Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro Review: Posh sound at reasonable price
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offers a great audio experience and a nice fit but is it worth spending its asking price?
In a world where the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen wants to please bass lovers, and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is seeking to impress enthusiasts, it is on the petite shoulders of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to hit a sweet spot for those wanting a balance of the two. And sure enough, Samsung pulls it off – the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro just sounds great and if you are looking for a pair of great sounding earbuds working universally with Android phones and iPhones, look no further; especially for its current price of Rs. 17999.
But good sound is just not enough in a world where Apple is after making the earbuds case smarter. If your smartphone is your sole jukebox on the office commute or at your home, your earbuds need to be smart. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro… erm… it is kind of a mixed bag situation here.
ALSO READ: Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen Review
Stem-less earbuds are a tricky design to master – it either fits in perfectly or it is an irritation. The Galaxy Buds 2 I reviewed last year wasn't happy to stay in the ears due to its odd shape and a glossy earbuds finish. With the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Samsung has reduced the size of the earbuds and gone for a matte plastic finish. The result is a more ergonomic design that works great. It still falls out with rigorous jaw movements but I don't have to worry about them as much as before. And they are comfortable to wear.
As for the case, it simply charges the earbuds and holds them in place – no fancy tricks here (maybe on Samsung's agenda next year). The case is easily the best on any TWS earbuds I have seen so far; it is grippy, looks cute, and ergonomic to slip into pockets. There's wireless charging and the good old USB-C charging port. My unit in the Bora Purple looks beautiful and I recommend this colour to everyone buying it; the black and white are just… black and white.
Using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro back-to-back with the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen, it becomes crystal clear that Samsung is after pampered ears. The tuning is geared for a largely balanced setup with a minor emphasis on the lows. In its standard state of tune, the Buds 2 Pro is simply enjoyable for most genres. Be it the slow Kishore Kumar numbers or a highly energetic “Muqabla” (From Street Dancers 3D), these earbuds keep the mids strong and the highs clear. The bass is there but it is controlled; served in just the right amount. I left the Buds 2 Pro in its standard setting and I haven't considered playing with the equaliser.
Of course, you can boost the bass and treble, but then you are missing Samsung's brilliant tuning. Helping this great audio experience is an ear-sealing fit of the Buds 2 Pro, which also means good passive noise isolation. With Active Noise Cancellation enabled, a lot of the surrounding world disappears. However, some sounds seep in in loud environments and the earbuds can do nothing about that. Compared to the exceptional ANC on the Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Gen, this feels lacklustre. The transparency mode is good though and it is nice to have an amplified version of the world in your ears without any robotic tone.
Samsung's talking point has been the 24-bit audio codec, called Samsung Seamless Codec. Since it works only with Samsung devices, I tried tracks from Amazon Music on the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the result was only slightly noticeable to my ears. For most of you listening to Spotify or Apple Music, this is nothing other than a name.
Lastly, the call performance. While Bluetooth connectivity is among the best, the Buds 2 Pro doesn't impress with its mics. My voice sounds largely noisy and unnatural when compared to that on the AirPods Pro. Call it the defect of the design or poor algorithms but these earbuds are not good for taking calls.
In fact, Samsung is now wanting to create its own walled garden with its ecosystem, where the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro participates as well. The 360 Audio feature is one of those features, and while the surround sound experience is good, the strength of the audio goes away when enabled. The other feature is hands-free Bixby, which works fine if you use Bixby for your voice assistant needs.
Samsung's Wearable app on Samsung devices lets you tweak all the settings and even update the firmware on your earbuds. The Voice Detect feature is cool but annoying to have if you hum along. The earbud fit test is a nifty way to check for a good fit. The Buds 2 Pro can also do certain street smarts such as enable transparency during calls, read notifications from messages, smart management of calls, and seamless connection between Samsung devices. Sadly, a multipoint Bluetooth connectivity is missing here. The earbuds employ touch controls for playback controls and they work just fine.
Samsung promises up to 8 hours of stamina in regular mode and up to 5 hours with ANC. For just music listening, this is more than enough. However, when using it as a call earpiece on office days, the earbuds die on me within 3 hours. A quick top of 5 minutes in the case makes it good to go for another hour. The case itself charges slowly and I mostly left it on overnight charging. On an average, the case can deliver three charges easily.
With the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Samsung appeals to the niche crowd of people who like a well-balanced audio tuning; people who care for a well laid out soundstage instead of just strong bass. Beyond the great audio, I also recommend the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro for its comfortable fit, smart integration with Samsung phones, and a good battery life. The ANC performance is a bit weak compared to its immediate competitors and Samsung's push to use its own Galaxy smartphones with the Buds 2 Pro can annoy many.
On the whole, however, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is a worthy recommendation for less than Rs. 20000. Compared to the rivals from Sennheiser and Sony, this is simply a wholesome package.
- Great Audio quality
- Comfortable to wear
- Battery life
- ANC could be better
- Star features limited to Samsung phones
Platform supportAndroid, iOS
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