- 1 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Specs compared
- 2 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Price
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Design
- 4 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Controls
- 5 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Audio quality
- 6 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Active noise cancellation
- 7 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Special features and apps
- 8 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Call quality
- 9 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Battery life and charging case
- 10 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Verdict
This Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro comparison breaks down two of the market’s top wireless earbuds, helping you decide which pair of buds best meets your needs and budget.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is a class leader in two categories: active noise cancellation and call quality. How the Bose engineers managed to carry over the company’s ANC and audio technologies from the excellent Bose 700 to these tiny sound-silencers remains nothing short of marvelous. The QuietComfort Earbuds’ platform-neutral performance is not to be understated either, letting you personalize the buds in different ways, from the listening modes to how your voice sounds on calls.
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Fresh onto the scene, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro continues to generate buzz. A back-to-basics design combined with exceptional audio, intelligible ANC, and several advanced features have earned these buds mass appeal in the Android community. And if you’re someone who owns a current Galaxy smartphone or have any of the upcoming Galaxy S21 models pre-ordered, then more features await you.
What you’re looking at are two highly functional sets of wireless earbuds, each with their own special set of skills. The question is: which is the superior model? Read on to see whether the QuietComfort Earbuds or Galaxy Buds Pro make the better buy.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Specs compared
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Price
Samsung has undercut the competition by launching the Galaxy Buds Pro for $199, and the move pays off. Functionality alone makes these buds the more enticing investment.
If you’re looking to score them for even less, check out Samsung’s current promotion that has the buds available for $149.99 with eligible trade-in (opens in new tab). Also, you can partake in the Samsung Credit program, which rewards you with credits that can be redeemed with purchase when put towards curated bundles: $50 Samsung Credit with a Samsung Galaxy S21, $75 Samsung Credit with a Galaxy S21+, and $100 Samsung Credit with a Galaxy S21 Ultra.
I won’t say the QuietComfort Earbuds is overpriced, as the technology inside this set of headphones certainly warrants a premium. At the same time, $279 is asking a lot for wireless buds that have a smaller feature set than most of the sub-luxury models in its class.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Design
Based on aesthetics, style, and wearability, the Galaxy Buds Pro easily wins this round. Samsung ditched the silly bean-shaped design of the Galaxy Buds Live in favor of the circular design found on older models in the series. It’s a more attractive and discrete look, the glossy touch panels produce some nice shine, and the different color options (Phantom Black, White, and Violet) give the buds some flair. They’re also IPX7 rated for resilient water resistance and dirt protection. Small details like the air vent and mic placement don’t go unnoticed either.
Bose continues its love affair with elongated shapes, giving the QuietComfort Earbuds a wide, thick, and durable frame that is unflattering, no matter the color option: Soapstone or Triple Black. Clearly, Bose was thinking about practicality when it designed these buds. The front is basically one long touch pad, the sound port comes with black IR sensors for on-ear detection and notice that the mics are placed at the bottom of the casing for enhanced voice pickup.
While all of these are appreciated, Bose evidently lost focus on appearance, resulting in the earbuds themselves being something of an eyesore. IPX4 certification also limits protection to sweat and splashes.
As for the charging cases, you can see the difference is night and day, with the Galaxy Buds Pro’s case being more compact and portable. To see Samsung stuff a 472mAh battery into this small accessory is noteworthy. Best of all, it beautifully displays the buds when opening the lid, which is flimsy, but a compromise most people can live with due to its convenient size. Obviously, the QuietComfort Earbuds’ large exterior required larger storage space, but the size and weight of Bose’s case is just a burden to carry around.
Fit-wise, the Galaxy Buds Pro gets the better of its adversary, with the oval design resting more securely on the ear and creating a decent seal when properly adjusting the tips. If you’re someone with a low pain threshold, then wearing the buds for longer than an hour may cause some aching around the concha. Otherwise, they provide adequate comfort.
The QuietComfort Earbuds comes with Bose’s StayHear Max silicone ear tips and fins, which are supposed to keep the buds locked in. Don’t expect this to be the case when speed-walking or jogging because the extra weight causes these buds to slip out, especially when leaning your head sideways. In addition, the IR sensors add unwanted pressure to the concha.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Controls
Smart controls make up the operational duties for the QuietComfort Earbuds and Galaxy Buds Pro, though the latter offers the better user experience.
Granted, it isn’t perfect. Samsung’s larger touch panels have better accuracy for multi-touch and hold gestures, and the number of controls you can assign to each bud in the companion app is extensive. It is also cool that Samsung programmed onboard volume controls and on-ear detection to automatically pause music when removing the buds.
