Hello, Hi-Res Audio without wires! Review of the flagship TWS headphones Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

By: Technoslav Bergamot | 27.10.2022, 16:15

Despite the fact that the previous model of TWS headphones Galaxy Buds Pro became an icon for Samsung and the market, its successor with the logical name Buds2 Pro looks more like the next generation than an improvement of its predecessor. The difference, on closer inspection, is both in appearance - design, materials, reduced size and improved ergonomics. So in technology - already excellent noise reduction has become just fabulous, there is support for 24-bit Hi-Res sound, Beamforming for the microphone transmitting voice during the call above. There is a bid for the near future - in the One UI 5 version update promises to add support for Audio 360 sound recording, and the Bluetooth 5.3 version is already LE Audio Ready, which opens up opportunities for lower power consumption (read - more run time). At the same time, all the technological advantages of the previous model remained - wireless charging case, automatic volume reduction, which activates automatically if you start talking (it became even more comfortable). For full happiness, as in the case of the first Galaxy Buds Pro missing only support for simultaneous pairing with two devices (in fact, it is, but only for Samsung devices). The legitimate result is the "Editor's Choice" award as one of the most interesting TWS headphone models of 2022.

Editor's Choice
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
Samsung's 2022 flagship TWS earbuds with 24-bit audio support. In-ear 2-way headphones with advanced intelligent active noise cancellation using 3 microphones with increased signal-to-noise ratio, wireless charging and support for Audio 360, Bluetooth 5.3 LE Audio Ready, Beamforming, Deep Neural Network. As well as the proprietary function of muting the volume and activating the transparent environment mode by voice. Claimed battery life is 5/18 hours of music playback with noise cancellation and 8/29 without it.
 

Five reasons to buy Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

  • 24-bit Hi-Res Audio support for FLAC and other lossless formats
  • Killer "Voice detect" feature (ability to talk without removing headphones) made even better
  • Beamforming microphone = Excellent voice quality in calls 4.
  • Excellent power efficiency and support for the new Bluetooth LE Audio features
  • The perfect all-round gift for the Samsung smartphone owner

Five reasons not to buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

  • You don't listen to Hi-Res Audio and don't intend to.
  • In-channel headphones are not suitable for you
  • There is no multipoint support for non-Samsung devices
  • Not the right set of features for you
  • Your wallet is not ready for such expenses and offers to find something easier

What is interesting about Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro

The Galaxy Buds2 Pro refers to the TWS In-Canal two-way active noise cancelling headphones. This is Samsung's flagship 2022 model of headphones, replacing last year's Galaxy Buds Pro. In addition to active noise cancelling, these headphones have the ultimate set of technologies - Ambient mode, wireless charging capabilities, and the insanely convenient voice-activated automatic muting feature inherited from the first Buds Pro. This allows you to keep your headphones on even during a conversation (e.g. in a store or on public transport), when you just need to exchange pleasantries (of course, to have a normal conversation you would have to take them off and not just to be polite). But first of all we are interested in Buds2 Pro because it's the first Samsung TWS headphones that support 24-bit Hi-Res sound, as well as several other features that are less important for history, which will be discussed below.

What's in the box

The package is traditional and minimalistic - a pair of headphones, a charging case, a USB cable (mutual Type-C), three sets of ear cushions in different sizes (funny thing is that they are also purple) and a user manual with a warranty card. The case itself is nice to the touch, with a matte plastic inside and some soft touch analog on the outside, not much soft, but you can tell the difference from the inside surface blindly. The headphones themselves are also devoid of glossy surfaces, which is always so annoying to me interferes with the photography.

Differences between the Galaxy Buds2 Pro and the Buds Pro

If after the presentation (there were a lot of things in general - I was more interested in Fold4 and Flip4) about the new Buds2 Pro I had no clear understanding of how they differ from the previous model, then from the first minutes of acquaintance the difference started to show, starting from the appearance. Considering that the first Buds Pro made the editorial list of the best gadgets of 2021, the new one is simply doomed to be compared to them. The design has undergone a nice change: the headphones are smaller (the manufacturer says 15%), while sitting even better in your ears. I can't say that the previous model had a problem with this, but now, after meeting the more comfortable Buds2 Pro, I have a feeling that they did. The ear cushions are also attached more securely - instead of the oval hole (which looked like a fresh design a year ago), it's back to the circumference. And for reliable fixation they made a rim, which the ear cushion clings to - it became harder to put them on, but they can't fall out on their own. The new shape of the earphone (I'm sure it wasn't intentional, it was just a coincidence) solved the problem of how Buds Pro always fit into the case. The thing is, visually they look pretty much the same if you swap them around in the case. I even get the feeling that when I do so, they charge, but the case won't close. If the Buds2 Pro is misplaced in the charging case, it's immediately visible and noticeable. For the design, I frankly want to say thank you to everyone involved. I didn't think I could be impressed with the design of TWS headphones, but you have succeeded.

