Suganth / Javid Saleh-Esa
If you are thinking about purchasing a pair of wireless earbuds, you may be overwhelmed by the abundance of choices that you will currently find on the market. With the ever-advancing technology of the twenty-first century, wireless earbuds of today house some of the most advanced audio technology, most of which sound just as good as wired earbuds. Some earbuds even rival the audio quality of over-the-ear headphones.
I recently purchased the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, a pair of true wireless earbuds released in February of 2020. I decided to compare the Galaxy Buds + with another popular earbuds choice, the Apple AirPods, and determine which one is the more “bang for buck” choice.
To start, let’s discuss the Galaxy Buds +.
What’s in the Box?
When you initially open the box, you will find three pairs of silicone ear tips, a USB-C charging cable, a Qi wireless charging carry case, and a user manual. The contents are pretty standard, and you will not be sold short with anything needed to fully utilize the earbuds. The three pairs of silicone ear tips are a plus, as they cater to most ear sizes in the event you find any problems with the factory fitting.
Design and Build Quality
In my opinion, the Galaxy Buds + are built very well and seem quite durable as well. Samsung decided to stick to their earlier design and simply add a polished finish to the exterior of the case and the buds. Their minimalism, as well as their relatively small overall build, makes for an easy product to carry around. While traveling with the earbuds, I experienced no hassle carrying them in my pockets. The case, like most earbud cases, has a magnetic latch used to close the case. The magnet is extremely effective in keeping the case securely closed, as evidenced by its remaining latched even when I dropped the case multiple times. The earbuds themselves are definitely one of the best on the market, as their small and sleek design results in a low-profile look on the wearer. Sometimes, it may appear as if they are not even being worn. One downside, however, is the IPX2 waterproof rating, which is not the best, compared to some other choices, like the Jabra Elite Active 75t. This means that using the product while working out may not be the best thing to do, although most users have reported that they have found no issue with working out while wearing the earbuds.
In terms of battery life, the Galaxy Buds + outperforms almost all of its competition. Samsung claims that the buds can last up to 11 hours on a full charge. While I have never tested how long the buds last on a full charge myself, I can say with confidence that they last long enough to exclude worry of sudden charge death. According to a blog named “Old-time music,” the Buds + lasted 11 hours and 32 minutes on a single charge. Regardless of the exact timing, the Buds + definitely pack a hefty battery supply.
As someone who is extremely critical of the sound quality of my headphones and earbuds, I have to say that I am satisfied with the quality of the Buds + delivered. However, they definitely are not the best, and I felt this department definitely had room for improvement. The AKG tuned 12mm drivers might do enough to satisfy the average customer, but if you happen to be an “audiophile,” you might want to look at other choices. The buds are a little too bass-heavy for some, which results in slightly muffled vocals. This means that most pop and hip hop songs may sound a bit unbalanced, as the vocals tend to get overwhelmed by the beat. The software which allows you to choose between various audio presets does enough to compensate, but nothing can make up for a relatively poor driver. I would not call it a deal-breaker, but it is definitely something to consider if you care immensely about the quality of your music. The Buds + also unfortunately feature no active noise cancellation (ANC). The silicone ear-tips do pretty well to mask the surrounding environmental noise passively, but anything too loud like the roaring of an airplane engine or the screeching of a train speeding on its track will be pretty hard to ignore.
For me personally, this aspect is where the Buds + stand out the most. With all these amazing features packed into a product that fits in the palm of your hand, the Buds + are priced at an affordable $129.99. Compared to most earbuds being priced at $200 and above, I would say the Buds + are definitely a great buy. I happened to snag my pair for $99.99 during a sale. If you happen to come across a similar promotion, you are definitely getting your money’s worth.
Now let us discuss the pros and cons of Apple’s Airpods.
What’s in the Box?
Along with the Airpods themselves, the box also comes with a wireless charging case, a lightning cable, and a user manual. This is where the Galaxy Buds + may be superior, as the silicone ear tips provide for possibly better adjustment and fitting than the one-sized Airpods.
Design and Build Quality
Most users have been relatively satisfied with the design of the Airpods, and very few report any sort of irritation with the design. “I love my AirPods because they’re very convenient to wear at almost any given time. They’ve lasted me for almost two years now, and I don’t think I will buy a new pair of earbuds anytime soon,” said Taufiqa Tajnin ’21. However, in my opinion, the Galaxy Buds + do come out on top in this department due to their smaller and more concealable design. Airpods on the other hand stick out awkwardly and are usually pretty visible. Like most earbuds on the market, the Airpods’ case features a magnetic latch to close itself. The AirPods do surprisingly beat out the Galaxy Buds + in one area though, and that is water resistance. With an IPX4 waterproof rating compared to the Galaxy Buds + IPX2 rating, the Airpods will be able to take more water damage than the Galaxy Buds +. That means you should have zero worries when working out with the Airpods compared with the Galaxy Buds +, which should be handled more carefully.
Compared to the Galaxy Buds + 11 hours battery life, they are a clear cut winner in this department compared to the 5-hour battery life of Airpods. However, this may not be a total dealbreaker for many people. “The AirPod quality is amazing. I can go days without worrying about having them charged, and even if my AirPods don’t have charge, their case will simply charge them while I’m not using them. Compared to the iPhone battery, Apple did amazing with the battery life of the AirPods,” said Tajnin. Although this perspective is unique to the user, some should find the battery life of the Airpods to be sufficient. If you are someone who uses your earbuds heavily, then the Galaxy Buds + is the better option.
Airpods are said to possess dynamic and powerful sound which usually caters to most consumers. However, they can sound choppy at higher frequencies. They are also not the bassiest earbuds on the market, which may serve as an inconvenience if you are someone who prefers higher bass profiles. To be honest, neither of these earbuds provide the best audio quality, as they both have their pros and cons. The Galaxy Buds + are a little too bass-heavy, and the Airpods, a little too less. Thus, it really comes down to personal preference in deciding which of these earbuds reigns supreme in the audio quality department. If you are someone who cares about your earbud’s sound quality, look for other higher-priced options from companies like Sennheiser and Sony.
As of right now, Apple Airpods cost around $160, $30 more than the regular Galaxy Buds + price tag. Considering Airpods rarely go on sale, and that even if they do their price usually does not decrease by much, the Galaxy Buds + again beat out the Airpods. Not only do they have a lower price point, but they also tend to go on sale a lot, and their price is usually decreased by quite a large margin.
In the end, itis a tough match-up. While the Galaxy Buds + seems to be the clear winner here, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some may favor the Galaxy Buds + sound profile to the Airpods, or the Airpods’s sleek design to the Buds +, or the Buds + superior battery life to that of the Airpods. If you are looking to purchase new earbuds this holiday season, make sure to carefully measure out the specs of each earbud, and find one that best caters to your needs.
With the ever-advancing technology of the 21st Century, wireless earbuds of today house some of the most advanced audio technology, most of which sound just as good as wired earbuds.