Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: The new default

have a theory that may or may not be true, but it’s one I think makes sense. Samsung, in its quest to build the AirPods of the Android world (or at least the AirPods for Samsung users), switched to a jewelry box design because it wants users to think of its products not necessarily as the best wireless earbuds but as a natural extension of the phone. It’s much like how earrings or a necklace accent the wearer’s features without drawing overt attention.

AirPods are so good because wearers don’t have to dwell on the mechanics of how they work. From pairing to pausing to transparency, they just do. And the magic comes from Apple’s ownership over the entire technology stack.

Samsung’s been increasingly approaching that level of seamlessness with its Galaxy Buds lineup, but never before have all the pieces been so effortlessly integrated than with the Galaxy Buds 2, the new $150 earbuds that complement the existing Buds Live and Buds Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 assessment:

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Bottom line: Samsung’s newest earbuds pare back the premium of the Buds Pro in favor of color, comfort, and a lower price. They’re excellent on their own and a consummate addition to Samsung’s growing earbud lineup.

The Good

  • Fun, punchy sound
  • Effective ANC
  • Good battery existence
  • Really comfy

The Bad

  • IPX2 score makes them incorrect for workout
  • Microphones don’t seem to be nice

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Price and availability

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 launched at $149.99 USD on August 27, 2021. Since then, the price has dropped, and the earbuds can be found for $119 at multiple retailers. Available in four colorways — graphite, white, olive, and lavender — they replace the Buds+ in the company’s lineup. In October 2021, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Buds 2 Maison Kitsuné Edition for $209.99, giving users even more color options to pick from.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Hardware and design

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

There is not an entire lot concerning the Buds 2 you have not noticed prior to, and that is the reason decidedly now not a foul factor. They appear to be moderately smaller, cheaper-feeling Galaxy Buds Pro, whole with an identically-sized-and-shaped jewellery case-style field, although of questionable style is the verdict to make use of a shiny white external for each and every bud colour, together with black. Once opened, the Buds take a seat conveniently on their high-top magnetic throne, this time secured with sufficient power to forestall unintentional spills, a curse that troubled the primary two Galaxy Buds variations.

Samsung obviously expended a thoughtful quantity of effort in truth measuring a plurality of ear shapes and sizes over the last couple of years as a result of, not like the ones authentic Galaxy Buds, those are each small and are compatible conveniently for hours with out sacrificing sound high quality.

These are simply probably the most comfy setting apart Galaxy Buds Samsung has ever made.

One more thing to notice is that AC’s personal Chris Wedel skilled some pores and skin inflammation problems with the earbuds as documented on this article. In the item, whilst Samsung Care did reply to questions in regards to the issues, we’ve got been not able to get an reputable motive for the inflammation. The pores and skin inflammation problems aren’t remoted to just Chris’ enjoy and feature been extensively famous. Samsung is not recalling the earbuds, and also you won’t have any troubles, however it’s price being conscious about.

Like all earlier fashions, the outside of each and every bud has a marginally gesture space that is sometimes too delicate for its personal excellent, however the corporate, too, has it seems that been running on making improvements to false touches as a result of adjusting them in-ear much less incessantly results in by accident pausing and/or skipping. That or I’m adjusting them much less incessantly than the Galaxy Buds+, however both manner, whilst now not easiest, it is a particular development.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The olive inexperienced colorway is correct up my alley, too, although I moderately favor the darker dual-toned take at the hue on Google’s new Pixel Buds A-Series. (While I’m right here, I even have to mention that, whilst now not better-sounding, Google nails contact gesture sensitivity in some way that Samsung in point of fact must emulate.) Samsung introduced a different version of the earbuds on the Unpacked 2 match in October 2021 however the Japanese-French unbiased style logo Maison Kitsuné Edition.

The case is straightforward to open, the hinge feels forged and helps wi-fi charging. There are two LEDs, one within the case for the earbuds and some other at the outdoor for the holder itself. Not an enormous deal, however it is great to look.

I in truth were given to check the ANC on a airplane, which was once a secular thrill I’m satisfied to enjoy once more.

