The true wireless earbuds space has seen a lot of competition in the last few years, and in nearly every price segment, too. At the high-end there are brands like Samsung, Sony, Apple, Bose and Google competing, and the competition is fierce. The latest from Samsung is the Galaxy Buds2 Pro, and it is set to take on the Apple AirPods Pro, the Google Pixel Buds Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM4. Here is our review of the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.
Design and hardware
The design of the case is pretty much identical to the first generation of the Galaxy Buds Pro. It is clamshell-styled, square shaped with rounded corners and rounded edges all around, making it easy to slide in and out of a pocket. Its size is still compact, and it can fit inside the tiny pocket on a pair of jeans, which is neat. The one major change is the finish, which is now matte instead of shiny. Personally, I like this finish better, as it does a good job of hiding fingerprints and scratches. It feels a bit softer against the skin too.
Besides this, the charging indicators for the case and the earbuds are in the same location. To charge the case, you can either connect via the USB Type-C port on the back or wirelessly with a Qi-compatible charging pad. The case magnets are strong and closing the lid of the case has a satisfying “thud” sound.
The earbuds have a slightly different, more refined design this time around. They are 15% smaller than the previous generation, and they have a fully matte exterior similar to the charging case. They are lightweight too, weighing in at 5.5gms. This ensures that you don’t feel too much fatigue during long listening sessions.
The location of the Wear Detection sensors, charging posts and vents have been moved around slightly, but the area for the touch controls remain the same. Lastly, just like the previous generation, the earbuds are IPX7 certified for water resistance.
So how about the fit? Well for my ears, it fits in quite snugly. I used the medium ear tips and I was able to get a good seal. However, I did like the fit of the Galaxy Buds2 earbuds better. They stayed in my ears at all times and almost never fell out. In comparison, the Buds2 Pro fell out once when I was working out and another time when I was eating. Understandably, this may not apply to someone else who has a differently shaped ear. So, I would strongly recommend trying out the earbuds at a store to check the fit before buying. A good, comfortable fit is important for a good ANC experience and to reduce the chances of fatigue.
Connectivity and pairing
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, which is the latest in Bluetooth technology at the moment. Regarding codecs, the earbuds support AAC, SBC and SSC (which stands for Samsung Seamless Codec). This SSC codec only works with Samsung devices running OneUI 4.0 and above, and enables up to 24-bit audio streaming on the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.
Disappointingly, there is no support for Qualcomm’s AptX or LDAC codecs. Considering that these are “Pro” earbuds, there should be support for higher quality codecs that will work on non-Samsung devices. Samsung has stated that the Buds2 Pro will support Bluetooth LE later this year, but at the time of this review, it has not arrived.
Pairing the earbuds is a simple process. Since it does support Fast Pair, simply opening the case will put the earbuds in pairing mode and a prompt will pop up in supported Android and Windows devices. In case you need to manually put the earbuds in pairing mode, all you need to do is press and hold the touch surfaces of both earbuds when it is in the charging case. Once in pairing mode, the Buds2 Pro should show up in the Bluetooth search results of your device.
When pairing with Samsung devices, there will be a custom prompt and animation once connected, which is similar to the experience of connecting AirPods to an iPhone.
I faced no issues with range, and it would only lose connectivity beyond multiple concrete walls. This applied to both Samsung devices and non-Samsung devices, as long as the connected device had a good Bluetooth antenna.
Controls, App and software features
To use the full functionality of the Buds2 Pro, you need to make use of the Galaxy Wear app that is available on the Google Play Store. Once it is set up, you can access various functionalities such as toggling the ANC, 360 Audio, Voice Detect, the Touch Controls, in-ear detection, etc.
There is an option to set the equalizer, but you can’t set a custom tuning, only presets.
The control scheme is mostly fixed except for Touch and Hold gesture. The rest can only be turned off if you don’t want them.
The controls are as follows:
|Gesture||Left earphone (L)||Right earphone (R)|
|Single tap||Play or pause track|
|Double tap||Play next track/Answer or end calls|
|Triple tap||Play previous track|
|Touch and Hold||Launch Bixby/ Volume down/Spotify||Launch Bixby/ Volume up/Spotify|
|Touch and Hold (During a call)||Decline call|
These controls are easy to learn, although I would have liked a bit more customizability for these gestures. The touch surfaces are easy to access and I would rarely miss my gestures.
The earbuds also offer an alternative gesture to increase/decrease volume by touching the front portion of the earbuds. It does take a little getting used to, but after that, I preferred using it for my volume control.
