The AirPods Pro 2 get upgrades in key areas like noise canceling and transparency mode, but how do they compare with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?
Apple's latest entry in the premium earbuds category are the AirPods Pro 2, and they go up against a number of heavyweights, including Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. While Samsung took a little over a year to announce a follow-up to the Galaxy Buds Pro, Apple took three years to announce a successor to the AirPods Pro. The new AirPods Pro 2 are Apple's top-of-the-line earbuds, sitting above the AirPods 3 and AirPods 2.
The AirPods Max are yet to get a successor and remain the most expensive model in the AirPods lineup. There were reports that Apple would announce new colorways for the headphones this year, but that didn't happen at the 'Far Out' event. Apple still has one more launch event to go before the year ends though, so there's still time for an announcement.
The AirPods Pro 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have very different designs. The former has stems while the latter doesn't. However, they both have an in-ear design with replaceable silicone ear tips. Just like the original AirPods Pro, the AirPods Pro 2 are rated IPX4 for sweat and water resistance which is lower than the IPX7 rating of Samsung's earbuds. However, the case of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro doesn't have any water resistance while that of the AirPods is rated IPX4. Apple has been able to keep the weight of the 2nd gen AirPods Pro at 5.3 grams while the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro weigh 5.4 grams per earbud. Unsurprisingly, Apple's earbuds can only be purchased in White whereas the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available to buy in Graphite, White, and Bora Purple.
The AirPods Pro 2 have custom-built drivers and amplifiers that work together with the new H2 chip for advanced audio performance. The H2 chip along with new and powerful algorithms helps the AirPods Pro 2 better cancel unwanted noise when ANC is turned on. According to Apple, ANC is two times better than on the previous generation. The chip is also responsible for the AirPods Pro 2's Adaptive Transparency which reduces the intensity of unwanted sounds such as sirens and construction tools even when transparency mode is activated. Apple has also improved Spatial Audio by allowing users to create a personalized spatial audio profile that is based on the shape and size of their head and ears.
In contrast, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have a dual speaker system made up of 10mm woofers and 5.3mm tweeters. Samsung says that the earbuds feature Intelligent ANC which is better at cutting out background noise during calls and playback. Intelligent ANC also works with a feature called Voice Detect which knows when the user is talking and proceeds to deactivate ANC, turn on Ambient mode, and reduce playback volume so that conversations are clearer. Once the user stops talking, it reverts to the previous playback settings. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro also feature an enhanced version of 360 Audio, which is its own version of spatial audio. Finally, Samsung's earbuds feature a new 24-bit Hi-Fi codec that works only when the earbuds are connected to a Samsung device.
Both earbuds have Bluetooth 5.3. The AirPods Pro 2 connect seamlessly with Apple products and automatically switch audio between devices connected to the same account. Samsung also offers a similar experience when the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are connected to other Samsung devices including its Galaxy Book PCs. There is also Find My support for both earbuds (and even precision finding for the case of the AirPods Pro 2). In terms of battery life, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have a battery life of five hours on a single charge and 18 hours with ANC. However, with ANC off, the battery life is eight hours on a single charge and a total of 29 hours with the charging case. On the other hand, the AirPods Pro 2 have a battery life of six hours with ANC on and a total of 30 hours with the case. Both earbuds have support for wireless charging and wired charging, but while Samsung uses a USB-C port, Apple is sticking to the Lightning port.
Unlike Samsung, Apple hasn't raised the price of the AirPods Pro 2, which are still priced at $249 like the previous generation. However, they are still more expensive than the $229 Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Just like their predecessors, Samsung and Apple's earbuds work best within their own ecosystems. Pairing the Galaxy Buds 2 with an Apple device or the AirPods Pro 2 with a Samsung device (or Android device) will only provide basic features. Therefore, while iPhone users should stick to the AirPods Pro 2, Android users will be better off using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.