While we are still waiting for Apple to launch the third-generation AirPods, Samsung is already out with the Galaxy Buds 2, its new pair of truly wireless earbuds. They essentially replace the Galaxy Buds Plus and join Samsung’s family of TWS including Galaxy Buds Pro and Buds Live. The Galaxy Buds 2 takes design cues from the Galaxy Buds Live and adds active noise cancellation (ANC). But how do the Galaxy Buds 2 perform and should you spend Rs 11,999 on them?
I used the Buds 2 for a week, and here’s what Android smartphone users should expect from Samsung’s entry-level wireless earbuds.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: Design and aesthetics
The Buds 2 look kind of familiar to Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus and Buds Pro. They are egg-shaped buds with a glossy finish and come in multiple colour finishes. In fact, Buds 2 are 15 per cent smaller and 20 per cent lighter than Buds Plus. The Buds 2 come with a small charging case which is portable and supports wireless charging. The case is white in colour and glossy, while the interior is matched to the colour of the earbuds you choose.
What I liked about the Buds 2 is that they feel light and stay in my ears. I had been complaining about how ill-fitting the previous generation Galaxy Buds were, but the Buds 2 felt secure. The size is small, and there isn’t a stem-like on Apple’s AirPods.
I liked how they felt without using extra-large ear tips to get a tight seal. The wireless earbuds come in three sizes of silicone tips. They are easy to swap so that you get the perfect fit.
I wore them in different situations while doing exercise in the morning, attending Zoom calls, and listening to music in the evening after work. They have a good build quality; plus, an IPX2 water-resistance rating means they will be fine for workouts and running. There’s a touch surface on both buds, and although responsive, there have been times when the buds accidentally register commands while adjusting them in my ears.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: Setup and app
The Buds 2 is designed to work with both Android smartphones and iPhones. However, there is no dedicated app for iOS users, so pairing will be done via Bluetooth. I feel the Buds 2 should better be used with an Android smartphone or a Samsung Galaxy phone. I paired the Buds 2 with my Galaxy M52 and the process is simple. Hold the case open to a Galaxy phone, and wait for the screen to come up and connect. In Samsung’s Wear app, you can customise the controls and switch on/off Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) or turn off or on Ambient Sound. There is also an option to turn off the touch controls on the buds, which could be a useful feature for many. Other features baked into the app include: the ability to ping the location of each earbud via the app, the EQ controls, earbud fit test, and Bixby voice wake-up.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: Sound quality and ANC
Let’s talk about the raw spec, shall we?
The Buds 2 have a dual-driver setup, with each buds getting a dedicated woofer and tweeter. They also have three microphones and AKG tuning for audio. These are definitely not the best-sounding wireless earbuds I have heard, and Samsung isn’t claiming that either. Still, they sound good enough. Whether it was pop, rock, hip hop, or podcasts, everything sounded balanced. I never felt the need to change the equaliser. The Buds 2 are better in the bass area, and there is a level of clarity. I have been listening to country music a lot these days, and everyone from John Mayer to Miranda Lambert sounded the way I expected them to. The acoustic guitars along with vocals layering had a crisp presence.
The Buds 2 come with active noise cancelling (ANC), and it’s a defining feature. Having an ANC in wireless buds is often projected as “better sound” which is so untrue. Active noise cancelling is a good feature to have if you travel frequently. It is hard to say how effective ANC is on a pair of earbuds. Samsung says the Buds 2 cut out external background noise by 98 per cent. While walking to a nearby metro station, the Buds 2 managed to block plenty of external noise. But don’t expect the level of ANC to be as good as you get on AirPods Pro or Sony’s premium TWS. Ambient mode is another likable feature which when turned on, lets you hear your own voice as you attend a call. Call quality impresses on the Buds 2. The microphones work fine for attending calls and Zoom/Teams meetings.
Samsung claims up to five hours of battery life for the wireless earbuds with ANC turned on and 7.5 hours with it turned off. Further, the case can charge Buds 2 and extend the battery life to 20 when ANC is enabled or 29 hours when ANC is turned off. The battery life on the Buds 2 is fine but it all depends on how long you listen to music on these buds.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review: Should you buy them?
The Buds 2 can be considered if you live in Samsung’s ecosystem or own an Android smartphone. They don’t come cheap, even though the Buds 2 are pitched as entry-level truly wireless earbuds. The design is likable, they fit well, the sound impresses, and the ANC is good if not great.