Voice Detect, which is a feature that was present in the first gen Galaxy Buds Pro, is also available here. The concept is rather cool when it works. When the earbuds detect that the user is talking, it will automatically turn off ANC and turn on Ambient mode. Once it detects that the conversation is over, it will automatically switch back to ANC mode. The issue is that the detection itself worked unreliably, which made me turn off the feature. Although, I can imagine some users may prefer to keep it on.
The app offers a earbuds fit test too, so that you can be sure of having the best seal possible when wearing the earbuds. This is useful for a good ANC experience. Other features include the ability to find your earbuds in case they are lost, the ability to update the earbuds firmware, and a gaming mode.
Audio Quality, Call Performance
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro features a custom-designed 2-way coaxial speaker unit, each featuring a tweeter and woofer sub-unit. The 2-way speaker enables a wide frequency range, and it is made better with support for 24-bit streaming using the Samsung Seamless Code.
The audio quality from the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro is quite impressive in my opinion. They can get very loud, and I found my comfortable listening volume to be around 50-60%. The bass gets quite deep, but not as impactful as Sony’s WF-1000XM4. The mid-range is quite forward, and the vocals sound clear. The higher frequencies aren’t overdone and don’t sound fatiguing either. Sound stage is good for an in-ear style of wireless earbuds, and it gets much better in Dolby Atmos-mastered music.
There is a feature called 360 Audio, which functions similarly to Apple’s Spatial Audio feature. It uses sensors inside the earbuds to create a 3-dimensional space around your head and dynamically move the audio sources in this space based on your head’s movement. The first time I tried, I found it to be quite cool. But then there were times when the head tracking did not work reliably, so I turned it off.
Now does the 24-bit high quality streaming make a difference? Well, for my ears, I can’t really tell the difference. Personally I don’t think my ears are good enough to notice a difference if any, but some users may be capable. Another thing to note is that you need to be playing high-bitrate music to take advantage of high-bitrate streaming. High-bitrate music is supported on very few streaming platforms, such as Apple Music and Tidal.
Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode
Coming to the ANC, it is also very good. Each earbud now comes with 3 high SNR (Signal to Noise ratio) microphones that contribute to an improved ANC experience. It is better than the previous generation in my opinion. I took the earbuds on a flight recently, and I could barely hear the sound of the engine or the noise from a busy crowd at the airport. There are some frequencies and noises that the earbuds would let through, but it never got distracting.
I was not very impressed with the transparency mode. When turned on, the earbuds will turn on the mics and pass through audio from the surroundings. Unfortunately, the audio sounded quite processed and not nearly as natural as the AirPods Pro 2. The mics were pretty good during calls, though. My voice sounded good, and it did a decent job of isolating my voice from external disturbances and noises.
Each earbud now has a 61mAh battery inside, and the charging case comes with a 515mAh battery inside. Samsung claims that the earbuds are capable of lasting for 5 hours with ANC on and about 8 hours with ANC off. The charging case can extend the battery life up to 18 hours. The two indicators on the case can show the charging levels of both the case and the earbuds separately. You can also see the charge levels though the Galaxy Wearables app.
During my time with the device, I found the earbuds to last about 5 hours with ANC turned, which aligns with Samsung’s claims. While there is no support for fast charging, there is support for wireless charging. I found this to be highly convenient, and I even was able to charge the case through my Galaxy S22 Ultra’s reverse wireless charging feature.
Samsung has been creating really good wireless earbuds for quite a while now, and the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is no exception. The refined design of the case and earbuds both look and feel premium, the feature set is rich, and the audio quality is pretty good. There are a couple of cool features like Voice Detect and 360 audio too, but it doesn’t work as reliably as I would have liked. The ANC is great, but the transparency mode could be better. Battery life is solid and wireless charging is a nice bonus.
The problem with the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is its cheaper sibling – the Galaxy Buds2. They share a lot of features such as ANC and seamless connection, and have a similar charging case and battery life. The price is the biggest factor.
The Galaxy Buds2 can be found on Amazon.in for as low as Rs. 7,400, while the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is currently retailing for Rs. 17,799. The latter did come on offer for Rs. 14,999 during a recent sale, but that is still a lot more than Galaxy Buds2. For this reason, I find it hard to recommend the Galaxy Buds2 Pro over the Galaxy Buds2. However, if you want the best of the best that Samsung has to offer, then the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is an excellent option.
Pricing and Availability
The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro is priced at Rs. 17,999, and will available from online and offline retailers.