Beats Powerbeats Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds: Which are better daily in-ears?

Samsung Galaxy Buds
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

With a sleek design, comfortable feel, and solid sound, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds quickly became our favorite wireless earbuds on the market when they came out in early 2019.

Now, though, there’s a new player in the wireless in-ear game: Beats, whose Apple-backed Powerbeats Pro promise many of the same great features as the Galaxy Buds, but with even better battery life and iOS performance.

So how do two of the latest true wireless models stack up against each other in a head-to-head battle? Read on to find out which we think are the better pair.

Design and fit

In terms of looks, the Powerbeats Pro and Galaxy Buds couldn’t be more different. The Galaxy buds are sleek, compact in-ears that are barely larger than the wired earbuds you grew up plugging into your iPod, whereas the Powerbeats Pro are large, hook-style headphones akin to what you might have been stuffing in your gym bag.

Both headphones have silicone eartips to block out sound, but we prefer the way that the Galaxy Buds look and feel in our ears, largely due to just how light they are. This is one section in which there is a clear winner: The Galaxy Buds are clearly more stylish.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds

Features and controls

Despite their rather dramatic design differences, the Galaxy Buds and Powerbeats Pro have a lot in common when it comes to features.

The Powerbeats Pro’s functionality largely centers around Apple’s new H1 chip, which lets you speak to Siri to pick songs, adjust volume, and even do tasks like set alarms and check the weather without having to push a button. They also have a built-in sensor to auto-pause music when you remove the headphones from your ears, and feature IPX4 sweatproofing to get you through workouts and rainy days.

Unlike the Galaxy Buds, which rely entirely on touch controls, the Powerbeats Pro do have physical buttons on the outside of each earphone that let you play and pause music and adjust volume.

The touchpads on the outside of each of the Galaxy Buds can be configured inside the Samsung Wear app to control everything from playing and pausing music to accessing your voice assistant, so it’s not a huge deal that you can’t just speak to your voice assistant to access it. In addition to an IPX2 sweatproof rating and the same auto-pause feature boasted by the Powerbeats, the Galaxy Buds are very customizable in terms of sound. Inside the Samsung Wear app, you can choose to pipe in sound from the outside world during your commute, adjust equalization settings, and even manage what notifications the headphones will tell you about and what they won’t — which comes in handy if you’re tired of getting dinged on Facebook Messenger while out on your runs.

The ability to hear outside sound when out in busy public spaces is key to our decision in this category, because the Powerbeats Pro — ostensibly designed as a pair of workout buds — don’t do it. That makes this an easier choice than we initially thought, because it makes the Galaxy Buds fundamentally safer.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds

Battery life

With 9 hours of playback per charge, and a large charging case that includes two full charges, the clear winner when it comes to battery life are the Powerbeats Pro.

Still, Samsung’s smaller Galaxy Buds are no slouch. The headphones offer an impressive 6 hours of playback, with a compact wireless charging case that can even be charged off of the back of Samsung’s latest phones. That case, unfortunately, offers just 7 hours of charge, so you might find yourself in need of a charging pad more often than not.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Sound quality

It shouldn’t be surprising that the Powerbeats Pro, which cost more than double the Galaxy Buds, have the upper hand when it comes to fidelity. With a very detailed midrange, authoritative bass, and an airy high end, the Powerbeats Pro deliver fidelity that’s on the upper end of the wireless earbud spectrum.

But that doesn’t mean the Galaxy Buds are a serious slouch. The lightweight earbuds have a slightly warmer, less open-ended sound than the Beats model, but they are still very fun to listen to, easily powering you through tough workouts and strolls around town.

Winner: Beats Powerbeats Pro

Overall

With a small and comfortable design, excellent connectivity, and a price tag that’s less than half of the Powerbeats Pro, we think that the Samsung Galaxy Buds are the best of these two pairs of wireless earbuds. If you’re trying to pick between the two, we think it’s a no-brainer — at least until Beats adds some kind of ambient sound awareness feature, or fixes the connectivity woes we’ve encountered in testing.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds

Powerbeats Pro:

Galaxy Buds:

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