Excellent audio quality with woofer and tweeter. Longer battery life compared to Buds Pro. Adaptive noise cancellation and ambient mode adjust themselves when sensing conversations. 3D audio lets music feel immersive. Strong water resistance.
Advanced features require Samsung devices running OneUI software.
Excellent audio in our tests, with enhanced bass. On-ear design can be more comfortable for those who dislike in-ear buds. Offers active noise cancellation, which is great when listening in noisy environments.
Not all users found them a good fit.
Featherweight. Deep bass. Impressively clear audio. Good active noise-cancellation. Features 3 ear tip sizes. Up to 29 hours of battery life on a single charge. Offers onboard touch controls. Optimized for Samsung Galaxy devices.
Limited water resistance. Design may not fit some ears or tastes.
Offers premium water resistance. Durable and comfortable. Features active noise cancellation and immersive sound quality. Intuitive touch controls make it user-friendly. Boasts a maximum battery life of 18 hours.
Some found that the earbuds struggled to stay in place, especially while chewing or talking.
Boasts audio tuning by top brand AKG. In-ear design blocks out external sounds. Connects to any device with a USB-C port, including Samsung smartphones and tablets. Includes built-in DAC for high-quality audio. Fabric cord resists tangling.
No longer included with most Samsung phones.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Are you looking for the best earbuds to go with your Samsung phone? Samsung has come out with various models of their Galaxy Buds since they debuted in 2019. But what are the differences between them, and which would be best for you?
We tested Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live to better understand the features of the Galaxy Buds lineup: comfort, fit, active noise cancellation (ANC), battery life, and of course, the all-important sound-quality factor. We also checked to see whether Samsung earbuds worked with non-Samsung devices, like Apple's iPhone.
If you’re shopping for Samsung earbuds, you’ll notice three product lines: Buds2 Pro (best specs and highest price), Buds2 (a more affordable option) and the bean-shaped Buds Live. Samsung also offers wired earbuds, named the Type-C Headphones, with audio by AKG that can plug into devices with a USB-C port. Older models, like the first Buds Pro and Buds Plus or the 3.5-millimeter earbuds that used to come with Samsung smartphones, can still be found, but they’ve been discontinued.
We think the Galaxy Buds2 Pro are the best overall Samsung earbuds for their great 360-degree sound quality and adaptive ANC. The Buds Live are worth considering if you want the best bang for your buck. If you have older Samsung earbuds, it might be worth it to upgrade to one of these newer models.
Introduced in 2022, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro are Samsung’s flagship earbuds with the rounded, stemless shape that defines the Buds lineup. As truly wireless earbuds, there’s no cord to connect them to an audio source or each other. Instead, they use Bluetooth to pair with smartphones or other devices.
The Buds2 Pro are in-ear buds with three silicone tip sizes that go into your ear canal, creating a seal that blocks outside noise like conversations and traffic. The Buds2 Pro boast features like adaptive ANC, which adjusts automatically depending on circumstances; 360-degree audio that makes sound seem like it’s coming from all around instead of just left and right; seamless pairing; and discreet woofers and tweeters for fuller sound quality. Many of the Buds2 Pro’s most advanced capabilities require Samsung devices running Samsung’s OneUI software. Highly water-resistant, the Buds2 Pro are made for sweaty workouts and capable of withstanding immersion for up to 30 minutes in fresh water. (That said, Samsung does not recommend putting them to the test in the shower or pool. See FAQ below.)
Unlike the rest of the Galaxy Buds lineup, the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live are on-ear buds that rest just outside the ear canal. People who have trouble with in-ear buds may find the Buds Live more to their liking. We found when we tested a pair of Buds Live that they ultimately felt more secure than competing earbuds after a short adjustment period. They come with two sets of silicone wings to adjust the fit.
Sound quality is clear and crisp — great for music and video content — with a large driver and bass venting that make up for the on-ear design. They also offer ANC, which some rival on-ear wireless earbuds don’t. Battery life is adequate at 7.5 hours, but other Galaxy Buds models last longer. The Buds Live, introduced in 2020, are one of the few Galaxy Buds models that work well with Apple’s iPhones and MacBooks.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds2 are the third generation of the original Galaxy Buds, replacing the Buds Plus in August 2021. They share the same rounded in-ear design as the Buds2 Pro but are slightly lighter, and they have a woofer rather than a woofer and tweeter like the Pro model.
Like the Buds2 Pro and the Buds Live, the Buds2 offer ANC, although they won’t adapt automatically to situations like the others do. The Buds2 have a longer battery life than the Buds Live, rated to almost 20 hours.
Like the Buds Pro, the Buds2 support seamless audio transfer between Samsung smartwatches and smartphones as well as the ambient sound feature that allows you to hear your surroundings. But the Buds2 are less water-resistant than the Buds2 Pro, and like the Pro, they are limited when paired with non-Samsung phones.
