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Google Pixel Buds 2 Vs Samsung Galaxy Buds+: Battle of the Android buds

If you’re looking for a new set of true wireless earbuds — and you’re not in the it-must-be-Apple camp — you’re probably wondering how Samsung and Google’s latest true wireless earbuds compare. Well, look no further, as we have the full run-down on major specs and features right here.

With the recent release of the Pixel Buds 2 (which, confusingly, Google simply calls “Pixel Buds”) we’ve been able to do a full head-to-head comparison. If you’re trying to decide between one or the other, this should give you a good idea of how they stack up.

Price

Samsung Galaxy Buds+
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Samsung and Google have both increased the prices of their latest models over their previous generations by $20. With Google, the original Pixel Buds initially sold for $159 — though we’ve seen them for as little as $129 recently — but the second generation Pixel Buds were dealt a price increase at $179.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds were $129 at launch, while the Galaxy Buds+ are now $149. This makes the Pixel Buds $30 pricier than the Galaxy Buds+. Of course, you can expect that both Google and Samsung will be offering special promotions to make these earbuds free (or close to free) if you buy one of their smartphones, but for regular folks looking for a new set of wireless earbuds, Samsung takes this one.

Winner: Galaxy Buds+

Battery life

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Right now, the true wireless earbud market has huge differences when it comes to battery life. Some models are way low on the spectrum, offering as little as 3.5 hours per charge, while others go all the way to 11. Google’s new Pixel Buds aren’t quite a the bottom, but at just five hours between charges, they’re nowhere near to the top either.

The top is in fact occupied by Samsung. Its Galaxy Buds+ offer an absolutely extraordinary 11 hours of life on a single charge — easily the best performance we’ve ever seen in a set of true wireless earbuds.

That said, when you tally up the capacity of Google’s wireless charging case, you actually get 25 hours of total playtime, which is better than the Galaxy Buds+ at just 22 hours. We think that when it comes to battery life, the longer they play before needing to go back to the charging case, the better.

Winner: Galaxy Buds+

Water and dust resistance

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ offer the lowest amount of official water protection at just IPX2. That’s enough for them to formally declare sweat resistance, and we suspect they’ll be just fine for trips to the gym. Google takes a step forward in water protection with an IPX4 rating, making them better suited for contact with water or sweat from working out.

Let’s just say you probably don’t want to expose either product to a lot of water. But the Google Pixel Buds are better equipped to weather a storm.

Winner: Google Pixel Buds

Features

Google Pixel Buds
Nick Woodard/Digital Trends

One of the things we like most about Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro as well as Amazon’s Echo Buds is the ability to use a voice assistant hands-free. That’s something the Pixel Buds 2 also have, making them the first true wireless earbuds to let you say “Hey Google” without lifting a finger. Depending on your preferred activities you may not use it a lot, but it’s great to have the option.

The cool, real-time language translation option from the original Pixel Buds sticks around for the sequel, and the Pixel Buds 2 also have an optional adaptive sound mode that adjusts the audio to your surroundings.

The Galaxy Buds+ can connect you to your preferred voice assistant, but you’ll still need to tap on an earbud to be heard. Spotify fans will enjoy the one-tap open-and-play Spotify feature. With free apps for both Android and iOS, you can control settings for Ambient mode (which lets outside sounds in) and EQ, to fine-tune the way your music sounds.

The voice A.I. features of the Google Pixel Buds have proved to be flawless so far, so we’re giving this one to Google.

Winner: Pixel Buds 2

Sound quality

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ in ear

The original Pixel Buds were good but not great in the sound department. They improved on what the AirPods could offer, but that’s not saying much. The original Galaxy Buds, on the other hand, were among our favorites of 2019 for many reasons, including sound.

Well, Google closed the gap with the second generation Pixel Buds. The buds themselves fit better, sealing off the ear for passive noise cancellation. For the most part, the sounds you want to hear stay in the ear, and the ones that you don’t, don’t. Plus, with what Google describes as “custom” 12mm dynamic speaker drivers, the new Pixel Buds sound crisp, with tight, responsive low end, and a well-balanced range overall.

The Galaxy Buds+ made strides in audio quality, too, but lack bass response and sounded “thin” at times when we tested them. They’re still good-sounding buds, ones that we think join their ancestors as better sounding than Apple’s AirPods, but they have their share of shortcomings.

While neither will approach the sound of earbuds like the Sony WF-1000XM3 or Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, we think Google’s new Pixel Buds move further in that direction.

Winner: Google Pixel Buds

Fit and comfort

The Galaxy Buds+ keep the original model’s overall design, with a small, lightweight form and a small but supportive ear-fin to keep the earbuds securely locked in place. They should be comfortable for hours of use and won’t stray accidentally from your ears during a workout.

The Pixel Buds 2, which got a redesign from the originals, are also very comfortable and secure — way better at least than the awkwardly-designed Pixel Buds. The buds themselves are lighter than the Galaxy Buds+, but the egg-shaped case that comes with the Pixel Buds outweighs Samsung’s pill-esque carrier.

In the end, Samsung likely takes the cake in this category. Google’s new design feels like it’s taking a page out of the Galaxy Buds+ book in terms of fit, and that’s a good step forward for the buds. But, for now, they don’t eclipse the real thing when it comes to comfort.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we have ourselves a good ol’ fashioned draw. The Google Pixel Buds sound better, pack better features, and are better equipped for workouts than the Samsung equivalent. The Galaxy Buds+, meanwhile, are winners in terms of price, battery life, and design and comfort.

So, you have to ask yourself. Do you need better sound and more features? Then it might be a good idea to check out the Google Pixel Buds. But do you want to save a few bucks on a pair of earbuds that will last longer and fit better in your ears? Sounds like the Galaxy Buds+ might be an ideal choice. Either way, you can take solace in the fact that there truly isn’t a bad pair in the bunch.

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