Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Samsung’s excellent response to the AirPods Pro

Hush.

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a sweet, sweet silence. It is this beautiful nothingness that can allow you to avoid distractions, both in private and in public. That’s the whole appeal of noise-canceling headphones, and Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro nail that aspect stronger than any Samsung headphones that have come before it.

At $230, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are definitely on the more expensive end of the wireless earbud spectrum, but high audio quality and stronger active noise cancellation might just make them the Headphones to get for Samsung fanatics.

Striped eggs

The vertical crest of the mark.
Credit: Kyle Cobain/Mashable

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro physically resemble last year’s Galaxy buds 2 more than anything else, with a few key differences. Available in three colors (graphite, white and bora purple), these are still egg-shaped headphones with a silicone tip to plug directly into your ear canal. But one major change has dramatically improved fit and comfort this time around.

A piece of the “egg” shape has been ripped off the inner side of the earphone body and replaced with a vertical ridge. This serves the same purpose of fit security as a rubber stabilizer on other headphones, like the Beats Fit Pro. At first I thought it was an odd choice, but a few minutes with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in my ears confirmed it was the right one. These are supremely comfortable for hours at a time and never threaten to fall out of place in more than a week of constant testing.

Other than that, the physical form factor of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will be familiar to anyone who has used Samsung’s older headphones. Other changes are more subtle, like a 15% reduction in size (which surely also helps with comfort levels) and a small vent hole on the inner side under the vertical ridge which Samsung says helps with wind flow.

As usual, the outer side also acts as a touchscreen which you can use for basic playback and ANC controls: one tap to pause, two to forward, three to rewind, plus tap and hold to enable or disable ANC. . You can turn them on or off in a Samsung device’s settings menu, but there’s not much more customization to do here.

Samsung specialized

Samsung Galaxy wearable app

The Galaxy Wearable app gives you a lot of options.
Credit: Screenshot: Samsung

Speaking of settings, as expected, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are best used with an Android device, preferably made by Samsung itself. In order to make any changes in their functionality, you will need the Galaxy Wearable application, installed by default on Samsung devices or otherwise available on Android play store.

At this point, it should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: iPhone users are out of luck here. You can still use the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro as a Bluetooth device, but you won’t get software updates or the ability to change settings. This is one of the few areas where Apple’s device-independent Beats Fit Pro wins the day, for me.

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The Beats Fit Pro are Apple’s best wireless headphones yet

Setup only takes a few seconds, as simply opening the charging case next to a Samsung device will automatically open an on-screen login prompt. If you need to connect the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to another device, just touch and hold both earbuds while in the case for a few seconds, and Bluetooth pairing mode will activate . I’d like a dedicated Bluetooth button for that, but what’s here works pretty well.

The Galaxy Wearable app itself is fairly intuitive and doesn’t bring many surprises to the party. You can switch between ANC modes, turn features like touch controls and voice detection on and off (which turns ANC off as soon as you start speaking), play with a basic sound equalizer, and futz with a number of other minor parameters. The 360 ​​audio toggle turns on spatial audio, which connects sound to your phone, so if you turn your head away from the phone, sound appears to be coming from the direction of the phone. It’s… functional, but not something I would want to use.

It’s a decent amount of customization, although I wish you had more control over which touch controls do what. Of course, none of this would matter if the headphones didn’t sound good. On that note, there’s another Samsung-specific feature: 24-bit “HiFi” audio. If you have a modern Samsung device, you automatically get better sound through the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro than something like an iPhone.

However, I can’t say that I noticed a huge difference when testing on an iPhone compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4. The good news is that it doesn’t really matter; these buds sound fantastic no matter what device you’re using.

Absolute silence

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 speaker grille

It’s a powerful little speaker.
Credit: Kyle Cobain/Mashable

I won’t say the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best sound headphones I’ve ever used, because Beats Fit Pro probably still wins a (close) competition there. But if I was a Samsung enthusiast who wanted headphones that brought the noise in (and kept it), I wouldn’t hesitate to get them.

Bass thumps hard, sounds in the high and low registers swim beautifully in your ears, and it’s basically just a joy to listen to anything with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. I listened to a wide variety of genres during my test week, from electronic bass to Tetris effect soundtrack of Sturgill Simpson’s frenzied anti-war enthusiasm “Call to Arms”and everything sounded exactly as it should.

“Call to Arms” in particular is worth a test if you pick up those bad boys. Not only is it a fun time for the whole family (as long as your family enjoys cursing American foreign policy), but it continues to build and add instruments over time until the composition is so dense that you can always notice a new instrument each time. repeated listening. It’s really important that audio gear can pick up all the instruments in a song like this, and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are up to the task.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 charging case charging port

Expect to become very familiar with the USB-C charging port on the case.
Credit: Kyle Cobain/Mashable

All of this is aided by some of the best ANCs I’ve ever heard. Samsung marketing claims that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have been designed to filter out a higher range of noise than previous models and I can say that is absolutely true. I tested them on the busy streets of Brooklyn, in my bedroom next to a noisy air conditioner, and on the subway, and as long as the volume was set above about 75%, I couldn’t hear anything. anything other than what I wanted to hear. This is tremendous.

I wish I could say the same for battery life. The buds themselves can last around five hours with ANC on, which isn’t best in class but is perfectly acceptable. The problem, for once, is the charging case. In a week of testing, the box ran out of juice and I had to plug it in no less than three times. By comparison, I could go over a week with the Beats Fit Pro without plugging in the case all at once. I was always taken by surprise before going out, discovering that the case had no battery left. It’s not cool.

Tight competition

When it comes to Samsung’s line of headphones, there’s hardly any case for anything other than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. They sound (and fit) better than the bean shape Galaxy Buds Live and the previous Galaxy Buds 2. They’re $80 more than the $150 Galaxy Buds 2, but it’s $80 well spent, if you ask me.

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Obviously, iPhone users should stick to AirPods Pro in the $200+ ANC headphones market. These will work natively with any iPhone and offer many more options than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which are effectively sterilized on a non-Android phone. That said…I would still recommend the Beats Fit Pro against all of the above, no matter what device you have. Their sound quality and ANC compare well to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and they’re $30 cheaper. You also don’t have to worry about being locked out of too many features just because you have the wrong phone.

But if you have a Samsung device, you might as well get started in the ecosystem. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are some of the best sounding headphones and even the loudest person in the world can’t disturb you when you’re rocking those ridged little eggs.

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