Wireless Headphones for Note 10 and Note 10+
The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ are the first flagship smartphones from Samsung that ditch the 3.5mm audio jack. This means your pre-existing wired headphones won’t work and you’ll need to find other headphones, probably wireless (unless you’re a fan of dongles). The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are a solid pair of wireless earbuds and will provide the best experience with your Note 10 or Note 10+. Here are some of the best Bluetooth headphones for Note 10 and Note 10+ to consider.
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
Samsung made the Galaxy Buds Pro as an answer to its own shortcomings in past earbuds’ designs, but only in the sense that they offer more features and performance than others did. The Galaxy Buds Pro are premium true wireless earbuds that can work well with any Android phone, and that is especially true when it’s a Samsung handset.
When you first get a pair of Galaxy Buds Pro, you just open the case and unlock your Samsung smartphone. A card will appear prompting you to pair with the earbuds. With that done, they then easily pair to all of your other Samsung gadgets, including your tablet. No need to go into your phone’s settings or enter pairing mode. You’ll also get Bixby, if you’re into what Samsung’s voice assistant can do for you.
These are Samsung’s first earbuds to include active noise cancelation (ANC), of which there are two settings (high and low), plus four Ambient mode settings. Voice Detect utilizes both features when you start talking by turning on Ambient mode and lowering the volume of the audio you’re listening to so you can hear the conversation. Another new feature is 360 Audio, which uses Dolby Head Tracking technology so you hear virtual 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound for any content that’s coded for it — typically movies and TV shows, but not music.
Samsung also upped the ante on call quality, clearing up calls even further than it already had. The only thing you might have to deal with is the touchy touch controls because they can be sensitive to accidental taps anytime your fingers get near them. And, as before, you can use one earbud on its own in a mono mode if you want to just keep it handy for callers
With bigger drivers and all the other tech inside, these buds take a step back on battery life. You will max out at up to five hours per charge when ANC is on — eight hours if you keep it off. The included case gives you another three charges, and you can plug in via USB-C or on a wireless charging pad. In a pinch, you can also use the back of the Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+ as a charging pad. A quick five-minute charge through USB should get you up to an hour of playback.
- Bigger sound
- ANC and Ambient mode
- 360 Audio for virtual surround sound
- Wireless charging and USB-C charging
- Fast pairing with Samsung devices
- Lower battery life than before
- Finicky touch controls
- Needs custom EQ
Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
The Galaxy Buds+ are a great example of what it’s like when your earbuds are built by the same company that built your smartphone. While the Galaxy Buds+ work with other Android devices (even iOS to a certain extent), they work best when paired with a Samsung smartphone.
When you first get the Galaxy Buds+, just open the case, unlock your Samsung smartphone, and a prompt appears to pair them. The pairing process is streamlined and applicable to other Samsung gadgets, including your smartphone or tablet. No need to go into your phone’s settings or enter pairing mode. Bixby is also in there if that’s your preferred voice assistant.
Like other true wireless earbuds, they require a charging case to charge. This also means the Galaxy Buds+ work independently. Yes, you can have just one in your ear at a time and effectively double your battery life. The buds themselves get 11 hours while the charging case will net another 11 hours of listening time. Once the charging case is dead, you can recharge the case with either a USB-C cable or place it on a Qi-compatible mat — including the back of the Note 10 or Note 10+. The case isn’t too large, either, and will easily fit in normal jean pockets.
One feature the Galaxy Buds+ entirely lack is ANC. Most vendors making earbuds these days are adding support for it, but you’d have to get the Buds Pro for that if you want a Samsung pair. However, the Galaxy Buds+ offer good passive isolation, blocking out a decent amount of noise without having to crank the volume up. You could always turn up the volume to help reduce noise, but be careful not to go too high.
- Wireless charging and USB-C charging
- Fast pairing with Samsung devices
- Long battery life
- Ambient sound mode
- Great color options
- No ANC support
- No Ambient mode
Best ANC Buds: Sony WF-1000XM3
Source: Android Central
The Sony WF-1000XM3 have industry-leading ANC for a set of wireless earbuds, let alone true wireless ones. They block out an impressive amount of low rumbles, such as engine noise, but also mid-range noises such as talking and fan noise.
