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Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Galaxy Buds+: How much better are the new Buds?

Now that Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds+ have been officially revealed, let’s take a quick look at what we know about these new true wireless earbuds and how they compare to Samsung’s original Galaxy Buds. Here’s how these two pairs of true wireless earbuds stack up across the most important features and specs.

Price

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+

Conclusion

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.

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