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HomeTechnologySamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Professional Assessment: Improved Design Pays Dividends

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Professional Assessment: Improved Design Pays Dividends

When Samsung launched its authentic Galaxy Buds Professional noise-canceling earbuds, one in all its headline advertising and marketing messages was the eye it paid to their sound high quality. Certainly, they delivered on that entrance, however a sure subset of customers, together with me, discovered them to be a less-than-ideal match for his or her ears. In my case, not one of the included ear ideas allowed me to get a decent seal, so I needed to swap in a bigger set of ideas from a rival set of earbuds. So, for sure, I used to be curious to see what Samsung’s engineers had provide you with for the second-gen Galaxy Buds 2 Professional ($230, £219, AU$349), suspecting they’d handle that match concern. 


  • Improved design with extra snug match
  • Glorious sound and good noise-canceling
  • Excellent voice-calling efficiency
  • Assortment of additional options for Galaxy machine house owners, together with 360 Audio digital encompass sound and hands-free Bixby voice assistant
  • Totally waterproof (IPX7)

Do not Like

  • Pretty expensive
  • Some key options solely work with Samsung gadgets
  • No true multipoint Bluetooth pairing

Positive sufficient, they did. The very first thing you may discover concerning the Samsung Galaxy Buds Professional 2 — that are launching alongside the brand new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 — is that they merely have a greater all-around design than their predecessor. Not solely are they 15% smaller, in keeping with Samsung, however they weigh barely much less (5.5 grams per buds vs. 6.3 grams) and have a matte end on each the buds and case that provides them a nicer really feel and makes them a bit extra grippy.

Learn extra: Greatest Wi-fi Earbuds for 2022

That makes the compact case rather less prone to slip out of your hand and — extra importantly — it helps maintain the buds in your ears slightly extra securely. And due to their new form and smaller dimension, I used to be capable of get a decent seal with the most important set of included ear ideas and did not have to produce my very own. Moreover, the earbuds do not stick out of your ears as a lot as the unique Galaxy Buds Professional did, and so they look extra discreet. They’re accessible in three colours — Bora purple, white and graphite — and whereas I am unable to say they will match all ears equally effectively, they need to present a greater match to extra ears than the unique Galaxy Buds Professional. 

Proprietary high-res audio and different Galaxy-exclusive options

Except for the revamped design, Samsung is touting the buds’ improved noise canceling and help for 24-bit high-resolution audio. The catch is to get that 24-bit audio you may want a Galaxy machine geared up with Samsung’s One UI 4.0 and a music streaming service like Qobuz, Tidal or Amazon Music that streams high-res audio tracks. On all different gadgets, together with Android telephones and iPhones, the buds default to the AAC audio codec. They use Bluetooth 5.3. 

Alas, the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional do not help the extra frequent AptX Adaptive audio codec for Android gadgets, solely the brand new Samsung Seamless Codec Hello-Fi codec, which Samsung says delivers 256x extra sound knowledge than 16-bit (CD high quality) audio. Numbers like which can be a bit misleading as a result of, primarily based on my expertise, you are actually solely going to note a slight distinction when streaming greater bit-rate tracks. However extra on that after I spherical out the remainder of the function set.

The buds did not stick out of my ears an excessive amount of. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Like their predecessor, these have contact controls (you possibly can flip sure ones on or off, or you possibly can flip all of them off) together with an choice to activate hands-free Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant. Moreover, Samsung’s 360 Audio digital encompass function (with head monitoring) returns in an “Enhanced” model and now works with quite a lot of Galaxy gadgets out of the gate, although it is not appropriate with different Android gadgets. It really works alongside the identical strains as Apple’s spatial audio function for AirPods and might improve your film and TV watching expertise, although it does not appear to be as pronounced Apple’s spatial audio, which I feel is barely higher general. It additionally works with music or any audio you are listening to.  

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional are IPX7 waterproof, which suggests they’ll stand up to being totally submerged in 1-meter deep water for as much as half-hour. I had no downside working with them and so they did not slip out of my ears.

Like their predecessor, battery life is rated at 5 hours with noise canceling on and eight hours with it off at reasonable quantity ranges, with about three further fees within the case (it fees through USB-C and wirelessly). You may quibble that no enhancements have been made to the battery life, but it surely’s laborious to shrink buds whereas growing battery life. 

A look at the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's microphones and sensors.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional have three microphones on every earbud together with ear-detection sensors.

David Carnoy/CNET

Sensors detect when the buds are in your ears and can pause your music once you take a bud out and resume playback once you put the bud again in (you should utilize a single bud whereas leaving the opposite one within the case). Moreover, you possibly can decide to activate a “voice detect” mode within the Galaxy Wearable companion app that robotically turns off noise canceling and switches to “ambient sound” mode once you communicate, permitting you to listen to the surface world and interact in a dialog with somebody. Sony presents an analogous function with its WF-1000XM4 and LinkBuds S earbuds.

One other new function value mentioning has nothing to do with audio. You’ll be able to toggle on the “neck stretch reminders” setting that detects your head place and alerts you once you’ve bent your head downward for 10 minutes. As I’ve written this evaluate, I have been alerted a number of occasions to stretch my neck.  

Just like the AirPods and another earbuds these have a find-my-buds function that Samsung calls SmartThings Discover. It may inform you your location when the buds have been final linked to your machine, but it surely does not provide the extra exact monitoring capabilities of Apple’s enhanced Discover My in its newest AirPods. 