With tuning by Samsung’s subsidiary, the legendary audio brand AKG, the Type-C Headphones are in-ear buds with silicone eartips and a Y-cable ending in a USB-C jack. There are a couple of reasons to choose wired earbuds over wireless. First, wire cables are better at transmitting high-quality audio, although wireless is definitely catching up. Second, wired headphones are more affordable than wireless buds. (Until recently, a pair of wired earbuds were included with most Samsung smartphones.)
Like other USB-C headphones, the Type-C Headphones earbuds include a DAC (digital to analog converter) in their connector. Among other things, this allows them to play higher-quality music files than wireless earbuds. Their cord sports an inline remote with audio controls and a fabric jacket that makes them less prone to tangling than wired earbuds with rubbery plastic jackets. Note: Type-C Headphones don’t support ANC.
The Galaxy Buds Pro were the older pro model replaced by the Buds2 Pro. They remain a capable pair of truly wireless headphones with ANC, four levels of ambient awareness for keeping in touch with your surroundings and conversation detection capability. Like the Buds2 Pro, they’re water-resistant and capable of surviving immersion in water up to 30 minutes, which makes them more durable than the Buds2.
In terms of sound quality, they lack the woofer built into the Buds2 Pro. That said, at the time of their release in 2021, they impressed users with their improved sound quality as compared to earlier Buds models. They can last as long as 28 hours between charges, but using ANC reduces that time to just about five hours.
Also, like the Buds2 Pro, the Buds Pro have touch controls built into the earbuds themselves. Some people find them very sensitive, but they can be turned off if you want.
The Galaxy Buds+ were the second generation of Samsung Galaxy Buds, introduced in 2020 and replacing the original Galaxy Buds. They were the last generation of Galaxy Buds to lack ANC, instead depending on their in-ear design to passively block sound from infiltrating the ears.
The Galaxy Buds+ introduced improvements in battery life and sound quality to the lineup with a neutral sound profile and good sound separation, elements that have carried on into subsequent Buds models. The Buds+ are the only other Buds model to date, other than the Buds Live, that offer a high degree of compatibility with Apple’s iOS and iPhone, thanks to a native iOS app to access their more advanced features. They are a little blockier than subsequent models, and like the Buds2, they aren’t very water-resistant.
Samsung’s 3.5-mm Headphones, no longer available from the company, are essentially the same earbuds as those on the newer Type-C Headphones except that they plug into the trusty 3.5-mm audio jack rather than a USB-C port. Samsung began removing headphone jacks from its smartphones in 2019, but some models in its low-cost A-series line still have them.
In other respects, these earbuds are the same as the Type-C buds. They have tuning by AKG, an in-ear design, a Y-shaped fabric cord that resists tangling and an inline remote for controlling volume and playback. They’re officially discontinued, but you can find them online from third-party sellers.
Samsung sells a couple of protective covers for their Galaxy Buds charging cases. This includes a tight-fitting cover made of flexible silicone and the Z Flip3 Cover, designed to look like a miniature version of Samsung’s Z Flip3 foldable phone.
Unlike flexible case covers, the Z Flip3 cover is made of hard plastic, providing a significant additional layer of protection. They allow Buds earbuds with wireless charging cases to charge through them, but their own “charging port,” “speakers,” and “readout” are all cosmetic. They also add a bit of bulk to the Buds charging case.
The Z Flip3 Cover fits the Buds Pro, Buds Live, Buds2 and Buds2 Pro, and the cover comes in four colors.
After researching all of the earbuds Samsung has to offer as well as some of their discontinued models, we tested the Galaxy Buds Live to see how they did in these areas.
A. Everyone has differently shaped ears, and what fits well for one person may not fit well for someone else. Samsung’s earbuds, with the exception of the Buds Live, are in-ear buds, while Apple’s original AirPods, AirPods2, and AirPods 3 are on-ear buds.
Some people can’t stand in-ear buds, while others dislike on-ear buds. Comparisons of in-ear Buds models to Apple’s in-ear AirPods Pro and Pro 2 are inconclusive and seem to reflect individual ear shape and preference.
Note that Apple’s AirPods all have stems that stick out some distance from the ears, while Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are much rounder and nestle completely in the outer ear. That may feel better for people who dislike AirPods stems or for whom AirPods tend to fall out.
A. No! The Galaxy Buds2 specifically should not be worn in the shower. In the IPXX scale of water resistance, the Buds2, like the Buds Live and Buds+, are rated IPX2: resistant to occasional splashes. They should not be worn in the shower.
The Buds Pro and Buds2 Pro have an IPX7 rating: resistant to full immersion for 30 minutes. But Samsung still recommends not using them in the shower, spa, sauna, or swimming pool.
A. Thanks to their design, it’s possible to lie in bed with Galaxy Buds models, even on your side. In general, they nestle in the outer ear without sticking out too much. The Cleveland Clinic offers tips about whether you should wear earbuds to bed and how to do so safely.
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