Galaxy Buds 2 Pro Review | Wireless earphones for Samsung loyal customers and audiophiles

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are reasonable and great wireless earphones, featuring ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), wireless charging, and excellent sound quality and comfort. The fit is significantly improved, especially compared to the first-generation Buds Pro. Samsung must have thought a lot about how to promote the new change this time. As a result, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is promoted with phrases such as 24-bit and 360-degree audio to the fore, but in fact, ordinary users do not show much interest in such features.
Ⓒ Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

For general users, it would be better to purchase the regular Galaxy Buds 2 rather than the Pro. With or without 24-bit support, the Buds 2 Pro is a good product, but the Buds Pro series is now turning into a device for customers who love Samsung products. In fact, the advanced features of Buds 2 Pro are difficult to use on iOS devices, and 24-bit sound sources can only be heard on Samsung devices.

design and perfection

The Buds 2 Pro offers a comfortable fit just like other Galaxy Buds series. It is available in graphite, white and purple purple, and the earphone itself is round and made of matte plastic material. This is a noticeable change considering that Samsung previously applied glossy materials mainly to other wireless earphones. Buds 2 Pro is light and small, and has a structure that sits in the ear so that it does not protrude too much from the ear. There is little risk of the earphones falling off when you wear them and walk outside.

The downside is that wireless earphones are small. The touch control that wraps around the entire edge of the earbuds is being pressed too often. For example, if you lightly touch the earphone to adjust the position of the earphone, you may often encounter a situation where the music pauses or the sound source is skipped. Even when you’re fiddling with your hair, the button can suddenly be pressed. Of course, this is a problem with all the other Galaxy Buds, but Samsung doesn’t seem to have found a solution yet. Instead, the Buds 2 Pro offers a much more comfortable fit than before. The Buds 2 Pro is lighter and slightly smaller than its predecessor.

The ‘Galaxy Wearable’ app, which can be downloaded for free, provides a separate function called a fit test, which uses the microphone of the Buzz to check for sound leaks and confirm that the earphones are properly worn. If you learn how to wear it properly the first time, you can reduce the experience of being sensitive to the touch controls.

The clear advantage of this Buds 2 Pro is its excellent water resistance. The Buds 2 Pro has a waterproof rating of IPX7. There are also products with IP57 rating that support both water and dust resistance, such as the Jabra Elite 7 Pro, but unfortunately, the Buds 2 Pro does not support the dust protection function separately. Still, the Buds 2 Pro are top-of-the-line wireless earphones. Only the earbuds are waterproof, and the case is not waterproof. The case shape is a square that has been seen many times before. It is slim and small, and the magnetic hinge feels sturdy, so there is no problem.

Ⓒ Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Specifications and sound

Thanks to Samsung’s acquisition of Harman and its own AKG technology, the Galaxy Buds series have always provided great sound performance. The same goes for the Buds 2 Pro. Before we dive into the details, let’s start with the core audio experience. The Buds 2 Pro supports the best sound quality among the Galaxy Buds series. I could see a warm, well-balanced sound in all the music I listened to in my tests.

For example, the bass was sufficiently implemented to listen to house or hip-hop, and it sounded clean even in the high range of pop music. Of course, they don’t offer the wide and expansive soundstage that headphones do, but none of the wireless earphones offer better sound quality.

This year, Buds 2 Pro attracted attention by introducing 24-bit audio support, which is a bit rate higher than the standard 16-bit. But there is something to be aware of. Currently, 24-bit is supported only on Samsung Galaxy smartphones that use One UI 4 or higher or are compatible. Also, there must be a sound source optimized for 24-bit. In the case of streaming services, you can listen to 24-bit music only from Tidal or Apple Music, but 24-bit music is not provided on Spotify. Samsung has a separate ‘Samsung Seamless Hi-Fi Codec’ for 24-bit.and supports AAC and SBC, but does not provide aptX HD, LDAC, and LHDC.

Should I buy the Buds 2 Pro for sound quality or subtle changes? I am skeptical of this. Of course, I was surprised when I switched to the high-quality streaming service Qobuz while listening to Spotify. There was a difference in detail and depth of sound quality, and there was clarity that could not be heard in 12-bit sound sources.

However, this difference in sound quality doesn’t offer huge utility, and most people wouldn’t consider it a difference worth paying the extra for. It can be a big advantage for Samsung smartphone users and audiophiles, but there are probably not many users who buy new earphones or smartphones and even change streaming services to hear good sound quality. Similarly, it’s hard to buy new earphones because of the Dolby Atmos content, the bud’s 360 audio that creates a virtual surround sound stage.

