The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are Samsung’s most accomplished true wireless earbuds yet. They offer a clear step up in audio quality on the first gen Galaxy Buds Pro, and come with the 24-bit audio support when paired with a current generation Samsung phone, which is great for subscribers to services with lossless and high-resolution music. The only downsides are that the Sony WF-1000XM4 offer more reliable ANC and that Buds 2 Pro’s mics are finicky, especially when used outdoors based on our testing.
- Decent audio quality
- Comfortable fit
- Reliable battery life
- Mics are hit and miss
- ANC isn’t the best you’ll find at this price
- UKRRP: £219
- USARRP: $229
- AustraliaRRP: AU$349
- 24-bit streamingBut only when paired with a modern Samsung phone
- 5 hours playtimeWith an extra 18 hours battery in the charge case
- Active noise cancellationWith an ambient mode and voice recognition
This left me sceptical of their chances when I first got them in for testing for a couple of reasons. First was my experience reviewing the first gen Galaxy Buds Pro, which had good but not great for audio and ANC. The second stemmed from the quality of the competition, with the Sony WF-1000XM4 scoring five stars by delivering best-in-class audio, decent battery life and impressive noise cancellation.
But after a week using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, I find them to be a very capable set of wireless earbuds that offer a wonderfully comfortable fit, and audio that improves on the first gen in nearly every way. This along with the added support for 24-bit music streaming with a Samsung Galaxy device makes them an enticing bit of audio hardware.
The only downside is that they still don’t offer as good an ANC performance as competing sets. Issues with their mics also make them a poor choice for people who regularly take and make calls, or interact with a digital assistant using their earbuds. Which is why they don’t quite manage to dethrone the ruling Sony WF-1000XM4.
- Feature the same bean shape as the original
- Offer a comfortable fit and solid seal in most situations
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro share a similar look to their Galaxy Buds Pro predecessors. Both have bean shaped housings, with silicon ear-tips and pebble shaped charge cases. Place them next to each other and I think most would struggle to tell the difference between the two.
But taking a close look at my white review unit and old black set, there are a few subtle but important differences. The most obvious is that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s earbuds and case now have a soft matte finish. This sounds small but it made the newer Buds Pro 2 a lot less prone to picking up fingerprint marks and scratching.
They also give the newer set a slightly more premium rugged feel, despite the fact they meet the same IPX7 water resistance as before. This means they can be submerged in up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes and safely used in the gym or rain without fear of damage.
The buds themselves are also slightly smaller than the first generation and have had a few tweaks under the hood, including moving the position of the mics to lower down on the chassis.
The ergonomic shape gives them a comfortable fit and let me quickly and easily get a decent seal using them around the house and out and about. The lighter weight and inclusion of a larger vent to improve airflow, also meant that my other half, who usually finds wireless earbuds too large, could comfortably use them without experiencing the plugged in feeling she usually gets.
While the fit is comfortable it’s not, however, gym-ready. Using them when running and the seal would routinely break, forcing me to adjust the buds, and break my flow in the process.
Another issue is the buds’ capacitive touch controls. Like the first gen Galaxy Buds Pro, these can be oversensitive. All too often they’d interpret an accidental brush when I was pushing my hair back and pause music.
- Spatial audio support
- Find my buds feature is a godsend if you lose them
Samsung has loaded the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with a wealth of custom smart features. The majority of these are housed within the Galaxy Wearable app. Once paired, the app features controls for ANC and ambient modes. Interestingly, and unlike the original Buds Pro, ANC is limited to just on or off, with no varying levels to choose from.
Like the original, there is a voice detection option that lets the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro switch from ANC to ambient mode when they hear human voices. During testing I found that while the feature took a few seconds to realise someone was talking to me, while it is fairly reliable indoors it is outright useless outside.
The other big additions include Samsung’s custom spatial audio mode and Find my Buds functionality. Spatial audio remains a marmite feature for me. It lets the buds track your head movements and adjust the audio to give the illusion that the sound is moving around you, in theory making for a more immersive experience.
I know some members of the team love the feature, but I’ve always found it to be a bit of a gimmick. With music it, if anything, becomes an annoyance, with the changes in direction becoming an irritant rather than aid. For games and TV I can see the attraction more, but again the changes in direction from even minor head movements are too extreme for my liking.
The Find my Buds option was far more useful. As a person with two cats that view true wireless earbuds as a toy to be used like a hockey puck, I often find myself hunting for lost earbuds, or the entire case, after the two ginger terror’s latest match has sent them lying under a piece of furniture.
When this happened I was able to quickly and easily find them using the “find my” function in the Galaxy Wearable app. This instructs the buds to emit a loud beep that’s hard to miss. Using it I found the rogue buds in a matter of seconds. If you’re particularly forgetful you can also use Samsung’s SmartThings Find feature to get a mapped location for the lost buds if they’re too far away from your phone to connect via Bluetooth.