You’ll also get hands-free Google Assistant. This means that you’ll be able to access the Assistant by simply saying “Hey Google” or “OK Google”. What’s great about this feature is that it works when either bud is paired to your phone so you don’t have to worry about which one has the feature and which one doesn’t.
The charging case will get you an additional 19 hours of battery life and charges over USB-C. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging here. For the buds themselves, each bud gets six hours of battery life (either on their own or together in a stereo pair).
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get both earbuds to have the same touch gestures. By default, the left bud is reserved just for the ambient sound mode, and the right ear cup houses all of your media controls. There’s an option in the Sony Headphones Connect app to reverse these, but there’s no more customization beyond that. This means you’ll have to cautious about which earbud is connected if you plan to use only one earbud. The case itself is relatively large. If you’re the type of person who likes to place your earbuds in your jean’s coin pocket, these definitely won’t fit in there.
- Great Battery life on both case and buds
- Hands-free Google Assistant
- Great ANC performance
- Touch controls specific to L/R earbud
- No wireless charging
Best Workout Buds: Jaybird Tarah Pro
Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central
Looking to work out but don’t want to carry a charging case around? The Jaybird Tarah Pro are your best bet. With up to 14 hours of battery life on a single charge, you’ll be able to run a marathon before the battery runs out. While the battery life is great, they use a proprietary connector for charging, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough juice for your day or carry the cable with you if you’re low on juice.
In terms of sound quality, the Tarah Pro are excellent. There’s a small boost in the upper bass which means you may hear some distortion. The midrange is great with a small recession, which can equate to vocals taking a backseat. The treble is above-average here. It’s mostly balanced with a small low-treble recession. This means that the sound may be a bit darker than some other earbuds out there.
The earbuds don’t have that many smart features despite being wireless earbuds. They have physical controls on either bud and can activate your digital assistant of choice (Bixby or Assistant depending on which you have set up). There’s no auto-pause feature when you remove a bud and there’s no hands-free voice assistant, either.
As workout earbuds, these are super comfortable for long-term use and are also water-resistant so you’ll be okay if things get intense and you start sweating. They’re only IPX2 rated though, which means you won’t be able to run in the rain or anything. The Tarah Pro come with several ear tips in the box so fit shouldn’t be an issue.
- Excellent sound quality
- Exceptional battery life
- IPX2 water resistance
- Proprietary charging cable
- Could be more water-resistant
Best Bass Buds: Plantronics Backbeat Go 410
Bass heads, the Plantronics Backbeat Go 410 are right up your alley. The amount of bass boosted, most bass heads will be super happy. For the rest of the sound, the mid-range is balanced and even, and the treble gets a sizable boost as well, giving the Backbeat Go 410 a fun sound that most will enjoy.
In terms of battery life, you’re looking at eight hours with ANC and 10 hours without ANC. Their ANC performance is decent but won’t compete with more premium over-ear headphones. But with only a two-hour difference in battery life, you might as well keep ANC on.
Comfort-wise, the Backbeat Go 410 are decent. With the amount of bass they push though, you’ll want to take a break every few hours to let your ears breathe. They become extremely uncomfortable after a few hours of use.
While these don’t have smart features of any sort, they have basic support for Google Assistant. They work similarly to other headphones with a multi-function button. You’ll need to simply tap and hold the button to summon the Assistant.
- Fun bass and treble-heavy sound
- Good battery life
- Decent ANC performance
- Bass affects long term comfort
Best Budget True Wireless: SoundPeats TrueFree
The SoundPeats TrueFree are a great pair of earbuds for the price. They pack a strong bass-heavy punch and are suited for genres such as EDM, hip-hop, or rap. You’ll also get a solid three hours of battery life. While not the best battery life around, they get the job done. Luckily, since they’re true wireless earbuds, they also come with a charging case that’ll give you 3-4 additional charges which makes up for the lower battery life on the buds’ side.
One oddity the charging case has is that it doesn’t have a lid. You simply place them in the case and the buds sit flush with the body. Fortunately, the buds and the case are lightweight, so you shouldn’t have issues lugging them around. Plus, I’d take a charging case without a lid over having a charging case that’s larger because it has to accommodate a lid.
The TrueFree come with a few additional ear tips, so finding tips to fit your ears shouldn’t be an issue. The buds have a single-button design that manages play/pause, calls, and skipping forward and back. Unfortunately, they don’t have support for volume control so you’ll need to use the volume buttons on your Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+.
