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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
What we like
What we don't like
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Aside from Apple, Samsung is the leading audio wearable company interested in getting you to like its true wireless earbuds. The brand’s flagship Galaxy Buds 2 Pro promise impressive technical performance with great sound quality and active noise canceling (ANC). Does Samsung hit the mark, or are its buds unremarkable? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.
Update, June 2023: Added information about enhanced Ambient Sound modes and ensured all information is current.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: What you need to know
- Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: $229 / £219 / €229
Samsung released the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on August 28, 2022, a year and a day after the Galaxy Buds 2. Before that, the world dug into the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live, a pair of open-ear headphones that came out on August 21, 2020. Samsung has a thing for August releases.
Like the Galaxy Buds 2, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have a playful, rounded shape. However, the Pro earbuds are the only Galaxy Buds with a matte finish, which makes them friendlier to butter-fingered listeners. Silicone ear tips block out noise and stabilize the fit. You get three standard sizes: small, medium, or large. The earphones have an IPX7 rating, meaning they can withstand 30 minutes of submersion at depths of less than one meter.
Active noise cancelation is available with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, as it is with the Galaxy Buds Live and Buds 2. This time around, Samsung’s ANC blocks out more noise than compared to the Galaxy Buds 2 and the original Galaxy Buds Pro. Likewise, the company improved its ambient sound mode, which is the opposite of ANC. Instead of blocking out as much noise as possible, ambient sound pushes external noise through the buds to keep you aware.
On May 16, 2023, Samsung upgraded ambient sound mode and added customization options. With enhanced ambient sound mode, listeners can independently adjust the volume of the left and right earbuds. The company also added two more levels of ambient sound amplification, along with Adapt Ambient Sound, which lets listeners tweak the clarity of background noise. While this isn’t a substitute for hearing aids, it’s a valuable feature for those with mild hearing loss.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 15% smaller than the original Buds Pro and have better ANC.
Mirroring other Galaxy Buds before them, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro work best with a Samsung phone. Samsung’s exclusive features include 24-bit audio over the Samsung Seamless Codec, which is a mouth full. All you need to know about this codec is that it supplies high-quality audio with no lag. Samsung phone owners also get 360 Audio for surround sound with certain content from Disney Plus, YouTube, or Amazon Music, to name a few options. Pairing the Buds 2 Pro with a Galaxy S23 series phone, a Galaxy Z Flip 4, or a Z Fold 4 running One UI 5.0 also lets you record 360 Audio with your videos. This is a niche feature aimed at creatives and vloggers.
Other Samsung exclusives include “Hey, Bixby” support for Samsung’s digital assistant and Wireless PowerShare. With the latter, plopping the case onto a compatible Samsung device recharges it. You also get support for one-step pairing to a Samsung device. Opening the case near your Galaxy phone walks you through the pairing process.
These Samsung features are mighty impressive, but they aren’t necessary in my opinion. A non-Samsung Android phone can still access many useful features with the Galaxy Wearable app. Downloading the app grants access to an ear tip fit test, EQ presets, and some control customization. If you have Spotify on your Android phone, you can enable Spotify Tap. Turning this on means a double tap of one of the earbuds plays a song from a relevant Spotify playlist. Windows 10+ devices also receive the one-step pairing treatment since the Buds 2 Pro support Microsoft Swift Pair.
With noise canceling on, Samsung claims the earbuds will last for around five hours, with the case providing an extra 13 hours of playtime. This is the same standalone battery life as the Buds 2 and a tad less than the older Galaxy Buds Live. To recharge the case, Samsung provides a USB-C cable.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have a few features the other Galaxy Buds lack, mainly 24-bit audio and 360 Audio head tracking. If you want to be on the cutting edge of everything Samsung, then the Buds 2 Pro make the most sense. Otherwise, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Buds 2. The visual discerning characteristics are the Buds 2’s glossy finish that contrasts the Buds 2 Pro’s matte finish.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro come in three colors: Bora Purple, Graphite, and White. These earbuds cost $229, though they often go on sale for closer to $179.
After using them for over a week, I can confirm that the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are extremely comfortable to wear for hours at a time. Samsung is notorious for its hypersensitive touch panels, which were a nuisance on older Galaxy Buds. This time around, that issue is gone. Thankfully, the Buds 2 Pro didn’t register my fingers adjusting the fit as a command.
Unlike the Buds 2, I never fumbled these buds when placing them back into the case, either. That rubberized matte veneer made the Buds 2 Pro much easier to handle. The IPX7 rating may be more insurance than most people need, but if you drop a bud into a puddle, it shouldn’t break.
