I secretly like being part of the unspoken cult of AirPod-wearing commuters that fill my subway car every morning. But Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds Plus just might get me to ditch my trusty buds for good.
I’ve been using the Galaxy Buds Plus since they were unveiled alongside the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip this week, and fell in love almost instantly. Having never used the original Galaxy Buds, I was immediately struck by just how light the 0.2-ounce earbuds feel -- to the point that I often forget I have anything in my ears at all.
And while I’ve grown to like the AirPods’ once-polarizing design, it’s nice to wear a set of wireless earbuds that don't hang out of my ears. I do occasionally wish the Galaxy Buds Plus felt a bit more secure in my ears, but Samsung does include multiple ear tip and wing tip options for adjusting their fit and feel.
I thought I’d miss my AirPods’ seamless interactivity with my iPhone, but pairing my Buds Plus to my phone was just as painless. I’ve had no issues skipping and pausing tracks with the buds’ on-ear controls (though I wish they were just a bit less sensitive), and I can even still use Siri with a quick long-press.
In terms of sound quality, the Buds Plus are just good enough for me. Their dual AKG-tuned speakers provide a clean soundstage that deliver lively guitars, vocals and drums while I get my daily dose of pop-punk on the way to work. I still prefer the fuller, bassier sound of my AirPods, but I do appreciate that Samsung’s buds let me adjust EQ settings and let in ambient noise via the Galaxy Buds companion app.
But here’s the real reason I might have to stick my AirPods in a drawer indefinitely: the Galaxy Buds Plus’ battery life is insane. I’ve been using the Galaxy Buds Plus on-and-off for two days straight, wearing them during long walks around San Francisco and New York City and throughout a 6-hour flight while never recharging the case once. After all that, the Buds Plus are sitting just under 50% battery.
That seems to line up with Samsung’s bold battery life claims of 11 hours for the buds and an additional 11 hours from the charging case. By contrast, I come close to draining my AirPods’ 5-hour battery almost every day, and find myself charging its case at least every other day.
I’m absolutely loving the Galaxy Buds Plus right now, but will they get me to tuck away my AirPods forever? That’s harder to say. I feel an odd attachment to Apple’s buds — maybe it’s because they’re my first pair of truly wireless earbuds, or maybe it’s because I’m secretly afraid to abandon the cult of AirPod wearers.
But the fact that the Galaxy Buds Plus can make a hardcore AirPods loyalist consider switching sides bodes well for Samsung’s new headphones, and I look forward to seeing if they can fully win me over by the time I give them a full review.