Small, lightweight, comfortable
Excellent audio performance
No multipoint pairing
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the new flagship of Samsung’s earbuds line, set above the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds 2. The company's previous top buds, the Galaxy Buds Pro are being retired from the lineup.
The Buds 2 Pro have the same look as the Buds 2 (hence the odd naming convention), while their features match better with the Buds Pro. They're smaller than the Pro, though, providing a lower, more stylish profile than Samsung's former flagship buds, combining the best of both models.
About the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
- Price: $229.99
- Battery life: Up to 5 hours with noise canceling (8 hours without), up to 30 hours with charging case
- Fast charging: 5 minutes for an hour of playtime
- Colors: Graphite, White, Bora Purple
- Ambient sound modes: Active noise canceling, Transparency mode
- Speakers: 10mm woofers, 5.3mm tweeters
- Microphones: Three beamforming microphones
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3
- Audio codecs: Samsung Seamless, SBC, AAC
- Dust/water resistance: IPX7
- Weight: 5.5 grams per earbud, 55 grams with charging case
- Extras: Easy Pair and Auto Switch for Samsung devices, Microsoft Swift Pair, 24-bit High-Res Audio, 360 Audio, Bixby voice control
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty, parts and labor
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro arrive in a micro-sized box like their predecessors. Accessories include three sets of round ear tips and a USB-C to USB-C charging cable—a change from the USB-C to USB-A cable provided in the past. Before pairing, you'll want to grab Samsung's Wearable app (not available for iOS) if you're using an Android phone outside Samsung's ecosystem.
Instead of the glossy exterior which has been Samsung’s signature the past few years, the Buds 2 Pro greet you with a matte finish, which I prefer. Other standout features include two-way drivers (10mm woofers and 5.3mm tweeters), 24-bit high-res audio with a Samsung Galaxy phone, ANC and transparency mode, 360 audio, a dunkable design, and a wireless charging case. There are also extras like Voice Detect, which activates transparency mode and lowers music volume when it hears your voice.
What we like
Smaller, lighter, and more comfortable
The Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds 2 were far from the bulkiest earbuds I’ve used, but they still stick out farther than I’d like and can consequently create fit issues. That isn’t the case with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The new earbuds are 15 percent smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro and fit snugly with a lower and less obtrusive profile.
I was able to get a secure fit with the included silicone tips, which is a necessity for the best audio and ANC performance. One extra fit option would be nice, but the vast majority of people should be served well by the three included options.
Any concern they might jostle loose with activity was alleviated on my run around the neighborhood (with some interspersed burpees). That fit and their IPX7 water resistance rating makes them a viable workout option, too.
Excellent sound profiles
Within the Android Galaxy Wearable app for Android or Galaxy Buds app on Windows 10, there’s an equalizer with six different presets (there’s unfortunately no iOS app option). Normal is shown as a flat line on the equalizer image (although it’s a little colored toward the top end), Bass Boost and Soft accentuate the lows, Dynamic aims for a smile EQ curve, and so on.
While all of them have viability, Normal was the best to my ears. And it sounds fabulous, especially from the midrange down. Vocals are clear and present without sounding too forward or overbearing. Snare drums have a pleasant snappiness and punch, and bass is robust and supportive, but never overpowers the clarity of the mids.
Stereo signals are spread nicely across the soundscape, giving instruments their space. It allows different instrumental colors to pop out of the texture, like the quick harpsichord riff at the very end of Soundgarden’s “Fresh Tendrils” that can get buried with other earbuds. 360 audio opens up the spacing even more, but it also adds an EQ bump to the upper mids, so guitars can get overly present and cover some of those textural details.
The treble is overly energetic and can be a bit sizzly on instruments like cymbals. Like Samsung’s other earbuds, they aren’t oppressive, just a bit much for my personal tastes. Unfortunately, there’s no multiband-EQ to tame those frequencies, just the six presets.
If you use a high-res streaming service such as Qobuz, Tidal, or Amazon Music the Buds 2 Pro support 24-bit audio over Bluetooth. You’ll need a Galaxy phone running Android 8.0 and One UI 4.0 or later with 1.5GB of RAM or more (360 Audio requires the same specs). Qobuz allows you to switch between streaming quality, ranging from MP3 at 320 kbps for lowest quality and 24-bit up to 192 kHz at the highest.