Samsung reused the same jewelry box-inspired case design that debuted with the Galaxy Buds Live. Why reinvent the wheel? Samsung’s case is durable, and its texture matches the buds. The only downside for me is that the case collects dust and scratches.
One of the best things about Samsung’s earbuds is their sound quality, and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro fit right in. No matter what type of music you listen to, the Buds 2 Pro will sound great. Most people will enjoy the bass bump, and I liked it when listening to the song Politics and Violence by Dominic Fike. Instrumental claps took over the final third of the song, and the buds reproduced these without a piercing effect.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are another pair of comfortable earbuds from Samsung that sound great.
Perhaps even better than the buds’ sound quality is the noise canceling. With noise canceling on, I could hardly hear the kitchen sink running as I cleaned dishes. Similarly, my apartment’s decrepit A/C unit became inaudible with noise canceling. Samsung’s ANC didn’t mute my coffee grinder but transformed it from a roar into a rumble. The earbuds also blocked out higher-pitched, unpredictable sounds like my mechanical keyboard.
Pairing the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to a compatible Samsung device unlocks the Samsung Seamless Codec (SSC). SSC transmits 24-bit audio from your Galaxy phone to the buds — a must-have for some audio enthusiasts. For most of us, the biggest perk of SSC is its fast performance. During my Galaxy Buds 2 Pro testing, there was no audio-visual lag when steaming SSC with a Galaxy S23 Plus. I never noticed any lag between making commands, either.
The Samsung Find feature works well if you misplace a bud, but you need a Samsung device with SmartThings installed for it to work. This combination makes Samsung’s Find almost as robust as Apple’s. With a Samsung phone, you can navigate to the buds if they’re at a different location. Or if they’re in your house, you may ring one or both buds to locate them. With the app, you can enable push notifications to alert you when leaving the buds behind.
Although Samsung has plenty of features limited to its Galaxy handsets, the fact remains these are great earbuds for Android. Through the Galaxy Wearable app installed on my Google Pixel 6, I had access to most of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro features. As someone who often talks to myself while working, I’m grateful for the option to turn off Voice Detect mode. With this enabled, ambient sound mode kicks in when you speak, turning the music down and relaying background noise through the buds.
I also customized the touch controls from a Pixel 6. Samsung gives many commands to choose from. Here, you can set it to adjust the listening mode (ANC, ambient sound, off), access your phone’s smart assistant, adjust the volume, or enable Spotify Tap. If you don’t want to dedicate the custom commands to volume adjustments, go into the Galaxy Lab section of the app. This experimental feature lets you double-tap the edge of each bud to change the volume. It’s nifty and saved me from repeatedly interacting with my phone.
What’s not so good?
The Galaxy Wearable app is comprehensive, but it doesn’t have a custom equalizer. You can adjust the sound exactly how you want it with an EQ. This isn’t necessary, as the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sound good out of the box, but it would be nice for us pickier listeners to have the option to tinker. As an outside solution, you can dig through the abundant third-party EQ apps to get that perfect sound.
Likewise, I missed all the fancy SmartThings Find perks that Galaxy phones are privy to when using my Pixel 6. Non-Samsung Android phone owners can’t view the Galaxy Buds’ location on a map, even with the SmartThings app installed. Instead, you only have the option to emit an alert tone through the earbuds. If you lose them outside of your current location, I hope you have a good memory and some good luck.
Unfortunately, non-Samsung smartphone owners don’t get aptX support with the Buds 2 Pro, either. Yes, these earphones support AAC, but this has a track record of volatile performance on Android. You may not notice a difference in audio quality when streaming over AAC compared to SBC, but you’ll likely notice the audio-visual lag on certain devices. I observed some audio-visual delay when streaming over the earbuds’ AAC codec on a Pixel 6. This wasn’t a dealbreaker, but it may be crucial to avid video consumers.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have relatively short battery life.
Another thing to remember before buying the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is their battery life. Officially, the buds last five hours with noise canceling on. In our testing, the buds almost reached that at four hours, 50 minutes. We appreciate that Samsung didn’t overinflate its numbers but expect better battery life from flagship buds. For instance, the Pixel Buds Pro lasted more than seven hours in our tests, and the Sony WF-1000XM4 came closer to eight hours with ANC on.
Then we have Samsung 360 Audio. This is one of the main marketing points for the Buds 2 Pro, and it sounds good enough on its own. However, the head tracking is not on par with Google, OnePlus, or Apple’s flagship earbuds. During this Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review, it was clear to me that Samsung’s head tracking effect is much less pronounced than with other buds. Funny enough, I actually prefer a subtler effect — that wasn’t the issue for me. Instead, the problem was the inconsistent head tracking response. Sometimes I barely had to turn my head for the sound to change. Other times, I had to embody an owl and rotate my head as far as possible to get any effect. This inconsistency took me out of the scene. I noticed this whether streaming the opening scene of Spider-Man No Way Home or listening to compatible songs on Amazon Music.
