At Samsung’s August Unpacked event, the firm unveiled another true wireless, the Galaxy Buds 2.
Prior to the Galaxy Buds 2, Samsung had released the Galaxy Buds Pro, which currently sits at the top of its true wireless family.
Given Samsung’s optimised them to work best with Galaxy smartphones, if given the choice between getting the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro, which pair should you invest in. We take an opening look.
Price and availability
The Galaxy Buds 2 have a price of £139 / €149. We’ll update the prices from other regions once we get news of them.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are priced at £219, and $199 / €229 / CA$264 / AU$299 elsewhere.
Clearly the Galaxy Buds Pro have a premium on the Buds 2. If you want to save money the Galaxy Buds 2 are the ones to go for.
What’s the difference with the design?
At first glance there’s not a whole lot that appears to be different between the two. Aside from the bean-shaped Galaxy Live, all of the Samsung’s earbuds have a bulbous, oval shape and neither the Galaxy Buds 2 or Pro version depart from that line of thinking.
Neither have wing-tip options, which might reduce the need to use these for workouts. The Galaxy Buds 2 are, apparently, the smallest and lightest earbuds Samsung has produced, so there’s a case to be made that they’re more comfortable, potentially over longer periods.
In terms of colour option the Galaxy Buds 2 are available green, white, black and purple variants (or Graphite, White, Olive and Lavender as Samsung labels them). That’s one more than the Pro’s Phantom Violet, White and Black options.
It’s a solid selection, though we do feel Samsung rather repeats itself in this category with the same options presented nearly every time.
What’s the difference in the feature set?
So both have noise cancellation and both appear to have the same battery life, too. The noise cancellation on the Galaxy Buds Pro is said to be more thorough, which would make sense given the disparity in price, so you’d expect better noise cancellation from the premium model.
Both feature an ambient mode to filter through external sounds, though while the Galaxy Buds 2 can be manually altered, the Buds Pro have an Intelligent ANC feature that can adjust noise cancellation and transparency in response to nearby sounds. Does that work on the Galaxy Buds Pro? Yes, but arguably too well as the mics can be super sensitive to picking up any sounds, based on our experience with them.
Battery life for both is about 20 hours with ANC and 29 hours without it. The Buds 2 support fast-charging and wireless charging. There’s also a PC app that does what the mobile app does (tweaking settings, modes).
Water resistance for the Buds 2 is IPX2, which doesn’t compare as favourably to the Buds Pro IPX7, which makes the headphones fully waterproof. Other features the Galaxy Buds Pro have include Voice Pickup, with the earbuds reacting your voice by reducing the volume/pausing music so you can hear what the other person is saying.
If you’re after a more feature-packed experience then the Galaxy Buds Pro is the better option on paper, and given the price that should equate to a real world difference too.
Is there any difference in the sound?
We don’t know how the Galaxy Buds 2 will sound just yet, but the audio has been tuned by audio veterans AKG, with the dynamic two-way speaker aiming to “deliver crisp, clear high notes and a deep bass”.
We felt that the Galaxy Buds Pro were Samsung’s best attempt yet at true wireless sound. We found that tonal balance was a step up on Samsung’s previous pairs and that they offered a detailed enough audio experience, though we didn’t find them to be up among the best-sounding true wireless pairs.
That’s the benchmark for the Galaxy Buds 2 to at least reach. We expect there to be some compromises given the Buds Pro are the premium option in Samsung’s line-up, but we’ll have to wait to hear them and provide and opinion.
In terms of design there’s not a whole lot to distinguish between the two earbuds, but in the feature set the Buds Pro stretch their legs, as you’d expect from a more premium priced pair of true wireless. Sound-wise we can’t say as yet, but we’d surprised to see if the Galaxy Buds 2 perform better than the Buds Pro and feel the sound quality will be more in line with closely priced competitors.
We’ll have to wait and see if that performance on paper does indeed equate to a real-world performance. There’s a degree of choice and variety in Samsung’s true wireless line-up that there wasn’t there before.
If you’re after a more premium experience then that’s what the Galaxy Buds Pro offer, if you want to save a few pounds then the Galaxy Buds 2 offer that.