Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Sleeker design, but is it worth the price jump?


Samsung recently unveiled its newest true wireless earbuds – the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro – alongside the

.

For the price of $230, these are now the de facto best wireless earbuds for the Samsung user, and among the most well-rounded earbuds for the Android user in general. Especially the one who likes listening to electronic dance music, hip-hop and other bass-heavy music genres.

The original Galaxy Buds Pro came out not so long ago, and those had a glossy design for the earbuds. They were a bit larger, a bit edgier, and objectively not super appealing, to me at least. But now – the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro feature a sleek, smooth and modern design, and both their case and the earbuds themselves are fully covered with matte plastic. The glossiness is gone, and so are the rougher corners from the old Buds Pro.

We have a matte wedding ring-like charging case, with an LED light up front and a USB Type-C charging port on the back. Open that up and you’ll reveal the new, sleek Buds 2 Pro earbuds, which instantly start pairing with nearby phones, tablets and laptops. A “Sound by AKG” branding stands proudly over the earbuds, which are held magnetically inside the case, always charging from it.

As you can see from our photos, we’ve got the one color that stands out – Bora Purple, while the other two options are basically black and white. For some reason, ours came with white eartips pre-applied, instead of purple ones, although in the box we do have purple tips in different sizes to choose from also. Inside the retail box is also a black charging cable for the case. So, matching colors aren’t a thing here, but hey, not a big deal.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro fit and feel

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro might not look like the tiniest earbuds at first glance, but they’re certainly light, and when they’re in the ear – it’s easy to forget about them. I usually get irritated by in-ear headphones, but these are comfortable and light enough for long-term music listening sessions.And if you’re planning to work out with your Buds 2 Pro – worry not, they definitely won’t be flying out of your ears even during vigorous exercise. And you have larger eartip options to put on, in the off chance that they do feel loose with the default medium-sized eartips.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro pairing and supported devices

Pairing the Buds 2 Pro is as easy as ever – as soon as you unbox your new earbuds, just open their case near your laptop or smartphone and you’ll get a prompt from it to pair.

Well, at least if it’s a Windows laptop or an Android phone. I didn’t get a prompt on my iPhone, but if that happens to you – simply head on over to its Bluetooth settings and tap “Samsung’s Buds2 Pro” to pair manually. Easy peasy.

So the reason I’ve added this paragraph is to assure anyone who might be wondering, that yes – the Buds 2 Pro will work with any of your devices – you don’t have to be an Android / Samsung phone user.

However, the Galaxy Wearable app we’re about to cover next is only available on Android. It’s not on iOS, so iPhone users will not be able to take advantage of its features. Thankfully, those aren’t many, but still, do keep this in mind.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro app and features

If you’re using an Android phone with your new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you have the option of downloading Samsung’s companion app for them, called Galaxy Wearable. Again – this app is not available on iPhones.

I had some initial problems with it, like it not being able to scan for, and find the Buds 2 Pro, even though the phone was already paired with them. I had to unpair the Buds first, for it to discover them. Once paired, the app will prompt you to download another app, “Galaxy Buds2 Pro Manager”. Then the Wearable app will require quite a bit of permissions… And finally, you can use it.

Was all this song and dance worth it; is the app useful? Well, see the screenshots above for everything it has to offer, but basically, aside from an equalizer, which your Android phone likely already has built-in, and aside from the option to read your notifications aloud, I’d say no. So you’re not losing much if you just decide not to use this companion app, or you’re on an iPhone, so you can’t use it anyway. Not a big loss.

The main things you’ll want to do with your Buds 2 Pro can be done with touch gestures, no app needed, so let’s get onto those…

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro touch gestures

You don’t need the above-mentioned app to switch between the basic features. Here’s how that works…

Like previous Samsung earbuds, such as the original Galaxy Buds Pro, we have touch gestures here. The sides of both earbuds are touch-sensitive, and you can tap them once or several times to toggle between ANC and Ambient sound, pause your music, switch songs, and so on.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro touch control controls:

  • Press and hold – switch between ANC and Ambient sound
  • Single tap – play or pause
  • Double tap – next song
  • Triple tap – previous song

Those touch gestures work on both earbuds, by the way, which is nice. Normally the left one is reserved for switching between modes, while the right one is for pausing and skipping tracks, but both can do it all here.One thing that I should definitely point out is that this time you can actually adjust the fit of your earbuds without accidentally triggering touch gestures. I’ve had this problem with previous Galaxy earbuds, but these you can take out and adjust without accidental touches, so long as you remember to hold them at the top and bottom while doing so.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro active noise canceling (ANC) and Ambient sound

The ANC on these earbuds is quite impressive. Samsung is closing in on Apple’s top tier ANC for sure, and I doubt anyone will be unhappy with the Buds 2 Pro in that aspect.

According to Samsung, the Buds 2 Pro feature ANC that’s “better than ever” indeed, with 3 high SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) microphones, that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro use to track and eliminate outside noises.

What does that mean in practice? Well, Most low and mid-frequency sounds, even many of the high-frequency ones are near-perfectly silenced when ANC kicks in. Even with a fan blowing directly at my face, I can only hear the super high frequency of the noise that it generates, when ANC kicks in. Very impressive.

Whether you’re on a crowded bus or on a plane, the Buds 2 Pro ANC will deliver the kind of surrounding world silencing you’d want, so you can enjoy your music fully in peace.

Of course, you can turn off ANC and switch to Ambient sound if you actually want to hear what’s happening around you. Unlike ANC, Ambient sound doesn’t block outside noise, on the contrary – it aims to help you hear people talking and things happening around you.

If you’re out for a run in the park or you’re having a coffee you’d definitely want to keep Ambient sound on, so you can be aware of your surroundings.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sound quality

Off the bat I’m happy to report that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sound great, particularly if you plan on listening to modern electronic dance music, hip-hop and the likes. We have loud, clear and distortion-free sound, reasonably wide, with sweet, deep bass.The mids might be a bit behind the lows and the highs, but it’s nowhere near as noticeable as on a lesser (cheaper) pair of headphones. In fact, things sound reasonably flat, which is what most people want.

Pair all that with the impressive ANC – you can really, completely dive into your music and forget about the world around you, which is what I’m personally looking for in a pair of earbuds. And for that alone, I’d say the price of $220 is with it.

If you love strong bass like me and often listen to bass-heavy tracks, you won’t be disappointed – it goes hard. And it’s not some muddy upper-bass we usually get from cheaper headphones, we’re talking deep sub-bass.

However, for those of you who prefer less bass, you might find the one here a bit too strong. No worries – you can always use an equalizer, such as the one that comes with the Galaxy Wearable app, to reduce the bass and tune the sound to your liking.

Spec-wise the Buds 2 Pro are pretty impressive too. Samsung claims “ultimate Hi-Fi sound”, 24-bit audio, however you’ll be needing a Samsung Galaxy device for that, as well as a music streaming app that supports 24-bit audio, such as Tidal.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro battery life and charging

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds pack an 58 mAh battery each, and are rated to last up to 5 hours standalone, with ANC on. However, if you store them in their case between your music listening sessions, you can get up to 18 hours of music playback from them, which is respectable.

If you use them without ANC, the Buds 2 Pro earbuds can, of course, last more – up to 8 hours standalone, and up to 29 hours combined with the case.

So for gym sessions or even weekend trips, you shouldn’t need to bring a charging brick, so long as you remember to charge that Buds 2 Pro case’s 500 mAh battery. Which you can do either via its USB Type-C port, or wirelessly, with a compatible Qi charger.





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