The Galaxy Unpacked 2021 event brings a slew of innovations by Samsung: from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to the Z Flip 3, without forgetting the Watch 4 and Galaxy Buds2. Of these, today we will present the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review in front of you. The Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live are the top-of-the-range Samsung true wireless earbuds, with their distinctive beanie shape.
We tried them on for a few days, and we have to say that, in their discreet and minimalist shell, they don’t miss anything: they have almost all the basic functions required by TWS today, but they have had to pay a pledge in terms of battery. A detail that, depending on its use, may not be so conclusive. We explain why: this is our experience in the Galaxy Buds 2 review.
Let’s start the Galaxy Buds 2 review with its appearance: the new Buds2 is touted as the smallest Samsung earphones ever, and the claim actually answers a reality. Each earbud weighs 5 grams, and the case 41 grams: to understand, the charging case is the same size as the Buds Live and Buds Pro – which is great for those who want to use the same silicone case – but having it in hand, yes it does find it noticeably lighter.
The Buds2 is available in four color variants, and our Galaxy Buds 2 review unit is in lavender but in any case, the charging case is white: just by opening it, you can see the interior in the same color as the earbuds, while the only line left is the closed one. A two-tone option that reminds us a bit of Google’s Pixel Buds 2 earbuds.
The glossy finish of the case is beautiful, but perhaps a bit more prone to scratches – although it is not damaged for now – has a very strong opening mechanism and closes with a nice magnetic click. The exterior is very minimal, where only LEDs are present that indicate the charge level of the case and the USB-C charging port, and also the inside, where there is an LED indicating the charging status.
On the other hand, like the Buds Pro, there’s no button for Bluetooth pairing (5.2), which happens automatically and quickly with Samsung devices in any case and instead is carried out by holding both earphones down for a few seconds for all the others.
Opening up the case are the earbuds at the end: they’re really small and lightweight, and also comfortable for that reason. Once worn, it’s like we don’t have them, and they protrude very little from our ear, which is still quite small. At first, we had to get used to placing them inside the case because, at first glance, they seem almost out of place, very close: but this is just an impression because, in reality, magnets hold them firmly.
Unlike the Buds Pro and Live, which gain personality thanks to the chrome-finished elements, these Buds 2 focus on restraint, a linear and discreet design that’s ideal for those looking for the smallest possible footprint.
Maybe being so cool, we’d love to see them in a special Olive color variant for that extra touch of personality, but our Galaxy Buds 2 review unit is in Lavender color. Some people applauded them for their simple design as soon as they saw them, so the question is certainly subjective.
Silicone tips are tightly fastened with deep grooves on the “nose” of the sound guide. It’s a little difficult to take them off and put them back on, but they hold in place as securely as possible.
Well, of course, you should not forget about the selection of silicone tips. If you are in any doubt, you can always use the dedicated app, there is also a test to understand if the ear tips are of the right size (there are the three sizes S, M, and L supplied), and it is quite scrupulous.
The only drawback, the IPX2 certification for fluids doesn’t insure them against use, especially in sweaty workouts or in the rain. We’ve used them primarily for low-impact activities, from yoga to walks to work in the office, and they hold their place in these situations; it seems reasonable for us to conclude that, given the level of certification against liquids, they are not the best-suited earbuds for extreme (or extremely humid) sports, but they are good companions for more moderate use in the office, public transport, street and so on.
Aesthetic considerations aside, each earbud is powered by AKG – equipped with a woofer and a tweeter and supported codecs are Samsung’s proprietary Scalable, AAC and SBC; so it’s not HiFi listening, but the result is great for the type of product.
We compared the performance with the older Galaxy Buds Pro siblings — which is what we’re most used to at the moment, the review is here — and we have to say the music reproduction is good, only slightly below the top of the range where sound is clear and is more rounded, immersive in terms of depth, and the maximum volume is slightly higher. However, the dynamic range is comparable with an emphasis on bass.
Apart from this comparison which seems uneven, taken by themselves, they provide a satisfactory level of musical reproduction concerning the price range, for which we would say promoted. We find them particularly suitable for listening to pop music because the sound landscape is pretty much the same.
