The new tech year has no doubt started with a bang with several brands releasing market-changing flagships devices with sweeping specs but the limelight on wireless earphones seemed to have deemed a bit until Samsung kickstarted the competition with the release of new Galaxy Buds.
Gone are the days when you have to carry about long wired AV cables all in the name of earphones – who saw this coming now…
Nowadays, all you need to get going is just a pair of Bluetooth in-ear speakers to get going with so many devoted to the call of making the best innovative design and ease of usage – who could blame them.
With so many brands at the forefront of the chasing pack with Apple, Samsung and…Xioami at the forefro0nt of the chasing pack, it all comes down to which has the best design, software, performance and offering overall best user experience.
PS: This post is in no way aimed at providing you with the best comparison treaties you could get online..though a bit of it, but more of an insight into what the brands make of users when taking different design or production roots.
More like a – “10 things Apple Airpods can do way better than Samsung GalaxyBuds” like making you look RICH
So without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling.
It’s hard to take in but Samsung was the first in the business of making wireless pods not until Apple came up with a more friendly design that popularized this style of product and with the release of a first generation successor – the Airpod 2 recently, they show no signs of slowing in terms of popularity.
Digitaltrends called it the age of incremental updates and the Apple Airpods have never truly failed to disappoint.
Airpod 2.0 Design
Apple’s AirPods 2.0 design is fantastic with the case, in particular, taking the form of its speaker units as usual. There’s also the Airpower inscription – which sadly passed away last week, asides that, the usual suspects are still the same.
Inside, the speaker units sit differently, while you can shake the AirPods case till the cows come home and they still won’t budge, the Galaxy Buds, on the other hand, promises to fall over the place.
**Don’t just give it a try…
There’s also a tiny light inside that gives a vague indication of the charging status of the speaker units and of the case itself..which just also is present in the GalaxyBuds too.
The AirPods case also has a pairing mode button on the back with the earphones automatically enabling pairing mode when you open the case if they aren’t paired to any device, a definite absentee in the Galaxy Buds.
Also, the Airpods are a bit heavy (not really) and might not be your go-to when taking hectic exercises due to the possibility of falling out, it still represents the classy and best wireless earphones you can get around.
PS: I am one of those people that the AirPods (and EarPods before that) doesn’t fit perfectly in their ear(partly due to my tiny ear canal) so always having an issue adjusting them in my head and making sure they don’t fall out and get lost.
There is also the misconception out there that the charging case features contactless wireless charging. Sadly, that’s simply not true. The metal tip at the bottom of each AirPod stem is more than just a sleek design feature.
Airpods 2.0 Software/Performance/Battery Life
On the software note, one of the things that keep setting the AirPods apart since launch was the phenomenal integration with iOS devices. Simply open the case and the phone would pop up a dialogue to let the two pair. Apple solved years of the annoyance of pressing and holding buttons or finding that one NFC spot somewhere with the simple act of opening the lid.
Then there were the other treaties, such as the earphones detecting when you put them on or remove them and would automatically play or pause the music. You can also tap on them to invoke Siri or use one of the available shortcuts in Settings.
The only downside is the absence of being able to adjust volume levels though not yet confirmed if this problem is solved in the Airpods second generation.
The performance levels of the AirPods sound is more versatile and less genre dependent. The AirPods have a warmer, darker sound this means there is a fair bit of emphasis on the mid-bass but not a lot on the highs.
The sound overall is not very detailed and can be a bit muddy at times. However, it does work fairly well across most genres and especially well for stuff like podcasts, audiobooks and YouTube videos. Also, less fatiguing to listen to over longer periods with the AirPods sound signature evident.
Another area of victory for AirPods is just the quality of the connection. The AirPods maintain a rock solid connection, making you completely forget you have two distinct speakers working wirelessly.
Battery life is always a concern with Bluetooth earphones, more so with truly wireless ones. However, the AirPods can last over five hours with a single charge just on the battery inside the speakers themselves. Combined with the battery inside the case, you can get about 24 hours of battery life.
The AirPods case takes about an hour to fully charge from flat with the AirPods in.