Ⓒ Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The default settings on the Buds 2 Pro are great. It is set in such a way that it adds depth and a sense of space to the sound source, but it would be better to disable the ‘head tracking’ function. It’s a function that blocks music when you move your head. It’s fine when you’re watching a movie, but when you turn your head toward the bus, the sound keeps moving and it’s inconvenient.

Like other premium wireless earphones, the Buds 2 Pro also supports Noise Canceling (ANC). A very useful feature, if worn properly, blocks out most external noise. Here, the noise canceling function has been updated in the form of ‘Intelligent ANC’, which is similar to Sony’s ‘Speak-to-Chat’. Intelligent ANC uses a sensor that detects jaw movement and a microphone to detect a conversation situation, and automatically lowers the music volume and switches to outside noise to help you have a comfortable conversation.

This feature complements Samsung’s unique wear detection feature. Normally, music pauses when you remove the earphones from other companies’ products, but in the Samsung Buds 2 Pro, music pauses when both earphones are removed, and playback resumes when you manually tap the earphones after putting them on again. Of course, there are people who prefer this function, but personally, it would be nice to have an option to automatically pause when only one earphone is removed. This is because, when you need to talk to someone, you often just leave out one.

battery and connectivity

Battery life is the biggest weakness of the Buds 2 Pro. It lags behind its competitors on a level that is neither bad nor great. Samsung says it can be used for 5 hours with noise canceling enabled, but when I tested it myself, I could use it for a little over 4 hours. In other words, it will be difficult to use all day or on a long flight on a single charge, and it will be uncomfortable for some.

Of course, the case provides up to 18 hours of battery life, so you can use it even longer by charging it. It’s pretty decent, but some of its competitors can last more than 40 hours, including case battery capacity. Personally, I would like the battery performance to be a little better, even if the charging case was a little bigger. Charging performance is decent, and it supports both USB-C and wireless charging.

The Buds 2 Pro can connect to smartphones via the latest Bluetooth 5.3 standard. Thanks to that, some audio features have been improved. Connecting the Buds 2 Pro to your device is simple. On a Samsung smartphone or Windows laptop, a pop-up message will appear immediately. Other devices must be set manually.

Ⓒ Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Smart Features and Pricing

Android users can install an app called ‘Galaxy Wearable’. Here you can customize the controls and turn certain features on or off. Firmware updates are also managed by this app. For example, you can turn 360 audio and head tracking on or off, edit EQ values, configure Bixby, and more. There’s also a setting that tells you to stretch your neck if it detects bad posture, which can be a bit annoying if you enable it.

The problem is that the Galaxy wearable app does not support the iOS operating system. Of course, you can use the Buds 2 Pro on your iPhone via Bluetooth. However, there may be several limitations to using the advanced features of the Buds 2 Pro. However, it is difficult to blame Samsung’s fault because Apple’s AirPods Pro similarly do not properly support Android.

Since the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro was officially released last week with a factory price of 279,000 won, it can be purchased through various media including the Samsung official website. It’s a bit cheaper than the AirPods Pro, but it’s on the expensive side in the field of wireless earphones. For example, a product such as Nothing Ear (1) supports noise canceling (ANC) and wireless charging, but the factory price was $99 (about 130,000 won). The factory price of Galaxy Buds 2, a similar product line, was also 149,000 won.

The average user will definitely be happy with the cheap wireless earphones. The Buds 2 Pro, on the other hand, could be a product only for audiophiles who want to get the most out of 24-bit. If you are a user who cares a lot about sound quality, please note that the price of the Buds 2 Pro is good for its performance.

summary

Aside from the price, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best-made wireless earphones in Samsung history. It has a comfortable design, small size, and excellent audio. The only practical downside is the battery life, which is neither too long nor too short.

Since 24-bit audio requires a Samsung smartphone or a dedicated music source, it will not be attractive to all users. Above all, since the regular Galaxy Buds 2 came out well at a low price, there would be no reason to pay double the price and choose the Buds 2 Pro if high sound quality is not important.

specification

  • wireless earphone
  • coaxial two-way speaker
  • Active noise-cancellation
  • touch control
  • Accelerometer, gyro sensor, hall sensor, touch sensor, proximity sensor, ear ON/OFF detection
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • Supports USB-C and wireless charging
  • 5 hours of use on a single charge (18 hours with charging case)
  • Graphite, White, Purple Purple
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Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.

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