The microphone quality is also disappointing. My voice sounded fine to friends when I called them from my apartment. When I carried a phone call outside, the person on the other end of the call could hear plenty of background noise. In the demo below, voice quality does not sound particularly good, and plenty of background noise comes through.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Non-standardized):
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro specs
|Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro|
Earbud: 21.6 x 19.9 x 18.7mm
Case: 50.2 x 50.1 x 27.7mm
Connectivity and Bluetooth codecs
Samsung Seamless Codec (One UI 4.0+)
Earbuds (ANC on): 5 hours
Earbuds (ANC off): 8 hours
Case and earbuds (ANC on): 20 hours
Case and earbuds (ANC off): 30 hours
Voice Pickup Unit
Samsung 360 Audio
Yes, with head tracking
360 Audio recording (One UI 5.0+ on Galaxy Flip 4 and Fold 4 phones)
Active noise cancelation
Original price (USD)
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are Samsung’s best earphones to date. These are bursting at the seams with high-tech hardware. You’ll have a hard time finding better ANC in such a portable package, but if you don’t have a Samsung device, you’re leaving quite a few features on the table.
Even without these specialized Samsung options, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are powerful earbuds for Android phones. Listeners who value sound quality, noise canceling, and comfort should absolutely consider these flagship earbuds. But bear in mind: while the Bud 2 Pro are the best in Samsung’s Galaxy, they’re not the best value.
For a better bang for your buck, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($99 at Amazon). Like the Buds 2 Pro, the Buds 2 have ANC, EQ presets, an ear tip fit test, and 360 Audio. The Buds 2’s noise canceling isn’t as good as the Buds 2 Pro, but it will still make your commute quieter. Interestingly, the Galaxy Buds 2 sound a smidge better than the Buds 2 Pro, though you’d have to strain to hear this difference.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are highly advanced earphones but the Buds 2 are a better value.
Listeners who want better battery life than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro should turn their ears toward the Sony WF-1000XM4 ($278 at Amazon). These have an official eight-hour battery life with ANC on. Admittedly, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have better ANC than Sony’s buds, but you’ll hear less ambient noise like chit-chat and street noise wearing the WF-1000XM4. Sony also lets you tailor the sound to your liking and prioritize connection stability over audio quality. The latter is particularly helpful for correcting a choppy audio signal.
The Jabra Elite 4 ($79 at Amazon) are another great pair of earbuds that you may pass over for flashier flagships. Jabra’s buds have active noise canceling and boast a custom EQ that works on any device. Unlike many flagship earbuds even, the Elite 4 support aptX, which is great news for Android users. Regarding high-value products, the Elite 4 are some of the best buds.
We recommend the Google Pixel Buds Pro ($199 at Amazon) if you own a Google phone. You get “Hey, Google” on most Android phones. Listeners can customize the sound through the Pixel Buds app or a Pixel phone’s settings menu. You get a standard IPX4 rating for the buds and an IPX2 rating for the case, so all parts can resist water to some degree. Like the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Pixel Buds Pro have spatial audio with head tracking, which only works with Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series phones.
Top Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review questions and answers
To pair the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to any device, follow these steps:
- Place the buds in the case and close the lid.
- Open the lid and tap and hold each earbud until the LED cycles through red, green, and blue flashes.
- Follow this path on your phone: Settings > Connections > Bluetooth > Add Device. (This varies slightly by device.)
- Tap the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are better than the Galaxy Buds Pro in just about every way. You’ll get significantly better ANC from the Buds 2 Pro and better touch controls. Unlike the Buds Pro, the Buds 2 Pro don’t register quick fit adjustments as commands.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have an IPX7 rating that denotes their water resistance. They should be able to survive 30 minutes of submersion as long as they don’t go deeper than one meter. While the IPX7-rated Galaxy Buds 2 Pro technically should be able to endure a shower, we don’t recommend this. It’s best practice to avoid any unnecessary water exposure with electronics. Plus, you don’t want soap to gunk up and damage your earbuds.
No, Samsung Dual Audio works with any earbuds connected to a compatible Samsung device. For this Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review, I experimented to see if Dual Audio works with non-Samsung earbuds. The screenshots above show that Dual Audio even works with Apple’s AirPods Pro 2.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro battery lasts five hours with ANC on, and the case provides 13 hours. In total, you get 18 hours of playtime.