Along with its new generation of foldables, Samsung released the latest wearables, including the Galaxy Buds 2. As a follow up to the Buds+ from last year, this new pair of true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds come with a revamped design that is closer to the higher end Buds Pro. Aside from sporting a different look, the Buds 2 is also Samsung’ lightest pair of in-ears, meaning it promises to be a comfortable pair to use, even in long listening sessions.
Design isn’t the only big change with the Buds 2 though as the earbuds now come with active noise cancellation (ANC) to block outside sounds, as well as an Ambient Sound mode so that you can hear your environment more clearly. On top of these, the Buds 2 still feature AKG-tuned sound, meaning these should be a quality pair of TWS buds for more discerning listeners.
The improvements that the Buds 2 has makes it a compelling purchase on paper, but is it a worthy buy given its PHP 6,990 price tag? Find out here in our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review!
Design and Fit
As mentioned above, the Galaxy Buds 2 has a design that’s reminiscent of the Buds Pro which Samsung released earlier this year. This means the Buds 2’s case has a squarer shape instead of the more rectangular (well, rounded rectangular) Buds and Buds+. While I don’t prefer one case design over the other, I can say that the Buds 2’s case is easy to fit inside pockets or inside your bag given its small and fairly slim size.
The Buds 2 comes in four colors: Olive, Graphite, Lavender, and White; though whichever color you choose, you’ll get a white case. While I would’ve preferred a case that matches the color of the earbuds, this should be far from a dealbreaker.
Moving on to the earbuds themselves, the Buds 2 earpieces are small and incredibly light. Given how small and light they are, I found that I can wear these for hours quite comfortably. Your mileage may vary of course, and you’ll need to select the right ear tip out of the three included tips (I found the smallest ear tip to have the best fit for me), but for most users, the Buds 2 should be a comfortable pair of in-ears; except maybe for users who aren’t used to earphones with an in-ear fit.
One thing I do like about the Buds 2 regarding fit is that you can test if you get a proper fit and seal thanks to the Galaxy Wear app (which is installed in Samsung phones, and is available on the Play Store for other Android phones). On this app, you can select the ear fit test on the settings menu, and it will test to see if you have a proper fit or not. This is important as having a proper fit is key to getting the best sound quality out of these buds.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds lineup have been praised for their sound quality, not just by general tech journalists, but even by audiophile reviewers. So, how does the latest Galaxy Buds 2 fare for sound quality? In my time with it, I found that the Buds 2 is one of the best-sounding TWS earbuds I’ve tested.
What makes the Buds 2 sound so good? One of the biggest reasons is how it is tuned. Most earphones that are marketed towards general users (and not audio enthusiasts) are made to produce too much bass, and this can make audio sound quite muffled. As for the Buds 2, the earphones are tuned in a way that the bass response has a satisfying rumble, all while being “clean” as the bass doesn’t get in the way of the mid to higher frequencies.
Without delving into a deep audiophile analysis, the Buds 2 just sounds right. Bass-heavy tracks like Take My Breath by The Weeknd are a treat to listen to, while indie rock tracks from Snail Mail are clear, complete with bass that does not overwhelm the guitars and vocals. In my time testing the Buds 2 out, the earbuds handled a wide range of genres well.
For me, the Galaxy Buds 2’s sound signature is pretty much perfect, though for some users (especially those used to darker sounding earphones), the Buds 2 can sound a bit fatiguing as some higher frequencies are a bit elevated. If you do find it a bit tiring to listen to after a while, you can modify the sound a bit using the Galaxy Wear app as it comes with several equalizer profiles when the Buds 2 is connected. Though I wish that the Wear app’s equalizer comes with a manual EQ option; at least Samsung Galaxy users have an equalizer option in the phone’s settings.
One thing to note is that the Buds 2 comes with ANC. While other noise-cancelling earbuds I tried have differences in sound quality when ANC is turned on, in my experience with the Buds 2, the earbuds produced great sound whether ANC is turned on or off.
Speaking of ANC, the noise cancellation of the Buds 2 is effective at tuning out low frequency sounds like the droning of an air conditioner or fan noise, but it’s not as effective with higher frequency noise. Overall, the ANC of the Buds 2 is still great for a pair of TWS earbuds as you will barely hear environmental noise with it on, especially if you have music playing.
As for the Ambient Sound mode, it’s effective at amplifying sound which is great if you need to talk to someone or listen to something without taking off the earbuds. Though this earphones’ Ambient Sound mode isn’t as good as the AirPods Pro in terms of loudness and clarity.
While the different sound modes are great, the Galaxy Buds 2 does have some flaws. For starters, its microphone quality is just okay. For calls, your voice will still be heard if you use the Buds 2, but the quality won’t be as clear when compared to wired earphones, or to TWS earbuds with a stem design (think the AirPods).
Another thing that could be improved is the earbuds’ touch controls as I found that they were too sensitive. Often, I accidentally paused a song or changed ANC settings while adjusting the fit of the earphones. At the very least, turning touch controls off is easy when you have the Galaxy Wear app installed.
Finally, the Buds 2’s battery life is quite good for TWS earbuds. In my experience, the earbuds were able to last for around 5 hours in a single session before needing a top up with ANC on. Combined with the charging case, you can get around 20 hours of battery life on one charge. While the battery life isn’t class-leading, this should be good enough for most users. Plus, you can extend the battery life by keeping ANC off if you’re not using it in a noisy environment.
The Galaxy Buds 2 is a pair of TWS earbuds with a good battery life, comfortable design, and capable noise cancellation features. While there are some things could be improved like its touch controls and Ambient Sound features, the Buds 2 more than makes up for it with its incredible sound quality. Samsung’s’ latest earbuds just sound right, with satisfying bass, all while having clear mids and highs. The Buds 2 definitely sound better than most other consumer-grade TWS earbuds, and in my opinion, they can even rival the sound of audiophile in-ears.
So, is it worth the PHP 6,990? Yes it is, especially if you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds and sound quality is your top priority.