Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: These could have been great


The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro looks impressive. Very impressive.

Compared to high-end headphones like Google’s Pixel Buds Pro and OnePlus’ Buds Pro, Samsung’s headphones are compelling, but they’re still probably not the best option for most.

Samsung’s premium wireless headphone offering this year is rock solid, but the company could be doing itself an injustice by trying to replicate AirPod-like features within the Samsung ecosystem. The company needs to take a step back and realize that its ecosystem isn’t as locked down as Apple’s, and that little features like this are often as much of a deterrent as they are a selling feature.

That said, when the music is pumping, there aren’t many situations where the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro disappoint, and that’s what we’re all here for anyway.

A breakthrough in Samsung sound

Samsung has been releasing above-average-sounding headphones since it bought AKG and launched the Galaxy Buds+ in 2020. As expected, the new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro continue the legacy of great-sounding headphones and are the best nowadays.

Compared to the existing Galaxy Buds 2, the clarity is a cut above and blew me away when I first tested them. The new two-way speaker and improved woofer do a good job of balancing out such a small unit. The bass kick is satisfying and vocals are always clear.

The buds soundscape also offers excellent stereo separation. I found myself easily lost in the music, partly because of the realistic sound reproduction, but also because the ANC (active noise cancellation) blocks out any distracting sounds in my office. You can still hear noises when you have nothing to play, but once the music starts it provides a very isolating listening experience.

These notable audio upgrades are integrated alongside a natural sound profile that audiophiles will be happy to listen to. If you want to dive into the depths of wireless earphone audio graphics, you can learn more in this video from Crinicule+.

Samsung’s marketing for the headphones insists they can transmit 24-bit audio, but that only works with Samsung phones and most music streaming services charge extra for it, so it’s not It’s not something most people really need to worry about. I tested these headphones on a Pixel 6, OnePlus 10 Pro, and a MacBook Pro, and they sounded great on those devices that stream regular Spotify music at the best streaming quality.

The pros and cons

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro come with Samsung’s excellent wireless earphone case which fits nicely in most pockets, but this year the case and earbuds feature a more grippy texture which is great, but is a little harder to slip in and out of tight pockets.

The best software feature offered by these earbuds is Samsung’s ‘talk mode’, which turns ANC off when you start talking and intelligently turns it back on afterwards. This is the same feature that was offered in the latest Galaxy Buds Pro. It’s cool and works well for short conversations. Longer conversations introduce dead air and moments for the ANC to reactivate. However, speaking again will put them back in transparency mode, and I found this feature extremely useful. It seems inconsequential, but not having to take your headphones off and pause your music to ask a quick question is hugely convenient.

A fairly limited equalizer lets you choose from some preset sound profiles such as “Bass boost”, “Dynamic”, etc. I was so impressed with the default setting that I kept it on for most of my listening, but it’s nice to have some options. It would be cool to see Samsung start letting users adjust the equalizer with more granularity, as that seems like the next step for this feature.

If you’re using a Samsung phone, tablet, smartwatch, or computer, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pros will also seamlessly connect to your devices, which is a significant benefit for these buds as connecting and using them with greater convenience. a non-Samsung device is a problem. . Samsung says you can touch and hold both buds at the same time when they’re in your ears to pair them, but that doesn’t work when the buds are already paired to something, so it’s pretty much pointless. This is also an issue I notice with the standard Galaxy Buds 2, and I’m blown away, considering it’s been through many generations of headphones.

This means that to put the headphones into pairing mode, you just need to open the case. The same action also connects them to the last device they were paired with.

That means if you want to pair with your phone, for example, and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are already connected to your computer, you’ll need to turn off Bluetooth on your PC so they don’t automatically pair when you open them. . On the contrary, most wireless headphones have a button on the headphones or the case that can trigger Bluetooth pairing. Samsung has one, but for some reason it doesn’t work.

Ultimately this is a huge flaw and I use the buds daily for work at my desk and then with my phone on my bike ride after work, an incredibly frustrating experience. If I lived in Samsung’s ecosystem, that would be fine, but as someone with a Mac and an Android phone, that makes them too boring to recommend, even though they sound great.

The other issue with these buds is the price. Sure, they sound a bit better and offer stronger ANC than the regular Galaxy Buds 2, but they cost a lot more. At $120, the standard Galaxy Buds 2 are a bargain, but at $289, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pros are a tough sell. Plus the high price makes it more annoying when they don’t work.

Compared to the Buds 2, the new Buds 2 Pros have some notable improvements, including stronger IPX7 water resistance compared to IPX2 in the non-pro models. Samsung says you can submerge the new buds for up to 30 minutes in shallow fresh water, but swimming with them isn’t recommended. That said, enhanced protection against sweat, rain, and the occasional spill is always welcome.

On top of that, the buds also don’t have a very good internal microphone. It’s passable, but compared to AirPods, Google Pixel Buds Pros, and even Beats Fit Pros, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s mic is the worst of the bunch. You can listen to a full microphone test here.

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