The QuietComfort Earbuds has its own set of responsive touch controls, though they are limited to double taps and long presses. Adding insult to injury, the only bud that is customizable is the left, which lets you either skip a track/hear battery levels (long press) or cycle through your three favorite ANC levels (2x tap). Volume controls were added in a recent firmware update and they operate well. The same can’t be said about the on-ear detection, though at least you can resume playback when placing the buds back on your ears, which, for some odd reason, the Galaxy Buds Pro doesn’t offer.
As with most wireless earbuds, these two offerings come with digital assistant support. Check off Siri and Google Assistant from the list, along with Cortana for the QuietComfort Buds and Bixby for both models; granted, the Galaxy Buds Pro receives voice wake-up functionality (“Hi Bixby”). The feature works well on either model, but the QuietComfort Earbuds demonstrate impeccable speech recognition to pick up commands as quickly as they respond to them. The hands-free Bixby command can be finicky at times on the Galaxy Buds Pro.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Audio quality
Bose is more well-known for its noise cancellation, but Samsung has the upper edge in the audio department, backed by Harman sound tech and large, two-way speakers that neither hold back on bass nor compromise vocals and production on songs.
You’ll get the best listening experience when pairing the Galaxy Buds Pro with a current Galaxy phone, with Samsung’s proprietary Scalable Codec giving music a hi-res boost. This is perfect for contemporary genres, as the buds crank up the low end to feed your ears vibrant, punchy bass. Even with its warm soundstage, lyrics and instruments sound pronounced, translating to full, well-balanced audio. Using any Android smartphone or an iPhone does scale down performance, but you still get some sonic goodness out of these buds.
Something else the Galaxy Buds Pro has in its favor is 360 Audio, Samsung’s version of Apple’s spatial audio mode. This uses Dolby Head Tracking to create “multi-dimensional sound” and achieve greater audio depth when watching video content. Unfortunately, this feature is reserved only for Galaxy smartphones and tablets running OneUI 3.1. We haven’t tested it yet since our review unit came with an older Samsung device, so we will update this section soon.
Again, how Bose managed to program the Bose 700’s soundstage into the QuietComfort Earbuds is quite the feat. You will hear fine-tuned audio that delivers crisp mids and plenty of detail, though I found the Galaxy Buds Pro’s sound to be more energetic; the low end has more kick on boom-bastic tracks. The lack of an EQ and its own spatial audio alternative also works against Bose’s buds.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Active noise cancellation
The Galaxy Buds Pro’s ANC is a clear upgrade on the disappointing Galaxy Buds Live, but that doesn’t put it on the same ANC level as the absolute best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds out there: the QuietComfort Earbuds.
Bose’s buds come with 10 adjustable ANC levels, three of which you can save and set on the left bud to easily cycle through. All you need to know is that these buds are capable of silencing ambient noises across the frequency spectrum, with small distractions like commuter chatter and timers going unnoticed, while blaring sounds like ambulance sirens and construction tools are minimized to the lowest level possible.
What’s even more intriguing is how Bose managed to blend its Transparency Mode with ANC, which increases environmental awareness but, most importantly, makes noises sound more distinct. It’s a feature that works incredibly well and comes in handy when trapped in crowded public settings (like an airport, subway or supermarket); you’ll be glad to have it on hand when the time comes to hear speakerphone announcements.
Samsung claims the Galaxy Buds Pro was engineered with the “most intelligent ANC capabilities of any true wireless earbuds” and could reduce “99 percent” of background noise. Not even the QuietComfort Earbuds is capable of this, which already raises a few red flags. So, does Samsung beat Bose at its own game?
Absolutely not. That doesn’t make the Galaxy Buds Pro any less of a decent noise-canceller, as the buds serve well indoors when you want to cancel out disturbances like door buzzers or loud TVs. Going outside is a different story, as the microphones’ poor wind resistance diminishes ANC performance.
Where Samsung does stay true to its word is in the Transparency Mode, which really is “better than it has ever been.” You can select from four different levels to adjust the amount of noise you want to let in, with the strongest level amplifying external sounds so loud that you can pick up conversations from across the street. This isn’t something I condone, mainly because the amplification can be excessively harmful to the ears; stick to the third level for the best results.
Samsung also introduces a new Voice Detect feature that works conjointly with Transparency Mode. This will automatically decrease playback volume when you speak and increase audio passthrough volume to clearly converse with others when necessary. It’s OK, albeit a work in progress that could be better with more development.
