Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro review: Super comfortable, but best only for Samsung users
- Very comfortable for longer listening periods
- Good sound with 24-bit audio support
- Attractive colour range
- Active noise cancelling is only average
- Some features are Samsung exclusive
- Battery life is only decent, not good
Over the years, Samsung has produced some decent true wireless buds, but all too often, they've trailed the market one way or another, either through audio quality or fit and comfort issues.
Samsung's latest set of true wireless buds, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro, addresses nearly all of these issues. With the right music files and in the right conditions, they can sound superb, and you can keep them in your ears for lengthy periods without significant discomfort.
However, they're absolutely tied into the Samsung ecosystem, and that makes them a slightly less compelling prospect if you're not a Samsung Galaxy phone owner, or you want features to be consistent across multiple devices.
Design: Small can be beautiful – and comfortable, too
Samsung's true wireless buds have always tended to be on the smaller side, with the South Korean company favouring buds that you could easily hide with medium-length hair.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro are no exception, with individual buds that weigh just 5.5g each – down from the previous generation of Galaxy Buds Pro by a claimed 15%. That might not seem like much, but heavier items that you're going to place in your ears will have more drag over time, making them less comfortable.
Comfort has been an issue I've had with Samsung's prior Galaxy Buds, with most irritating my ears after only a few hours of listening. The Galaxy Buds2 Pro are very nicely designed in this respect because they're the first set of Galaxy Buds that I've been able to consistently wear until their battery runs out without notable discomfort at all. This includes while running and sweating, where I usually end up my route panting and very ready to pull out wireless buds.
The wireless charging case for the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is a simple affair that couldn't look more like a ring box if it tried. It matches the colour of the Galaxy Buds2 Pro that you choose to buy, with options for graphite (i.e. black), white or bora purple, to match the new Galaxy Z Flip4 colour. If you're curious, bora is Korean for "purple", so clearly somebody in Samsung's marketing department likes redundancy.
Performance: Good sound, average active noise cancellation
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro paired quickly with chosen devices in my tests, with an obvious bias towards Samsung devices. There, you'll get a full pop-up window asking you if you'd like to pair with them, while on other devices you'll have to head to your Bluetooth menu to set up a connection.
That's a super-common play within the headphones space, as is Samsung's use of its Galaxy Wearable app for customisation. One caveat here is that Galaxy Wearable is an Android-only app. You can pair the Galaxy Buds2 Pro to an iPhone, but you won't be able to configure it quite the same way that you would on an Android phone.
The other catch here is that the Galaxy Buds2 Pro don't have any kind of Bluetooth reset button on the charging case. That's important if you need to or want to pair with a new device. You can get around this by removing the pairing from the first device. If the Galaxy Buds2 Pro can't find a connected device, they'll then enter pairing mode. However, if you've lost that device or it's nowhere near, that's not going to be feasible. Prior Galaxy Buds model used a long touch on both buds when worn to clear pairing, but I was never able to get that to work during my review test period. A button on the case would have solved this in one simple hit.
Once paired, the Galaxy Wearable app lets you set simple equalisation, touch settings, active noise cancellation settings and features found in prior Samsung headphones such as voice detection. There's also support for 360-degree audio and 24-bit audio, but here you have to dive a little deeper than just Android phones.
If you want 24-bit sound, you'll obviously have to provide that level of quality via services such as Tidal (or legally preparing your own files), but you'll also need to be listening through a compatible Samsung Galaxy device.
It really does mark the Galaxy Buds2 Pro as being best suited only for Galaxy phone owners who figure that they'll be within the Samsung ecosystem for the expected lifespan of the headphones. Competing higher end models simply don't lock those kinds of features away, but if you switch away from Samsung for those files, you'll drop down in codec quality support. Obviously, whether you detect that will very much depend on your tolerances and the quality of the files you listen to.
Using Prince's "Purple Rain" as an example – a track I'm supremely familiar with – the differences in audio quality having the Galaxy Buds2 Pro paired to a Galaxy Z Flip4 and a Pixel 6 Pro were apparent, with a slightly richer soundstage building up to the track's crescendo.
Overall, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro delivered a nice, clean sound across a variety of music genres, which is what you ideally want out of a set of true wireless buds. I would still lean ever so slightly towards the Sony XM4 buds for head-to-head audio quality, but again, if you're in the Samsung world, these could make sense as a very specific set of buds.
On the active noise cancelling front, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro offered fair noise reduction but not up to the standards of the best competitors in this price range. I'd still opt for the Bose QuietComfort buds if active noise cancelling is important to you. I suspect part of the issue with the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is that their light build and slender fit simply can't match the isolation of larger true wireless buds and, as a result, more ambient noise can leak in.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro rely on touch controls, which by default use taps for play/pause, double taps for track skipping forwards, triple for backwards and tap and hold gestures to change noise control settings. They're functional in your ears, but like every other set of touch-sensitive buds, there's absolutely no way to adjust them in your ears without some kind of touch control being interpreted. It's annoying every time it happens – and it happens every time.
Battery: Lives up to its promises, but that’s all
Small and light earbuds are great for comfort, but they do pose a challenge when it comes time to stuffing in batteries. Batteries are, by their nature, heavy, and most premium true wireless buds tend to slightly overstate their real-world battery life figures when it comes to linear tests.
That's usually OK, because for most of us, we don't use them all the time, but it's still annoying if you do want a set to drown out the rest of the office through the working day.
Samsung claims the Galaxy Buds2 Pro are good for 5 hours of playback with ANC enabled or 8 hours with it disabled. I can't imagine why you'd spend $349 to not use ANC as much as possible, but it's nice enough to be able to stretch out battery endurance at a pinch.
The surprising fact here is that every single linear test I've done of the Galaxy Buds2 Pro during my review period has hit within 3 minutes of 5 hours of ANC-enabled listening time. That's kind of spooky, Samsung.
However, 5 hours isn't the best in this category. The charging case is good for up to 3 additional charges with the promise of an hour's listening time from 5 minutes of in-case charging. Again, that does pan out in real-world testing. If you want a set of all-work-day buds, you'd have to forgo ANC or look elsewhere.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro?
- Buy it if you’re firmly in the Samsung ecosystem and want lightweight comfortable buds.
- Don't buy it if you have other devices you’d like to pair to.
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro are a good set of true wireless buds, easily Samsung's best to date.
That doesn't make them a slam dunk recommendation for everyone, though. If you're happy in the Samsung world with Samsung phones and tablets only, then they do make a lot of sense – especially if you want to colour match your fancy new Flip4 with them.
For everyone else, the alternatives offer a lot more flexibility, with fewer features stuck inside the ecosystem. Consider Google's new Pixel Buds Pro, Bose's QuietComfort buds or Sony's XM4 buds if you want headphones that'll work more fluidly across a range of devices.
Pricing and availability
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro retail in Australia for $349 outright in graphite, white or bora purple finishes.
How we tested
The Galaxy Buds2 Pro were tested over a week, pairing them to a Galaxy Z Flip4, a Galaxy Z Fold4, a Google Pixel 6 Pro and an iPhone 13 Pro to assess their audio output over a range of compatible or semi-compatible devices. They were tested with a range of audio files to see how they fared not only with higher-definition audio but also lower bitrate audio to determine general audio quality as well as used for video watching and mobile gaming to assess output and any lag issues. The Galaxy Buds2 Pro used were loaned to me by Samsung for the purposes of review.
As a reviewer, I have more than 2 decades of tech review experience under my belt. I'm a former Finder Tech & Telco editor, former editor at numerous technology publications and multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.
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