AirPods Fail to Earn Consumer Reports’ Approval, Samsung Galaxy Buds Take Top Spot

Consumer Reports pitched the popular Apple AirPods against the Samsung Galaxy Buds and concluded that despite the AirPods being one of the best-selling earphones of all time, there are some “obvious shortcomings” compared to its competitor.

The report says the AirPods “do a decent job of reproducing music and movie dialog.” However, they have some “obvious shortcomings when you listen with a critical ear.” AirPods’ bass reportedly lacks depth, reads the report, while there are issues with the “congested feel” of the midrange sounds, too. The higher ranges, on the other end of the spectrum, come out “smeared.”

The report even goes so far as to say that the “AirPods’ audio is nearly identical to that of the wired earbuds that used to come free with Apple iPhones.”

The Galaxy Buds, on the other hand, while not perfect, have an “obvious depth” that the AirPods lack. Also, with better sound in the mid and high frequency ranges, the difference between the two earphones is undeniable, even to those who aren’t audio snobs:

The Galaxy Buds sound fantastic, well beyond what you hear with your average headphones. They come standard with modern features like USB-C and wireless charging compatibility, and you don’t need to blast the volume to hear over your surroundings. In general, they work better on iPhones than the AirPods do on Android devices.

One thing to note is that Consumer Reports only tested the Bluetooth earbuds for music quality — not for call quality. They did acknowledge, however, the AirPods’ convenience factor with other Apple devices:

Apple deserves a lot of credit for how easy it is to pair the AirPods with the company’s other devices. Open the AirPods case near an Apple device for the first time and the device will automatically open a pairing dialog. Pair the headphones once and they will automatically be paired with every other device using the same Apple account.

The publication rated the Samsung Galaxy Buds higher than the AirPods in nearly every category:

The Samsung Galaxy Buds don’t just sound better than the AirPods, they’re among the best-scoring Bluetooth headphones Consumer Reports has ever tested. They’re a little cheaper, too. The Galaxy Buds usually sell for around $130, compared with $160 for the AirPods ($200 with an upgraded charging case).

Overall, Galaxy Buds are the clear winner with a score of 86; AirPods managed to score just 56. You can read the full comparison report here.