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Headphones

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Google Pixel Buds Pro: Which Android earbuds are best?

Two of the top earbuds for Android face off

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It seems every big tech company wants to follow Apple's lead, and Apple's success, in the headphone market. Their now iconic AirPods Pro are instantly recognizable and while not the first true wireless headphones, they're certainly the first to become popular. Samsung, with their Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and Google, with the Pixel Buds Pro, aim to give Android users a non-Apple option. 

But which to choose between them? They have similar size, shape, and price. Turns out, despite the similarities, they're actually quite different. Regardless of what phone you have, you might want to consider one over the other. Here's how they compare.

Shop for Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Shop for Google Pixel Buds Pro

Price 

Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

The Google Pixel Buds Pro are slightly cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, giving them the price edge.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Google Pixel Buds Pro are extremely close in price: $230 for the former and $200 for the latter. So we'll call the winner in this category the Pixel Buds but the reality is they're close enough we can't imagine many people would find getting the more expensive option too much of a stretch. 

Both of these earbuds are new to the market, so you're unlikely to find them on sale just yet.

Our pick: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Design

Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

The Pixel Buds Pro have four different color options.

Overall design of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Google Pixel Buds Pro are pretty similar. Neither look like Apple's AirPods, with that earbud's distinctive and recognizable earbud-plus-tail design. Instead, both fully fit within the ear and have a round, or round-ish shape. Both come with a small wireless charging case—a flip-top design for the Pixel Buds and a clamshell for the Galaxy—that recharges the earbuds.

With the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Samsung has moved away from the gloss finish found on previous iterations in favor of a matte that we prefer. They come in three colors, Graphite, White, and Bora Purple. The entire earbud and the case are the chosen color.

The Google Buds come in four colors, Charcoal, Fog, Lemongrass, and Coral. However, most of the earbud is black, with just the top (outermost) portion in that color. The case is white. 

Soft win for the four color, really two-tone, options of the Pixel Buds. However, if you like one of the Samsung Bud's full and matching colors, count that as a win in their favor.

Our pick: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Features

A man holds a pair of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds in his hand above a wooden floor.
Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have an IPX7 dunkable design.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Google Pixel Buds Pro offer active noise canceling with transparency mode, water resistance, fast pairing for Samsung or Google devices (respectively), and a variety of other features, but the specifics are rather different. 

As a first effort, the Google Buds noise canceling is pretty good, but falls mid-pack among noise canceling true wireless earbuds. They compete with similarly-priced options like the Jabra Elite 85t with airplane noise, but don't hold up with higher frequencies like keyboard clicks and vocal chatter. The Samsung Buds, however, do a far better job. They're great at almost totally canceling low droning sounds like airplane noise and air conditioners. They even do a decent job with midrange frequencies, with performance similar to the Apple AirPods Pro. 

The Google Buds offer IPX4, but the Samsung Buds are IPX7, which is the difference between being able to splash them and being able to accidentally drop them in a full sink. The Google Buds case is also IPX2 rated, which is a nice addition, while Samsung's case is not rated.

While the Samsung Buds offer a lot of adjustments in their app, the Google Buds lack some of the former's extensive customizability.

With both earbuds, some features are locked if you don't have the brand's own phone—such as Samsung's support of 24-bit audio. This is common among phone manufacturers, including Apple, so if you're considering either option but don't have that company's phone, make sure you check our reviews for what you might be missing.

Our pick: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Battery Life

A hand holding one Pixel Bud Pro in the finger tips while also holding the case.
Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

The extra battery life from the case gets the Pixel Buds the win in this category.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro's have a 7 hour battery life with noise canceling and 11 if you turn it off. This tracked with our testing, where we measured 6 hours and 45 minutes with noise canceling on. When you include the battery in the case, the max extends out to 31 hours. The Buds have a fast charging capability that will give you an hour of play after just 5 minutes of charge.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer less, about 5 hours with NC on, and 8 with it off. Our testing found these claims to be pretty accurate, with 4 hours and 40 minutes of play with NC on and the volume at 50%. The case extends the max time out to 30 hours. Like the Pixel Buds Pro, the Galaxy Buds can play for an hour after 5 minutes of charging. 

Both have similar charge capacity with the case, but more earbuds battery life makes this an easy win for the Pixel Buds.

Our pick: Google Pixel Buds Pro

Sound quality

A man with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds in his ear.
Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sound excellent, have solid ANC, and are comfortable for long listening sessions.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have excellent midrange and bass that's full but doesn't overwhelm the other frequencies. Vocals are clear without being too forward. Drums have a punch and snappiness. Overall we love their excellent audio performance. This might be due, at least partially, to the fact that Samsung squeezed two separate drivers into each earbud. The Google Buds only have one full-range driver in each earbud.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro's have a more stylized sound, not as neutral as the Galaxy Buds. There's a bit too much of a sparkle to acoustic instruments and they can get a bit shouty. The overall sound isn't unpleasant, but they don't sound as good as the Samsungs. The Pixel Buds have solid audio but could benefit from more audio adjustments in the app.

So while the Pixel Buds have good, stylized sound, the Samsung's are going to sound better to most people.

Our pick: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

And the winner is ... 

Counting up the individual wins in each category, the winner is the Google Pixel Buds Pro. They offer a fantastic combination of battery life, compact design, and lower price compared to the Samungs. 

However, that's not the entire story. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have better noise canceling, better sound quality, and more features. Though some of those features are locked if you don't have a Samsung phone, far more people buy Samsung phones every year than Pixel phones (and I say that as a proud Pixel owner!). 

So for most people, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the better choice, despite their slightly higher price and slightly shorter battery life.

Shop for Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

Shop for Google Pixel Buds Pro

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.