This Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro face-off focuses on two of the market’s most popular noise-cancelling earbuds, helping you decide which pair best suits your needs.
The latest entry in Samsung’s acclaimed wireless earbuds series, the Galaxy Buds 2 offers hi-res sound, effective active noise cancellation, and special listening modes at a lower MSRP than its predecessors. It also retains signature features such as PowerShare and introduces new ones like the ability to control the buds when using a Galaxy Watch 4.
The more-recently-released OnePlus Buds Pro has already left an impression on both critics and OnePlus fans, even earning a 4.5-out-of-5 rating from Tom’s Guide. Adaptive ANC, personalized sound, ridiculously powerful charging technology, and promising features tied to the OnePlus 9 series make for one compelling product.
With relatively affordable price tags, each model drives a hard bargain, but only one can claim the title of the best $150 noise-cancelling earbuds. Which is it? Read our analysis below to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Specs compared
|Samsung Galaxy Buds 2||OnePlus Buds Pro|
|Wireless Charging Case||Yes||Yes|
|Chip||Not stated||Not stated|
|Battery Life (Rated)||5 hours with ANC on (20 hours with charging case), 7.5 hours with ANC off (29 hours with charging case)||5 hours (ANC on), 7 hours (ANC off), 28 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 38 hours (with charging case and ANC off)|
|Case Size||1.9 x 2.0 x 1.09 inches||1.25 x 0.9 inches|
|Case Weight||Not stated||1.83 ounces|
|Special features||Active noise cancellation, adjustable transparency mode, Gaming Mode, Galaxy Watch 4 support, Wireless PowerShare support||Adaptive noise cancellation, transparency Mode, Audio ID customization, Bluetooth 5.2, Gaming Mode, LHDC support, Warp Charge, Zen Mode|
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Price
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and OnePlus Buds Pro are tagged at $149. As for which has the greater availability, that would be the Galaxy Buds 2. It can be purchased at major online retailers or directly from Samsung. Furthermore, Samsung is running a promotion where you can get up to $40 off when recycling a pair of Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds Plus, or a wireless/wired audio headset with the company.
The OnePlus Buds Pro can only be purchased on Amazon or directly from OnePlus. If you’re expecting it to go on sale any time soon, don’t hold your breath, because OnePlus products rarely receive markdowns and they sell out quickly.
For all of the latest wireless earbuds sales, be sure to bookmark our best headphones deals page.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Design
OnePlus has crafted sleek and slim buds that put the AirPods Pro to shame, applying a dual-tone finish consisting of matte plastic on the upper half and aluminum plating on the stems. They look and feel premium, plus they come IP55-rated for sweat and water resistance. Color options are limited to Glossy White and Matte Black, but you can’t go wrong with either version.
The Galaxy Buds 2 takes on the more traditional oval design of its flagship sibling, the Galaxy Buds Pro, but the build quality is a downgrade. According to Samsung, these buds are made from Post-Consumer Materials (PCM), which translates to IPX2-rated plastic for protection against small amounts of water at a 15-degree angle. Samsung does offer more color options: Graphite, Lavender, Olive, and White.
Compact, stylish, and portable-friendly best describe the charging cases bundled with these two noise-cancellers. Samsung’s version is smaller, but OnePlus’ version is slimmer. We prefer the Buds Pro case for two reasons: the pairing button on the inside, and the IPX4-rated exterior to guard against sweat and water.
Comfort and fit go to the Buds Pro as well. The sound port slides easily into the canal, the silicone tips create a tight seal, and the buds rest pleasantly on the concha. On top of that, OnePlus developed an ear tip fit test that works well to determine the best tips for optimal fit.
The Galaxy Buds 2 is also a comfortable wear for several hours throughout the day. Unfortunately, the fit isn’t as reliable as on the Buds Pro, and Samsung’s ear tip fit test doesn’t provide accurate results.
Winner: OnePlus Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Controls
OnePlus took a page out of the AirPods Pro playbook and integrated a force sensor into the bottom stem of each bud. The end result is stellar, with the sensors producing strong tactile feedback and supporting several input methods, including single, double, and triple taps, and the hold-and-press gesture. You can enable playback, call management, digital assistance, and listening mode activation.
Samsung loaded the Galaxy Buds 2 with touch controls and multiple input methods. More functions are also available, including volume controls and Spotify Tap to access the streaming service directly on the buds. You can even control playback and other functions when connected to a Galaxy Watch 4. Our testing saw the tap gestures work about 70% of the time.
On-ear detection comes part of both packages, though it operates differently. While the Buds Pro will auto-pause/play content when removing or placing the buds back on your ears, the Galaxy Buds 2 only supports auto-pause. In addition, Samsung’s motion detection operates on a 2-second delay.
Siri, Google Assistant, and Bixby are all compatible with the Galaxy Buds 2 and Buds Pro, though Samsung programmed wake-word Bixby activation (“Hi Bixby”) into their buds. Nonetheless, you’ll get terrific speech recognition when firing off voice commands, no matter the model.
Winner: OnePlus Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Sound quality
Samsung’s buds have the edge in this category, thanks to AKG-tuned drivers that produce clean, energetic sound for all types of content (e.g., music, movies, video games, podcasts). Access to an EQ with six presets allows for customizable sound; Normal is the best preset and delivers well-balanced frequency range.
Those with selective hearing can check out the Accessibility setting in the Galaxy Wearable app to increase sound output on either bud. If you own a current Samsung smartphone, congrats because you get access to exclusive features like Gaming Mode to decrease latency for synchronized gaming sound and Samsung’s Scalable Codec for improved fidelity. Spatial audio didn’t make the cut and is reserved for the Galaxy Buds Pro.
