Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: The evergreen choice

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: The Galaxy Buds 2 with its finely balanced audio signature and clever mix of smart features makes itself a tempting choice at INR 12,000.
By AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
| Updated on Nov 03 2021, 06:49 PM IST
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isn't interested in targeting audiophiles. It wants to care about the regular people, like you and me.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isn't interested in targeting audiophiles. It wants to care about the regular people, like you and me. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 comes at a time when the TWS earbuds market is crowded with tempting options. You have got Google Pixel Buds A-series and Oppo Enco X, along with the Sony and Jabra options fighting for your attention, and money. The Galaxy Buds 2 isn't interested in targeting audiophiles, unlike the others. It's more in line with the Google Pixel Buds A series, i.e., caring about the regular people, like you and me.

At INR 11,999, the Galaxy Buds 2 is commanding SOME price. Your money's worth is visible right from the get-go though: a cutesy design, ANC, and a convenient shape. But is all that enough to let you ignore the Google Pixel Buds A-series and Oppo Enco X?

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Design

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Similar to its smartphones, Samsung is going for a unified design language on its earbud lineup. Whether its case or the shape of the earbuds, the Galaxy Buds 2 looks mostly identical to the Galaxy Buds Pro and somewhat resemblance to the Galaxy Buds Live. Not a design I would term flashy, but the cute rounded shape and glossy finish impart the current fashion.

Whichever colour you choose, the case exterior remains white and the insides are all coloured; so are the earbuds. The oval egg-like shape fits snug inside the ear but due to the lack of an ear hook, they have a tendency to loosen up when you are talking, or chewing. The eartips secure the ear canal nicely for a sound passive noise reduction.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Audio quality

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

The Galaxy Buds 2 is tuned to deliver a finely balanced audio signature -- not oriented towards bass, neither higher treble levels. It may sound bland at times but audiophiles may like this approach in audio tuning. Since I prefer some serving of bass, I turned on the Bass Boost mode from the equaliser -- this pronounces the lower frequencies but that thumping bass effect you get from a Sony is lacking.

This subtle tuning does help with the comfort factor -- I was able to listen longer on the Galaxy Buds 2 when compared to its rivals. Whether you listen to Bollywood, retro, or hip hop sensations, the Galaxy Buds 2 in Bass mode did enough to make the listening experiences enjoyable.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Amritanshu / HT Teh)

Helping with the experience is ANC. It is strong enough to dial out the ceiling fan or ambient traffic noise. You are still likely to hear high-pitched voices and strong winds occasionally, but there’s enough isolation to not take away from the listening experience. The Ambient mode enhances the ambient sounds with a slightly robotic touch but is certainly helpful outdoors.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Smart features

Unlike the Galaxy Buds Pro, the smart features on the Galaxy Buds 2 are limited. You still get touch controls that are adequately sensitive. You control playback and accept/reject calls with tap gestures, while volume control are available as an experimental feature under Samsung Labs section. There’s Bixby available as your onboard voice assistant; it works nicely for basic functions. There’s also a voice prompt for notifications.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Sadly, Samsung skips its beam-forming wind reduction tech for mic reception. Hence, my callers were able to hear me out easily indoors but repeatedly asked to switch to the phone’s earpiece while being outdoors. Taking calls is easy on the Galaxy Buds 2 but the earbuds may dislodge if there’s extensive jaw movement.

I used the Galaxy Buds 2 mostly with a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and hence, the Galaxy Wearable app was already ready for a seamless setup experience right out of the box. Apart from the battery levels, you can update the firmware, tweak equaliser, control ANC modes, and try out experimental features from the Labs section. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

You have to install this app from the Google Play store on non-Samsung devices. iPhone users are out of luck as the Galaxy Wearable app does not support the Buds 2; you can just use them as Bluetooth earbuds. Ecosystem limitations are on a rise with Samsung products this year.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Battery life

The Galaxy Buds 2 can comfortably last up to four hours with a mix of ANC off and on on audio; this figure drops by an hour if you throw more calls into the mix. Considering the backup from the case, I was able to go up to 5 days on a single charge while using the earbuds for two hours daily on an average. The case takes over 2 hours to fully charge from. There’s wireless charging available too for a quick top up with reverse wireless charging supported phones.

Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

At INR 11,999, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 seems like a fairly reliable pair of earbuds. The audio quality is pleasant and the addition of ANC always helps in a noisy India. The battery life is adequate and when paired with a Samsung phone, it’s a lot more convenient. And you cannot ignore its chic looks, especially in the beautiful lavender colour. It seems like a well balanced proposition at this price, especially over the Google Pixel Buds A series.

However, head over to the Samsung India online store and you can find the Galaxy Buds Pro on sale at INR 9,999. The Buds Pro has slightly better audio signature, better mic performance, and the clever ANC mode; it is supposed to be the flagship model in Samsung’s earbuds lineup. And, it works with iPhones too. Why go for the Galaxy Buds 2 then, right? I find no reason to recommend the Buds 2 over Buds Pro.

Our take: The Galaxy Buds Pro at its discounted price of INR 9,999 is a better choice now but once the stock runs out, or Samsung drops the price, we feel the Galaxy Buds 2 could be the evergreen choice, just like its predecessors.

Rating
4 out of 5
Price
INR 11,999/-
Product Name
Galaxy Buds 2
Brand Name
Samsung
Pros
  • Balanced audio signature
  • Convenient to use
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • No iOS app support
  • Pricey
Specifications
  • ANC
    Yes
  • Smart assistant
    Bixby
  • Sound profile
    Adaptive Sound
  • Wireless charging
    Yes

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First Published Date: 03 Nov, 08:54 AM IST
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