When Samsung launched its flagship Galaxy S10 smartphone, it also launched the Galaxy Buds, the company’s latest truly wireless Bluetooth earbuds having seen their first product – the Samsung gear IconX, knocked off its perch by the emergence of Apple’s Airpods which literally became an instant success.
So now that Samsung has had a few years and a couple of generations of this style of earphones to work with, and the buzz surrounding its latest upgrade, nature might just have shined on them again to take back their place at the top. Will they?
Galaxy Buds Design
The cases on the Galaxy Buds also take the form of their individual speaker units with the Galaxy Buds coming in a transverse design due to the shape of the earphones.
The Galaxy Buds case packaging also has a light inside just like the Airpods that gives a vague indication of the charging status of the speaker units and of the case itself with the Galaxy Buds case having an upper hand with the presence of a light indicator outside that does the same.
The Galaxy Buds case has one last feature, which is wireless charging, but more on that later.
In terms of size, the Galaxy Buds case comes through in a more robust square-shaped size to the Apple Airpods though neither is particularly large and definitely will not be an issue carrying around.
The Galaxy Buds also offers variety with its in-ear style design that goes deeper in your ear canal using silicone ear tips(the perfect solution to my case). You also get three different sizes of ear tips so it will fit most ears. In comparison, the AirPods have a one size fits all approach, which actually doesn’t really fit everyone.
You also get a couple pair of small wingtips for the Galaxy Buds, which I suppose are designed to keep them in place during workout.
This means you can pull your shirt over your head and the collar won’t cause the buds to pop out, contrary to the AirPods, which literally requires the minimum amount of force to just fall out of its place.
The Galaxy Buds charging case features contactless wireless charging from any phone that supports wireless charge sharing though performance levels and smooth running on Samsung phones are not the same when on a third-party Android device.
There is also the little issue of ambient sound blockage which makes you forget you are putting on the Airpods while the Galaxy Buds wingtips make it uncomfortable to wear
Galaxy Buds Software/Performance/Battery Life
Now that Samsung has had a few years to observe all of that competition from Apple, most of it is present on the Galaxy Buds as well. If you have a Galaxy S10, the phone will pop up a dialogue when you open the case. BUT, and this is a big BUT, you need the Samsung SmartThings app to make this happen, and that app requires a Samsung account to work.
Definitely where I think they have an edge over the Airpods – the Galaxy Buds app as it not only helps you keep track of your little nuggets but also gives you access to more configurability to your Earpods.
While it makes sense to have the app as it can be installed on any other Android phone, it would have made more sense for Samsung’s own phones to have all the functionality built-in, as is the case with AirPods and iOS devices.
The Galaxy Wearables app is reasonably well designed and lets you adjust a few things, such as EQ presets (no custom EQ, however), sending app notification to the speakers, the Ambient sound feature which lets you toggle between hearing more of the background noise or less of it which is a pretty nice feature if you find yourself driving and might just want those in your ear.
There is also the Find My Earbuds feature and continuous software update rollout for the earphones from the app.
The Ambient sound feature lets in outside sound by piping it in through the speakers using the microphones placed outside. The earphones try their best to localize the sound so you don’t get disoriented. Basically, stuff happening on your right will play louder in your right ear. You can adjust the level of the outside sound and choose to focus on voices.
You can also single tap to play/pause/pickup call, double tap to skip track and triple tap to go back to previous track. This works even if you don’t have the app installed or you are on iOS.
Unfortunately, the touchpad is terrible. The touchpad is turned off when you are not wearing them but is activated as soon as they make contact with skin (the Galaxy Buds have capacitive sensors instead of optical sensors on the AirPods). Also, the double and triple tap gestures rarely work accurately, especially triple tap, which has a one in a million chance of working as intended.
Also, tapping them is extremely unpleasant as it feels like hammering your own eardrums. This is not as much of an issue on the AirPods because they don’t go that deep in your ears so it doesn’t hurt or feel uncomfortable when you tap on them.
There is also the little issue of using each of the Galaxy Bud pair independently of the other which means you can keep one of the unit charging while making use of the other.
Performance levels on the Galaxy Buds are not always the best with the sound feels all over the place and very unbalanced at times, with certain voices and instruments being very forward and upsetting the balance of the sound.
