Samsung has a growing portfolio in the wireless audio category, and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro go up against the best that Sony, Jabra, and Sennheiser have to offer. While a bulk of the sales are geared toward $100 earbuds like the Galaxy Buds 2, there is a growing market for higher-end options that offer useful extras.
And in that area, the Buds 2 Pro have a lot to offer. I used the Galaxy Buds Pro quite a bit last year and came away liking the design and sound quality. I tried out the Buds 2 Pro for a few weeks now, and here's what I think about Samsung's latest high-end wireless earbuds.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are more comfortable to wear
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While Samsung hasn't changed the overall design of the Buds 2 Pro too much, it made a few tweaks that make the wireless earbuds fit just that little better. The inner part of the shell is less bulbous than last year, and this ensures the earbud doesn't exert any pressure on the outer ear canal. Using both the Buds Pro and the Buds 2 Pro one after the other, the difference is immediately noticeable, and the latter is definitely easier on the ears.
There are a few modifications on the outer shell as well. It doesn't protrude out as much, and in general does a better job staying in your ear while running or jogging.
Finally, at 5.5g for each earbud, they're lighter than last year, and I didn't see any fatigue after wearing these earbuds for a few hours. Samsung switched out the chrome exterior and went a plastic shell decked out in a matte texture that makes the Buds 2 Pro look much more upmarket.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro do a great job tuning out ambient noise
One of the biggest changes with the Buds 2 Pro is how it handles active noise cancellation. Samsung made significant strides in this area, and the result is that the Buds 2 Pro do a fantastic job cutting out any ambient noise in your vicinity. It is on par with Sony's WF-1000XM4, and that's no small feat.
You can adjust the intensity of noise isolation, and there's a good transparency mode for when you need to listen to outside sounds. If you work in a noisy environment and need to cut out ambient noise in your surroundings, you'll like what Samsung has to offer this year.
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sound absolutely incredible
Another area where Samsung is doing all the right things is sound quality. I used the Buds 2 Pro to listen to a diverse array of music, and they delivered a lively sound that is engrossing. Samsung tuned these earbuds really well, and you get a generous amount of bass that's balanced by detailed mids and clear highs.
Wireless earbuds have gotten significantly better when it comes to audio fidelity in recent years, and Samsung is showing that it can hold its own against the best wireless earbuds. The only wireless earbuds that I used recently that sounded better than the Buds 2 Pro are Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3, and they retail for $249 — $60 more than the Buds 2 Pro.
You get all the extras — and a few exclusive features for Samsung phones
Just like the best Samsung phones, the Buds 2 Pro are packed with features. There's wireless charging as standard, and you can use devices like the Galaxy S22 Ultra to charge the case via reverse wireless charging — just plonk the case on the back of the phone. Connectivity was rock-solid, with the earbuds pairing over Bluetooth 5.3.
Samsung hasn't messed with the weather rating either, with the Buds 2 Pro offering IPX7 dust and water resistance as standard. That means you can use the earbuds in the gym or for outdoor runs without having to worry about water ingress. You also get configurable gesture controls, and I didn't have any issues with gesture recognition on either earbud.
Now, Samsung has a few features that are locked to its ecosystem. Fast switching between devices is limited to Galaxy phones, tablets, and Samsung TVs, and doesn't work with other devices. Samsung's hi-res codec is analogous to what Qualcomm offers with AptX HD, but it is limited to Samsung's phones. It delivers high-fidelity wireless audio — considering you use a good source — but you miss out on the feature if you're using not using a Samsung device.
What's not so great: battery longevity
The one area where the Buds 2 Pro don't measure up to their rivals is battery life. With all the features enabled, these earbuds will last just under five hours on a full charge. With other high-end wireless earbuds delivering well over the 6.5 hour mark, Samsung is on the backfoot here.
One of the reasons for this is the lightweight design that houses a smaller battery, and the other is that the earbuds work overtime to eliminate background noise. This is one of the biggest strengths of the Buds 2 Pro, but the downside is that it takes a hit on battery life.
Should you buy the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?
Overall, Samsung did a great job with the Buds 2 Pro. I like the changes to the design; the earbuds are much more comfortable in daily use, and there's no fatigue whatsoever. Unlike last year's design, the Buds 2 Pro should fit smaller ears just fine. Then there's the sound quality — the Buds 2 Pro are wonderfully tuned, and they deliver a lively sound that's engaging across a variety of genres.
The highlight here is noise isolation, with Samsung on par with Sony in this regard. They do a fantastic job cutting out any distractions in the background, and while that affects battery life, it is a decent trade-off.
Like last year, features like fast switching are locked to Samsung devices , so you'll ideally need to be using a Galaxy phone or tablet to make the most out of these earbuds. Samsung isn't the only brand locking features to its own ecosystem, and for what it's worth, I didn't see that much of a difference when using these with the Pixel 7 Pro.
If you're in the market for high-end wireless earbuds that look good, sound great, and are comfortable to wear throughout the day, the Buds 2 Pro are an easy recommendation.
Samsung nailed the brief with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: they're extremely comfortable in daily use, sound fantastic, and have all the extras you're looking for in high-end wireless earbuds. If you have a Samsung phone and are in the market for the best wireless earbuds, these are the ones to get.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.