Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Professional Evaluation: Improved Design Pays Dividends


When Samsung launched its authentic Galaxy Buds Professional noise-canceling earbuds, one in every of its headline advertising messages was the eye it paid to their sound high quality. Certainly, they delivered on that entrance, however a sure subset of customers, together with me, discovered them to be a lower than preferrred match for his or her ears. In my case, not one of the included ear ideas allowed me to get a decent seal, so I needed to swap in a bigger set of ideas from a rival set of earbuds. So, evidently, I used to be curious to see what Samsung’s engineers had give you for the second-gen Galaxy Buds 2 Professional ($230, £219, AU$349), suspecting they’d handle that match concern. 

Like

  • Improved design with extra comfy match
  • Glorious sound and good noise canceling
  • Superb voice-calling efficiency
  • Assortment of additional options for Galaxy system house owners, together with 360 Audio digital encompass sound and hands-free Bixby voice assistant
  • Absolutely waterproof (IPX7)

Do not Like

  • Pretty dear
  • Some key options solely work with Samsung units
  • No true multipoint Bluetooth pairing

Certain sufficient, they did. The very first thing you will discover concerning the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Professional — that are launching alongside the brand new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 — is that they merely have a greater all-around design than their predecessor. Not solely are they 15% smaller, in keeping with Samsung, however they weigh barely much less (5.5 grams per bud versus 6.3 grams) and have a matte end on each the buds and case that provides them a nicer really feel and makes them a bit extra grippy.

Learn extra: Greatest Wi-fi Earbuds for 2022

That makes the compact case rather less prone to slip out of your hand and — extra importantly — it helps hold the buds in your ears somewhat extra securely. And because of their new form and smaller dimension, I used to be in a position to get a decent seal with the biggest set of included ear ideas and did not have to provide my very own. Moreover, the earbuds do not stick out of your ears as a lot as the unique Galaxy Buds Professional did, and so they look extra discreet. They’re out there in three colours — Bora purple, white and graphite — and whereas I can not say they’re going to match all ears equally nicely, they need to present a greater match to extra ears than the unique Galaxy Buds Professional. 

Proprietary high-res audio and different Galaxy-exclusive options

Apart from the revamped design, Samsung is touting the buds’ improved noise canceling and assist for 24-bit high-resolution audio. The catch is to get that 24-bit audio you will want a Galaxy system outfitted with Samsung’s One UI 4.0 and a music streaming service like Qobuz, Tidal or Amazon Music that streams high-res audio tracks. On all different units, together with Android telephones and iPhones, the buds default to the AAC audio codec. They use Bluetooth 5.3. 

Alas, the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional do not assist the extra widespread AptX Adaptive audio codec for Android units, solely the brand new Samsung Seamless Hello-Fi codec, which Samsung says delivers 256x extra sound information than 16-bit (CD high quality) audio. Numbers like which are a bit misleading as a result of, based mostly on my expertise, you are actually solely going to note a slight distinction when streaming greater bit-rate tracks. However extra on that after I spherical out the remainder of the characteristic set.

The buds did not stick out of my ears an excessive amount of. 


David Carnoy/CNET

Like their predecessor, these have contact controls (you’ll be able to flip sure ones on or off, or you’ll be able to flip all of them off) together with an choice to activate hands-free Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant. Moreover, Samsung’s 360 Audio digital encompass characteristic (with head monitoring) returns in an “Enhanced” model and now works with a wide range of Galaxy units out of the gate, although it isn’t appropriate with different Android units. It really works alongside the identical traces as Apple’s spatial audio characteristic for AirPods and may improve your film and TV watching expertise, although it does not appear to be as pronounced Apple’s spatial audio, which I feel is barely higher general. It additionally works with music or any audio you are listening to.  

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional are IPX7 waterproof, which suggests they’ll stand up to being totally submerged in 1-meter deep water for as much as half-hour. I had no drawback working with them and so they did not slip out of my ears.

Like their predecessors, battery life is rated at 5 hours with noise canceling on and eight hours with it off at reasonable quantity ranges, plus you get about three extra expenses from the case (it expenses through USB-C and wirelessly). You would quibble that 5 hours is fairly mediocre and that no enhancements have been made to the battery life, however it’s arduous to shrink buds whereas rising battery life. Additionally, while you drop the buds within the case, there is a fast cost characteristic that nets you an hour of use with a five-minute cost and double that with a 10-minute cost. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro close up of wind shield

Samsung says the buds have an improved air vent (to alleviate strain) and wind protect.


David Carnoy/CNET

Sensors detect when the buds are in your ears and can pause your music while you take each buds out of your ears and however will not resume playback while you put them again in with out you tapping on one of many buds (you should utilize a single bud whereas leaving the opposite one within the case). Moreover, you’ll be able to decide to activate a “voice detect” mode within the Galaxy Wearable companion app that robotically turns off noise canceling and switches to “ambient sound” mode while you communicate, permitting you to listen to the skin world and interact in a dialog with somebody. Sony affords the same characteristic with its WF-1000XM4 and LinkBuds S earbuds.

One other new characteristic price mentioning has nothing to do with audio. You may toggle on the “neck stretch reminders” setting that detects your head place and alerts you while you’ve bent your head downward for 10 minutes. As I’ve written this overview, I have been alerted a number of occasions to stretch my neck.  

Just like the AirPods and another earbuds these have a find-my-buds characteristic that Samsung calls SmartThings Discover. It might probably inform you your location when the buds had been final related to your system, however it does not supply the extra exact monitoring capabilities of Apple’s enhanced Discover My in its newest AirPods. 