Constant glitching with the speakers momentarily dropping sound or just sputtering every now and then is also an issue and while Samsung eventually issued a software update that reduced the frequency of the glitching but you are still guaranteed to get it every now and then.
Both have acceptable latency, which makes them usable for watching videos or playing casual games while the call quality leaves no prisoners just as in the Airpods though this has more to do with the outdated audio codec used by Bluetooth accessories for voice calls, which turns your voice to a garbled mess.
The Galaxy Buds case takes about two and a half hours to charge with the Buds lasting a reported seven hours on a single charge with a unique feature being the availability of Qi wireless charging, though the charging speed is not expected to skyrocket due to problems associated with the technology.
**Just ask Apple Airpower
I also don’t see anyone charging from the back of their S10 or wireless charge supported devices as that’s both times consuming and inefficient, not to mention makes your phone useless if you keep it face down.
Given that all that is required to make wireless headphones and earphones is the presence of the TWS technology, Xiaomi are thinking why not give the wireless Bluetooth buds market a go?
Unarguably the newcomers in the business, they, therefore, have moved to make a first of its kind headphones albeit bearing a resemblance to the Galaxy Buds in a bid to give users the much-needed freedom from the hassle of wires and dubbed the Xiaomi Airdots.
The Airdots case packaging comes in likewise manner to the Galaxy Buds but with the speaker units coming in stalky fashion to the Apple Airpods though the only exception being that the Airdots kind of have this rubber/plastic strap on to the speaker segment.
The package of the product contains one pair of earphones, one charging dock, one Type-C cable, one Chinese or English user manual and 3 pairs of Eartips.
** I wouldn’t like that as they are bound to fall off easily.
The Mi AirDots Pro is made up of plastic material with the presence of Bluetooth and Microphone available in white color with the function of answering the phone, noise canceling, song switching, sweat proof, voice control, volume control, and waterproof.
**Just see it as the closest alternative to your Airpod and Galaxy Buds
Xiaomi Airdots Software/Performance/Battery Life
It is featured with the Bluetooth protocol of A2DP and version of V4.2. The In-Ear earphone design provides the HD sound quality to the user with the provision of AAC advanced audio coding and compatible with both Android And iOS devices and also you can pair it with Laptop or Tablet but some of the features will not work as Calling, and voice commands.
Like Apple AirPods, the wireless earbuds are automatically connected to the device after the first pairing of the earbud. Then without any unnecessary operation, and the device gets automatically idle after 30 minutes without operation. Due to this feature of the AirDots Pro, it runs for a long time.
Performance levels on the Airdots are not premium but also outputs the best your budget can definitely give you. Being wireless, both the right and left earbuds can function freely of each other thus providing a true hassle-free sound experience.
If the user removes any single earbud from the ear, the second one will work in unilateral mode, and thus the two headsets can also be shared between two friends without the loss of audio quality.
The split true wireless designs of both the earplugs bring a smooth listening experience. With a single touch or touching the earbud twice, the user has the advantage of switching to the songs and playing or pausing music very quickly.
There is also the added benefit of noise cancellation along with resistance to water and sweat. Being portable and small size, it is quite advantageous and convenient to carry within an enclosed case.
On the battery segent, there is the offer of a built-in battery that possesses the battery capacity of 100mAh and requires the charging time of 1-2 hours.
The AirDots Pro has almost all the features you are looking for, and the best part is it comes with a very nominal price range. The Mi AirDots Pro is a worth buying wireless Earbuds, rather than go for the Apple AirPods.
There is one more point in favour of the Galaxy Buds. Samsung sells the Buds in three colours; black, white and yellow. Meanwhile, you can only get the AirPods in Apple’s iconic white which is quite understandable as they have come to be associated with Apple’s products, it would still be nice to have other colour options.
**Imagine having an AirPods in matching colours as your iPhone. Tasty!
You get the Apple Airpods for $159 from major outlets while the Galaxy Buds comes at slightly less pricing of $149 and the Xiaomi Airdots would set you back at $82.
And while the price points pose a significant challenge in decision making on your next wireless headphone, the three devices are sure to give you the best, though the Galaxy buds have this ore configurability about them with their app.
Cover Image Credits: T3