The list of key differences between the Buds Pro and the Buds2 Pro looks like this:

  • A more ergonomic design of the earpiece itself (fits better in your ears)
  • Support for 24-bit Hi-Res audio and 360 Audio recording/playback
  • Improved active noise cancellation
  • Beamforming support (better voice quality during calls)
  • Slouch notifications (marketing health care)

What do you need to know about Buds2 Pro's 24-bit audio support? First, in addition to headphones, the support must be on the side of the audio device (Samsung smartphones can do it starting with One UI 4.0). Secondly, of the streaming music services only Tidal has reached Hi-Res sound, which we do not have officially and somehow in the near future is not expected. This, however, should not prevent the use of normal lossless files formats (the same FLAC). Audio 360 features are enhanced with support for Dolby Atmos and multi-channel virtual audio layouts (5.1 and 7.1). With One UI 5.0 (current version at the time of this writing, 4.1), the developers also promise Audio 360 audio recording.

During the presentation they talked about a 40% improvement in noise reduction. Where does this figure come from? The first Buds Pro had one of their microphones protected from wind noise. In Buds2 Pro all three microphones received such protection. You do remember that the noise cancellation system in both Buds Pro uses three microphones, right? - One for voice, a second (on the outside of the body) and a third (inside, next to the speaker) to cut off noise. The Buds2 Pro's windshield area has been doubled, resulting in the same 40% improvement in signal-to-noise ratio.

The Beamforming technology is not really unique, but I can't remember it being used in TWS headphones before. Usually Beamforming is used to transmit data over the radio channel in communication equipment, but since sound is the same wave, why can't a directional beam be formed to take sound out of the microphone for voice?

Finally, in the settings of the Wear app, which is used to set up the headphones, there is a "Reminder to Stretch Your Neck" item. The idea is that if the user sits bent over in front of the smartphone for 10 minutes, a pop-up message will pop up saying it's time to stretch your neck. There is clearly more marketing than real benefit - all the techno-magic is contained in the gyroscopes, which track the tilt of the head. The implication is that the user of the mobile game will be the enthusiastic user of the smartphone bent over. Now he has a legitimate excuse for parents in the form of automatic notifications. To the developers' credit, it should be said that while playing a game or watching a video, the message appears as a pop-up window. In all other cases, it appears as a full-screen animation. It is interesting that the application has a guide - exactly how to stretch a stiff neck: bend your elbows and lift above the shoulders, open your shoulders back and bring them back together, then slowly bend your head back and stay in this state for 10 seconds.

Also worth mentioning is Bluetooth 5.3 with LE Audio Ready, which makes the Buds2 Pro purchase potentially interesting from a future perspective. This means that in the near future (theoretically, everything has yet to be tested in practice, but you and I like to test everything ourselves) the headphones will be able to work in the new Bluetooth standard with reduced power consumption and new and improved features. The developers promise native support for simultaneous connection to multiple devices (multipoint), work with hearing aids and support for the new Auracast technology - Bluetooth transmissions (both with open and requiring authorization) to multiple devices at once. As an example of the implementation, the authors of the new standard cite the ability to connect to airport announcements in parallel to continue listening to your music, but not to miss the start of boarding your flight. Well, the simplest thing is to listen to music from one source (e.g. a smartphone) on two pairs of headphones at the same time. The idea sounds quite in demand and technically not that complicated, it's high time it was implemented.

Galaxy Buds2 Pro in action

In terms of ergonomics, the Buds2 Pro are definitely superior to the previous model. Thanks to the new shape design they fit even better in your ears and even when turned off they exhibit good sound isolation. The Audio 360 operation requires activation in the Wear app and impressed me back in the first Buds Pro (to my infinite surprise even while streaming video, but it all depends on the audio track, of course). The presence effect works, which you really don't expect from such tiny headphones. But the recording of surround sound to try - here we have to wait for the updating of the firm shell One Ui to the fifth version. It is also difficult to assess the work of the microphone with Beamforming, but the interlocutors heard me perfectly. And to what extent all this was influenced by the technology "by eye" it is difficult to assess. The feature to prevent slouching I could not assess - apparently, I did something wrong and did not bend over the screen in three bends for 10 minutes (well, or did not do it enough "right"). With noise cancellation on the headphones work honestly for 5 hours, as advertised. And this at maximum sound volume (usually manufacturers cheat and announce battery life at medium volume, which can add battery life).

