The Galaxy Buds 2 was released alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3 aside from other announcements and updates to be expected later on this year. The new TWS earbuds from Samsung are the direct replacement for the original Galaxy Buds and this comes with a US$149 price tag despite having some pretty cool features that make it truly premium in every way possible.
Samsung has been adamant as to making TWS earbuds with stems – probably because the Korean tech giant wants to continue in its own path considering big issues it had with Apple in the past over copyright infringement and so forth.
Even though the new Galaxy Buds 2 is pretty small in every sense, it produces a really high-quality audio output that places it right next to expensive TWS earbuds from brands like Sony, Sennheiser, and of course Apple.
The Galaxy Buds 2 is now a member of the Galaxy Buds Pro, Buds Live with its bean shape all of which are great devices in their own rights.
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One of the cool features you get on the new update is the inclusion of active noise cancellation that gives the tiny earbuds the ability to fend off environmental noise around you.
The audio output from the Galaxy Buds 2 is really amazing and I won’t come with the “despite being US$150” generic sentence, the fact that the device is priced at that point meant that users are going to be expecting some levels of high-end specifications and capacity that’ll put the device in the league of other popular brands on the TWS earbuds market.
After a couple of days with the new Galaxy Buds 2, I must say that the experience was interesting. While I’m not all about the tiny TWS earbuds design compared to all other options which often have a longer stem like the AirPods Pro as an example, the route Samsung took as far as its TWS earbuds are concerned in my opinion is quite adamant. I’d prefer a situation whereby the Korean tech giant can create a TWS earbud with a stem.
Back to the Galaxy Buds 2, it looks quite similar to the previous Buds Pro in some ways except for the curves on the new models with a glossy finish. Also, the external color of the case is white even though the device comes in various color options such as white, dark gray, green, or purple.
In terms of quick specifications, you get things like the faster Bluetooth 5.2, 3 mics per bud to aid ANC, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor and in terms of power, it makes use of a 61mAh battery for the buds while the case has a bigger 472mAh battery which gives the device about 15 hours of use while the buds themselves can last for about 5 hours with ANC turned on while up to 7 hours with ANC turned off. The Galaxy Buds 2 can be charged using USB-C or wirelessly via Qi wireless charging and its rated IP2.
Design, Comfort, and Battery life
As mentioned earlier, I’m not really a big fan of the design of the Galaxy Buds 2 but that doesn’t mean it’s not well built. The fact that it has no stem makes it easy to get swallowed by the earlobes which make the device pretty usable by anyone either with big or small ears. However, temporarily pulling it out of your ears for whatever reason can be daunting especially with the glossy coating as well as its curvy design.
Another thing is the sensitivity of the touch controls. While it’s apparent that the back of the device controls the device basically, any attempt to pull it out could sometimes lead to accidental touches. Also, there are instances when the earbud slips right out of my ear due to sweat or something and often requires a brief cleaning to get it dried out.
However, everything about the Galaxy Buds 2 is great in itself. It’s very lightweight about 5 grams with a dimension of about 17.0 x 20.9 x 21.1mm. The charging case on the other hand is quite small and can fit very well into your pocket. Its own dimension is about 50.2 x 50.0 x 27.8mm and weighs around 41.2 grams.
I often wear TWS earbuds for a really long period of time and my experience with the Galaxy Buds 2 in regards to this has been a positive one. The ANC gives you the power to block out ambient noise some of which gets blocked out already due to the design of the earbuds as well as the tight seal provided by the rubber ear-tips.
Unlike the previous models, the Galaxy Buds 2 is smaller and works pretty well. Making calls with this thing was magic and I never expected it. During my test, I literally took the device farther away from my smartphone to test out its in-built microphone and it surely worked fine picking every sound and filtering out the ambient noise around to make calls clear – not as clear as the type you’d get from your smartphone but you get something usable and you don’t need to scream.
In the battery region, you get a 7-hour long battery usage when the ANC is turned off but that longevity gets cut by 2 hours when you turn on the ANC bringing the number down to just 5 hours. You can also make calls on this for 3 hours straight so your next marathon Zoom meeting should be well covered.
Charging it back is fast even though there is no fast charging. But a brief charge for about 3 minutes could get you up to 40 minutes of playback while a longer 10 minutes charge can get you up to 150 minutes of play. Charging the Galaxy Buds 2 takes about 1hr, 30 mins from 0% to 100% and the charging case can be charged wirelessly thanks to its Qi wireless charge support.