Lastly, like their predecessor and the extra inexpensive Galaxy Buds 2, the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional do not provide true multipoint Bluetooth pairing that means that you can pair them with two gadgets, corresponding to a cellphone and laptop, on the identical time. However Samsung says they seamlessly pair with all of the Samsung gadgets logged into your Samsung account, together with Samsung TVs inbuilt 2022 or later and Samsung Galaxy Books laptops constructed after 2020. 

The Buds 2 Professional provide computerized switching between these gadgets. So if, for example, a name is available in in your cellphone as you are watching a film in your Tab S8 pill, the audio will robotically change to your cellphone once you reply the decision. That is much like how Apple’s AirPods auto pair with any Apple gadgets logged into your iCloud account. Observe that I have not completely examined the auto-switching function with many Samsung gadgets (as a result of I solely personal just a few) so I am unable to verify precisely how dependable it’s. I spent extra time manually switching my audio between a Galaxy Flip 3 and non-Samsung gadgets.   

Spectacular all-around performer

Samsung says it is improved the noise canceling on the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional by 40% (it calls it “Clever ANC”). I discovered it an enchancment on the unique Galaxy Buds Professional, however noise-canceling efficiency is affected by how tight a seal you get from the ear ideas (as is sound high quality), so your notion of how a lot it is improved might range by how good a seal you get.

I believed the noise canceling was shut however not fairly there, in contrast with the noise canceling of the Sony WF-1000XM4, but it surely did a superb job muffling quite a lot of noise on the streets of New York and underground within the subway. You’ll be able to flip the noise canceling off or activate ambient mode, the equal of Apple’s transparency mode, which I believed sounded pure. However there isn’t any setting to regulate noise canceling ranges; it robotically adapts to your atmosphere.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional are geared up with two-way drivers (10mm woofer, 5.3mm tweeter) and three microphones, two of that are beam-forming for voice calls. I paired them with a Galaxy Z Flip 3, iPhone 13 Professional and Google Pixel 4 XL and streamed music utilizing Qobuz. I additionally streamed some motion pictures from Google Play and Netflix.

In line with Samsung, there isn’t any approach to examine whether or not you are getting 24-bit audio (nothing signifies whether or not you might be — or aren’t), but when your audio setup meets the necessities listed — a Galaxy cellphone with Android 8.0 or greater and One UI 4.0 or greater with not less than 1.5GB of RAM — you may be utilizing the Samsung Seamless Codec, which transmits in 24-bit, assuming your audio recordsdata help it. (Qobuz recordsdata do.) I discover it irritating that there isn’t any approach to inform what bit fee you are streaming at, however I will need to take Samsung’s phrase that I used to be getting 24-bit audio. 

I did discover a slight distinction when streaming with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Nonetheless, utilizing the iPhone 13 Professional, the sound high quality was additionally excellent with an amply vast soundstage. I went backwards and forwards with Spoon’s Knock Knock Knock observe and some different songs. The Flip 3’s sound got here throughout barely extra precisely (a bit extra readability) with a contact extra element and depth. The bass is punchy and well-defined and I did not expertise any noticeable distortion at greater volumes. In brief, they’re excellent-sounding buds, although I am undecided they’re superior to different prime earbuds of their worth vary, together with the Pixel Buds ProfessionalBeats Match Professional and Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3.

I largely went with the default sound setting, although you possibly can tweak the signature profile within the Galaxy Wearable app with some preset equalizer settings, together with a bass increase setting. The reality is quite a lot of these premium earbuds are beginning to sound fairly related and it is actually the match — and the way they suit your explicit ears — that is going to make you want yet another than one other.

I will end by saying that when once more Samsung has delivered a set of Galaxy buds that work as a headset for making calls. They’ve good voice pick-up from the beam-forming microphones whereas offering good background noise discount. Callers mentioned they might hear me comparatively clearly within the noisy streets of New York and the buds did a good job decreasing wind noise. They’re within the higher echelons when it comes to voice-calling efficiency.  

Galaxy Buds 2 Professional remaining ideas

For higher or worse, Galaxy Buds have all the time been an adjunct for Galaxy smartphones and, in consequence, extra geared towards house owners of Galaxy gadgets. The Galaxy Buds 2 Professional are not any exception. They’re wonderful earbuds, however you lose a few of their key options if you happen to’re not a Galaxy machine proprietor. For that cause, it is easy to see them because the Samsung equal of the AirPods Professional, which can very effectively get some type of high-resolution wi-fi streaming possibility with the arrival of the AirPods Professional 2 that may doubtless use proprietary Apple know-how that solely works with its gadgets.

By comparability, the Pixel Buds Professional have fewer options geared completely towards Pixel house owners (digital encompass), and such options as hands-free Google Assistant and true multipoint Bluetooth pairing can be found throughout all Android gadgets. Nonetheless, the Pixel Buds don’t have any enhanced audio codec help, which can be essential if you happen to’re satisfied it makes a giant distinction. I personally assume it makes solely a slight distinction with this class of earbuds, which can have a premium price ticket however aren’t high-end.   

The larger query will likely be whether or not it is value upgrading to the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional if you happen to already personal a pair of Galaxy Buds, notably the unique Galaxy Buds Professional. I feel that may largely depend upon what worth you may get the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional for. Whereas their listing worth is $230, Samsung is at the moment providing trade-in offers (any Galaxy Buds in any situation) that deliver their worth all the way down to round $155 and you may typically get offers on them as a part of a bundle with a brand new Galaxy cellphone.  

For me anyway, whereas the Galaxy Buds 2 Professional provide some small efficiency enhancements over their predecessor, their design is the most important improve. That makes them the very best Galaxy Buds but. 

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