If you're trying to work out which wireless earbuds are best for you, you've come to the right place. Here's how the Apple AirPods and the Samsung Galaxy Buds compare.
- AirPods: From $159 / £159
- Galaxy Buds: $129.99 / £139
The Apple AirPods start at £159. This is for the second generation model with the standard charging case. There is also the option of a wireless charging case, which will set you back £79 on its own or £199 for the AirPods with the wireless charging case.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds cost £139. They come with a wireless charging case as standard.
- AirPods: White only, optional wireless charging case
- Galaxy Buds: White, Black, Yellow, wireless charging case as standard
The Apple AirPods come in white only and they look a little like a very small electric toothbrush head. Some will love the design, others will hate it. We sit in the former camp, though we'd like extra colours. The AirPods are a little larger than the Galaxy Buds in terms of overall size because of the extra part below the earpiece, but the earpiece itself is smaller.
The AirPods slot into a small, almost square, case that has a Lightning port at the bottom for charging. Whilst in the case, the AirPods will recharge providing the case itself has charge. There is a pairing button on the rear of the case and an LED indicator light is present in between the AirPods, which you'll see when you open the case lid.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds meanwhile, come in three colour options including white, black and yellow. The Galaxy Buds fit snuggly into the inner part of your ear, providing a more subtle and perhaps more secure design than the AirPods, though a little bulkier.
Like the AirPods, the Galaxy Buds slot into a case, this time cylindrical in shape, and they will recharge whilst in the case. There is an LED indicator light inside the case, as well as outside the case and a USB Type-C charging port on the rear. As mentioned though, the Galaxy Buds case is wireless charging compatible as standard, while the AirPods wireless charging case is a more expensive option.
- AirPods: Siri, Auto pause, One or two AirPods can be worn, Double tap gesture
- Galaxy Buds: AKG sound, Bixby Voice, One or two Galaxy Buds can be worn, double or triple tap gesture
The Apple AirPods have voice-activated Siri access that is powered by the H1 chip. There are also several other features that make the AirPods very easy to use for an Apple user once they are connected.
AirPods automatically recognise when they are in your ear, pausing when you take them out, while optical sensors and motion accelerometers work in tandem to engage the microphones for phone calls and Siri access, filtering out external noise when required.
It's possible to wear one AirPod or both, and double tapping an AirPod will allow you to skip a track or play a song, depending on the action you have set up. You can read more about AirPod features in our tips and tricks, as well as the features available for Android users in our separate feature.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have sound by AKG and they have adaptive dual microphone technology to recognise your surroundings, switching between inner and outer mics to filter out background noise when you're on a call and allowing you to hear what's happening around you when you're not.
Like AirPods, you can choose to wear one or two Galaxy Buds and Samsung recently added Bixby Voice to the Galaxy Buds, allowing you to control ambient sound, battery status and equaliser controls with your voice. The latest update also offered improved touchpad controls, with options for double tapping and triple tapping, allowing for a little more flexibility than the AirPods in terms of gesture controls.
- AirPods: One-tap setup for iOS users
- Galaxy Buds: One-tap setup for Android users
- Both Bluetooth
The Apple AirPods and the Samsung Galaxy Buds both connect via Bluetooth. For Apple users, the AirPods will recognise automatically as soon as you open the case, appearing on your display. After you tap the connect button, they will then connect to any Apple devices associated with your Apple ID including the Apple Watch, iPad or Macs.
For Samsung users, the Galaxy Buds will do the same as AirPods do for Apple users. They will be automatically recognised by your Samsung device when you open the box, giving you the option to pair the Buds to your phone with one tap.
If you're an Android user looking to buy the Apple AirPods, or an Apple users looking to buy the Galaxy Buds, both will still work but you'll need to perform setup via the Bluetooth settings on your device instead.
- AirPods: 3 hours talk time, 5 hours listening time
- Galaxy Buds: 5 hours talk time, 6 hours usage time
The second generation of Apple AirPods offer up to three hours of talk time and up to five hours of listening time on a full charge.
The AirPods charging case holds multiple charges for up to 24 hours of listening time and placing the AirPods back in their case for 15 minutes should offer up to three hours of listening time and up to two hours of talk time.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds offer up to five hours talk time and up to six hours of usage time. Each earbud has a 52mAh battery capacity, while the Galaxy Bud charging case has a 252mAh battery capacity. The Galaxy Buds also claim to offer up to 20 hours of standby time.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are quite a bit cheaper than the Apple AirPods, they promise a slightly longer battery life and they offer many of the same features, though not all are available for iOS users just like not all AirPod features are available to Android users.
If you have an Android device, specifically Samsung, then the Galaxy Buds are the better option for you out of these two wireless earphones being compared thanks to the seamless setup and the features offered, including Bixby Voice control. They also have a wireless charging case as standard.
If you have an Apple device, the AirPods deliver a more seamless experience, including one-tap setup to all your Apple devices and a range of features including automatic ear recognition and Siri control. They are pricey though, especially if you choose the wireless charging case option so you might consider the Galaxy Buds if you don't mind sacrificing a few features for the extra pennies in your pocket.