A Review of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung has prior experience with wireless earbuds. While the Galaxy Buds demonstrated the company’s design chops, it hasn’t always nailed the details. Samsung quickly responded with the Galaxy Buds+, refining its aesthetic, improving sound quality, and adding features. It even brought open-wear Galaxy Buds Live to life.
The leguminous Live was Samsung’s first ANC-enabled earbuds, but their open design rendered them ineffective. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro ($230) from Samsung has reached version 2.0. This set is smaller and more comfortable, and it displays the company’s most recent achievements. Fans of Samsung get the best features.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro resemble the Buds Pro from last year, but there are some differences. First and foremost, this new model is 15% smaller than the 2021 model, making them more comfortable for longer periods. Each earbud also has a vent to relieve pressure. Because they are small, they fit nicely in your ear and leave little on your head. Samsung’s earbuds have always been thin, and subsequent models have been the same.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are Pleasant to the Touch
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is matte, whereas the original Pro was glossy. The former is more pleasant to the touch and less prone to fingerprints. Neither surface, however, affected the touch controls. The charging case for the Buds 2 Pro is also matte and tactile. This model, like the Buds Pro, is IPX7 rated, which means it can be submerged in three feet of “freshwater” for up to 30 minutes.
Touch controls are available on both earbuds. A single tap plays/pauses, a double tap advances, a triple tap returns, and touch-and-hold is customizable. Long press to change noise controls (ANC/ambient sound, ANC/off, ambient sound/off), summon Bixby, launch Spotify, or adjust volume (down on left, up on right). If you don’t want to give up other features for volume, you can adjust the volume by double-tapping the earbuds’ front edge.
I had no problems once I mastered edge tapping. When adjusting earbud fit, touch controls are inconvenient. The Buds 2 Pro, like all true wireless models, must be repositioned regularly. Because of the sensitivity of the touch panels and the small size of the buds, it’s easy to tap accidentally when adjusting. It’s been aggravating for the past two weeks.
Software & Features
The Android Galaxy Wearable app provides access to all Galaxy Buds 2 Pro features and settings. Unfortunately, there is no iOS version available. Samsung used to have one, which made its buds suitable for both operating systems, but this is no longer the case. You can use Apple earbuds, but some features will be lost.
The app displays the battery percentages for the earbuds and the case. The main screen includes noise controls, allowing you to see which mode is active (ANC, off, or ambient sound) and change the software if necessary. The options for Voice Detect, 360 audio, touch controls, and lost earbuds are listed below. When you speak, Samsung’s new Voice Detect feature activates ambient sound and reduces audio volume.
Default Settings & Tools
The tool defaults to normal levels after 10 seconds, but you can change this to 5 or 15 seconds. Voice Detect performed admirably in my tests and was not fooled by coughs like Sony’s. Not only do I use Samsung and Android devices, but I also use my MacBook Pro. I prefer Sony’s Speak-to-Chat tool because it lowers the volume rather than pausing the audio. Despite having more accurate speech detection, Samsung’s version of Sony’s feature is less user-friendly.
The Galaxy Wearables app includes EQ presets, an earbud fit test, read notifications, hands-free Bixby, ambient sound during calls, in-ear call detection, seamless connection with some Samsung devices, neck stretch reminders, and lab functionality. This software is well-packaged. Gaming Mode, a second Labs tool, reduces latency.
You can adjust the left/right balance with accessibility. You can also keep ANC active while removing one earbud (the Buds 2 Pro does not) and adjusting the volume and tone of ambient sound. Environmental audio amplification isn’t a new feature for earbuds, but Samsung allows for customization.
LE Audio is unfinished business. Samsung recently announced a feature that records or streams 360-degree environmental sounds. Consider live streaming. The feature will be made available later this year. The Buds 2 Pro will support Bluetooth LE, the next-generation wireless audio standard set to be released in 2020
The sound quality of Samsung’s earbuds is fine to good but never outstanding. For the first time, this jaded headphone reviewer was impressed. The Buds 2 Pro has a rich, detailed sound with plenty of bass. Not just a thunderous boom, but a deep and nuanced low-end. Comparable products include the new HIFIMAN Deva Pro headsets.