Another front on which they do well is that of calls: very discreetly shaped and therefore projected slightly towards the mouth, we had some doubts about it, but instead, the sound is captured well. The interlocutor hears us loud and clear, and background noise is cut out quite effectively when speaking; the voice doesn’t sound shrill or artificial, and the connection is stable.
The ANC is one of Buds 2’s most relevant innovations, and it does the job well, nothing to say—much better than many other wireless earbuds that only boast it on paper, even though they generally don’t. But we did not gasp – are found in the range below $100. In this, the Galaxy Buds Pro outperforms, which is not surprising, considering that they offer really good noise cancellation.
The Buds 2 come close, but some low frequencies and some voices still manage to sneak into the earbuds. This is true for ANC without music reproduction, whereas if you combine the two things, listening is practically free of disturbances. ANC can also be activated on a single earbud, and there is a possibility to balance between right and left to compensate for any hearing loss.
The touch controls are the classic ones, and once the measures have been taken they respond well: a tap to go to the next song or pause; two taps to start music playback or answer/end the call; three taps to go back to the previous song; long press to reject the call or to activate a customizable function.
For the latter, the default setting is used to manage ANC, allowing you to switch between the two options of your choice (for example, from ANC to ambient sound or ANC to Off; remain an option in either case). Otherwise, alternatively, you can use it to adjust the volume – which is always fine – or summon the voice assistant, or open Spotify. Notable is the ability to individually activate or deactivate touches through the app.
And in this regard, the app is the classic Galaxy Wearable, in which you have to download the plugin dedicated to the Buds 2: it is a pleasant, immediate, quite complete app, which also allows you to equalize the playback with a series of presets and find the earphones making them ring.
From this point of view, the difference compared to the Buds Pro relates to premium features, such as the possibility to activate ANC based on voice recognition. In both cases, unfortunately, by logging into your Samsung account, the ability to switch from one device to another with a multipoint connection is limited to Galaxy devices.
Like the Buds Pro, there’s also the possibility to activate the reading of notifications, but we found it incomplete compared to the service offered by the Google Pixel Buds 2, where the headset has a wide range of voice assistant-related functions.
You won’t have a problem using the Buds 2 if you have a device with iOS, but you’ll have to settle for basic settings because there’s no version of the app dedicated to this operating system: that appears to be an option in the field.
Active noise cancellation and a lot of lightness come at a price you pay in terms of battery: Every hour of use with ANC consumes a 20% charge. The data is in line with what was stated by the manufacturer, according to which with ANC active music playback reaches 5 hours, or 3.6 hours on call, which become respectively 20 hours and 13 hours with the case, but it is quite far from 11 hours of previous Buds+, which had no ANC and reached 20 hours of battery life with the case.
So the result – 20 hours of juice – is the same, but you get there in a different way. There is probably an accurate choice on the premise: privileging other aspects regarding battery with the belief that the latter can be recovered from the case in a short period of time because perhaps not everyone uses the earphones for ten hours straight.
A positive side is the presence of wireless charging and the fast one, which allows you to get an hour of music playback with just 5 minutes of charge. In the end, it all depends on what they’re used for: we’d say they hold up well a workday for a few calls or commuting, whereas if we’re faced with an intercontinental flight we’d probably be able to handle a few calls or commuting.
The manufacturer has unexpectedly added everything possible to the Bud 2 with a recommended price of $150 on Amazon.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Bestbuy.com, and Amazon.co.uk websites: from effective active noise cancellation to bone conduction sensors. As well as a very good sound, correctly working touch controls, the ability to customize through software. We did not often see such a set in flagships, but here it is all in a headset of the middle price segment. Indeed, the earbud is interesting in the first place because of the ratio of cost and possibilities.
Of course, there were some flaws. For example, a complete equalizer would be of great help. Well, for sports, it’s hard to recommend the heroine of today’s test, fans of all kinds of activities should still choose the Buds Pro with IPX7 protection and a more secure fit. Those who do not like in-channel solutions and appreciate originality should still pay attention to Buds Live (REVIEW). Those looking for a versatile headset for everyday use now have the Buds2.
So how did you like this Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review, do tell in the comment section below.