If you’re looking for a new set of true wireless earbuds — and you’re not in the it-must-be-Apple camp — you’re probably wondering how Samsung and Google’s latest true wireless earbuds compare. Well, look no further as we have the full run-down on major specs and features right here.
Because the Pixel Buds 2 (which, confusingly, Google simply calls “Pixel Buds”) haven’t been released yet, we can’t comment on things like sound quality and comfort, but we can still give you a sense of where these two products have their strengths and weaknesses. That might be all you need to make a buying decision, or you may want to wait until we can do a full head-to-head comparison. Either way, this should give you a good idea of how they stack up.
Samsung and Google have both increased the prices of their latest models over their previous generations by $20. With Google, the original Pixel Buds initially sold for $159 — though we’ve seen them for as little as $129 recently — but you can expect to pay $179 when the new Pixel Buds go on sale.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds were $129 at launch, while the Galaxy Buds+ are now $149. This makes Pixel Buds $30 pricier than the Galaxy Buds+. Of course, you can expect that both Google and Samsung will be offering special promotions to make these earbuds free (or close to free) if you buy one of their smartphones, but for regular folks looking for a new set of wireless earbuds, Samsung takes this one.
Winner: Galaxy Buds+
Right now, the true wireless earbud market has huge differences when it comes to battery life. Some models are way low on the spectrum, offering as little as 3.5 hours per charge, while others go all the way to 11. Google’s new Pixel Buds aren’t quite a the bottom, but at just five hours between charges, they’re nowhere near to the top either.
The top is in fact occupied by Samsung. Its Galaxy Buds+ offer an absolutely extraordinary 11 hours of life on a single charge — easily the best performance we’ve ever seen in a set of true wireless earbuds.
That said, when you tally up the capacity of Google’s wireless charging case, you actually get 25 hours of total playtime, which is better than the Galaxy Buds+ at just 22 hours. We think that when it comes to battery life, the longer they play before needing to go back to the charging case, the better.
Winner: Galaxy Buds+
Water and dust resistance
This is a tough one to call. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ offer the lowest amount of official water protection at just IPX2. That’s enough for them to formally declare sweat resistance, and we suspect they’ll be just fine for trips to the gym. Google hasn’t offered an IP rating for the new Pixel Buds, but its marketing copy nonetheless claims “They are sweat and water-resistant, so rainy days and intense workouts are no problem.”
Let’s just say you probably don’t want to expose either product to a lot of water. Until we have more evidence to the contrary, we’ll call this one a draw.
One of the things we like most about Apple’s AirPods and Airpods Pro as well as Amazon’s Echo Buds is the ability to use a voice assistant hands-free. That’s something the Pixel Buds 2 also have, making them the first true wireless earbuds to let you say “Hey Google” without lifting a finger. Depending on your preferred activities you may not use it a lot, but it’s great to have the option.
The cool, real-time language translation option from the original Pixel Buds sticks around for the sequel, and the Pixel Buds 2 also have an optional adaptive sound mode that adjusts the audio to your surroundings.
The Galaxy Buds+ can connect you to your preferred voice assistant, but you’ll still need to tap on an earbud to be heard. Spotify fans will enjoy the one-tap open-and-play Spotify feature. With free apps for both Android and iOS, you can control settings for Ambient mode (which lets outside sounds in) and EQ, to fine-tune the way your music sounds.
We’re going to give this one to the Pixel Buds 2 for now because we think their voice A.I. features will be amazing if they work as promised.
Winner: Pixel Buds 2
Without having heard the Pixel Buds 2 there’s no way we can call this one, but here’s what we can say: The original Pixel Buds were good but not great in the sound department. They improved on what the AirPods could offer, but that’s not saying much. The original Galaxy Buds, on the other hand, were among our favorites of 2019 for many reasons including sound.
Now, this is no guarantee either way. We recently put the Galaxy Buds+ up against the Apple AirPods Pro and our editor found they suffered in the comparison. Does this mean they will disappoint when we finally compare them to the Pixel Buds 2? It’s hard to say, but right now it looks like they’ll be closely matched.
Fit and comfort
Yep, here’s another one we can’t call just yet, however we suspect the Galaxy Buds+ will win it by a nose (an ear?). The Galaxy Buds+ keep the original model’s overall design, with a small, lightweight form and a small but supportive ear-fin to keep the earbuds securely locked in place. They should be comfortable for hours of use and won’t stray accidentally from your ears during a workout.
The Pixel Buds 2, from what we could tell in our brief hands-on time with them, are also very comfortable and secure — way better at least than the awkwardly-designed Pixel Buds.
Is this enough to make a final decision? Probably not. However, given that we still don’t have a launch date for the Pixel Buds 2, perhaps this comparison is all you need to make at least one decision: Whether or not to wait for them to show up.
If you decide to wait, we have a feeling it won’t be much longer. Signs are beginning to show up pointing to an imminent Pixel Buds 2 retail release.
Regardless of which way you go, come on back once the Pixel Buds 2 are available and we’ll update this competition with our official recommendation.