More Amazing Features
Many earbuds have strong bass and a well-balanced sound. Small, subtle details are frequently what distinguishes great from the good. For bass, a 10mm woofer is used, and a 5.3mm tweeter is used for treble. This setup gives songs across genres clarity and depth, keeping them layered and immersive rather than compressed and messy. The vocals of Amanda Shires float over every song on Take It Like A Man.
24-bit/48kHz Audio quality is improved by Hi-Fi processing. The new Seamless Codec (SSC) from Samsung transmits 256 times more sound to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. On the previous model, 24-bit audio was converted to 16-bit. Android developer settings from the Galaxy S21 FE 5G confirmed 24-bit/48kHz. I tried out the Buds 2 Pro, but there is no bitrate. This figure denotes quality.
According to The Verge, the Samsung Seamless Codec can produce 2,304kbps of lossless audio. Sony’s LDAC is limited to 990kbps, so Samsung’s claim is absurd. On Android, I don’t see that. Only Samsung devices with One UI 4.0 or higher support 24-bit audio. Streaming in lossless/high-resolution is also required. If you have all of that, know that the Buds 2 Pro sound incredible and is nearly as good as the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 – in my opinion, the best option in terms of pure audio quality.
Superior Audio Quality
Samsung enhanced 360 audio. The multi-channel setup on the Buds Pro was stereo-based, so the sound was never omnidirectional. The Buds 2 Pro from Samsung have virtual 5.1- and 7.1-channel arrangements, as well as Direct Multi-Channel. This head tracking and the immersive audio combination is only helpful for movies and television, not music. The feature is available on Samsung phones and tablets running One UI 4.1.1 or later.
Active noise cancellation. The ANC of the Buds 2 Pro is 40% higher than that of the Buds Pro. I don’t have the equipment to confirm that number, but this new model is more effective at blocking most environmental noise. I was surprised at how well it muffled the sound of a coffee grinder. When no audio is playing, you will hear ambient noise due to comfort vents. When listening to music, the Buds 2 Pro handles distractions well.
The call quality on Samsung phones has not improved. Callers said I sounded like I was on speakerphone because I was wearing so many true wireless earbuds. They also heard background noise, which worsened as I spoke. Calls can be made, but don’t expect high-quality audio.
The ambient sound feature from Samsung eliminates the need to shout during phone calls. Because Apple excels at transparency mode, while this improves the experience, it is not natural. You’ll be aware of your earbuds during conversations.
The battery life of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with ANC is five hours. This is the same as the previous model and has a low price for new earbuds. You’ll get 18 more hours with the charging case, or 21 if you disable noise cancellation. These figures passed my scrutiny.
You won’t need a cable in this case if you have a wireless charger. Samsung makes no mention of quick charging, and I haven’t observed the Buds 2 Pro recharging quickly.
It’s tempting to compare the latest from Samsung to the AirPods Pro, but that’s not fair. First, like the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the best features of the AirPods Pod are reserved for iOS users. Some devices lack spatial audio and hands-free Siri. Second, the AirPods Pro will be three years old in November, and earbuds have improved since then. The Buds 2 Pro’s noise-canceling abilities have been improved over their 2021 predecessor.
Better alternatives include Google’s Pixel Buds Pro and Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3. Pixel owners will benefit the most from Pixel Buds Pro, but other Android users will also benefit. Google’s best earbuds yet, with ANC, deep bass, and touch controls. Google is still working on spatial audio, which should be available with Android 7.0 this fall.
Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3 adds two hours of listening time to the best earbud audio, in my opinion. Although Samsung has improved its audio quality, I still prefer Sennheiser. The IPX4-rated MTW 3 isn’t going to win any design awards, but it is customizable. The MTW 3 is $50 less expensive than its predecessor, but it is more expensive than Google and Samsung’s most recent models.
I’ve previously stated that Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are the best. With each new product, whether Buds or Buds Pro, the company improves its formula. I have to say it again. The Buds 2 Pro improves on the audio, noise cancellation, and features of the 2021 Pro model. Apple and Google allow loyal customers to unlock the best features of the Buds 2 Pro. Samsung is attempting to persuade phone owners to purchase its audio products.