Are Samsung Galaxy Buds a good earbud choice for iPhone and Mac users?

Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds (Image credit: iMore)

As an iPhone and Mac owner, you have countless choices when it comes to buying a pair of earbuds. Please, don't make a mistake in purchasing the 2019 Samsung Galaxy Buds. This isn't an Apple fanboy bashing Samsung. Instead, it's based on the reality that less than two years after its introduction, the Samsung Galaxy Buds have already been surpassed by other earbuds in the Samsung family. And, yes, they haven't been designed for Apple users.

Another big issue, or perhaps the most important issue, has to do with comfort. The buds aren't comfortable on your ears after as little as an hour of use. They also provide a less-than-extraordinary listening experience.

Did I also mention Apple's AirPods and AirPods Pro are both much better, with the former available at nearly the same price as the Samsung Galaxy Buds?

Setup and pairing

One of the many advantages of buying current-generation Apple or Beats audio products is the quick-pairing when you connect them to other Apple products like iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The same type of technology makes it possible to quickly connect Android-based devices with Samsung Galaxy Buds, but not to non-Android devices.

Regardless, pairing Samsung Galaxy Buds with iPhone is a painless process, just a slightly slower one than you would expect from AirPods or most of the Beats products. You can pair using the Galaxy Wearable app that's available on the App Store or go the more traditional route using Bluetooth in the Settings app.

Good and bad points

From there, they act like any other Bluetooth-connected products. Unfortunately, the most significant features found on the Samsung Galaxy Buds only work on Android devices. These include automatic sync and Ambient Aware Mode, which allows you to control how much sound to expect from the outside world. On a positive note, the earbuds do work with Siri, which is something you don't see on all non-Apple headphones.

I wouldn't say the sound quality from the Samsung Galaxy Buds is terrible, but it's not great either. For around $130, this is unacceptable, especially when you can purchase regular AirPods for just a little bit more. I found a sound with too much bass. Plus, it's difficult to hear when using the built-in microphone in noisy places. I never experienced the same with AirPods, Pro or otherwise.

Overall, battery life is also lacking here. The Samsung Galaxy Buds hold up to six hours of playing time with an additional seven hours available on the wireless charger. That's 11 hours less than you get with AirPods.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds come with three sets of ear tips and wingtips, which should maximize comfort. Unfortunately, I wouldn't say I liked wearing them for more than a few minutes at a time, regardless of the size. I found them okay for trips to the gym, but unacceptable for regular use. (The Samsung Galaxy Buds are far more comfortable than the regular AirPods, however.)

More choices

Though still on the market, the Samsung Galaxy Buds were quickly surpassed by the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. The latter pair looks nearly identical to the older ones but includes some improvements, including better battery life, direct Spotify access, and hands-free calling. There's also the 2020 Samsung Galaxy Live Buds, which launched earlier this year. The Live version adds active noise canceling, Game Mode, and more.

Putting everything together, it's clear the Samsung Galaxy Buds aren't for Apple users. Because of the passage of time, they aren't for Samsung users anymore either. Therefore, for iPhone or Mac users, it's best to look elsewhere for your next set of earbuds.

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Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.