Skip to main content

Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Galaxy Buds+

If there’s one thing Samsung can do right, it’s headphones. With the company’s recent release of the Galaxy Buds+, many people are wondering how they hold up to the original Samsung Galaxy Buds. 

We’ve compared key factors like battery life, price, and sound quality to show you how these two products differ from each other. If you’re thinking about upgrading from the original Galaxy Buds to the Galaxy Buds+, here’s what you should know.


If you’re determined to save some money, the Samsung Galaxy Buds will run you $129 at regular price. That makes them more affordable than most marquee true wireless earbuds on the market. Only the 1More Stylish at $99 and the Amazon Echo Buds at $130 offer similar or better value. The Galaxy Buds+ are expected to hit retail at $149 — just $20 more than the previous model.

As we’re about to see, you get quite a bit more for that $20, but based on price alone, the original Galaxy Buds take the crown here.

Winner: Galaxy Buds

Battery life

When it comes to true wireless earbuds, battery life is a big deal. Unlike most wireless headphones, which come equipped with an analog cable as a backup for when their batteries die, true wireless earbuds have no such safety net. So they need to last as long as possible between trips back to their charging case or, eventually, the power outlet.

When the Galaxy Buds debuted, their six hours of playback time was pretty impressive, and still tops the AirPods by an hour. However, we couldn’t quite figure out why their charging case only held another six hours or so in reserve. Their total power of only 12 to 13 hours is right around half of the standard set by Apple (and followed by many others) of 24 hours or more.

The Galaxy Buds+ go way beyond on playback time at a huge 11 hours — impressive even by today’s much longer standards. The charging case still only holds one full charge, but seeing that this brings the total time to 22 hours, it’s a solid overall package

We’d still like more, of course, but there’s no question the Galaxy Buds+ are a big improvement.

Winner: Galaxy Buds+

Sound quality

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ hands-on on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

This category is always subjective, of course, and we haven’t had a chance to try the new Galaxy Buds+. Still, new versions of audio products with degraded quality when compared to their predecessors is a rarity, so we’re reasonably confident the Galaxy Buds+ will sound the same as or better than the Galaxy Buds. Adding weight to this belief is the fact that the Galaxy Buds+ make use of dual dynamic drivers (a woofer and a tweeter), where the Galaxy Buds used only a single dynamic driver.

Plus, featuring sound by AKG delivered through a new speaker and microphone system, along with enhanced ambient sound settings, the Galaxy Buds+ are being touted as “studio-quality” earbuds by Samsung.

Is this a guarantee of better sound quality? No. But, if our experience with other dual-driver earbuds is any indicator, it’s very likely the Galaxy Buds+ will offer better definition and clarity in both the high and low frequencies, and we might get better bass response, too. Saying studio-quality is likely way too optimistic, but we’re betting they’ll still sound pretty sweet.

We’ll obviously wait until we hear the new earbuds in person before calling this one.

Winner: TBD

Comfort and design

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ hands-on earbuds on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

It seems Samsung is taking an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach to the Galaxy Buds+. They’re very similar in design to the Galaxy Buds, if not a bit smaller. That’s a good thing: We were super-impressed by the Galaxy Buds and found them to be among the most comfortable and well-designed true wireless earbuds available at the time, and even after the arrival of incredibly comfy buds like the Jabra Elite 75t, they’re still a favorite.

The Galaxy Buds+ will, however, come with additional wing and eartips that Samsung says will allow for a customizable wireless fit, depending on how you’re using the earbuds. For now, we’ll have to wait until we try them to determine how much of a difference-maker this new feature turns out to be.

Winner: Draw (we think)

Water resistance

Sadly, it looks as though Samsung’s commitment to keeping the Galaxy Buds+ looking and feeling the same as their predecessors comes with an unfortunate caveat: Water resistance is also unchanged at IPX2.

We should acknowledge that true wireless earbuds don’t need an official IP rating to withstand a bit of sweat now and then. Apple’s AirPods, Sony’s WF-1000XM3, and the 1More Stylish are all examples of earbuds that aren’t rated for water exposure, yet nonetheless survive trips to the gym.

However, the industry as a whole is moving in the direction of better protection for these devices and clearly price doesn’t need to go through the roof to offer it. Plenty of $50 to $75 true wireless earbuds on Amazon offer IPX4 or better. Given that fitness and sports are among the activities that benefit most from a total absence of wires, we’re surprised Samsung hasn’t at least bumped the Galaxy Buds+ to IPX4 to match the Apple AirPods Pro.

Winner: Draw

Other features

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ hands-on top of table with case
John Velasco / Digital Trends

There are a couple of other noteworthy changes worth mentioning for the Galaxy Buds+ when it comes to features. The new buds will be able to pair and swap between multiple Bluetooth devices, whereas the Galaxy Buds could only handle one.

An additional set of onboard mics might improve their call quality and Ambient mode (for hearing outside sounds) as well, and you’ll be able to download an iOS app to get greater control over how the earbuds work with Apple devices.

Winner: Galaxy Buds+


So that’s it for a look at the major feature differences between the Galaxy Buds and the Galaxy Buds+.

You can check out our first impressions of the new wireless earbuds right now, but we’ll wait on declaring them the absolute winner in this comparison until we’ve done a full review. However, it’s already apparent that for an extra $20 (or free with select new Samsung phones), Samsung has added a lot of improvements to the already impressive originals.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
AptX Adaptive vs. aptX HD vs. LDAC: Which Bluetooth codec is the best?
Man wearing KEF Mu7 wireless noise-canceling headphones.

When it comes to Bluetooth codecs, most wireless earbuds and headphones will support AAC and/or aptX (in addition to the standard SBC codec that all devices support). These three codecs differ in how they compress the audio that travels from your phone to your headphones, but they all have one thing in common: They only support a bit depth of 16 bits. That's enough resolution for most kinds of audio, and many experts believe it's enough, period.

Not everyone is convinced that hi-res audio actually sounds better, but if you've got access to a source of lossless, 24-bit music, whether from your own personal files or from a streaming music service, you may want to consider buying a set of buds or headphones that can support a Bluetooth codec designed to deliver that extra level of detail. The three most common 24-bit compatible codecs are aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, and LDAC.

Read more
13 things to consider when buying headphones for someone else
A man wearing the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones.

As we get closer to Black Friday and the 2022 holiday season, there’s probably at least one person on your gift-giving list who would like a new set of headphones. And unless this person has sent you a link to the specific headphones they want, it’s now decision time, and you’ve got to figure out which one of the thousands of options to buy.

You could start by checking out our roundup of the best headphones and the best true wireless earbuds -- you won’t go wrong with any of the products on these lists. But sometimes, some more tailored advice is helpful. Let's talk about what makes a good pair of headphones and how to know you're getting the right ones for someone else.
It’s more than just music

Read more
Pixel Buds Pro firmware update adds 5-band EQ
Google Pixel Buds Pro update.

If you have the new Google Pixel Buds Pro, be on the lookout for a firmware update that's going to make some of the best buds of 2022 that much better. The update adds a full 5-band EQ, with individual sliders to adjust the sound precisely how you like it. Here's how to adjust the Pixel Buds Pro EQ.

There also are a number of new presets, Google says, "tuned by our audio engineers." You'll also see updates for controls to the left/right balance (so you can push things to one side more than the other, if you prefer), as well as some other unnamed bug fixes.

Read more