Winner: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Special features and apps
The Samsung Galaxy Wearable App (Android) offers a wider feature set than the Bose Music app (iOS/Android) and has some exclusive perks for Galaxy device owners. If only it were available for iPhone/iPad users. Yes, iOS users can use the Galaxy Buds Pro, but have no way of customizing them.
All Android users have access to adjust ANC/Transparency modes, and can assign EQ settings, customize controls, and enable the one-touch Spotify command to instantly pull up a favorite playlist. Those with current Galaxy devices end up getting the better end of the deal. There is Auto Switch to instantly pair the buds with other Galaxy devices, Gaming Mode to decrease audio lag when gaming on a Samsung smartphone, left/right sound balance adjustment, and the new SmartThings Find feature that sends a notification on where your lost or misplaced buds were last detected. As a reminder, the aforementioned 360 Audio is only reserved for the new Galaxy S21 lineup and the Galaxy Tab S7 family. All in all, this is a strong suite of features, even if you don’t own a Galaxy smartphone.
Bose Music is available on both mobile platforms, though its selection of goodies is relatively bare. The main feature is Self Voice that lets you hear yourself louder on phone calls. Adjustment sliders for ANC and volume are at the top of the homescreen, along with options to assign your favorite three ANC settings and the shortcut command. The gear icon on the top right has numerous toggle options for volume, in-ear detection, and other functions. That about rounds out the app. Why Bose chose to exclude two of the 700’s biggest features – the adjustable EQ and Auto-Off option to put the buds in sleep mode when inactive – is bewildering.
Both apps do support firmware updates, so the promise of new features and modes is there, though nothing is ever guaranteed.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Call quality
The only pair of true wireless buds that even comes close to the QuietComfort Earbuds in call quality is the AirPods Pro. It’s remarkable how crisp and transparent calls sound on both ends, along with the level of noise neutralization Bose’s mic array yields for enhancing clarity when in rowdy environments. It takes several high frequency noises occurring at once to disrupt conversations. Wind resistance is strong too, allowing you to take calls in blustery conditions with very little interference.
While the Galaxy Buds Pro is an improvement over its predecessor, it’s no match for either the AirPods Pro or QuietComfort Earbuds. The buds do perform well on video chats, but it requires being in a completely silent setting. Samsung’s mic array and the new Voice Pickup Unit (VPU) struggle to pick up vocals when chatting outdoors. Whomever you’re speaking with will likely notice some choppiness and distortion on your end. Also, the company’s Wind Shield technology doesn’t do a great job of fighting off drafts.
Winner: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Battery life and charging case
While the QuietComfort Earbuds lasts longer with ANC on, the Galaxy Buds Pro holds longer playtimes via the charging case. The differences between the two in these areas aren’t significant — therefore, we declare this round a draw.
Bose rates its buds at 6 hours with ANC on, while Samsung has its buds rated at 5 hours. Realistically, these playtimes are about 30 minutes to an hour shorter than what’s advertised when factoring in high volume, streaming, and special features. Do the math, this isn’t that far off from what the AirPods Pro generates on a full charge: 4.5 hours. Samsung does let you increase playtimes to 8 hours, though it comes at the cost of disabling ANC and Bixby. Quick charging is slightly stronger on the QuietComfort Earbuds with a 15-minute charge getting you 2 hours of playback, whereas the Galaxy Buds Pro nets you 1 hour in the same charge time.
You will need to carry around their respective charging cases for extended use. The Galaxy Buds Pro’s tiny case holds up to 28 hours with ANC off and 18 hours with ANC on, the latter being the same for the QuietComfort Earbuds’ case. Wireless charging is available on both models as well, but the Galaxy Buds Pro supports Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare technology to juice up the buds when placing the case on the back of a compatible Galaxy smartphone device.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Verdict
A close battle indeed, but in the end, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro edges out the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds as the better true wireless purchase. The combination of excellent sound, sleek aesthetics, intuitive controls, and a serviceable mobile app makes these buds more appealing. Battery life won’t wow you, and the fact that several key features remain tied to the Galaxy ecosystem is a letdown, but the Galaxy Buds Pro still delivers a premium true wireless experience at a lower price.
There’s no denying that the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is practically in a league of their own when it comes to noise cancellation. One cannot stress enough just how impressive it is for Bose to engineer these wireless buds with the same ANC performance, call quality, and sound signature as the Bose 700. However, these three hallmarks aren’t enough to outperform the overall performance of Samsung’s headphones. Furthermore, for $279 the QuietComfort Earbuds should arguably have longer playtimes, more features, and a better design than it does.
In the end, you just get more bang for the buck out of the Galaxy Buds Pro, along with some exclusive features if you’re a recently-minted Galaxy smartphone owner.
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