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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds 2: Which should you buy?
If you own an Android phone, especially a Samsung device, then the Galaxy Buds are probably at the top of your earbud wish list. For good reason too, as Samsung’s growing family of true wireless earbuds tends to hit it out of the park with a combination of comprehensive features, good sound, and great battery life.
However, as the Samsung earbud lineup continues to grow, it has become increasingly difficult to parse through the different options. In this Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds 2 comparison, we compare the two to see which ‘buds are worth your money.
Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review | Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro
Design and fit
At first glance, these two sets of earbuds are nearly indistinguishable. The most noticeable difference you’ll find is in color. The Galaxy Buds Pro are available in Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Black with a reflective finish, while the Galaxy Buds 2 are available in graphite, white, olive, and lavender, with a glossy finish.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro fit slightly better, with tiny built-in stabilizers to lock into your ears. You shouldn’t take them swimming, but with an IPX7 water-resistant rating, the Galaxy Buds Pro are capable of handling shallow water submersion. The Pro earbuds are slightly larger than the Galaxy Buds 2, and at 6.3g weigh a bit more, too.
Those with small ears will appreciate the smaller and lighter design of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. The earbuds only weigh 5g, but at the sacrifice of a less durable IPX2 rating that only handles slight splashes of water.
Auto-pause functionality works well on both earbuds, but only the Buds 2 have a fit test. The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app provides customization options for both, but the app is only available on Android.
The charging case of both earbuds is nearly identical. Secure magnets make the case easy to open and close one-handed, but the glossy finish can get slippery. Both cases are charged up via USB-C or wireless charging.
If you own a Samsung device, you’ll be able to take advantage of the Samsung Scalable Codec with either of these earbuds. This Bluetooth codec automatically adjusts the data transfer rate to ensure you get the optimal balance of connection quality and audio resolution. Samsung users can also use the Auto Switch feature, which allows you to stay connected to more than one Samsung device at a time.
See also: Bluetooth codecs 101 — everything you need to know
Surprisingly, Apple device owners also enjoy a strong Bluetooth connection to either of these earbuds. AAC Bluetooth codec support allows for consistent streaming quality from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. However, AAC is inconsistent across Android devices, so non-Samsung Android users will likely have to use the standard SBC Bluetooth codec.
Both earbuds access features and customization options through the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app; however, app support is only available on Android devices. In a decisive move, Samsung has not extended support for either the Galaxy Buds 2 or Buds Pro on the Samsung Galaxy Buds iOS app. iPhone users are not able to change any of the default settings on the earbuds.
Samsung has not extended support for either the Galaxy Buds 2 or Buds Pro on the Samsung Galaxy Buds iOS app.
The app toggles ANC and ambient sound listening modes, as well as touch controls which you can customize or disable. There is no customizable equalizer, but you can select from preset EQ settings. You can also specify your voice assistant preferences within the app. If you use either the Galaxy Buds Pro or Galaxy Buds 2 with a Samsung handset, you can even access Bixby with just your voice.
A couple of features are only available on the Galaxy Buds Pro. 360 Audio utilizes Dolby Atmos for a surround sound effect but is only available when using the Galaxy Buds Pro with Samsung Galaxy devices. The Galaxy Buds Pro also have variable high and low settings for ANC, while the Galaxy Buds 2 do not let you adjust the noise-cancelling intensity.
See: The best headphone deals available right now
In our testing, the Galaxy Buds 2 lasted five hours and nine minutes, while the Galaxy Buds Pro only lasted four hours and 48 minutes. Both earbuds were tested under the same conditions of constant playback at 75dB(SPL) with ANC turned on. Furthermore, the Buds Pro case only holds two additional charges, while the Buds 2 case provides an extra three battery cycles.
Both of the charging cases support fast charging wirelessly or over USB-C. The Galaxy Buds Pro case provides 85 minutes of playback after 10 minutes of charging; meanwhile, a five-minute charge supplies the Galaxy Buds 2 with 60 minutes of power.
See also: How to maximize device battery life
Both sets of earbuds support Wireless Powershare, which allows the earbuds to steal some charge from your phone on the go. By enabling Wireless PowerShare on a Samsung device and setting the earbud case on top of the phone, you’ll be able to grab some power to keep on listening to your music. You don’t need a Samsung device to take advantage of wireless charging though; you can place either case on a standard Qi mat.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have slightly superior sound isolation and noise-cancelling compared to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. As with all earbuds, the amount of environmental noise blocked out will be heavily dependent on the fit achieved with the ear tips. If you get a tight seal, the Galaxy Buds 2 renders most noises up to one-quarter as loud as they’d sound without the earbuds in.
ANC can be set to either high or low settings on the Galaxy Buds Pro within the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app, whereas ANC can only be turned on or off on the Galaxy Buds 2. Both earbuds have Aware modes that can be toggled on to pipe in some environmental noise.
See more: The best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds
Each of these earbuds has a consumer-friendly sound that most people will enjoy. In the chart above, the frequency response of the Galaxy Buds 2 is in cyan while a dashed yellow line represents the Galaxy Buds Pro. The pink curve is the SoundGuys target consumer headphone frequency response. Both earbuds stay relatively true to our target sound, with slight deviations.
The Galaxy Buds Pro have more high-end emphasis, with 5dB more volume at frequencies around 10kHz compared to the Galaxy Buds 2. Cymbals and other instruments with high-frequency content will sound slightly louder on the Buds Pro, as will bass notes from 100-400Hz.
The Galaxy Buds 2 slightly boosts sub-bass notes below 100Hz, as well as upper-mid frequencies around 1kHz. This creates a “punchier” sound, though at the expense of fundamental notes between 100-1000Hz.
Both Galaxy Buds sound very good and perform well with all genres of music, but you’re more likely to encounter masking through the Galaxy Buds 2. If you listen to bass-heavy and instrumentally busy music, this means that higher-pitched sounds like vocals and string instruments could be hard to hear during choruses. Again, if you have an Android device, you can select from any number of EQ presets to try and remedy this.
When it comes to microphone quality, the Galaxy Buds Pro have a leg up on the Galaxy Buds 2. Your voice will sound more natural on the Buds Pro, and the microphones reject environmental noise well, great for outdoor phone calls.
The Galaxy Buds 2 microphones are by no means bad, but they do sometimes struggle to reject background noise. We especially noticed difficulty with wind, so these earbuds aren’t ideal if you plan on taking a lot of calls on the go.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds 2: The verdict
There’s no obvious winner here, so your decision will come down to a couple of key factors. One thing to consider is price, as the Galaxy Buds Pro cost anywhere from $20-50 more than the Galaxy Buds 2, depending on current discounts and availability. Another thing to consider is what features you’re looking for, as only the Galaxy Buds Pro offer an IPX7 rating and 360 Audio. The Galaxy Buds Pro also offers adjustable ANC and a better microphone for people who always find themselves on the go.
If you don’t care about all the fancy bells and whistles, just go with the Galaxy Buds 2. These earbuds nail the essentials, with good sound, solid battery life, and great ANC.
Another consideration to take into account is the fit of the earbuds, which is key to getting good sound quality and isolation. Getting a good fit with earbuds is tough since you typically can’t try them on in a store before buying. Generally, smaller ears fit the Galaxy Buds 2 better, while those with large ears will appreciate the stabilizers on the Galaxy Buds Pro.