Mehul Reuben DasDec 19, 2022 13:14:34 IST
– The sound quality
– The ANC
– The comfort
– The transparency mode
– 24-bit Audio, if you’re using it with a Samsung device
– Long list of Samsung exclusive features
– No multipoint Bluetooth
Price: Rs 17,999
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro that Samsung offered us last year, was pretty good – it greatly improved upon the true ANC functionalities that the Galaxy Bud Live had, sounded pretty good, and best of all, it had a good design and fit. This year’s Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro though are even better – they are smaller than before, which makes them even more comfortable, and they sound a lot better.
And then, there are a ton of features that Samsung has bestowed the Buds2 Pro with, especially if you pair it with a Samsung device. We will go on to say that as far as audio is concerned, and nothing beyond that, these may be the best-sounding TWS earbuds we have used this year, thanks to its ability to stream 24-bit HiFi audio.
Having said that, there are other parameters as well to judge any device. So how does the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro perform on those parameters?
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Design, Build & Fit
The case of the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro is relatively smaller than the previous generation and is actually more compact than most of the other premium TWS earbuds we have seen this year. With that being said, the Buds2 Pro look a lot similar to the previous generation Buds Pro.
Samsung has redesigned a few elements of the earbuds themselves that make them much more easier and comfortable for users to wear for a longer time. For example, Samsung added a vent on the inside of each earbud to help relieve pressure.
And because the Buds2 Pro are about 15 per cent smaller and lighter, they don’t tire users as the previous-gen earbuds. And because the Buds Pro has always been a stemless design, they are very discreet. The Buds2 Pro are IPX7 rated which means it can handle the perspiration from those workout or running sessions with ease.
For the most part, you get the same set of touch controls on both earbuds. You tap once to play or pause a track, double-tap to skip ahead, triple-tap to go back. You can also set up a customizable touch-and-hold gesture, which can be used to toggle between ANC and Ambient Sound or to summon up a voice assistant. You can also use it to adjust the volumes directly, which is what we set it up for.
Do keep in mind that because the entire outer surface of the earbuds is sensitive to touch, you might toggle some input or the other, when you try to reposition the earbuds in your ear. And as with all TWS earbuds, no matter how comfortable they are, you will have to reposition these from time to time.
The case, as well as the earbuds, which are made out of soft-touch plastic, feel really nice to hold. The downside, though, is that it is more prone to scuffs. The case has a USB-C port that is used to charge the Buds2 Pro.
At the front of the case, we also get 2 tiny status LED lights, one that shows the charging status of the earbuds and one for the case. One thing that is conspicuously missing from the case is a physical button to pair the Buds2 Pro – it still has to be done using the touch-sensitive buttons. The lid and the hinge of the case feel solid and premium as well.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Features
You can use the Buds2 Pro with any smartphone, whether it is from Samsung or from some other manufacturer. However, in order to get the best out of the Buds2 Pro when you pair it with a non-Samsung device, you have to download the Galaxy Wearables app.
The app, apart from showing you all the vital information such as battery levels, gives you access to a number of key features, like switching between ANC and ambient sound, Voice Detect and 360 audio, while also giving you better control over audio EQ, reassigning some touch controls etc.
Like Apple, Samsung too is trying to build an ecosystem of its own – that is why there are several premium features that are reserved for users who pair the Buds2 Pro with a Samsung device. These features include 24-bit HiFi audio, the aforementioned 360 audio, and the ability to the buds to switch between Samsung devices, seamlessly. Unfortunately, the Buds2 Pro cannot connect to two devices at the same time, which we feel at this price point, should be a must-have feature.
We tested some of the exclusive features on a Galaxy S21 Ultra, and for the rest of our tests, we used a OnePlus 9R. 24-bit audio is actually available on a very limited number of streaming services – we used Amazon Music for our tests. 24-bit audio is a life-changing experience, especially for people who aren’t even listening to 16-bit audio that frequently. As for 360 Audio, this is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Spatial Audio. It takes the user some time to get used to it, but when they do, it creates an even more immersive content consumption experience.
We also liked Samsung’s Voice Detect feature here. Basically, if the Buds2 Pro detect you speaking, it will quickly turn the volume down, suspend ANC and switch to transparency mode. While it can be a hit and a miss at times, during our tests, it functioned just as we hoped it would.