- Strong, bass-heavy sound
- Multiple charges with charging case
- Single multi-function button
- No volume control
- Charging case doesn’t have a lid
- Could have better battery life
Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 buds, at their core, were built for sound quality, which is expected coming from the company. They have a slightly boosted bass, but otherwise, their sound is mostly balanced. The Momentum True Wireless 2 also offers excellent dynamic range and a solid soundstage given that they are a set of true wireless earbuds.
Battery life is solid. You’ll get seven hours of listening time, and the included charging case gives you an additional 21 hours, totaling 28 hours. Once the case is dead, you can charge it back up over USB-C. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging here.
The Momentum True Wireless 2 include some smart features. Just like most other true wireless earbuds, they pause when you remove one bud out of your ear if you have both in. Audio playback will resume once you put said bud back in your ear. They’ll also work independently of one another and unlike some older true wireless earbuds, you don’t have to worry about which bud is in your ear as they both connect to your phone independently.
The case is made of nice felt material and is small enough to fit in most pockets. The earbuds are mainly plastic but have a nice metal touchpad for touch controls. You’ll get multiple ear tip sizes in the box to help with fit and comfort. The buds are lightweight and super comfortable, even after long periods of time.
- Solid battery life all around
- Excellent sound quality
- USB-C charging case
- Comes with multiple ear tips
- Buds are mainly plastic
- No volume control on the buds themself
- Lacks wireless charging
Best Over-Ear: Sony WH-1000XM4
Source: Peter Cao / Android Central
The WH-1000XM4 make the list as the best over-ear headphones for several reasons. They’re compact and fold, so they’ll be easy to travel with. They also feature class-leading ANC, which is always a plus when traveling. Comfort-wise, the WH-1000XM4 are excellent. The headband and ear cups are made out of leather and the clamping force isn’t too strong, so it doesn’t feel like they’re squeezing your head.
But the biggest reason they make the list is they support all the major Bluetooth audio codecs (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, and LDAC). Pair this with your Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+ and you’ll get the absolute best sound quality over Bluetooth. Like their predecessor, the sound itself skews a bit toward the bass, whereas the mid-range is balanced, with a recessed treble. This means that female vocals, tambourines, hi-hats, and bells will sound muted. Fortunately, you can adjust the sound with a basic EQ in the Sony Headphones Connect app, which is available on Android and iOS. And if you want more bass, use the “clear bass” slider to ramp it up or tamp it down.
ANC performance is better than it was with the WH-1000XM3, and you also can now pair with two devices simultaneously, letting you listen to music on one device and take calls on another. They also improved call quality, making any conversation much clearer and smoother.
The WH-1000XM4 feature a hands-free Google Assistant. So just say the trigger word and she’ll be able to answer any of your questions as if you were asking your phone the questions. Any questions that require the Assitant to search the web will obviously require you to pull out your phone.
In terms of battery life, the WH-1000XM4 is superb. They last up to 32 hours on a single charge and charge over USB-C. With fast charging, plug in for a quick 10-minute charge and you get up to five hours of listening time. The only real downside with the WH-1000XM4 is that as soon as you plug them in to charge, you can no longer use them wired or wireless.
- Improved ANC and call quality
- Long battery life with fast charging
- Customizable sound quality
- High fidelity Bluetooth audio codecs
- Great comfort
- No simultaneous charging and listening
- Bass-heavy sound isn’t for everyone
The Note 10 and Note 10+ don’t have 3.5mm audio jacks, which has now become the norm, rather than the exception. Fortunately, Samsung has a pair of true wireless earbuds to help get used to that in the Galaxy Buds Pro. It’s often a good thing when you have a pair of headphones that were built to work seamlessly with your phone. It doesn’t hurt that the Galaxy Buds Pro are also a great pair with long battery life, wireless charging, and more.
Now that Samsung has all but ditched the headphone jack on its phones, even more headphone manufacturers will get in on the action. That means both innovation on the higher end and competitive features and pricing on the affordable side.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao is an audio enthusiast at heart. He started with expensive “use at home” only headphones that required expensive amps to even hear a sound. Nowadays, he’s downsized to Bluetooth headphones and earbuds.
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.
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