Audio accessories with Active Noise Cancellation are no longer limited to overhead headphones. While they continue to be quite popular, true wireless earphones with Active Noise Cancellation or ANC are steadily climbing the popularity ladder now. The primary advantage of these wireless earphones is that they are compact and easy to carry. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3 are the popular examples. While the Galaxy Buds Pro is the newest offering from Samsung, the WF-1000XM3 earphones have been there for quite some time in the market.
And this brings us to an important question—is the Sony WF-1000XM3 still better than the Galaxy Buds Pro, considering they are almost in the same price range? Or, do the Samsung buds pack newer and better tech?
Well, that's what we are going to answer in this post today as we pit the Sony WF-1000XM3 against the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro to see which wireless earphones are better suited for you.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is a welcome break from the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live, and for some of us, it's a blessing. Gone is the one-size-fits-all design. Instead, you have a slim and sleek pair of earphones that are both lightweight and look good on your ears. This time, Samsung has opted for the silicon tips, and like most conventional true wireless earphones, this fits inside the ear canal to give you a snug fit.
The fit is comfortable, and the lightweight design is a bonus because these buds do not have wing-tips. The Galaxy Buds Pro earphones have still managed to hold on to some of the shiny metallic designs like the Buds Live and the good news is that they manage to stand out in the crowd.
Like its predecessor, the Galaxy Buds Pro packs touch-based controls. From tweaking the volume to switching off ANC, these touchpads let you do a lot. And yeah, they are customizable through the Samsung Wearable app.
While the touchpads are super easy to use, they tend to be a tad unreliable. They may stop playing a song or skip a few because of an accidental brush or when you are adjusting the buds. This happens when you adjust the buds for a better fit, and it can get quite annoying in the long run, especially when you take them for your runs and walks.
Simultaneously, the IPX7 rating means that the Buds Pro earphones are waterproof, and you can wear them to the gym without worrying about sweat and water damage.
When it comes to the Sony WF-1000XM3, it's safe to say that they are not one of the discreet-looking earphones out there. Size-wise, they are a little bigger than the Galaxy Buds Pro, and the earpieces' body sticks out a little. But thankfully, they look stylish and attractive and lend a modern look. And yes, the ear tips extend like a nozzle to fit inside the ear canal.
The best part is that Sony packs a total of eight sets of ear tips with the WF-1000XM3 for a better fit, and the foam-based ear tips are extremely comfortable to use. If you look around, not many earphones come with such an extensive collection. For the record, Samsung ships three sets of silicone ear tips with the Galaxy Buds Pro.
The Sony earphones come with touch-sensitive control, and they are reasonably comfortable to use. The biggest advantage is that the touch area is limited, and this design ensures that you do not touch them accidentally, especially when you are fixing the earphones or brushing off your hair.
Surprisingly, the WF-1000XM3 earphones are not water-resistant. While you can use them for light workouts, however, it's recommended not to use them if your ears sweat a lot while working out or in extremely humid environments. Another limitation is that the carry case is on the bigger side, making it awkward to carry it.
Plus, the large size means it really looks awkward on trouser pockets.
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Truly wireless earphones with Active Noise Cancellation or ANC play it a bit differently when it comes to battery life. So, when it comes to the continuous playback time of the Galaxy Buds Pro, it can last around 5 hours with ANC enabled. Thankfully, the charging case will come to your rescue and gives an additional 13 hours of charge.
This gives you a cumulative battery time of 18 hours on a single charge. The Sony WF-1000XM3 performs similarly on the battery scale. A single charge will get you somewhere around 5-6 hours of constant playback time. The big charging case proves to be an advantage and brings three additional charge cycles to the table. Cool, right?
These earphones lasted for an average of an hour and a half during our usage. We can safely say that it lasts around a week before needing a top-up. Plus, they support fast charging, and a mere 10-minute charge will buy you around 90 minutes of playback.
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Sadly, the WF-1000XM3 supports only a handful of Bluetooth codec. They support both SBC and AAC Bluetooth audio codecs and do not support Sony's proprietary LDAC, or Qualcomm's aptX and aptX HD.
On the bright side, the Sony WF-1000XM3 comes with NFC for quick pairing but lacks Bluetooth Multipoint, meaning they can connect to only one device at a time.
As opposed to the above, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro doesn't have Bluetooth Multipoint. Instead, they come with Easy Switch. This Samsung feature lets you switch between two devices in the Bluetooth range. But, it has a slight catch. It works on Samsung devices when you're logged in using the same Samsung account.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro earphones sing the same song as the Sony earphones and pack both SBC and AAC codec when it comes to Bluetooth codec.
Audio Quality and Noise Cancellation
Now, let us address the elephant in the room—how well do the Galaxy Buds Pro and the WF-1000XM3 sound? Well, let's start with the Galaxy Buds Pro.
This year, Samsung has done a big good job with the Galaxy Buds Pro. The new buds deliver a balanced sound and have a much wider soundstage. The vocals appear clear and crisp, and as for the bass, you won't find a thumping bass, but it's safe to say that it's just about right.
When it comes to the ANC, Samsung's buds block out noise effectively. With ANC on, you won't hear sounds from AC's fan or hums in lifts or busses. However, they still let in quite a bit of noise, and if someone were talking loudly or playing loud music in the same room, a faint sound would creep in. For the record, the Samsung Galaxy Buds lets you tweak the degree of the ANC.
As opposed to it, the Sony WF-1000XM3 has a clear sound signature with a rich and pronounced bass and lets you listen to your favorite songs in a new light. Like the one above, these buds also pack Active Noise Cancellation and they do their best to filter out ambient noise to give you a distraction-free ambiance. Overall, you get a quiet setting.
However, ANC comes at a price, and as noted earlier, it's the battery life.
Both the earbuds pack in ambient sound mode. Should you want to stay aware of your surroundings while commuting, you can do so with just a tap.
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So, which earphones should you purchase? Well, if you are looking for an overall good sound stage with rich and punchy bass, the Sony WF-100XM3 takes the crown. The audiophile in you will appreciate the detailed audio delivery and the caliber of the Active Noise Cancellation. Plus, the companion app has cool and smart features which add to the experience.
Of course, it's not without its share of limitations. For instance, it doesn't have wireless charging, and the charging case is not exactly compact.
On the other hand, if you already have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Buds Pro makes for a better pick. The connection is stable, and the Samsung Wearable app has many tricks up its sleeve. For instance, like Voice Detect feature lets you easily switch between ANC and ambient noise whenever the external mics detect someone talking to you.