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If you’ve been around for a while, you may remember the good old days when flagship phones had headphone jacks, and headphones had wires. Well, Apple changed that after releasing its wildly popular true wireless earbuds – the AirPods, and Samsung went the same route after the launch of its own Galaxy Buds series. Suspiciously, both of those companies stopped giving their flagship phones headphone jacks just around the same time. Oh well!The point is, we now have the latest Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation), and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. And we compared them to see which ones you should buy if you’re in the market for some true wireless earbuds. Who will win and who will survive? Spoiler alert: yeah, both, pretty much.

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Price and availability

Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 cost $249, and have been available since September 23, 2022.Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are $20 less at $229, and were released on August 26, 2022, so they’ve been around for a bit longer.

Both are often subject to discounts, especially the Buds 2 Pro, so if you’d like to get either while saving some money, instead of paying for their full price, stay tuned to our deals page, and also check out our Black Friday headphone deals page.

Design and colors

Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 are a familiar ordeal. No color options – they only come in glossy white. They’re light and comfortable in the ear, and easy to forget about. They also bring some new design and feature changes, a first on any Apple earbuds – most notably, their case now has a lanyard hook, plus a speaker for alerts, and to easily find it if lost. Their case charges both wirelessly and via USB Type-C, and can even charge from an Apple Watch charger now, which is pretty convenient if you have one. Both the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds and their case are IPX4 sweat and water resistant, so you can rock them in the gym and sweat all you want, no worries.

As for Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, they too should feel familiar to previous Buds owners. We have a wedding ring-style charging case made out of matte plastic, which I personally find more appealing than glossy, and they do come in three color options as opposed to just one – those being Graphite, White and Bora Purple. Unlike the AirPods Pro 2, the Buds 2 Pro earbuds are bean-shped and have no stems, which might appeal better to some, although the lack of stems makes their touch-sensitive areas a bit harder to feel for while wearing them. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds have IPX7 water resistance, but unfortunately their case has no IP rating at all.

Sound quality and active noise canceling (ANC)

Both the AirPods Pro 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are very enjoyable for casual music listening and podcasts. Both offer clean sound with tight bass, although there is a slight emphasis on the highs, while the mids are ever so slightly in the background. Which, to be fair, applies to pretty much all consumer earbuds in this price range. Regardless, from a sound quality standpoint – you can’t go wrong with either of these two.However, the AirPods Pro 2 have a trick up their sleeve, and it’s called Spatial Audio. If you have an iPhone and you’re using the AirPods, you can enable that feature for some extra wide and “exciting” sound. It basically makes any music sound more spacious and livelier. In my opinion, most casual listeners will love this feature and won’t want to get back to a flatter, “normal” sound, which is the only sound the Buds 2 Pro are offering. Learn more about Spatial Audio here.

As for the ANC, once again it’s hard to recommend one over the other, because they’re both pretty much on the same level at this point. Both the AirPods Pro 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can block nearly all low-frequency and mid-frequency sound from your surroundings, with only some higher frequencies usually making their way to your ears. With ANC on and music playing, both will successfully block the world around you with no problem.

Touch controls

The AirPods Pro 2 have touch-sensitive areas on their stems, which you can easily feel for while wearing them, and require a firm press to trigger an action. That can be playing or pausing your music, skipping to the next song or going back to the previous one, switching between ANC and Transparency mode, and most notably – the AirPods Pro 2 have a swipe gesture for volume control too. Simply swipe up or down their stems to raise or lower the volume. Like the rest of their touch gestures, this one works flawlessly.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have touch-sensitive areas on them also, but they’re harder to feel for, and more sensitive. Because of that, you may often end up triggering them unintentionally, while trying to adjust their fit in your ear. And while the Buds 2 Pro also have touch gestures for play, pause, ANC or Ambient sound, they do not have a volume control gesture by default. You can enable a volume control tap gesture from the Galaxy Wearable app (Android only), but even then you’re required to tap an earbud many times to gradually raise or lower the volume, and it’s nowhere near as intuitive as swiping up or down, like on the AirPods.

Battery life

The AirPods Pro 2 earbuds alone can last up to 6 hours on one charge, or more realistically – up to 5.5 hours, if Spatial Audio is on, which it is by default (if they’re paired with an iPhone). But with their case the AirPods Pro 2’s battery life can easily last up to 30 hours on a single charge.As for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the earbuds can last up to 5 hours on their own, with ANC on, but you can turn it off for longer battery life (up to 8 hours). If used with their case, you get up to 18 hours of battery with ANC on, or up to 29 hours with ANC off.

Regardless of how you use them, either one of these true wireless earbuds should last you comfortably for a full weekend trip, if not longer.

And when it’s time to charge, the AirPods Pro 2 case can be charged via its Lightning port, while the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro case can be charged via its USB Type-C port.

In addition, both of their cases support wireless charging, with any compatible Qi charger.

Which true wireless earbuds should you buy? The AirPods Pro 2 or Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?

Since both of these are perfectly capable in terms of sound and ANC, you should instead choose which to buy based on the phone you’re rocking right now.

If you have an iPhone, then it’s a no-brainer – the AirPods Pro 2 will pair quicker and work seamlessly with it and your other Apple devices, and you’ll be able to use Spatial Audio, which is not an option if you’re using the AirPods with an Android phone.

Similarly, if you have an Android phone, especially a Samsung one – get the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, because their companion app, Galaxy Wearable is only on Android. The companion app is not required to use them, but you may want to tinker with it anyway. It offers extra features like a music equalizer, reading your notifications aloud, and customizing your touch gestures.

Last but not least, it’s worth noting that if price matters – the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are not only cheaper, but are often discounted, and thus even more affordable.

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