Most importantly, the 24-bit sound, for which you should pay attention to this model in the first place, works fine. It's easy to tell the difference by ear, even in a blind test. Of course, for that you need some interesting compositions with a big dynamic range (here it is better to listen to remastered records of the 20th century, when musicians cared much more about sound quality and variety of instruments than now). The sound, as you might expect, is richer, with better detail. The low-frequency bass does its "bang-bang" just unexpectedly well for miniature headphones. Not like in a movie theater, but it's very close. Admittedly, I was always skeptical about all these audiophile lossless formats, considering them too complicated for me (special headphones, special expensive music players, and you need to download music separately, because mass streaming services do not support such sound). Now it all becomes much easier (if Tidal will also be available in our country, then all unnecessary bodily effort will be minimized). So Buds2 Pro really breaks new ground in sound even for miniature Bluetooth headphones. I'm sure that there will be more and more of these models and we will see all of them in the very near future.

Line mates

Technically, the Buds2 Pro replaces last year's outgoing Buds Pro headphones. There is also an interesting and simpler (transitional) model of last year's Galaxy Buds2 headphones with active noise cancellation, which also made a good impression on us.

Comparative characteristics of the Galaxy Buds2 Pro line neighbors
Model Buds Pro (2021) Buds2 (2021) Buds2 Pro (2022)
Earphone/case weight 6.3/44.9 г 5/41.2 г 5.5/43.4 г
Earpiece Size 20.5x19.5x20.8mm 20.9x17.0x21.1mm 21.6x19.9x18.7 mm
Case size 27.8x50.0x50.2mm 27.8x50.0x50.2mm 27.7x50.1x50.2mm
Active Noise Reduction intelligent, voice-activated ducking there is Enhanced intelligent, muted, voice-activated
Bluetooth version 5.0 5.2 5.3 LE Audio Ready
Microphones 3 (1 SNR), DNN 3, VPU, DNN 3 SNR, VPU, DNN, Beamforming
Sound 16 bit 16 bit 24 bit (Hi-Res)
360 Audio there is is +Dolby Atmos, 5.1 and 7.1 sound recording (One UI 5.0)
Battery capacity 61/472 mAh 61/472 mAh 61/515 mAh
Claimed Battery Life with Noise Reduction 5 (18) hours 5 (20) hours 5 (18) hours
Claimed working time without noise cancellation 8 (28) hours 7.5 (29) hours 8 (29) hours
Water Resistance IPX7 IPX2 IPX7

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
  • Support for 24-bit Hi-Res Audio for lossless formats
  • The “Voice detect” killer feature just got better
  • Microphone with Beamforming
  • Excellent energy efficiency
  • Support for new Bluetooth LE Audio features
Check price

Competitive environment

When comparing the Galaxy Buds2 Pro to competitors in the class of TWS in-ear headphones with active noise cancelling, the first things that come to mind are the Sony WF-1000XM4 with its benchmark noise cancelling and the new Apple Airpods Pro 2022. Both have the Samsung advantage in price (and technology), although the question here is more of a religious one. Of the models not much cheaper than the Buds2 Pro you can look at the same Buds2 or look at the JBL Live Free or LG TONE Free FN7. But Buds2 Pro easily beats them all in terms of price/performance ratio. We can also think of the interesting Edifier Neobuds Pro. These are hybrid TWS headphones with Hi-Res support, but they are not officially delivered to us.

Five things to know about the Galaxy Buds2 Pro

  • These are TWS in-ear headphones with active noise cancellation.
  • If you've been waiting for TWS headphones with 24-bit audio to listen to lossless music, these are they
  • They're so good, the Buds2 Pro is worth buying for all Buds Pro owners to replace them (the Bluetooth 5.3 version also promises new features in the future)
  • Another killer feature of the Buds2 Pro is the Voice Detect feature, which automatically mutes music while amplifying surrounding sounds as soon as you start talking
  • They are unmatched in the market this year in terms of price/performance ratio

Go Deeper:

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Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
In-Ear TWS Noise Canceling Headphones with Hi-Res Sound