Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

WE love

  • Compact and comfortable design
  • Non-slip finish
  • Good for sports (IPX7)
  • Balanced sound reproduction with beautiful stereo
  • Effective noise reduction
  • The SCC hi-fi codec, multipoint, 360 audio…
  • Full controls (mention for volume)

We don’t like

  • …but which are functions exclusive to Samsung smartphones
  • Nearly half a second of latency
  • Slight sibilance
  • Not good for calls in noise
  • Synthetic transparency mode
  • Average autonomy
  • No manual equalizer
  • iOS incompatible app

Verdict:

If you already have the Galaxy Buds Pro, don’t trade them for their successor. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro only bring timid improvements in the end. The additions are made mainly in the Samsung area. Thus, outside of a Galaxy smartphone, you will not taste the new SCC codec which offers 24-bit Hi-Fi rendering, the same for multipoint or Audio 360. In short, we still like Samsung’s overall work on its high-end headphones, but for the price if you don’t have a Samsung smartphone, you will find more relevant models among the competition.

Note > until September 30, Samsung is offering a graphite wireless duo fast charger worth €60 with any purchase of a pair of Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Samsung fast charger duo wireless graphite

After some wanderings in its first high-end models, Samsung had achieved a master trick in 2021 with its Galaxy Buds Pro. We were rightly comparing them to Apple’s AirPods Pro, but for Android… and especially for devices in Samsung’s Galaxy ecosystem.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro come to enrich the recipe with in particular the addition of a new 24-bit hi-fi codec, the SCC for Samsung Seamlesss Codecand a connection Bluetooth 5.3 to increase transmission range, autonomy and stability.

In short, Samsung is not trying to revolutionize its recipe and that’s good. Before testing, we know that we already have a solid base, that of the Galaxy Buds Pro that we appreciated in 2021.

Comfort in use

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro fit in a small, square, compact box that’s easy to take anywhere. The earphones are placed and removed easily with a good grip.

Similar to that of the Galaxy Buds Pro, it has the merit here of no longer being shiny, but rubbery. Its touch is smooth, velvety one might say.

Image 4: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

Above all, this texture offers a good grip. The case does not slip, whether in the hands or on the floor. And the idea is that the headphones themselves are covered in this same non-slip coating. In fact, the port is even more comfortable than before and the earphones hold really well in place.

No worries about going to sports with it. Besides, they are IPX7 certified, or resistant to perspiration and water for a maximum immersion of one meter for 30 minutes. And we come back one last time to their rubbery finish: thanks to it, we don’t have to worry about dropping them. They do not mark reasonable drops.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro controls

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro controls are the same as Galaxy Buds Pro. Also, rather than paraphrase myself, I prefer to quote their test here. To make it quick, they are complete, easy to access, responsive, and Samsung has even thought of integrating the volume adjustment by the edge of the headphones.

Image 5: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

“No buttons on the Galaxy Buds Pro. We are entitled to two touch surfaces, one on each earphone. With them, you can access the essential functions: play/pause, noise reduction on/off, next track. Samsung also adds volume control and access to the voice assistant, but both can only be attributed to the long press, which is already devoted to active noise reduction control. Fortunately, there is an option to control the volume by the edges of the headphones in the experimental Labs section. This works wonderfully. Thanks to it, there is no need to take out your smartphone. »

Features you won’t get without a Samsung smartphone

Samsung reserves a few functions for its customers who also use its smartphones or tablets. An exclusivity that we already had on the previous generation and which is not without echoing the Apple AirPods which we only fully enjoy on iPhone, iPad or Mac.

And so, if you buy Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and don’t have a Galaxy smartphone, these are the options you’re missing out on :

  • The SCC codec (Samsung Seamlesss Codec) which distills a better 24-bit hi-fi rendering than the AAC to which you are confined without a Galaxy smartphone. Schematically we have SCC (2304 Kbits) > CD (1411 kbits) > AAC (320 Kbits)
  • Audio 360, its spatialization of sound and tracking of the head in space via Dolby Head Tracking
  • Multipoint (only available between Samsung devices)
  • The SmartThings Find location function to track your headphones

Quite a list nonetheless. Note that old Galaxy smartphones do not count. Most of these functions require a device with One UI version 4.0 or later.

