Samsung is no longer just a manufacturer of notable TVs or smartphones, as the company has aggressively updated its portfolio of TWS earbuds in recent years. Earlier this year we saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro in India with “intelligent active noise cancellation” to switch seamlessly between ANC and Ambient Sound modes. Almost two months ago we saw the debut of another TWS earbuds from the company, namely the Galaxy Buds 2 which also comes with standard ANC and dual dynamic drivers. Priced at Rs 11,999, the Galaxy Buds 2 compete with popular products such as OnePlus Buds Pro, Nothing Ear (1), Jabra 75t and Sony WF-XB700 earbuds. here’s our overview.
Design: One of Samsung’s many positives right now is that the company isn’t afraid to try new designs, be it smartphones or TWS earbuds. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 once again show that commitment, even if some find no significant changes. For example, despite producing top-of-the-line devices, Apple is refurbishing and reviving its old designs.
Looking at Samsung’s existing TWS earbud portfolio in India, the charging case of the new Galaxy Buds 2 is similar to what we get with the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Pro. However, the square case now has a two-tone finish, with the outer shell having a standard white finish and the inside matching the color of the earbuds. There is also an LED light to indicate charging (green for full). On the other hand, the earbuds now have a glossy smooth finish that fits snugly in your ear.
That said, customers can choose between graphite, olive, lavender and white color options. For our review, we received the Graphite color option and the packaging contains two pairs of earbuds – small and large. The earbuds come out of the box with medium silicone earbuds. Customers get a USB-C charging cable, but not an adapter that has been standard with many TWS and wireless earphones for a while.
Both the Galaxy Buds 2 and the charging case have a glossy finish that gives a premium look. Each earbud weighs about 5 grams and the case is also light at 41.2 grams, which fits easily in your pocket. The charging case is prone to scratches as it is made of polycarbonate and unfortunately the third party protective cases are equally expensive (around Rs 1,000). Overall, the design and build of the earbuds won’t disappoint; however, one should be extra careful with the charging case.
Fit and performance: Before we get to the sound, mounting is one of those key areas that interests many buyers. And when an audio product, in this case Galaxy Buds 2, costs more than Rs 10,000, these concerns are justified.
During our test, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 provided a snug fit, even while running. We didn’t sleep with earplugs, but they still fit comfortably in your ears when you lie sideways in bed. However, when it comes to wireless audio products, many prefer over-ear headphones over in-ear channel earphones. Since I have naturally small ears and generally prefer over-ear headphones, the Galaxy Buds 2 were unwearable for over an hour. In my case, they can be particularly painful around the concha – the outer hollow area next to the ear canal.
But just to be sure, I asked someone with naturally big ears to test the Galaxy Buds 2, and it didn’t cause any fatigue after an hour of use. So buyers with small ears like mine should keep that in mind.
When it comes 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 pairing. We tested these buttons with the new Galaxy M52 5G and users can also add the wearable app widget to the home screen for quick control. We also tested them with iPhone 12, but unfortunately you can’t adjust the earbud settings and manage equalizing modes, as the iOS app doesn’t support Galaxy Buds 2. The Samsung Galaxy Wearable Windows app also offers the same options as its Android counterpart, so using the earbuds with Windows PCs shouldn’t be an issue.
Samsung Galaxy wearable app: Galaxy Buds 2 users can see the battery status with the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app and can manually switch between ANC, Normal and Ambient Sound modes. These can be managed directly through the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 once users adjust the settings to their preferences. That said, the touch controls on the buttons often seem too sensitive, despite working seamlessly. If you are in the 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 via an IR sensor. This means that when the earbuds are close to the smartphone, users will hear a beeping sound, which is mainly used to locate them. However, the button beep may be too weak and not completely reliable.
Sound quality: We finally get to the soul of all earbuds, which is arguably the sound quality. The Galaxy Buds 2 ticks almost all areas one can 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, which can usually deliver louder, tighter bass without consuming too much power. The Galaxy Buds 2 actually offer powerful bass with equally clear audio, which will be a great relief to buyers of this device. The earbuds are tuned by AKG, a subsidiary of Harman International, and the branding also appears in the charging case. In addition to popular AAC and SBC support, the Galaxy Buds 2 also have Samsung’s Scalable codecs that performed well during our test.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 offer 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 communication. Voice call quality is standard and should get the job done in most noisy environments. The earbuds do not intelligently filter out external noises, so don’t have high expectations. Plus, the buttons have an IPX2 water-resistance rating, which again isn’t the most impressive feature at this price point.
Battery: It takes almost 2.5 hours for both the case and the earbuds to be fully charged. The Galaxy Buds 2 offered decent battery life with ANC, not exactly the numbers Samsung promises. We got about 4.5 hours of listening time and thanks to the housing we were able to charge the earbuds three more times. In addition, the charging case supports Qi wireless charging which we were unable to test. But if your phone supports reverse charging, you can add juice to the case with a 472mAh battery.
verdict: So far, it’s clear from the headline and the general impression that Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 sets itself apart from competitors at this price point. In terms of looks and sound quality, the earbuds will not disappoint which could be of interest to many users especially when spending close to Rs 10,000. However, if you have small ears like me, you may experience some fatigue within an hour. If you are also a new customer of the premium Galaxy Buds with touch controls and gestures, give it some time as it will take time to adapt. That said, the Galaxy Buds 2 won’t make you regret your purchase decision.
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