Samsung’s rapidly growing line of true wireless earbuds has a new entry, and it’s not yet the most expensive or the most advanced. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is, as the name suggests, the successor to the Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds +, rather than a new flagship in the company’s Galaxy Buds line. Priced at Rs. 11,999, there’s a lot to offer here as well, including premium features like active noise cancellation and support for the company’s scalable advanced Bluetooth codec.
While the Galaxy Buds Pro remains at the top of Samsung’s pecking order for true wireless headphones, the Galaxy Buds 2 promises to be the value-for-money headset that has so far been lacking in the portfolio. It’s impressive on paper, but can it live up to the hype? Find out in this review.
Significantly improved fit and comfort on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung’s last three true wireless headsets have all had very different designs, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 has the best of them all. The headphones have a good fit in the channel, but the shape of the ear cups means they fit securely. In my experience, they provided decent sound insulation without putting too much pressure on my outer ears.
This improved design and the reduced weight of these headphones solve some of the long-term comfort issues I had with the Galaxy Buds Pro. Each earphone weighs 5g, while the charging case weighs approximately 41g. There are a total of six microphones (three on each earbud) which provide active noise cancellation and voice communications. The headphones are rated IPX2 for water resistance, which is a bit of a letdown.
Although the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is the successor to the Galaxy Buds and Buds +, the headset looks similar to the Galaxy Buds Pro, with a shiny exterior face and a charging case almost identical to the more expensive one. Pro headphones. The outer sides of the ear cups are tactile for controls, which are customizable through the Galaxy Wearable app on Android smartphones.
There is no app for iOS yet, which is a bit disappointing, and no Dolby Atmos support. Some Samsung features like auto-switching and Bixby support will improve the experience for Samsung smartphone users a bit.
In terms of features, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is very similar to the Galaxy Buds Pro, with active noise cancellation, in-app customization, and Qi wireless charging in addition to USB Type-C fast charging. For connectivity, the headphones use Bluetooth 5.2, with support for SBC, AAC, and Scalable Bluetooth codecs. Each earphone has two dynamic drivers, a woofer and a tweeter.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 works with the Galaxy Wearable app on Android smartphones. This can be used to control ANC and Ambient Sound modes, customize touch controls, adjust equalizer settings, and tweak a few other features like playing notifications aloud. You can perform a headset fit test and choose whether or not to use Ambient Sound mode during calls.
The controls are customizable, but the level of customization is a bit limited on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. A single tap plays or pauses your music, a double tap skips to the next track and a triple tap skips to the previous track – these functions can only be enabled or disabled; you cannot change the function itself. The touch and hold gesture switches between default noise control modes, but can be configured to activate voice assistant or control volume instead.
There is also an experimental setting which, if enabled, allows you to adjust the volume by tapping on the edges of the ear cups, freeing up the gesture of touching and holding for a different function. I actually didn’t mind those limitations at all, and using the controls was pretty easy during my time with the Galaxy Buds 2.
The battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isn’t as impressive as with the Buds Pro when it comes to headphones, but the charging case is able to charge the headphones a bit more. I got a total listening time of around four hours on the earbuds with ANC enabled, with the charging case managing to charge them three times, for a total battery life of around 16 hours per charge cycle. While not exceptional, the battery life is quite decent compared to the similarly priced competition.
Good active noise cancellation, clean sound on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Priced at Rs. 11,999 in India, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 rivals in the mid-range segment. That said, there’s a lot to love about these headphones for the price, including good active noise cancellation, upgradeable Bluetooth codec support, and good tuning.
I have used the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 with my iPhone 12 mini and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition for much of this review, but have also tried it with a Samsung smartphone to test performance with the Scalable codec. While the latter offered a significantly better listening experience, the AAC codec used on other devices didn’t hold back the headphones too much.
Listening to John Mayer’s I Don’t Trust Myself on Apple Music, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 provided a clean, relaxed sound signature that blends all the different parts of the frequency range well together. From the sweet rumble of bass guitar and drums to John Mayer’s particularly soulful vocals, the track sounded enjoyable in every way. Even at around 60% volume, the Galaxy Buds 2 deliver an engaging and engaging listening experience.
Switching to faster, more bass-centric music, I listened to Ferry Corsten’s Fire. 2. It was smooth, but sounded a bit more natural and accommodating vocals and highs, which is awesome in its own way.
The Samsung headphones don’t sound as forward and enthusiastic as competing options from OnePlus and Oppo, but more than make up for that with the soundstage and clear sound. I have found a level of refinement in these headphones that I haven’t heard of too many options under Rs. 15,000, and that’s superior to what Samsung itself has offered with its previous products at this price.
Even with the AAC Bluetooth codec, the headphones sound great, making the Galaxy Buds 2 a pretty good choice even if you don’t have a Samsung smartphone. Android-only app support means iOS users will have the least comprehensive feature set available, but the base experience remains decent regardless of your source device.
If you have a compatible Samsung device, the upgradeable Bluetooth codec provides slightly more detailed sound and a better soundstage, thanks to the codec’s superior data transfer capabilities. So it’s definitely worth considering the Galaxy Buds 2 if you have a modern Samsung smartphone or tablet.
Much of the credit for the overall good experience on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 goes to the active noise cancellation performance. The ANC on these headphones is about as good as what you’d get on more expensive headphones like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Jabra Elite 85t, and is backed up by the great fit and passive noise isolation. Headphones worked well in calming noise in my house and even helped when I was walking down the street.
The noise cancellation was good enough to be used even without playing music, and it made listening to music much easier and more enjoyable even at low volumes and in noisy environments. There is only one intensity setting for ANC, and you can only turn it off or enter listen mode. While it doesn’t sound as naturally as it does on AirPods Pro, Ambient Sound mode allows for a reasonably precise listening experience that doesn’t sound too crisp.
Call quality on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 was okay in somewhat quiet indoor and outdoor environments, and the listening mode can be set to activate during calls so you can hear your own voice more clearly. Connection stability has never been an issue with these headphones; I was able to use them without any problem at distances of up to about 3.5m.
While the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isn’t the most premium and best-equipped pair of wireless headphones in the company’s lineup, it’s still my choice even over the more expensive Galaxy Buds Pro. . It is good value for money at Rs. 11,999, with a comfortable design, good sound and very good active noise cancellation. It offers a largely simple and hassle-free approach to wireless listening.
The Galaxy Buds 2 is a bit more expensive than some great options like the OnePlus Buds Pro and the Oppo Enco X, but deserves consideration for its laid-back yet engaging sound. This especially makes sense if you have a Samsung smartphone, as it will unleash the potential of the upgradeable Bluetooth codec and further improve the sound quality.
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