A look at the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's microphones and sensors.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional have three microphones on every earbud together with ear-detection sensors.


David Carnoy/CNET

Lastly, like their predecessor and the extra reasonably priced Galaxy Buds 2, the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional do not supply true multipoint Bluetooth pairing that lets you pair them with two units, equivalent to a telephone and pc, on the identical time. However Samsung says they seamlessly pair with all of the Samsung units logged into your Samsung account, together with Samsung TVs inbuilt 2022 or later and Samsung Galaxy Books laptops constructed after 2020. 

The Buds 2 Professional supply automated switching between these units. So if, as an example, a name is available in in your telephone as you are watching a film in your Tab S8 pill, the audio will robotically change to your telephone while you reply the decision. That is much like how Apple’s AirPods auto pair with any Apple units logged into your iCloud account. Be aware that I have not totally examined the auto-switching characteristic with many Samsung units (as a result of I solely personal a couple of) so I can not affirm precisely how dependable it’s. I spent extra time manually switching my audio between a Galaxy Flip 3 and non-Samsung units.   

Spectacular all-around performer

Samsung says it is improved the noise canceling on the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional by 40% (it calls it “Clever ANC”). I discovered it an enchancment on the unique Galaxy Buds Professional, however noise-canceling efficiency is affected by how tight a seal you get from the ear ideas (as is sound high quality), so your notion of how a lot it is improved might range by how good a seal you get.

I believed the noise canceling was shut however not fairly there, in contrast with the noise canceling of the Sony WF-1000XM4, however it did a superb job muffling a wide range of noise on the streets of New York and underground within the subway. You may flip the noise canceling off or activate ambient mode, the equal of Apple’s transparency mode, which I believed sounded pure. However there is no setting to regulate noise canceling ranges; it robotically adapts to your surroundings.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional are outfitted with two-way drivers (10mm woofer, 5.3mm tweeter), which is good, and three microphones, two of that are beam-forming for voice calls. I paired them with a Galaxy Z Flip 3, iPhone 13 Professional and Google Pixel 4 XL and streamed music utilizing Qobuz. I additionally streamed some films from Google Play and Netflix.

In accordance with Samsung, there is no technique to examine whether or not you are getting 24-bit audio (nothing signifies whether or not you might be — or aren’t), but when your audio setup meets the necessities listed — a Galaxy telephone with Android 8.0 or greater and One UI 4.0 or greater with at the least 1.5GB of RAM — you will be utilizing the Samsung Seamless Codec, which transmits in 24-bit, assuming your audio information assist it. (Qobuz information do.) I discover it irritating that there is no technique to inform what bit price you are streaming at, however I will should take Samsung’s phrase that I used to be getting 24-bit audio. 

I did discover a slight distinction when streaming with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Nonetheless, utilizing the iPhone 13 Professional, the sound high quality was additionally superb with an amply broad soundstage. I went backwards and forwards with Spoon’s Knock Knock Knock observe and some different songs. The Flip 3’s sound got here throughout barely extra precisely (a bit extra readability) with a contact extra element and depth. The bass is punchy and well-defined and I did not expertise any noticeable distortion at greater volumes. Briefly, they’re excellent-sounding buds, although I am unsure they’re superior to different prime earbuds of their value vary, together with the Pixel Buds ProfessionalBeats Match Professional and Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3.

I largely went with the default sound setting, although you’ll be able to tweak the signature profile within the Galaxy Wearable app with some preset equalizer settings, together with a bass increase setting. The reality is a number of these premium earbuds are beginning to sound fairly related and it is actually the match — and the way they suit your explicit ears — that is going to make you want yet one more than one other.

I will end by saying that after once more Samsung has delivered a set of Galaxy buds that work fairly nicely as a headset for making calls. They’ve good voice pick-up from the beam-forming microphones whereas offering good background noise discount. Callers mentioned they may hear me comparatively clearly within the noisy streets of New York and the buds did an honest job decreasing wind noise. They’re within the higher echelons by way of voice-calling efficiency.  


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Galaxy Buds 2 Pro final thoughts

For better or worse, Galaxy Buds have always been an accessory for Galaxy smartphones and, as a result, more geared toward owners of Galaxy devices. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are no exception. They’re excellent earbuds, but you lose some of their key features if you’re not a Galaxy device owner. For that reason, it’s easy to see them as the Samsung equivalent of the AirPods Pro, which may very well get some sort of high-resolution wireless streaming option with the arrival of the AirPods Pro 2 that will likely use proprietary Apple technology that only works with its devices.

By comparison, the Pixel Buds Pro have fewer features geared exclusively toward Pixel owners (virtual surround), and such features as hands-free Google Assistant and true multipoint Bluetooth pairing are available across all Android devices. However, the Pixel Buds have no enhanced audio codec support, which may be important if you’re convinced it makes a big difference. I personally think it makes only a slight difference with this class of earbuds, which may have a premium price tag but aren’t high-end.   

The bigger question will be whether it’s worth upgrading to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro if you already own a pair of Galaxy Buds, particularly the original Galaxy Buds Pro. I think that will largely depend on what price you can get the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro for. While their list price is $230, Samsung is currently offering trade-in deals (any Galaxy Buds in any condition) that bring their price down to around $155 and you can often get deals on them as part of a bundle with a new Galaxy phone.  

For me anyway, while the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer some small performance improvements over their predecessor, their design is the biggest upgrade. That makes them the best Galaxy Buds yet.



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