Comparison: AirPods and Galaxy Buds offer quality | NOW



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Apple and Samsung now offer their own wireless ear plugs. In this article, we compare the second generation of AirPods with Galaxy Buds, also published this year.

Ear plugs from both manufacturers have much in common. Both are completely wireless (cordless in the neck) and are kept in a charging box. But there are also differences. We tested the AirPods with an iPhone X and the Galaxy Buds with the Samsung Galaxy S10 +.

Design

Apple AirPods are compact white ear plugs with a trunk hanging down. Galaxy Buds are rounder and stand out more like buttons. Samsung ear plugs are also available in more colors: white, black and yellow.

The boxes are also different. The AirPods box is a bit smaller and square and has a magnetic locking system. The Galaxy Buds is larger and pill-shaped and also features a magnetic closure system, although the lid opens and closes a bit more rigid. This makes a secret less plaything.


Comfort wearing

Wearing AirPods hardly differs from EarPods, Apple's standard wired headsets. They weigh 4 grams each and are therefore easy to use. Galaxy Buds are slightly heavier with 6 grams.

AirPods are available in one size. Some people report that earplugs do not fit their ears well, but that did not bother us. Because Galaxy Buds are ear earplugs, they will fit in almost every ear. We thought AirPods would be better in the long run.


Linking and connecting

Both headphones can be easily connected to the phones. AirPods work best with iPhones, but they also work on Android phones. Galaxy Buds can also be used with phones other than Samsung devices.

AirPods are recognized immediately on iPhones when the box is opened. With a touch of the button, they are linked and the connection remains stable.

Connecting the buttons to a Galaxy device is equally perfect as long as the SmartThings and Galaxy Wearable applications are installed in the phone. Otherwise, pairing must be done manually through the Bluetooth settings. The Galaxy Buds sometimes had a small dropout, though it never lasted more than a fraction of a second.

Audio quality

How one experiences audio is, to some extent, personal. We found two convincing earplugs in different ways during the test. AirPods are clear, both in terms of bass and voice. The sound is not easy to adjust, something that can be done with Galaxy Buds through the Wearable application. Also, you can make the serious sound come out better.

As the Galaxy Buds are in-ear headphones, it's far better to close the environment. This makes it easier to listen to music or podcasts in isolation and you have fewer problems with the wind during your run. It's a little more annoying when making a phone call because you hear less.

In fact, the buttons have a function to improve the ambient noise and voice, so that you still know what is happening around you. This sounds more natural and tighter than normal. On the bike we find the sounds so strongly amplified that we quickly deactivate this option.


Operation

Both plugs work with taps to operate them. For example, you can set a ring tone on the right earpiece to pause the song and activate a voice command on the left. This works on AirPods with Siri and Galaxy Buds with Bixby. However, Samsung's voice assistant does not speak Dutch for now, but can be used in English. That's a little less convenient.

In Galaxy Buds you can also put a finger on the plug to let the ambient sound pass or be deleted. An additional advantage of the buttons is the option to adjust the volume by tapping the ear plugs. This is not possible in AirPods. Users should either use the iPhone buttons or ask Siri if the sound can be turned on.


Battery life and charging

AirPods last up to five hours under load. Galaxy Buds can last up to six hours longer. By placing the ear plugs in the boxes, they are recharged until the box battery is empty. AirPods therefore offer 24 hours of extra listening time. With the Galaxy Buds, that number is seven hours. The Samsung case will therefore have to be charged more frequently for the same listening time.

Both boxes can be wired. Apple earpieces use a Lightning cable and the Samsung case works with USB-C. They can also be loaded wirelessly through the Qi standard. In the AirPods box, the light goes out while charging, with the Galaxy Buds light on. Practical because you can see immediately when the light turns green and the charge is complete.

The Galaxy Buds can also be charged by holding them against the back of a Galaxy S10, S10 + and S10e. This happens at the expense of the phone's battery, but offers a solution if the earplugs are empty on the way.

Price

Both Apple and Samsung have launched their ear protectors into a higher price segment. The newest AirPods cost 229 euros, but the Galaxy Buds are much cheaper: 149 euros.

By the way, the first version of the AirPods is on sale for 179 euros, but the box can not be loaded wirelessly.


Conclusion

Now that we've tested both, we find the connection and ease of use of the AirPods a little better. It's simply less hassle. We also find it better to use long-term comfort.

On the other hand, it is good that Samsung offers an in-ear solution because it convincingly filters the ambient noise. An added advantage is that they are much cheaper and are better protected against water and sweat.

It is not surprising that earplugs work best when connected to the "own" phone. They simply offer the best user experience. Assigning a clear winner is therefore difficult, both are good in their own way. For the neutral user, it will depend on the taste and is mainly about the choice between earphones or standard.

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