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 mid-range, name-brand true wireless earbuds, Samsung has two models that might catch your eye. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro look similar at first glance, but their prices hint at the differences within.
Both offer active noise canceling, a case with wireless charging, water resistance, 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 newer 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 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.
This pricing puts them roughly mid-pack for true wireless earbuds with noise canceling. 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 the 2 not-Pro are 35% 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 AirPod’s tell-tale tail. The non-Pro 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 3: Graphite, White, and Bora Purple. In both cases the cases contain corresponding colors. However, with the Pro it’s the entire case, while with the non-Pros 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 in the three colors.
No real standout winner here. The additional olive green color of the 2s 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 from their non-Pro brethren.
While both models have noise canceling, the Pro’s ANC is more effective. The regular Buds 2 will reduce low droning sounds pretty well, but the Buds 2 Pro go even further. They greatly reduce the low droning sounds and some lower-midrange frequencies, putting their performance on par with the AirPods Pro.
If you’re a fan of high-resolution audio, 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, while the regular Buds 2 are just IPX2. Basically, you can’t get the non-Pro wet in any serious way, but thinking about a glass of water is fine. The Pro can survive a fall into shallow water.
The additional features are one of the main reasons to upgrade to the Buds 2 Pro, so that’s easily the winner in this category.
Our pick: Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Battery life, with both the Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, isn’t great. Likely a consequence of their small size. The Buds 2 last around 5 hours with noise canceling on, and around 7.5 with it off. The case will charge them to full 3 times.
Playtime for the 2 Pro is about the same, about half an hour longer with noise canceling 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 higher end can have a bit too much of a harsh edge. They also lack the clarity of higher-end earbuds.
The Pro, on the other hand, 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, excellent audio performance.
So the regular Buds 2 don’t sound bad, but this is one of the clear categories where spending more on the Pro gets you a clear 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 earbud category. They’re small, offer decent sound and noise canceling, and other than their lackluster battery life, offer a compelling option.
However, for just a bit more money, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pros offer everything the regular Buds 2 do, but better. They sound better, have better noise canceling, plus offer several features that the non-Pro don’t, like IPX7 water resistance.
So 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.