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New Samsung Galaxy Buds+ vs Apple AirPods: which in-ear headphones should you buy?

Samsung announced its new Galaxy Buds+ headphones yesterday. We see how they compare with rival truly wireless headphones

New Samsung Galaxy Buds+ vs Apple AirPods: which in-ear headphones should you buy?

Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Buds+ at its Unpacked event in San Francisco, promising ‘superior sound’ and speedy charging for music lovers.

Pitched as a longer-lasting upgrade to the original Galaxy Buds, the Galaxy Buds+ are direct competition for the trend-setting Apple AirPods. They’re on sale at £159, just like the Apple AirPods.

So what sort of features has Samsung worked into its in-ear headphones, and how long will they last on a single charge? We’ve got all the details below.

Best headphones – see our top recommendations for crystal-clear tunes guaranteed.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ vs Samsung Galaxy Buds (2019): what’s the difference?

If you’re trying to pick between the new Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and their predecessors, battery life and price are obviously a big deal.

Here’s an overview of how the two Samsung in-ear headphones compare:

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Samsung Galaxy Buds (2019)
Music playback 11 hours 6 hours
Charging claim 1 hour from 3-minute charge 1.7 hours from 15-minute charge
Colour options White, Black, Cloud Blue White, Black
Price £159 £109.99 *

* Price on Amazon.co.uk, February 2020

As you can see, it’s primarily the battery life that sets the new Galaxy Buds+ apart from the original pair. According to Samsung, you’ll get 11 hours of music playback, which is almost twice the amount you could expect from the standard Samsung Galaxy Buds.

We’re told that charging speeds are better on the Buds+ too. Three minutes of charging will give you ’60 minutes’ playback’, which is great news if you’re just about to head out of the house and need a quick top-up.

But manufacturer claims and actual day-to-day performance can vary. In a previous Which? headphones investigation, we found claims made about certain Apple, Bose, Sennheiser and Sony headphones differed.

Save money on the Samsung Galaxy Buds (2019)

As Samsung focuses its attention on flaunting the new Galaxy Buds+, now is a good time to get a deal on the older headphones.

While the claimed battery life isn’t quite as impressive, siding with last year’s Galaxy Buds could save you almost £50 – but don’t splash out until you’ve read our review.

  • Amazon.co.uk – £109.99 (black)
  • Currys PC World – £139 (white)
  • John Lewis – £139 (black, white)

Discover how the original Samsung Galaxy Buds performed in the Which? test lab in our full Samsung Galaxy Buds review.

What are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+’s key rivals?

Jabra Elite 75t (£169)

These truly wireless in-ear headphones could be on your shortlist if you’re shopping for a commuting companion. The headphones, which are a touch pricier than Samsung’s latest buds, have built-in controls for changing volume and skipping tracks.

Jabra promises up to 7.5 hours of playback on a single charge. With the life-giving carrying case thrown into the mix, that jumps up to a total of 28 hours.

To see if these in-ear headphones will serve up sound that truly does your music justice, see our full Jabra Elite 75t review.

Apple AirPods (£159)

The AirPods cost the same as the Galaxy Buds+ and are tempting if you’re Team Apple. These second-generation headphones are said to have better battery life than the originals.

These in-ear headphones come with Siri support. With Apple’s willing assistant, you can say ‘Hey, Siri’ and then bark orders – turn the volume up, pause music, check battery life or start up one of your saved playlists.

Are the AirPods one of our highest-scoring in-ear headphones to date? Our full Apple AirPods (2019) review reveals all.

Huawei FreeBuds 3 (£130)

The Huawei FreeBuds are the first truly wireless headphones with both active noise cancelling and an open earbud design. They’re designed with Android owners in mind, but note that you’ll have to use Huawei’s own HiVoice voice assistant – other AI helpers aren’t supported.

You can assign a double-tap of each headphone to a specific action of your choice. You might want a quick toggle for playing music, for example, or HiVoice.

Should Huawei’s in-ear headphones be your go-to if you’re using an Android smartphone? Consult our expert Huawei FreeBuds 3 review.

Amazon Echo Buds (£120)

Amazon’s Alexa-powered in-ear headphones are one of the cheaper alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. Like the Buds+, the truly wireless Echo Buds partner up with a handy charging case.

The noise-cancelling technology tucked inside the Echo Buds is handled by Bose, a massive name in the audio world. These headphones support both Siri and Google Assistant and come with various sizes of eartips so you can get a comfy fit.

Are top-notch in-ear headphones a realistic goal if you’re on a budget? See our Amazon Echo Buds review for more.

Truly wireless headphones: do you get what you pay for?

For every pair of truly wireless headphones that pass through the Which? test lab, we pay close attention to sound quality, battery life and durability.

But as our tests prove time and time again, a high price doesn’t guarantee great audio. A score of 52% is the average for truly wireless headphones in our test lab, proving that it really does pay to do your research.

Discover the best wireless headphones we’ve gone hands-on with. See our guide to the best wireless headphones for 2020.

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