The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro — Samsung’s latest entry in the true wireless earbud world — feel like a culmination of the company’s efforts in this space. The Galaxy Buds Pro debuted in January 2021 with powerful noise cancellation and great audio quality. Unfortunately, they were let down by complaints of wonky touch controls and a design that people either loved or hated. The Galaxy Buds 2 followed a few months later in August, featuring a sleeker, more comfortable fit and a lower price.
Fast-forward to August 2022, and we now have the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which are smaller than the Buds Pro, but have more impressive audio specs than the Buds 2 — theoretically creating the best of both worlds. (Fast-forward even further and read our full Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review!)
It’s a winning combination on paper, and after spending a few minutes with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, I can’t wait to do it again.
A comfier and smaller design
At first glance, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro look a lot like other Samsung earbuds that have come before them. You get a compact, matte plastic case that firmly opens and shuts with ease. The two earbuds rest at the center of the case, there’s a small LED pairing/charging light on the front, and the back has a USB-C port for wired charging.
The big design change this time around is with the in-ear fit for the earbuds. Samsung says the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 15% smaller than the Buds Pro and offer reduced pressure when worn — allowing for better airflow and therefore a more comfortable fit. Samsung is also touting a new “ergonomic design,” which should prevent the earbuds from rotating or moving in your ears when you don’t want them to.
Although I didn’t get a chance to wear the Buds 2 Pro during my brief hands-on session with them, the overall build quality of everything felt great. Both the earbuds and case have an excellent matte finish, the earbuds are incredibly lightweight at just 5.5 grams, and the three color options — Bora Purple, Graphite, and White — all look fantastic.
Even better, the sleek design of the Buds 2 Pro is backed by an IPX7 water resistance rating. That’s the same rating found on the original Buds Pro and ensures that the Buds 2 Pro can survive up to one meter of fresh water submersion for up to 30 minutes.
Better audio, quieter ANC
Despite being smaller and lighter than the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro still manage to bring more impressive audio to the table. The hallmark addition is support for Hi-Fi 24-bit audio — something that was totally absent from the Buds Pro and Buds 2. If you’re listening to hi-fi or hi-res audio tracks with 24-bit support, they should sound significantly better on the Buds 2 Pro compared to any previous Samsung earbuds.
Similarly, the Buds 2 Pro come with the new “Samsung seamless codec” (also known as SSC HiFi) where “quality music is enabled to transfer without a pause.” And returning to the Buds 2 Pro is Samsung’s 360 Audio feature, which allows you to hear audio playback in a 360-degree soundstage.
Also available is more powerful active noise canceling. Samsung is also promising an extra +3 decibels of ANC compared to the Buds Pro, taking the total number from 30dB up to 33dB. We previously said that the Buds Pro did a “decent job” of blocking out ambient noise around you, but weren’t quite powerful enough to truly tune out everything. Whether or not another 3dB is enough to make a significant difference remains to be seen, but we’re happy to see an upgrade here regardless.
All of these audio enhancements are backed by a solid array of specifications. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro feature a custom coaxial two-way speaker (a tweeter and a woofer), two outer and one inner microphones, plus the latest Bluetooth 5.3 standard for a reliable wireless connection.
Smarter than ever
Finally, these wouldn’t be a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds without a few smarts thrown into the mix. Auto Switch is back from previous Galaxy Buds, allowing you to easily switch the Buds 2 Pro from your Galaxy smartphone and tablet on a whim. The Buds 2 Pro take Auto Switch up a notch and also introduce support for Samsung smart TVs.
We’re also eager to check out Auto Voice Detect. Similar to the Buds Pro, the Buds 2 Pro will detect when you’re talking and automatically lower the volume of what you’re listening to — enabling you to start a conversation without fiddling with your volume controls.
Even with the lighter design, improved audio, and added smarts, Samsung’s battery life promises are encouraging. With ANC turned on, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro should get up to five hours of continuous playback and 18 hours of total battery life. Turn ANC off, and you can expect up to eight hours of playback and 29 hours of total endurance. That’s about the same as what’s promised on the Buds Pro and Buds 2, so while there’s no substantial upgrade here, there are also no worrying regressions.
Samsung’s best earbuds yet?
There’s one final thing to know about the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and that’s the price. The Buds 2 Pro are Samsung’s most expensive earbuds yet, retailing for $229. That’s $30 more than the Buds Pro and $80 more than the Buds 2.
Are the Buds 2 Pro worth the increased price? That’s a question we won’t be able to answer until we actually get to use and test the earbuds. Google’s new Pixel Buds Pro just hit the market to (mostly) rave reviews, Apple’s AirPods Pro continue to be an easy recommendation, and the regular Galaxy Buds 2 are still excellent earbuds in 2022 — especially now that they’re often discounted to $129 or less. But if Samsung delivers on everything it’s promising for the Buds 2 Pro, we should be looking at a worthy contender in the wireless earbud space — and potentially the best Samsung earbuds yet.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for pre-order on Samsung’s website between August 10 and August 25. Retail sales begin on August 26.
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