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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: What we want to see

It's about more than just improved sound quality.

Published onJune 28, 2021

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy Buds

Believe it or not, Samsung hasn’t updated its standard Galaxy Buds since 2019 — everything else has been an upgrade for those willing to pay a premium. In that sense, then, the seemingly imminent Galaxy Buds 2 are long overdue.

Just what could Samsung do to spruce up the Galaxy Buds 2 is another matter. Will the true wireless earbuds deliver a significant upgrade to audio quality and design, or will they just be a retread? Here’s what we want to see from the next-gen buds, along with a few hints of what to expect.

Better sound quality

Samsung Galaxy Buds Case open

It’s safe to say that improved audio quality is the top request for the Galaxy Buds 2 — while their predecessors sound good, competitors (not to mention Samsung follow-ups like the Galaxy Buds Pro) have moved the game forward.

While we found that the originals had good bass response and isolation, we’d like to see a tighter low end and more detail as a whole. It would also be helpful if the Galaxy Buds 2 had active audio processing beyond Ambient Sound. We wouldn’t expect active noise cancellation in this price class, but some added intelligence would be appreciated.

Related: The best true wireless earbuds – there’s more than Apple out there

Thankfully, that might just happen. 91Mobiles mentioned in a recent leak that the Galaxy Buds 2 could include active noise reduction. You would still hear the world around you, then, but you’d also have an easier time listening to music and calls on busy sidewalks. However, there hasn’t been mention of support for AptX, LDAC, or other audio codecs that could improve quality.

A refreshed design

Few would call the existing Galaxy Buds ugly, but they’re best described as inoffensive — not what Samsung wants in a market full of trendy AirPods. The Galaxy Buds 2 need a more stylish (if not necessarily iconic) look if they’re going to remain relevant. While their nature as the “starter” earbuds will likely limit what’s possible, we’d like something sleeker and slightly more premium-looking.

Related: The best true wireless earbuds under $50 you can buy

For that matter, Samsung could also stand to improve the color selection. To date, the most eye-catching choices have been Aura Glow Silver (really, silver with a slightly fancy insert) and a searingly bright yellow. We’d like the Galaxy Buds 2 to come in colors that are eye-catching without being gaudy.

Once again, though, it looks like that wish is coming true. The 91Mobiles leak suggested the Galaxy Buds 2 would have a slicker, single-hued design with cheery-but-tasteful green and purple color options alongside the usual black and white.  They might even come in a Pixel Buds A-style two-tone case that’s white on the outside, but matches your earbuds’ shade on the inside.

Better battery life and water resistance

Samsung Galaxy Buds white

The first Galaxy Buds had enough battery life to handle a lengthy Zoom meeting or a long walk, but not much more than that. For that matter, the case was good for three extra charges — not so hot if you’re just stepping off an airplane (now that travel is a thing again) and still need some listening time. While it might be unrealistic to expect a full workday from the buds without returning them to the case, we would like to see at least a slight improvement in longevity.

What do you want most from the Galaxy Buds 2?

117 votes

That might happen. An FCC filing hinted the Galaxy Buds 2 themselves might only get a slight battery upgrade, from 58mAh in each ear to 60mAh, but that the case would nearly double in capacity from 252mAh to 500mAh. You might recharge the earbuds several times before you have to even think about topping up their case.

Water-resistance is also a weak point for the current models, for that matter. An IPX2 rating just isn’t enough if you’re going to sweat all over your earbuds during a workout or listen to your music when you’ve been caught out in the rain. We’d prefer it if the Galaxy Buds 2 offered IPX4 resistance that could handle most sweat and splashes without trouble.

Read more: The best true wireless workout earbuds you can buy

Unfortunately, it’s not clear if that resistance upgrade is forthcoming. Although the Galaxy Buds 2 will clearly sport a redesign, it’s not certain if they’re any more splashproof than their predecessors. You might want to budget for the IPX7-rated Galaxy Buds Pro if you can’t afford to wait.

Galaxy Buds 2 projected release date and price

Samsung Galaxy Buds layed out

It’s not certain just when Samsung will release the Galaxy Buds 2 to the general public. However, it has historically held an Unpacked event in August, when it introduces key accessories alongside some of its hottest phones. If Samsung is going to introduce these buds any time soon, that’s the most likely candidate.

Price should be less of a mystery. The first-generation Galaxy Buds officially sell for $129.99, and we wouldn’t expect that pricing to change for the Galaxy Buds 2. With that said, there are earbuds with similar or better features at lower prices, such as the Pixel Buds A and second-generation Amazon Echo Buds. Samsung may want more aggressive prices if it’s going to remain on the shortlist for many buyers.