Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Galaxy Buds 2: Should you upgrade?
Two earbuds face off for Samsung supremacy
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If you’re considering some Android-friendly true wireless earbuds, Samsung has two models that should catch your eye. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are both impressive options. They look similar at first glance, but their prices hint at the differences within.
Both offer active noise canceling, a case with wireless charging, and dual drivers in each earbud. If you’ve got a Samsung phone, you’ll have access to some additional features, like a proprietary audio codec, 360 sound, and Dolby Atmos. Are the Buds 2 Pro the better option, or did Samsung strike gold with the standard Buds 2? Here’s how they compare.
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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are close in price, but the Pro are naturally the step up in terms of price and features. As of this writing, the standard Buds 2 are $149.99 while the Pro are $229.99.
There are cheaper options, of course. But there are also more expensive options, including the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. Those earbuds will work with Samsung devices, but aren’t specifically designed for maximum Android functionality.
Still, numbers are numbers, and Galaxy Buds 2 are up to $80 cheaper than the Pro.
Our pick: Galaxy Buds 2
The design of the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are quite similar, as you’d expect. They both have a sort of egg-like shape, without the Apple AirPods' signature tail. The Buds 2 are a little smaller, which can be a good thing if you have smaller ears.
The Buds 2 come in four colors: Graphite, White, Olive, and Lavender. The Buds 2 Pro come in just three: Graphite, White, and Bora Purple, with corresponding cases. However, with the Pro it’s the entire case, while with the standard model it’s just the interior. The exterior is white instead.
The most distinct difference is in the finish. After years of glossy earbuds, Samsung changed it up with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which are available only with a matte finish.
There's no real standout winner here. The additional olive green color of the standard pair is nice, but having the entire case the same color as the buds is great too. It basically comes down to which colors you like and if you prefer a glossy or matte finish. I’ll call that a tie.
Our pick: Tie
This is, as you’d probably guess, one of the first areas where the Pro distinguish themselves.
While both models have noise canceling, the Pro’s ANC is more effective. The regular Buds 2 will reduce low-drone sounds pretty well, but the Buds 2 Pro go even further. They greatly reduce the low drone sounds and some lower-midrange frequencies, putting their performance on par with the original AirPods Pro—but not the AirPods Pro 2, which offer next-gen noise canceling.
The Pro can handle 24-bit audio over Bluetooth if you use a streaming service plan that supports it—such as Qobuz, Apple Music, and Tidal—with a Samsung Galaxy phone. Another difference is water resistance. The Pro are IPX7 certified, which means they're actually dunkable for short periods, while the regular Buds 2 are just IPX2. Basically, you can’t get the standard pair wet in any serious way.
The additional features are one of the main reasons to upgrade to the Buds 2 Pro, so they're easily the winner in this category.
Our pick: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Battery life isn’t great for either pair, likely a consequence of their small size. The Buds 2 last around 5 hours with noise canceling on, and around 7.5 without ambient audio modes. The case will charge them to full 3 times.
Playtime for the 2 Pro is about the same, about half an hour longer with ambient audio off. The case has a larger battery, however, and will charge them full from empty around 3.5 times.
Since both models have fast charging, giving you an hour after just 5 minutes of charging, I’m going to count this category as a tie.
Our pick: Tie
In addition to features, sound quality is one of the biggest differences between the two models. The Pro just sound better. Out of the box, the regular Buds 2 have decent midrange and bass, but their treble can have a bit too much of a harsh edge. They also lack the clarity of higher-end earbuds.
The Pro have excellent midrange and bass. Drums, for instance, have a strong punch and directness. Vocals are clear without overwhelming the rest of the sound. The bass is full, without dominating the rest of the frequencies. Overall, you'll get excellent audio performance.
While the regular Buds 2 don’t sound bad, this is one of the clear categories where spending more on the Pro gets you a notable improvement.
Our pick: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
And the winner is ...
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 are a solid entry in the mid-range true wireless earbuds category. They’re small, offer decent sound and noise canceling, and other than their lackluster battery life, they're a compelling option at a very manageable price.
However, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are a serious improvement, taking over for the original Galaxy Buds Pro as Samsung's flagship pair They sound better, offer better noise canceling, and serve up several features that the standard pair doesn’t, like IPX7 water resistance. If you can afford the extra $80, or even better you catch them on sale, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the way to go.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.