Samsung is no longer just a manufacturer of notable TVs or smartphones as the company has been aggressively updating its TWS earbuds portfolio over the last few years. Earlier this year, we saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro in India that feature “intelligent active noise cancellation” to seamlessly switch between ANC and Ambient Sound modes. Nearly two months ago, we saw the debut of another TWS earbuds from the company, namely the Galaxy Buds 2 that also come with standard ANC and dual dynamic drivers. Priced at Rs 11,999, the Galaxy Buds 2 compete against popular products like OnePlus Buds Pro, Nothing Ear (1), Jabra 75t, and Sony WF-XB700 earbuds in the country. If you’re planning to buy Samsung’s latest true wireless earbuds, here’s our breakdown.
Design: One of the many positives about Samsung, at this point, is the company is not shying away from trying new designs, whether it comes to smartphones or TWS earbuds. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 again manifest that commitment even though some may not find significant changes. For instance, Apple, despite producing premium devices, is simply redecorating and reviving its old designs.
If we look at Samsung’s existing TWS earbuds portfolio in India, the charging case of the new Galaxy Buds 2 looks similar to what we get with the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Pro. However, the square-shaped case now adopts a dual-tone finish, where the outer shell features a standard white finish while the inner body matches the colour of the earbuds. There’s also an LED light to indicate charging (green for full). On the other hand, the earbuds now have a glossy smooth finish that snugly fit into your ear.
That being said, customers can choose between Graphite, Olive, Lavender, and White colour options. For our review, we received the Graphite colour option and the packaging includes two pairs of ear tips – small and large. The earbuds ship with medium silicone ear tips out of the box. Customers will get a USB-C charging cable but no adapter that has been a standard across many TWS and wireless earphones for a while.
Both Galaxy Buds 2 and the charging case come with a glossy finish that gives a premium appearance. Each earbud weighs roughly 5 grams, and the case is also light at 41.2 grams, which easily fits in your pocket. The charging case is prone to scratches as it has a polycarbonate build, and unfortunately, its third-party protective covers are equally expensive (at roughly Rs 1,000). Overall, the design and build of the buds won’t leave you disappointed; however, one must take extra care of the charging case.
Fit and performance: Before we get to the sound, fitting is one of those key areas that interest many buyers. And when an audio product, in this case, Galaxy Buds 2, costs over Rs 10,000, these concerns are justified.
During our test, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ensured a good fit even while running. We did not sleep with earbuds, but they still sit in your ears comfortably if you are laying side-ways in the bed. However, when it comes to wireless audio products, many prefer over-ear headphones over in-ear canal earphones. Since I naturally have small ears and generally prefer over-ear headphones, the Galaxy Buds 2 were unwearable for more than an hour. In my case, they can be particularly painful around the concha – the outer hollow area next to the ear canal.
But, for the safe side, I did ask someone with naturally big ears to test the Galaxy Buds 2, and it didn’t cause any sort of fatigue after an hour of usage. So buyers with small ears as mine should take a note.
Coming to performance, users can connect and manage the earbuds with the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app, available on Android, Windows (via Microsoft Store), and Apple. As expected, they work best with Samsung devices when it comes to quick-pair. We tested these buds with the new Galaxy M52 5G, and users can also add the wearable app widget on the home screen for quick controls. We tested them with iPhone 12 as well, but sadly, you cannot tweak the earbuds’ settings and manage equalising modes as the app for iOS does not support Galaxy Buds 2. The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app Windows also offers the same options as the Android counterpart, so using the earbuds with Windows PCs should not be a problem.
Samsung Galaxy Wearable App: Galaxy Buds 2 users, with the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app, will get to see the battery status and can manually switch between ANC, regular, and Ambient Sound modes. These can be managed directly via the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 once users tweak settings as per their preferences. That being said, the touch controls on the buds often seem too sensitive despite working seamlessly. If you have a habit of adjusting the earbuds every now and then, it can be annoying as the gesture plays/pauses the music.
The Galaxy Wearable app also has a ‘Find My Earbuds’ feature that connects to the earbuds through an IR sensor. It means when the earbuds are close to the smartphone, users will hear a beeping sound, essentially used to locate them. However, the beep from the bud can be too faint and isn’t fully reliable.
Sound quality: We finally come to the soul of any earbuds, which arguably is the audio quality. The Galaxy Buds 2 ticks off almost all areas that one may look at when it comes to sound quality, especially at the Rs 10,000 range. Each earbud has a two-way driver design with a woofer and tweeter, usually capable of delivering louder, tighter bass without consuming too much power. The Galaxy Buds 2, in fact, offer punchy bass with equally clear audio that will be a big relief to buyers of this device. The earbuds are tuned by AKG, a subsidiary of Harman International and the branding also appears inside the charging case. Apart from popular AAC and SBC support, the Galaxy Buds 2 also have Samsung’s Scalable codecs that offered good performance during our test.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 offer a good audio output regardless of the platform – Android, iOS, or Windows. There are a total of six microphones (three on each earpiece), which enable active noise cancellation and voice communications. Voice calling quality is standard and should get the job done in most noisy environments. The earbuds do not intelligently filter out external noises so do not have high expectations. Additionally, the buds are IPX2 rated for water resistance that is again not the most impressive feature at this price point.
Battery: It takes nearly 2.5 hours for both the case and earbuds to fully charge. The Galaxy Buds 2 offered decent battery life with ANC, not exactly the figures that Samsung is promising. We got roughly 4.5 hours of listening time, and the case allowed us to recharge the buds for additional three times. Additionally, the charging case supports Qi wireless charging that we couldn’t test. But if your phone supports reverse charging, you can add juice to the case that carries a 472mAh battery.
Verdict: So far, it is clear from the headline and overall impressions that Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 stand out against competitors at this price point. In terms of appearance and sound quality, the buds won’t fail to disappoint that could matter to many users, especially when they’re spending nearly Rs 10,000. However, if you have small ears as I do, you may experience some amount of fatigue within an hour. If you’re also a new customer of the premium Galaxy Buds that feature touch controls and gestures, give it some time, as it will take time to adjust. That being said, the Galaxy Buds 2 won’t let you regret your purchase decision.