Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 vs AirPods 3: Which buds are best?

Samsung announced the Galaxy Buds 3 during the Unpacked event on July 10, switching up the design from a fully in-ear form factor to a stemmed design closely resembling the Apple AirPods form factor.

While we’ve come to expect “AirPods clones” from companies a little farther back on the prestige sale, it’s not something we’ve seen too often from Samsung in recent years. We got a two-fer today though, with the Galaxy Watch Ultra too!

Anyway, back to the Galaxy Buds 3. While the look is strikingly similar, right down to the charging case, let’s compare the functionality to Apple’s standard AirPods 3 model.

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Galaxy Buds 3 look very familar

While the in-ear portion of the bud closely resembles the ergonomics of the AirPods, the Galaxy Buds 3 stems are angular rather than rounded. Samsung says they’ve been redesigned with comfort in mind. Neither have ear tips.

There’s also a second colour option though, as the Galaxy Buds 3 are available in both silver and white. That charging case is hugely similar though, right down to the placement of the LED indicator on the front.

Just like the AirPods 3, Samsung has built intuitive touch/swipe/pinch controls build into the buds.

Galaxy Buds 3Galaxy Buds 3

Buds 3 has a packed feature set

The Galaxy Buds 3 have a leg up on AirPods 3 due to the inclusion of Active Noise Cancellation. Considering ANC is becoming standard even on buds priced below £100, we’d have expected Samsung to include it. It’s really on Apple this is a feature reserved for AirPods Pro. However, we also have reservations about how well this tech works in buds that don’t create a seal in the ear, as is the case with both of these.

Infusing a little Galaxy AI into the mix, the Galaxy Buds 3 will translate spoken face-to-face conversations in real time. While someone might say “hola” you’ll hear “hello” Samsung says. This certainly isn’t available on any AirPods model right now.

The Galaxy Buds 3 also promise 360-degree audio when connected to television sets. This matches what Apple offers via Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos in select smart TV apps like Apple TV+ and Disney+.

Apple AirPods 3 in caseApple AirPods 3 in case

Both sets of buds include fast pairing options and easy switching. From AirPods 3 you’ll get the H1 chip, which will seek out devices associated with the same Apple ID. Samsung will also look for the user’s Galaxy phone, laptop or Samsung telly.

The Galaxy Buds 3 have IP57 certification against dust and water/sweat. AirPods 3 has no dust ingress certification and a lower water resistance. They are rated IPX4 overall.

Samsung goes big on call quality

As well as ANC, Samsung is including an Adaptive EQ powered by Galaxy AI, which enhances the surroundings in real time. Apple does include this feature on AirPods 3 too. It tunes music to the shape of your ear.

Samsung is also pretty jazzed about call quality here and uses a machine learning model to “restore the original voice of the speaker in various noise environments while also providing a rich and natural call with the Super-Wideband Call feature.”

Galaxy Buds 3Galaxy Buds 3

Battery life

It’s pretty even here. Samsung promises 6 hours of battery life (or 5 with ANC). Apple says there’s six hours from AirPods 3 from a single charge. Both the cases offer wireless charging via Qi while Apple also enables its MagSafe standard in an optional case that costs a tenner extra.


Samsung wants £159/$179 for the Galaxy Buds 3, while Apple’s AirPods Pro RRP starts at £169/$169. Both devices are sure to have entirely disparate audiences because you either need an iPhone or a Galaxy phone to use them. So it’s not like there’s huge competition here, but it’s always good to see how the propositions compare.

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