As I discussed, the Buds 2 are probably the most comfy Samsung earbuds I’ve worn to this point; I instantly migrated to the most important silicon tip dimension (there are 3 altogether, and the buds send with the medium dimension connected). I spent my first flight since February 2020 dressed in the Buds 2 solely and nearly forgot I used to be dressed in them regardless of switching between ANC and ambient sound when being attentive to song and overhead bulletins, respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Sound high quality, ANC, and microphone

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The primary questions you most likely wish to be responded are “How do the Buds 2 sound?” and “What do you lose forgoing the dearer Buds Pro?” The excellent information is that I’ve a couple of Galaxy Buds Pro proper right here, and I’m switching between them listening to a few of my favourite songs as I write this, so listed here are my ideas:

The Buds 2 have an overly ahead, punchy profile out of the field, with a pronounced S-curve equalization —over-emphasized bass and treble, with a slight dip within the mid-range. For most current song, that is precisely what you need as it enhances the combo itself, however that profile will also be tiring after extended listening classes. I additionally spotted a couple of tracks, reminiscent of Arcade Fire‘s “Reflektor,” the place the parts of the music produced an uncomfortable sibilance — the screechy, poppy distortion heard with s and t plosives — that took clear of the entire enjoy.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Contrasted with the Buds Pro, which I rank a few of the best-sounding and maximum balanced wi-fi earbuds available in the market, the Buds 2 have a miles narrower soundstage, striking the vocals and tools in a rather constricted airplane between your ears. Again, now not a foul factor however now not preferrred for jazz, classical, or extra moderately produced tracks from different genres. The impact of those alternatives culminates in a couple of earbuds that sound a laugh and punchy at medium-to-high volumes however do not scale neatly to quieter environments, the place the bass overwhelms the remainder of the frequencies.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Overall, although, I’m lovely happy with the Buds 2 — they for sure sound greater than the Buds+ and are available shut sufficient to the Buds Pro to provide all $150 earbuds some other forged competitor.

Of path, no pair of earbuds launched in 2021, particularly over $100, can break out with omitting noise-canceling, and the Buds 2 ship there, too. I in truth were given to check them on a airplane, probably the most tense tension take a look at you’ll placed on a couple of headphones, although, they usually carried out admirably. Samsung says they block 98% of exterior sound when compared with the Buds Pro’s 99%, however I could not in point of fact inform the variation. They’re each now not nice in comparison to true {industry} professionals like Sony’s WF-1000XM4 or the Bose Noise Canceling Earbuds, however given their sound and restricted passive isolation, the ANC is spectacular.

On the airplane, for example, I could not listen my neighbor damn his pretzel packet subsequent to me, nor the clinking rumble of the beverages cart, however I used to be unusually distracted by way of the sound of the airplane engine, which is healthier occluded on costlier earbuds and ANC headphones.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Less spectacular is the ambient sound mode, which, whilst massively stepped forward over the Galaxy Buds+, pales compared to the Buds Pro, which itself falls wanting the industry-standard AirPods Pro. With 3 depth modes, the problem is not that the earbuds do not successfully use their microphones to let in outdoor noise, however that the filtering and noise suppression is lackluster.

In quiet settings, that is not an issue, and having a dialog with someone else feels lovely herbal; in louder environments like a boulevard or busy concourse, it is too tricky to tell apart voices from the whole lot else — passing automobiles, slamming doorways — taking place round you. I do know Samsung can do a greater activity right here since the Buds Pro have top of the range microphones that mix with device noise suppression, however the Buds 2 skimp on each sides.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The mediocre microphones prolong to voice calls, too. Again, taking phone calls at the Buds 2 is a lot better than at the authentic Galaxy Buds or Buds+, however by way of lowering the standard of the microphones in comparison to the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Buds 2 come throughout as virtual and a bit tinny, particularly when there is background noise like within the equipped clip.

(*2*)

The tl;dr right here is if song and podcast listening is your number one use case for the Buds 2, they are a 4.8/5. On the opposite hand, if you are taking a large number of calls or the use of the ambient mode — principally anything else having to do with the microphones — they are nearer to a three.8/5.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Battery and different quirks

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ nonetheless have top-of-the-line battery existence on a couple of true wi-fi earbuds. At medium volumes, it is advisable to simply recover from 10 hours according to bud, according to rate. Amazing. Since then, Samsung’s shaved off girth from each and every next unencumber, making them extra compact and way more comfy for long-term put on within the procedure. Samsung additionally added always-listening Bixby Voice and ANC, which, when enabled, shave off a excellent period of time according to rate.

The Buds 2 have the similar battery dimension because the Buds Pro — 61mAh according to bud and 472mAh within the case — translating to kind of the similar uptime. With noise-canceling enabled, each and every bud lasted about 5 hours half-hour. With ANC disabled, they survived simply over 8 hours. (I stored Bixby Voice disabled right through as a result of … Bixby.)

I’m now not unsatisfied with the ones numbers. Anything above 5 hours according to bud manner I will be able to concentrate for prolonged stretches — realistically longer than I ever usually have time for in a single sitting — with out depleting the battery, and a couple of mins within the case will get them crowned up lovely temporarily.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

One extra spec price discussing is IPX2: that is the water ingress score Samsung accomplished with the Buds 2. Officially, IPX2 implies that each and every earbud “can face up to water that hits the product at a fifteen° attitude or much less,” although precisely how that interprets to real-world utilization is a bit nebulous.

