Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: Great Sound, Comfortable Fit

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Many headphone manufacturers have adopted the “Pro” moniker, but very few offer the audio quality along with it. You’ll pay Apple or Google $200 or more for sleek designs, better microphones, and noise cancellation to beat their non-pro offerings, but both tiers of headphones use a single dynamic driver to power your tunes. As an audio nerd, it’s the equivalent of buying a sports car and then buying a Cadillac. Bells and whistles are nice, but sometimes you want the most bang for your buck.

That’s why I’ve been a fan of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro (9/10, WIRED Recommends), which used a pair of drivers tuned to deliver deeper bass and clearer highs than their California-engineered peers.

The listening experience continues above the recently launched sequel, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro, with new digital signal processing and an even more comfortable fit. Samsung phone owners—or really, anyone with a modern Android—now have a solid reason not to be jealous of their friends’ elephant-tusked AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED recommends). They even give their main competitor, Google’s Pixel Buds Pro (9/10, WIRED Recommends), a run for their money.

What’s new?

Photography: Samsung

The biggest difference between the original Buds Pro and the new model is the ergonomics. While I found the front buds comfortable in my painfully average ears, many felt it was difficult to get a good seal, which meant they leaked bass and other frequencies.

These new peanut-shaped buds fit me even better than the old ones (they’re 15 percent smaller and weigh about a gram less per earbud), which means they’ll probably work better for more people. They all disappeared in my head after a few minutes of distracted listening.

A rubberized finish on the outside of the case and earbuds makes it a breeze to stick them in, unlike the polished white plastic of the AirPods, which tend to evade my buttery fingers. Three colors offer another clear differentiation between the two main brands, with Samsung offering a dark grey, an off-white and a nice Barney Purple (the color of my review unit).

Touch controls felt improved between generations. My sweaty hair never accidentally activated the play or pause button on the right button, or disabled noise cancellation on the left. However, both buttons are very sensitive to real fingers. They will also automatically pause if you remove one or both headphones.

Samsung has new built-in 24-bit audio processing, 360-degree audio options and support for its Bixby voice assistant. However, you’ll only be able to use the first two with newer Samsung phones, and the last one you’ll never want to use.

It’s nice to have some pro features like the AirPods Pro, which include spatial audio support that works with iOS. But limiting these features exclusively to Samsung phones, rather than all Android devices, could annoy potential buyers who own a Google Pixel. In any case, the Samsung-specific features performed decently in tests, with 24-bit audio supported by Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music and others. I still think spatial audio is only good for movies, so it was nice to use there, but not necessary for serious music listening.

Compared to the latest Google Pixel Buds Pro, which can pair with multiple devices from different manufacturers at once, Samsung’s new multi-point Bluetooth offering looks a little less professional. Samsung achieves fast switching between devices using its auto-switching feature, but this only works on Samsung Galaxy tablets, watches, phones and TVs. It’s nice for Samsung users, but not so much for everyone else. The same goes for the Buds2 Pro’s 5-hour battery life, which is a few hours behind Google’s Pro model. However, it beats Apple by an hour.

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