Don’t think for one second that the Buds Pro didn’t come prepared for a sonic battle. OnePlus not only tweaked their sound profile to give listeners tighter bass, but also emphasized mid and high frequencies for fuller, balanced sound. There is no EQ or presets, but you get Audio ID, a feature that examines your hearing characteristics to create your own sound profile. It’s a sweet bonus that works well to fine-tune the sound to your ears.
Anyone with a OnePlus 6 (or higher) can access the company’s low latency gaming mode, Fnatic Mode, which is being rebranded as Pro Gaming Mode with the upcoming OxygenOS 12 update. LHDC with Hi-Res Audio certification will also be available at the end of the year via OTA (over-the-air) update on OnePlus 9 series devices.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Active noise cancellation
We found the active noise cancellation better on the Buds Pro. There are three ANC settings to choose from — Noise Cancellation, Smart, and Max Noise Cancellation — each one designed to deal with different frequency levels. Max Noise Cancellation is the prime choice for blocking out most external sounds and keeping high-frequency noises to a minimum. Noise Cancellation is fine for dealing with common distractions (e.g., chatty co-workers, loud TVs) and Smart is the company’s attempt at adaptive noise cancellation, though it requires some polishing.
The Galaxy Buds 2’s ANC is effective for the most part, but its rival has the better noise reduction capabilities. You’ll be able to tame low-frequency sounds (e.g., engine rumble, lawnmowers), and users have the option to assign ANC to one earbud. High-pitched sounds are a different story; crying babies and whistles are noticeable when listening to music.
Each model has its own Transparency mode, though the Galaxy Buds has a three-level version to control the amount of noise you want to let in. Set it to high if you want to hear people clearly and gain full awareness of your surroundings. The Buds Pro version is just as good at piping in incidental sounds and keeps you on guard when walking through rowdy areas.
OnePlus also added a soundscape mode called Zen Mode Air that produces white noise to mask the distractions around you. It needs serious work.
Winner: OnePlus Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Special features and apps
The Galaxy Buds 2 has a fair number of features to play with. We already discussed the Bixby voice wake-up function, control customization, Equalizer, Earbuds Fit Test, Gaming Mode, and Accessibility. You can access all of these in the Galaxy Wearable app, along with a battery level indicator, toggle controls, a user manual, and a Find My Buds mode.
Extra Samsung features are found outside of the app, one of them being the resizable widget that can be placed on your smartphone homescreen (Galaxy phones only) to enable the listening modes and touch controls. An Easy Pairing Mode has also been developed for hassle-free manual pairing with Samsung devices.
The Buds Pro comes with its own set of perks that can be found in the OnePlus Buds app via OnePlus smartphones or the HeyMelody app on iPhone or other Android smartphones. This includes previously mentioned features such as Audio ID, Earbud Fit Test, noise cancellation settings, and Zen Mode Air. Fnatic/Pro Gaming Mode is exclusive to OnePlus smartphones. Current OnePlus smartphone owners can utilize Fast Pair for instantaneous pairing.
Both sets of earbuds connect quickly to Android smartphones, as well as iOS/macOS devices. Maximum range is the same at 40 feet. Multipoint technology isn’t available on either model. Neither is Google Fast Pair.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Call quality
You won’t find either of these in our best headphones with a mic for voice and video calls list, but if you’re asking which is the better calling headset, it’s the Buds Pro. Voice calls sound great indoors and cutout is minor. Holding conversations outside will present challenges due to external noises and wind interference.
Not only is the Galaxy Buds 2 inferior in call quality, but it’s a step down from past Galaxy Buds models. Samsung states that these buds have a “new, machine learning-based solution that filters out” background noises for clearer calls, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Lots of ambient noise and wind are picked up by the mics. There is an issue with muffling as well.
Winner: OnePlus Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Battery life
Look elsewhere if you’re seeking wireless earbuds that will last for days. Both models offer 5 hours of ANC playtime. That’s only 30 minutes more than what the AirPods Pro gets you on a single charge. Turning off ANC will extend playtimes, with the Galaxy Buds 2 (7.5 hours) offering a half an hour more than the Buds Pro (7 hours).
The Galaxy Buds 2 charging case holds between 20 to 29 hours and the Buds Pro charging case is rated higher at 28 to 38 hours. This all equates to about 4 additional charges on the go. Wireless charging comes part of both packages.
Samsung and OnePlus employed their own unique charging technologies to their models. While the Galaxy Buds 2 comes with PowerShare to wirelessly charge the case by placing it on the back of a compatible Galaxy smartphone, the Buds Pro features Warp Charge technology to generate 10 hours of use on a 10-minute charge (buds and charging case combined).
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. OnePlus Buds Pro: Verdict
When it comes to overall performance, the OnePlus Buds Pro sticks its landing better. The amount of functionality given to you is astonishing, especially for OnePlus owners. Sound is dynamic and complements most music genres. ANC is versatile and does a fantastic job of silencing most ambient noises. These are also the most handsome long-stem wireless earbuds out there. Battery life doesn’t impress, but at least you have Warp Charge to get the buds and charging case juiced up in a matter of minutes.
|Samsung Galaxy Buds||OnePlus Buds Pro|
|Price and value (5)||4||4|
|Audio quality (20)||18||17|
|Active noise cancellation(20)||15||17|
|Special features and apps (15)||11||11|
|Call quality (5)||2||3|
|Battery life (10)||7||7|
|Total score (100)||76||81|
The Galaxy Buds 2 is a notable entry in the series, but not the best that Samsung has to offer. Yes, you’ll get some excellent sound and connectivity, plus noise cancellation is adequate to give listeners some quiet time when listening to music on commutes. However, these buds fail to address the same issues we’ve complained about on previous Samsung models, including mediocre battery life and call quality. The controls aren’t impressive, either.