Apple and Samsung are two of the most popular phone brands, and each has its own set of competing true wireless. Apple’s most affordable earbuds are the Apple AirPods (2019), while Samsung’s answer are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.
The AirPods arrived in 2019, while Samsung unleashed the Galaxy Buds+ alongside the Galaxy S20 smartphone earlier in 2020. It’s very much iOS vs Android in this battle of the wireless earbuds.
So which pair is best? Read on to find out.
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Apple AirPods vs Galaxy Buds+ – Price
The Apple AirPods cost £159 with the standard charging case, or £199 with the wireless charging case.
The Galaxy Buds+ matched the standard AirPods with an RRP of £159, but look around online and you can find some colour variants hovering around the £130 mark.
Apple AirPods vs Galaxy Buds Plus – Design
The Galaxy Buds+ haven’t changed much since the original, with a slightly more discrete design than the AirPods (provided you don’t opt for the vivid yellow version).
The AirPods’ stem shape sticks out more than the Galaxy Buds+’ compact and round build. The Buds+ also offer a number of silicone ear and wing tips for a better fit and noise isolation. Samsung’s wireless earbuds come in black, blue, white and bright yellow variants, while Apple seems content to stick with a white finish.
As the Buds+ have wing tips, that makes them better suited for wearing during workouts, which is further bolstered by a IPX2 resistance rating. That’s rather low, so it’s best not to use them in the rain. The AirPods do not have an IP rating, nor are they well-suited for running, so there’s no guarantee they can handle a sweaty workout.
The Galaxy Buds+ win here, with more options in terms of fit, and an actual IP rating that makes them handy for exercise.
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Apple AirPods vs Galaxy Buds Plus – Features
The H1 chip makes connecting your AirPods super-fast and easy. Just open the case and place them next to an iPhone for the two to pair. AirPods will also sync across your iCloud account, so other devices can connect quickly and the connection is reliably strong.
The Galaxy Buds Plus’ Bluetooth 5.0 connection is also strong, but the AirPods offer a greater sense of ‘stickiness’. The Samsung earbuds look to gain the advantage in the battery stakes with 11 hours on a single charge. The case offers another 11 for 22 in total. However, while the AirPods can only hold up to five hours of charge, combined with the case they offer 24 hours in total.
Both support wireless charging, depending on which version of the AirPods you get. Apple forces you to pay a £40 premium for this feature, while Samsung includes it from the get-go with Qi wireless functionality.
It should be noted that the AirPods’ formidable connection strength is only really possible with iPhones. The Galaxy Buds Plus connection is also strong, with longer battery life over a single charge, but less overall than the AirPods if you include what you get from the case.
Both have their merits, so let’s call this a draw.
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Apple AirPods vs Galaxy Buds Plus – Sound
Let’s get one thing clear – neither the AirPods nor the Galaxy Buds Plus’ audio performance is for audiophiles in mind.
The AirPods lack crispness in instruments and detail in vocals, though they are certainly a vast improvement over the crummy EarPods that came with an iPhone. Bass is ok, but bass-heavy tracks lack organisation and detail, which makes them weak and messy to listen to.
And in light of the design, noise isolation is also disappointing, unable to block out ambient noise in loud environments.
The Galaxy Buds Plus are an improvement over the first generation. The low-end is rendered with more power and control, and bass extension has been improved, which already make these a step up over the AirPods in our minds.
Treble notes are handled well, though the mid-range is once again disappointing. Sibilance can make an appearance at high volumes, and they’re not the most dynamic of wireless earphones we’ve listened to. All that said, they are pretty decent sounding.
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Apple AirPods vs Galaxy Buds Plus – Verdict
The Galaxy Buds come out on top in terms of design with a better fit and an IP rating (regardless of how low it actually is).
The AirPods shade it in terms of connectivity, especially for iOS users. They also boast a longer battery life, but wireless charging comes at premium where with Samsung’s earbuds it’s included as standard.
When it comes to audio quality, the Galaxy Buds+ win, but know that neither of these headphones are suited to the audiophile crowd. If you’re a casual listener, they’ll suit you no problem.
A big factor in this decision is which phone you use. For loyal iPhone users, the AirPods offer more; while Android users, especially Samsung smartphone owners, will get more bang out for their buck with the Galaxy Buds Plus+’ features.