Samsung Galaxy Buds+ vs. Amazon Echo Buds | Digital Trends

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Thinking about buying a new set of earbuds but don’t want to break the bank? Instead of dropping hundreds on a premiere pair of Apple AirPods, did you know you can nab a great-sounding pair of buds for almost half the cost? That’s where Samsung and Amazon come in. With both the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ and Amazon Echo Buds, we have two powerhouse brands here taking different approaches to an increasingly popular product category, which has, at least until now, been dominated by Apple. Let’s see which take on true wireless earbuds comes out on top.

Price

Riley Young / Digital Trends

If you watched the video comparison at the top of this article, you may have noticed we said that the Echo Buds sell for $90. That was true when we made the video, but what we didn’t realize was that Amazon had simply put the Echo Buds on sale temporarily. Their regular price is $130, and that’s probably what you’ll find when you hit Amazon’s site. Currently, though, you can find them on Amazon for $79.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ normally sell for $149, but you can currently buy them on Amazon and Samsung directly for $109. Still, the Echo Buds offer a better value overall, so we’re awarding the price laurel to Amazon’s in-ear audio.

Winner: Echo Buds

Battery life

Galaxy Buds+ in white

The Galaxy Buds+ biggest bragging right is battery life. Samsung claims 11 hours of playtime per charge (we’ve been getting 10.5, which is very close), with another 11 hours on tap through the included charging case. Let’s also note that the Galaxy Buds+ will run for a good hour on just three minutes of quick-charging, and they can be charged straight from a compatible Samsung Galaxy phone.

By comparison, the Echo Buds last just under five hours on a full charge, it takes 15 minutes to get two hours or so of playtime, and the total playtime with the case is 20 hours. By all accounts, the Buds+ win on battery life.

Winner: Galaxy Buds+

Noise isolation and reduction

Amazon Echo Buds
Riley Young / Digital Trends

This is an interesting category because while the Galaxy Buds+ don’t have any kind of active noise abatement, the Echo Buds don’t have full-on active noise-canceling, either.

The Galaxy Buds+ offer passive noise isolation, which means that if you get a good seal with one of the included silicone tips, you’ll seal out a fair bit of noise just by plugging up your ear canal. The Echo Buds have Active Noise Reduction (ANR), which is a Bose technology, though it’s not quite as effective as the full-blown Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) that you’ll find in Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or the Bose Noise Cancelling Earbuds. What you will get is some electronic noise-quieting technology that helps music and calls come through more clearly, without being able to quiet the roar of a jet engine.

While ANR may seem like an also-ran to ANC, it’s better than no active noise-reduction at all, which is why the Echo Buds win here.

Winner: Echo Buds

Sound quality

This one is close. Neither of these true wireless earbuds will blow you away with their sound quality, but considering their respective prices, they are both decent performers. However, the Echo Buds do a slightly better job of balancing out lows, mids, and highs. It’s an approachable sound that most people will enjoy.

We don’t want to rain on Samsung’s parade, though. The Galaxy Buds+ also sound very good, but they have a tendency to overemphasize their treble, which produces an artificial-sounding crispness to our ears. Some people won’t mind it and some might even prefer it, but on the whole, we think more people will like the way the Echo Buds sound.

Winner: Echo Buds

Comfort

Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Riley Young/Digital Trends

The original Galaxy Buds were among the most comfortable true wireless earbuds we had tested at the time. Their small size and weight helped them disappear once you inserted them, and they remained comfortable for hours. The Galaxy Buds+ have a nearly identical physical shape (they’re actually a tiny bit smaller, but also a tiny bit heavier) and continue that legacy of comfort.

The Amazon Echo Buds are comparatively much bigger and heavier. Once settled into your ear, they’re fairly comfy, but you definitely remain aware of their presence in a way that just doesn’t happen with the Galaxy Buds+. The Echo Buds come with optional ear fins, and these go a long way in providing a more secure fit, whereas the Galaxy Buds+ have an integrated fin shape that needs no extra help.

Winner: Galaxy Buds+

Mobile device integration

Amazon Echo Buds

If you own (or plan to own) a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet, the Galaxy Buds+ make a great choice because of the way they integrate with Samsung’s ecosystem. You can wirelessly charge the case by sitting it on the back of a Galaxy S10 or newer phone, and much like Apple does with its AirPods, you can take advantage of Samsung’s cloud account to quickly move the Buds from one device to another.

The Amazon Echo Buds don’t enjoy that level of integration, but they do have a feature that the Galaxy Buds+ do not: You can summon Alexa hands-free just by saying her wake word. It only works with Alexa (Google Assistant or Siri are available with a button press), but at the moment, the Echo Buds are the only non-Apple earbuds to offer this handy (handless?) option.

Since the Echo Buds are an Alexa-enabled device, there’s a surprising amount you can do with them by working with the settings offered in the Amazon Alexa app. In fact, even if you’re a Samsung diehard, you may want to consider the Echo Buds because they let you access a lot of your phone’s features without having to reach for an earbud.

Winner: Echo Buds

Fitness and water resistance

This one might be decided by your personal priorities. With a smaller and lighter design, the Galaxy Buds+ are a better workout companion. If you like to get very physical, with tons of jumps, lunges, and side-to-side medicine ball slams, you’ll probably prefer how they feel during those dynamic movements.

However, the Galaxy Buds+ are only rated IPX2 — compare that to the Echo Buds at IPX4. That’s the difference between being able to handle some water and sweat (dripping water) and being able to handle being rinsed under a tap (spraying water). Neither is designed for immersion in water, so you’ll have to avoid pools, oceans, and toilets.

In our tests, the original Galaxy Buds (also IPX2) could handle plenty of sweat, so unless you intend on getting your earbuds absolutely filthy, the Galaxy Buds+ will be just fine. Still, there’s no denying the Echo Buds have been built to a higher standard for ruggedness, so they take this round.

Winner: Echo Buds

Call quality

Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Riley Young/Digital Trends

For some of us, true wireless earbuds are all about music, podcasts, and watching videos. If you like to use yours for calls too, though, call quality is obviously pretty important. We’d love to declare a clear winner here, but these earbuds have proven too close to, ahem, call.

It’s going to come down to where and when you typically make and take your calls. If you often find yourself in noisy situations, say on busy streets or near construction, the Amazon Echo Buds do a better job of canceling out those background sounds. Your voice may sound a bit muddy to your callers, however, which is possibly a result of the earbuds going overboard on that noise-cancellation.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are better suited to quieter locations. If you use your earbuds as an alternative to your phone while at home or in an office, the Galaxy Buds+ offer a much clearer sound for your callers, as long as you keep things from getting too noisy on your end of the line.

Yep, this one is a stalemate.

Winner: Draw

Overall winner

Amazon Echo Buds:

Galaxy Buds+:

If we were to go strictly by the number of categories won, the Echo Buds would take this comparison by a thin margin. Frankly, though, neither one of these true wireless earbuds impressed us enough to declare an outright winner.

If you’re wrestling with this one as hard as we have, try to zero in on the things that matter most to you. For some, the outstanding battery life of the Galaxy Buds+ will be the deciding factor. For others, getting the hands-free convenience and better sound quality of the Echo Buds will tilt the scales in Amazon’s favor.

The good news here is that either way, these are both very good true wireless earbuds that offer a lot of value for their respective prices, and we think it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed by either of them.

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