You also have the option to pull up a voice assistant. While the Buds2 Pro uses Bixby, and the Wearable app, only shows the option to trigger Bixby as the voice assistant, you can switch to Google Assistant or Alexa. It is a bit of a lengthy process, but you have the option.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Sound Quality and ANC
TWS earbuds at this price point usually sound pretty good. The Buds2 Pro, however, sound phenomenally good, probably better than anything else that you’ve ever tried. The dual drivers that the TWS earbuds use, and the tuning that AKG has done, really shine through. The range is phenomenal as well, thanks to Bluetooth 5.3. But more than the range, it is the variety of lossless or rather HiFi sound that impresses.
As for the sound signature, the low end is deep and nuanced, and you get pretty good bass. The sound at the mid and high end is detailed, with great separation, almost similar to what you would get from an open-back earphone. Anyone who listens to the Buds2 Pro for the first time will be surprised by the details that the audio playback has. All this is possible thanks to a combination of a 10mm woofer and a 5.3mm tweeter.
The 24-bit audio processing is phenomenal. The experience is further accentuated by Samsung’s new Seamless Codec (SSC) allows 256 times more sound data to be transmitted from your device to the Buds2 Pro.
As for noise cancellation, we think that the Buds2 Pro has one of the best ANCs among all TWS earbuds. The silicon tip works really well to give a natural seal, which, with the support it gets from Samsung’s software, is wonderfully adept to block out all sorts of noise, which can be a blessing if you’re looking for some peace and quiet while taking the metro. Unlike many of the other TWS earbuds I have tried this year, you don’t get that stuffy and buzzy feeling from the ANC even after prolonged usage.
We also feel obligated to mention Samsung’s transparency mode, and how well it works. Samsung’s transparency mode is actually quite clever in the sense that it waits for you to speak before tuning down the music and switching over from ANC to let ambient sounds. What this means is if you try and mumble something under your breath, it won’t pick it up, which, if you have a tendency to really enjoy the lyrics of a song and sometimes like to mouth the lyrics.
As for lag, there is virtually no lag between what you see on YouTube videos or Netflix, and what you hear. Yes, there is a slight delay when it comes to gaming, but that is true of all TWS earbuds. It’s just that with the Buds2 Pro, the lag in gaming is minuscule, to the point where it is extremely difficult to observe. That’s what Bluetooth 5.3 gets you.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Call quality
The call quality is again great with the Buds2 Pro. You can hear the person on the other end of the call pretty clearly, but more importantly, they can hear you very clearly as well. Not once during our prolonged testing did the person on the other end complain about having any difficulty in listening to us, or ask us if we were using a headset or if we were on speaker. In our opinion, only the Apple AirPods Pro 2 perform better in calls.
Unless you try out every premium TWS earbud there is on offer, you will find it really hard to find if there’s any issue with the mic.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Battery
Samsung claims that with the ANC enabled, the Buds2 Pro will last you about 5.5 hours and a total of 8 hours with ANC disabled. This is what we got during our testing as well. Battery life is very similar to the previous-gen Buds Pro, which, considering the slightly smaller size, is pretty impressive.
However, compared to other premium TWS earbuds, it is average. The charging case gives the Buds2 Pro another 18 hours of life before the entire package needs charging. You get a USB-C port to charge the case up, and also have the option to charge it wirelessly.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Verdict
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro retail for Rs 18,000 normally. Even at that price point, it is a pretty good deal considering the features and the audio quality that you get. If you’re already using a Samsung smartphone and plan on continuing to use devices from Samsung, then this is the quintessential, premium TWS earbuds for you – don’t even look anywhere else.
As for others, the Buds2 Pro are still a pretty solid choice, unless you have an iPhone. The Galaxy Wear App isn’t available for iOS devices. You also have to consider that most of the other truly premium options cost more than these TWS earbuds.
We wish some of the neat features, such as 24-bit audio, 360 audio etc weren’t reserved for Samsung users only, but that is the direction that the industry is taking, and we can’t really single out Samsung for that. As for an overall package, the Buds2 Pro are the TWS earbuds to beat this year.