There is a perceptible difference in sound (a bit more space on the top end, some depth to the soundfield), but it is very slight. And with Qobuz, at least, there’s no way of knowing the exact quality you’re getting, just the “up to” values.
Noise canceling is very good
Samsung has stepped up its noise canceling performance with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, particularly in the low-end and midrange. The earbuds virtually eliminate any low drones, such as airplane noise or air conditioners. They also tamp down a good amount of the midrange putting them on par with the Apple AirPods Pro.
If your keyboard is exceptionally clicky or there’s a conversation happening in the room, those sounds will bleed through, but in a subdued way, with the edge taken off. And as soon as you add music at a low to moderate volume, the noises of the world fade into the background.
Transparency Mode on earbuds is hit or miss, with most earbuds adding an excited high range for improved clarity that, to my ear, sounds artificial. That isn’t the case with the Buds 2 Pro. In fact, the natural sound of transparency mode is the closest to Apple’s performance as I’ve heard.
Clear call quality
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro deliver your voice well to the other side of your call. While indoors, my voice sounded clear as if I was using my phone’s microphone. Outside when on a call with my wife, the earbuds did a good job attenuating the Los Angeles traffic, turning passing cars into brief shushing sounds.
It was actually more apparent when I wasn’t talking, as the microphones were latching onto the sound, but when I spoke up my voice came through clearly and the cars were less prominent. Thankfully there weren’t any compression artifacts that distracted my wife from our conversation.
What we don’t like
No multipoint Bluetooth pairing
My hope was that Samsung would add in multipoint Bluetooth pairing with these new buds, but alas, we’ll have to wait even longer. That’s a noticeable omission compared to many of the latest flagships, including Google's Pixel Buds Pro, as well as older models like Jabra's Elite 85t. In its place, Samsung does offer seamless pairing that will switch the earbuds to any Samsung device on your account once you’ve paired it with one.
For someone that’s all in on the Samsung ecosystem it’s a neat feature. But even for Galaxy phone users, the likelihood all of your tech products are Samsung isn’t that high. Then you’re back to disconnecting from your computer video meeting in order to take a call on your phone.
Many features are Samsung specific
Like the audio switching, 24-bit and 360 audio require the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to be paired with a Samsung Galaxy device. While this isn’t new and Samsung isn’t the only company doing this—hello, Apple AirPods and Google Pixel Buds Pro—it’s a notable limiting factor.
All other features are available within the app on Android phones and Windows 10 computers. They'll also work fine with iPhones, but without the ability to access the Samsung app, you can’t adjust touch controls, change equalizer settings, use the Bixby assistant, or turn on voice detect.
Battery life is mediocre
When the Galaxy Buds Pro came out in 2021, their 5-hour ANC battery life wasn’t that great, so the fact that there’s been no improvement on that front with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is a shame. In our testing, with active noise canceling on and the volume set to 50 percent, the Buds 2 Pro managed 4 hours and 40 minutes of playtime—20 minutes short of Samsung’s maximum claim.
The fact that the earbuds are smaller makes it difficult to add bigger batteries, so it’s likely that these are smaller than older earbuds. Fast charge extends the battery life by an hour when popping the earbuds into the case for five minutes, comparable to other earbuds.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?
Yes, especially for Samsung phone users
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are another excellent step forward for Samsung. They take the best features from the Buds 2 and the Buds Pro and put them together into a better-fitting, more comfortable package with excellent ANC and sound quality. It should be no surprise that they’re an Editor’s Choice and top recommendation for Samsung users.
If you don’t already use Samsung products, however, a $230 MSRP is a bit much when features are limited outside of the Samsung ecosystem. It’s the major drawback for the Buds 2 Pro—as it is for the Apple AirPods Pro and Google Pixel Buds. For a system-agnostic choice, we still recommend the Jabra Elite 85t, although they feel a bit bigger in the ear than the Samsung. Sony’s WF-1000XM4 still rank as some of the best noise-canceling earbuds you can get for a bit more than the Buds 2 Pro, too.
Still, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best-sounding earbuds Samsung has put out with a rich feature set that will satisfy any Galaxy phone user.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Editor, Electronics & Audio/Video@johntmhiggins
John is the A/V Editor for Reviewed. He is an ISF Level III-certified calibrator with bylines at ProjectorCentral, Wirecutter, IGN, Home Theater Review, T3, Sound & Vision, and Home Theater Magazine. When away from the Reviewed office, he is a sound editor for film and musician, and loves to play games with his son.
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