(Pocket-lint) – Samsung isn’t a name you immediately associate with headphones, but in recent years, the company has turned things around recently, with its Galaxy Buds headphones becoming increasing popular – and increasingly competitive, thanks to Samsung’s work with AKG.

The original Samsung Galaxy Buds weren’t great and we’re not including them in this comparison, because we don’t think they are worth buying. Instead we’re focusing on the current run of devices, the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Buds Live.

We’ve extensively used all these headphones to help evaluate which of these headphones is the best.

What to look for in true wireless headphones

When buying a pair of true wireless headphones there’s plenty to consider. This is now the most popular form of headphone, ditching the wires so you can just plug in and not have to worry about catching that wire as you move around.

That means that battery life is important, as no battery means no headphones. All these headphones charge from the case that they come in, offering wireless charging and USB-C connections.

The other big feature to look out for is active noise cancellation. This lets headphones reduce the exterior noise meaning you can listen to your music or podcast with less interruption. This is a key feature for travellers, especially to cut out the persistent hiss on aircraft.

Then there’s comfort and how well they fit, which dictates what the experience will be like wearing them for long periods of time, while a great fit will ensure the best performance.

Finally, it’s worth considering whether there’s any waterproofing, as this will protect your headphones from rain or sweat, and is well worth considering.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro


The Galaxy Buds Pro are the top of the line from Samsung, offering a more substantial build than the Buds 2 – and also using oval tips which can help get a better fit in the ear.

There’s a quality feel to these headphones, which also offer IPX7 water resistance, which the other headphones don’t offer.

The Galaxy Buds Pro offer the best noise cancelling performance and great sound quality – although it’s close to the Galaxy Buds 2. The Buds Pro also offer voice detection, so when you start speaking, they can switch to Ambient mode so you can hear the reply.

Call quality – and background noise suppression on Galaxy Buds Pro is excellent – while the overall ANC is useful, but not the best you’ll find on true wireless headphones.

There is support for 360 Audio – Dolby Atmos – the latest trend in music, although you need to be connected to a recent Samsung device to benefit from this.

The battery is rated at 5 hours (18 hours total, ANC) or 8 hours (28 hours total, no ANC). They support Bixby Voice and SmartThings Find, when used with a Samsung phone.

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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2


The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are more affordable than the Buds Pro, but offer a similar design. The tips are round and the buds themselves are smaller than the Buds Pro, but we don’t feel the design is as sophisticated.

That also comes through in touch: the Buds Pro feel more premium than the Buds 2 when you’re using them. The Buds 2 have an IPX2 rating, so it won’t get damaged by splashes.

While these headphones sound much the same as the Buds Pro, the Buds Pro offer some additional features for better control. There’s 5 hours (20 hours total, ANC) battery life.

They support Bixby Voice and SmartThings Find.

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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live


The Galaxy Buds Live are a slightly different proposition. With a different design, these headphones are shaped more like beans that slip into your ear. That means they don’t plug in like the Buds Pro or the Buds 2 and there are no silicone tips.

Instead they slip into your ear and don’t fit as tightly, which some might prefer and they are perfectly comfortable, if a little different.

Active noise cancellation is still offered, but we found that without the sealed fit that the Buds Pro or Buds 2 offer, it’s not quite as effective as those other models.

There’s 6 hours of listening, 21 hours total, with ANC on.

They support Bixby Voice and SmartThings Find.

Writing by Chris Hall.

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