Battery life is fairly by the numbers. Samsung lists the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro as offering 5 hours listening with ANC on and 8 with it off. The case holds 18 hours extra listening with ANC on and 28 with it off.
During my week with the buds I found the claims were accurate. Listening to music with ANC off they usually managed to survive a full work day (9am-5pm) before needing a top up charge. Using them at around 40% volume with ANC active I recorded an average discharge rate of around 18-22%. These numbers are fairly standard for any modern true wireless set. Charging is handled by a USB C input on the case’s back, or wirelessly if you have a compatible plate.
- Samsung’s best sounding earbuds
- Need a recent Galaxy phone to get the best audio
- ANC is good, not great
Samsung markets the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro as its best sounding earbuds to date. To add some weight to this claim you’ll see a lot of its marketing focuses on the fact that the buds support 24-bit lossless audio streaming.
You can get a detailed breakdown about why this is a big deal for serious music fans in our Hi-Res audio guide. When streaming from a compatible source like Tidal or Amazon Music HD the sound should be clearer and more detailed due to more information/data being carried in the stream.
The downside of this feature is that you’ll need to have the buds paired with a recent Samsung Galaxy device, like the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus or Galaxy S22 Ultra. The buds can only support the streaming using the Samsung Seamless Codec, which is limited to these models.
However, even without a compatible smartphone, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sound great.
Moving from Samsung to a Pixel 6 Pro, audio quality remained excellent and a clear step up on the previous generation Galaxy Buds Pro in nearly every way.
The biggest improvements are how much more detail and dynamism is conveyed by the dual-driver system. Listening to classical arrangements, the crescendos had a much deeper swoop than anything I experienced on the original Buds Pro. Complex post rock arrangements also had significantly better tonal balance with every part of the sound occupying a distinct space.
The low end isn’t the tightest I’ve experienced, but it’s far better than the Buds Pro. Listening to blues the walking bass line had a pleasant rumble, but it never masked or overshadowed some of the more subtle parts of the sound.
All-in-all there’s a night and day difference between the original generation Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro when it comes to audio quality.
That said, I still wouldn’t call them the best buds you can get at this price for a few reasons. Though they are now undeniably competitive with a lot of what’s on the market, the audio still doesn’t quite match the Sony WF-1000XM4 or Technics EAH-AZ60 that I use as my daily driver between reviews. Both offer tighter low end and more detail.
ANC performance is also fairly middling. Though the buds undeniably reduce background, during my tests they struggled with even moderately loud noises. With ANC on I could hear some parts of a conversation happening in another room. Working outside I could also hear the background noise of a road around 50ft away. In both tests the Sony WF-1000XM4 were able to block the background noise much more effectively.
Mic performance is another issue. Using the buds to take Zoom calls during the work day, the mics worked ok, but the person on the other end of the line reported they weren’t quite as clear as when I used the WF-1000XM4 and EAH-AZ60. Using them outside background noise quickly crept in and at times made it so the person I was calling couldn’t hear me at all in particularly noisy situations, like when a car passed me on a busy road. If you want clear call quality these are not the buds to get.
Should you buy it?
You should buy the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro if you want a decent sounding set of wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best sounding earbuds Samsung’s ever made offering more detail and dynamic audio than their predecessor. If you have a recent Samsung phone and subscribe to a compatible service, the addition of 24-bit streaming sweetens the deal.
You shouldn’t buy the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro if you want best in class ANC, or to take calls on them regularly. Despite sounding better than their predecessors the Buds 2 Pro offer at best middling ANC and mic performance compared to similarly priced rivals, like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Technics EAH-AZ60.
After a solid week using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro as my primary earbuds I can comfortably confirm they are the best sound set Samsung’ ever made. Switching between them and the previous generation Galaxy Buds Pro there was a night and day difference between the new Buds 2 Pro and their predecessor. Audio was more dynamic, detailed and generally better across all the genres and tracks I tested. The only downside is that they still don’t beat the ruling Sony WF-1000XM4 which offer slightly more detail and a tighter low end. Their ANC and mic performance are also middling at best, which may put off some buyers who want to use them to take calls or while working in an office.
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested for two weeks
Tested with real world use
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The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are IPX7 water resistant, so they can survive short submersions at shallow depths.
Some features, like 24-bit streaming will only work on newer Samsung phones, but the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will work with any phone, tablet, PC or games console with Bluetooth connectivity.
The buds offer 5 hours listening with ANC on. The case carries an extra 18 hours of battery life.
You can see a breakdown of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s specs and how they compare to rivals in the table below.
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