Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Professional assessment: the very best Samsung buds


We’re getting into new territory within the walled backyard earbud wars: to get the perfect audio high quality from Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Professional, you could use them with a Samsung telephone. It was at all times going to come back to this. Between Apple’s AirPods, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, Google’s Pixel Buds, and different earbuds developed by firms with a deep-rooted curiosity within the smartphone world, we’ve already seen many convenience-minded options — one-touch setup, automated system switching, head-tracking spatial audio, and others — that incentivize customers to match their model of buds with the telephone of their pocket. The purpose is to lock you into that ecosystem as you regularly improve one system after which the opposite in perpetuity. 

However the $229 Buds 2 Professional are the primary to play up superior sound high quality as the massive unique. Join them to any latest Samsung telephone, and you’ll wirelessly stream “24-bit hi-fi audio” from providers like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Qobuz, and others that provide lossless and high-resolution music catalogs. Samsung claims this leads to considerably richer audio and a greater listening expertise from the place issues stood earlier than. 

I’ll dig into all of that extra later, however the necessary takeaway is that the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional, fortunately, are terrific earbuds it doesn’t matter what type of telephone you will have. Over greater than every week of testing, I’ve discovered them to be Samsung’s best-sounding, most comfy buds but.

How we price and assessment units

The Buds 2 Professional are 15 % smaller than the unique Galaxy Buds Professional, and each the earbuds and case now have a matte soft-touch coating. I favor it over shiny plastic: the case stays smudge-free, and the buds are simpler to grip with the coating. The brand new earbuds are lighter, too (now down to five.5 grams per earbud), and have a bigger vent on the outside for improved airflow and to mitigate any disagreeable “plugged-up” feeling. They’ve confirmed nothing however comfy within the days I’ve been utilizing them to this point and have reliably stayed in my ears. Battery life is totally unchanged from the prior mannequin, promising 5 hours of listening time with ANC enabled and eight with it off — plus one other 18 / 28 by way of the charging case. That’s enough stamina for many conditions however nothing particular in 2022. The Buds 2 Professional keep the identical IPX7 water resistance score as their predecessors.

It doesn’t take lengthy to conclude that these earbuds have improbable sound. With a dual-driver design and tuning by AKG, they eclipse the AirPods Professional by a rustic mile — not a shock provided that Apple’s buds are approaching three years previous. However in addition they surpass the wonderful Pixel Buds Professional on this division and are nearer consistent with my favourite earbuds like Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wi-fi 3 and Sony’s WF-1000XM4. They’re supreme performers with a stage of depth and element that their massive tech contemporaries can’t fairly match. 

The Maintain Regular’s “Heavy Covenant” demonstrates their separation and readability, giving the guitars, horns, and Craig Finn’s recognizable vocals ample room to breathe. As a religious ’90s music fan, I hopped again to “Omaha” by Counting Crows, and the Buds 2 Professional introduced out the heat of the accordion and mandolin whereas giving the drums a pure kick. Returning to trendy life with Orville Peck’s “The Curse of the Blackened Eye,” I used to be impressed by the vast soundstage Samsung has given these buds.

The Buds 2 Pro are 15 percent smaller than the original Galaxy Buds Pro.

The Buds 2 Professional are 15 % smaller than the unique Galaxy Buds Professional.

However is it real “hi-fi” sound? After greater than every week, I’m nonetheless making an attempt to suss that out. Samsung says its new Seamless codec lets the Buds 2 Professional wirelessly stream 24-bit, 48kHz audio over Bluetooth. However the firm has been much less clear in regards to the bitrate of that audio. For reference, Sony’s LDAC codec tops out round 990kbps, which nonetheless falls in need of lossless CD high quality. Samsung spokesperson Jordan Guthmann instructed The Verge by e-mail that Samsung Seamless Codec can attain a bitrate of as much as 2304kbps, which might certainly work out to lossless, hi-resolution sound. 

That quantity has me skeptical. It will be a monumental leap over present earbuds, and there’s nothing within the Android developer settings menu that confirms bitrate particulars — solely the 24-bit / 48kHz half. The upper-quality streaming works with any Galaxy smartphone working Android 8.0 and One UI 4.0 or later (with 1.5GB RAM or above). That’s so much of telephones, which provides to my confusion in regards to the bitrate and the way Samsung may presumably be hitting 2304kbps. Extra to comply with, hopefully, however don’t get misplaced within the numbers: these earbuds actually do sound nice so long as you’ve bought a very good seal and twist them snugly. They’ll additionally help Bluetooth LE Audio down the road, although Samsung hasn’t specified what advantages that can deliver. 