Samsung Wearable app

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The Samsung Wearable application allows you to configure your headphones. It is not available on iOS, which means that on an iPhone you cannot adjust anything.

On Android, you have access to several options. We have voice detection which lowers the volume when the headphones detect that the user is speaking. It works very well and does not activate intentionally. We can cough quietly, for example. Samsung also offers reading notifications aloud, like LG on its Tone Free FP8. A good idea. Port detection to automatically switch the sound to the earphones during a call is also practical.

Sound rendering of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

For several years, Samsung has entrusted AKG with the task of personalizing the sound of its headphones. And the Harman/Kardon subsidiary is doing a pretty good job. Inside the Buds 2 Pro we find two speakers of 10 and 5.3 mm, smaller than those of the old generation.

But that doesn’t mean the sound has been sacrificed. The signal coming out of these headphones is balanced. We benefit from good bass, more than what we would think of having on such a small model. It’s quite punchy on Ed Sheeran’s 2step bass line and without overdrive. The mediums are present, quite highlighted by the way, which is not to displease.

Image 7: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

The highs are also marked, we hear all the musical levels of a song such as OMD’s Mr. Blue Sky, with a beautiful stereo scene. If we want to reproach a small point, it would be too present high treble which leads to a slight sibilance (“s” which blows).

We would like to be able to get our hands on the equalizer, but Samsung does not offer a manual mode. Only a few presets are saved. Among them, we really appreciate the Dynamic mode, it opens up the treble a little more and gives the bass a little more volume without pushing it too much. The ear is then flattered.

Is the noise reduction of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro effective?

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are good headphones in terms of noise reduction. By design, they add passive and active noise reduction.

They effectively eliminate the lowest frequencies. We were also able to verify this with a silent nap on the plane. Subway noise is greatly reduced. If you feel like you can still hear them, just take off the headphones to see the work done.

Image 8: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

Voices, on the other hand, remain the bane of these headphones, even if a big improvement has been made since the Galaxy Buds Pro. The latter are also much less good at suppressing low frequencies. Where the two are evenly matched is on the treble. The work still remains important to suppress a baby’s cry, for example.

Regarding the transparency mode, it did not convince us. It works, but with a very unrealistic rendering, as reworked. We have known better in this area.

To note that Samsung has reworked its wind noise management and the result is convincing. In the event of a very strong gust, we can detect the characteristic crackling of the wind, but in a very attenuated way.

Are they ideal on call?

For calls, the Buds 2 Pro do worse than the previous generation. The sound is not natural, it is a first thing. The second is rendering in a noisy environment. In the street or public transport, the voice is largely degraded, as if muffled. We still understand the lyrics, but at times, we have to repeat ourselves. In short, we were regularly forced to continue our telephone conversations in hand.

Latency, Samsung’s pet peeve

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro latency is no better than Galaxy Buds Pro. Samsung is still fishing strongly on this point. In our test, they harvest in Bluetooth a latency of 410 ms, it is enormous. Almost half a second off. With that, impossible to use them to play. Our essay on the excellent Huntdown was very unpleasant.

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But like all modern headphones, this famous latency vanishes on the most popular services today: streaming video. Netflix, Disney+ or even YouTube have tools to compensate for the lag between video and sound, induced by Bluetooth headphones.

Image 10: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro test: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

What about the autonomy of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?

The autonomy of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is just under 5 hours, with active noise reduction, 8 hours without. These are just the values ​​announced by Samsung and in the low average of current headphones. They are therefore not the best students in this area. Especially since these values ​​can drop by one or two hours if you increase the volume to more than half, the level of our tests.

Image 11: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro test: Samsung timidly improves its high-end headphones

If you need headphones that last a long time without charging, go your way. On the other hand, if you have a few minutes of respite to give them during the day, putting them back in their case during this time will give them 1 hour of autonomy in 5 minutes of charging or 2h30 in 10 minutes.

Their case contains nearly four additional charges. It charges via USB-C or wirelessly.

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