Compared to the Buds Pro’s IPX4 score, which permits for water splashes from any path, or the Jabra Elite Active 75t’s IP57 score, which makes them necessarily water resistant, IPX2 forces you to be very cautious about how you utilize them. I would not, as an example, figure out in those with out broadly cleansing them after each and every use. Nor would I think comfy getting stuck within the rain below anything else heavier than a mild drizzle. At $100, I may forgive an IPX2 score; at $150, now not such a lot.

Samsung is finding out a couple of key UX courses, like making it more straightforward to pair the Buds 2 with some other instrument.

The Buds 2 do boast a few enhancements over different Samsung earbuds, although I’d be expecting them to be added to the older merchandise via a device replace in due time. The first, a are compatible take a look at, makes use of the inner microphone in each and every bud to resolve whether or not they are sitting proper for your ear, with a correct seal. If now not, the app recommends making an attempt some other dimension of the 3 silicone guidelines that send within the field.

The different distinction is an more straightforward solution to pair the Buds 2 to some other instrument as soon as they are attached to a phone or computer. All of Samsung’s earbuds temporarily hook up with its telephones via a Bluetooth LE-based proximity protocol that makes it in point of fact easy to pair or, as soon as paired, swapped. But if you are now not within the Samsung ecosystem, the Buds Live and Buds Pro, for example, require you to place the earbuds for your ear and cling down at the gesture space for 3 seconds to start up Pairing Mode. On the Buds 2, that gesture has been modified to when the earbuds are, of their case, a serve as a long way more straightforward and extra intuitive to navigate.

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

One more thing to notice is that AC’s personal Chris Wedel skilled some pores and skin inflammation problems with the earbuds as documented on this article. In the item, whilst Samsung Care did reply to questions in regards to the issues, we’ve got been not able to get an reputable motive for the inflammation. The pores and skin inflammation problems aren’t remoted to just Chris’ enjoy and feature been extensively famous. Samsung is not recalling the earbuds, and also you won’t have any troubles, however it’s price being conscious about.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Competition

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

If the Galaxy Buds Pro had been $100, I should not have talked as a lot concerning the Buds Pro on this assessment as I’ve. But at $150, they are shut sufficient to Samsung’s flagship earbuds that it’s important to imagine seeking to spend the additional cash at the stepped forward sound, microphone high quality, and further options. (You too can select up the Buds Pro for $170 presently, making the selection much more tricky).

Outside of the Samsung ecosystem, the $150 worth level additionally forces attention of the very good Jabra Elite Active 75t which, although quirky in their very own manner (you’ll handiest use the appropriate earbud for mono mode, for example), sound greater and are greater fitted to workout.

I’d even be remiss to not point out the more cost-effective and extra comfy Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, which boast adjustable ANC, a in reality helpful personalised EQ characteristic, and are available with regards to $100 when on sale, which is ceaselessly.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Should you purchase it?

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central

Flawed as they’re, the Buds 2 do virtually the whole lot greater than their quick predecessor, the Buds+, and sound virtually as excellent as their costlier counterpart, the Buds Pro. So if you’ll’t justify spending the additional cash on Samsung’s flagship buds or simply need the extra comfy are compatible or colourful choices, the Buds 2 are the new default — particularly when you have a Samsung phone.

For me, it comes right down to the jewellery comparability; compact and comfy as they’re, with just about all-day battery existence, it is conceivable to depart the Buds 2 for your ear and overlook they are there, activating the ambient mode when you want to have interaction with the sector, temporarily turning again to song, podcast or simply candy ANC-enhanced silence when you need. Of path, they are a long way from easiest — the microphones depart so much to be desired — however they are nonetheless top-of-the-line wi-fi earbuds below $200, a identify that matches lovely well.

You will have to purchase this if …

  • You have a Samsung phone
  • You desire a pair of snug, colourful earbuds
  • You desire a punchy, bass-forward sound profile

You should not purchase this if …

  • You essentially figure out along with your earbuds
  • You make a large number of phone calls

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

The new default

Samsung’s latest earbuds pare again the top rate of the Buds Pro in want of colour, convenience, and a cheaper price. They’re very good on their very own and a consummate addition to Samsung’s rising earbud lineup.

Review Changelog, December 2021

This article was once firstly printed in August 2021. It was once up to date in December 2021 with the next adjustments.

  • Added point out of pores and skin inflammation problems.

It was once up to date in October 2021 with the next adjustments:

  • Updated worth and availability phase.
  • Added point out of the new Maison Kitsuné version.
  • Added a changelog.

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