The Buds 2 Professional are nice earbuds even when your Android telephone isn’t made by Samsung

The lively noise cancellation is passable. Whenever you’re not taking part in any music, you’ll hear what’s taking place in a espresso store; that is the tradeoff for these greater air vents and prolonged consolation. However as soon as any audio is taking part in, the background fades away convincingly, and also you’re unlikely to note any distractions — even with the quantity round 30 %. The transparency mode works nicely however nonetheless not fairly as natural-sounding as on the AirPods Professional. I don’t know why it’s so laborious for firms apart from Apple to get that proper even now. 

Samsung’s head-tracking spatial audio does what you’d anticipate, shifting the soundscape as you flip backward and forward. I’m discovering an increasing number of that it is a love-it-or-hate-it kind characteristic for folks. Personally, I nonetheless like benefiting from 360 audio when watching video content material, however I stay unconvinced it’s any type of game-changer for music. Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app (solely obtainable for Android) helps you to customise sound EQ, however noise cancellation is both on or off with no guide changes permitted.

Samsung remains to be lagging behind in some classes. Google included multipoint Bluetooth connectivity on the Pixel Buds Professional, and the power to pair with two units concurrently is a big perk. One of the best Samsung can do is routinely swap between Samsung-branded merchandise, whether or not these are laptops, telephones, tablets, smartwatches, and even TVs. Possibly that’s handy if you happen to stay neck-deep within the Samsung world, however I don’t know anybody who does, and it fails to supply the identical multitasking comfort as correct multipoint. 

A pair of Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sitting on top of a phone.

They’ve bought bigger air vents to stop your ears from feeling plugged up.

Different concepts are blatantly copied. Samsung’s Voice Detect characteristic works a lot the identical as on Sony headphones: when the earbuds detect that you simply’re talking, they’ll routinely enter transparency mode and drop the quantity for a configurable period of time, between 5 and 15 seconds. Self-mumblers will wish to keep away from this one. After which there are the unusual options, just like the off-by-default “neck stretch reminders” that use the earbuds to detect if you happen to’ve been hunched over with poor posture for 10 minutes. When that occurs, a voice chimes in with a “time to stretch your neck” audio alert. I ended up leaving this turned on, as I’m about to be 38 — no extra slouching. 

AGREE TO CONTINUE: SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS 2 PRO

Each good system now requires you to conform to a collection of phrases and situations earlier than you need to use it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s not possible for us to learn and analyze each single one in every of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions you need to hit “agree” to make use of units after we assessment them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and undoubtedly can’t negotiate.

Like most Bluetooth earbuds, you need to use Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Professional with out agreeing to something in software program. However through the use of the important Galaxy Wearable app, you’re agreeing to:

  • Samsung’s Phrases and situations
  • Samsung’s Privateness Coverage

The ultimate tally is 2 agreements which can be mainly obligatory to make use of the entire earbud’s options and customise settings.

Samsung’s faucet controls could be a hair over-sensitive at occasions, so that you would possibly pause a monitor when adjusting an earbud. Surprisingly, there’s no auto-pause right here, that means tunes or podcasts will maintain taking part in if you happen to take away one of many Buds 2 Professional out of your ears. That’s a wierd omission for $230 earbuds, however not one I’ve been too annoyed with in observe.

As you possibly can hear in our newest Vergecast microphone check, the Buds 2 Professional wouldn’t be my prime choose for voice calls aboard a loud ferry boat. However in additional conventional, on a regular basis use instances, they get the job performed. Sony’s LinkBuds and Google’s Pixel Buds Professional each edge out Samsung’s newest flagship earbuds at general mic high quality, nonetheless.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional are Samsung’s finest wi-fi earbuds but: the corporate has struck a successful system of sound high quality, noise cancellation, and luxury. They’re at their finest when working in Samsung’s ecosystem however nonetheless lots good with different Android units. Some will discover it irritating that hi-fi audio is restricted to Samsung’s personal telephones. However it is a preview of the place the tech business is probably going headed: Apple’s subsequent AirPods Professional are rumored to help wi-fi Apple Lossless playback on iPhones. The partitions are climbing larger and better between tech’s greatest gamers, even when there are nonetheless terrific, platform-agnostic earbuds obtainable from Sony, Sennheiser, Jabra, and others. Google’s Pixel Buds Professional are value a detailed look if you happen to’re a giant proponent of multipoint, however the Buds 2 Professional symbolize Samsung in prime kind. 

Pictures by Chris Welch / The Verge



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