With the charging case, you get between 20 and 29 hours of continuous usage if you’re like me who make use of earbuds extensively. With such long-lasting battery life, it definitely reminded me of the previous Galaxy Buds Pro but since that is a “Pro” high-end earbuds, the new Galaxy Buds 2 has its own performance capacity along with long-lasting battery life.
Performance and ANC
While the ANC on the Galaxy Buds 2 is good at its job, it’s not the best ANC technology you’ll find on TWS earbuds. Matching it up against other more expensive earbuds like the AirPods Pro, the difference can be quite noticeable but that doesn’t affect the performance of the device in any way or form.
The Delivered as promised and the tight seals you get from the ear tips help turn off surrounding noise and any ambient noise you don’t want so when paired up with the ANC, I think the earbuds still did a great job and it’s worth the price point.
Another major difference you’ll notice between the Galaxy Buds Pro and the Buds 2 is the IP rating whereby the former is rated IPX7 – water and sweat resistance while the latter (Galaxy Buds 2) is rated IPX2 so, in a really wet situation, you’ll endanger the lives of the Galaxy Buds 2. Using it for things like training, or rigorous workout, or any activity that’ll make you sweat profusely, all these factors can contribute to the ultimate demise of the earbud.
But aside from these factors, the reality remains that the Galaxy Buds produces a really great audio output in full detail and it definitely challenged the Galaxy Buds Pro. With this, I also formed my opinion that Samsung’s target customers for this product are moderate users – students, people who go to an office, or just any individual who’ll use the device without putting the earbuds at risk – especially water and sweat-related risk.
I listened to a variety of sounds via the Galaxy Buds and the output was in fact amazing. Without EQ, the original sound comes out really well. The bass is really punchy and beats separation is something I often admire a lot. My favorite song What To Do by Travis Scott and Don Toliver did really well on the device.
Also, if you find ASMR satisfying in a quiet place, then you’d be interested in what the Galaxy Buds 2 has to offer. Footsteps and ambient sound in the background when watching movies all came out amazing on the earbuds and I really enjoyed the experience.
For a moment, I often get deceived whether I’m using big over-ear headphones because of the surround sound output I get from the earbuds and that’s why I’ll give the Galaxy Buds 2’s performance B+.
Galaxy Buds 2 Control
The Galaxy Buds 2 has several controls. But before I go into that, I’d like to mention the fact that the earbuds’ touch sensitivity is really amazing. My only concern is the fact the design and accidental touches whenever I try to pull out the device. However, you can customize the touches to suit your own needs.
- Single tap: Idle Play Music Pause
- Double tap: Music Next song Call
- Incoming call: Receive a call
- During call: End a call
- Incoming 2nd call: Put current call on hold & Receive incoming call
- Multiple calls: Put current call on hold & Activate held call
- Triple tap: Music Previous song
Note: Double-tap and Triple taps are off by default and can be set up on the Galaxy Wearable app.
Touch & hold
- 1 sec:
- Idle: Activate user-set function in the app
- Call: Incoming call / Incoming 2nd call;
Reject a call / Reject 2nd call
- 3 sec: (While both earbuds in the case) Pairing Mode
Note: The Touch & hold feature can be used during calls if set to adjust ANC or volume.
Should you buy the Galaxy Buds 2?
Yes if you’re trying to further get integrated within Samsung’s product ecosystem which includes smart home appliances, smartwatches as well as Galaxy smartphones. This is a great way to get started as you can easily summon any virtual assistant such as Bixby or Google Assistant all with ease.
Also if you’re a casual earbuds user, then this will be a great option for you. And by casual, I meant in situations that won’t jeopardize the safety of the earbuds such as water or sweat since the Galaxy Buds 2 isn’t IPX7 rated when compared to the Galaxy Buds Pro.
Another thing to consider is the price. There are definitely some cheaper TWS earbuds out there that perform at the same level as the Galaxy Buds 2 and cost less. With a US$149 price tag, you can opt for alternatives such as SoundPeat TrueAir 2 which although has no ANC, performs really well and has a powerful battery.
There is also the OnePlus Buds Z which has a stem as well just as the aforementioned SoundPeat TrueAir 2. The OnePlus Buds Z has some great advantages as well and the price point isn’t that much so it’s a really usable device and can match up in terms of specs and performance with the Galaxy Buds 2.
My overall take for the Galaxy Buds 2 is that it’s a great piece of hardware and “it’s worth the price” is a subjective sentence. Because those who have used other cheaper options with nearly the same capacity might argue that the Galaxy Buds is too expensive while those who have used more expensive TWS earbuds might think it’s a good device to start with.