Launched alongside the new Galaxy Z Fold3 5G and Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, the new Galaxy Buds2 packs a ton of tech into a tasteful design. Here’s our Galaxy Buds2 review where we put it through its paces.
What are the Samsung Galaxy Buds2?
The latest generation Galaxy Buds2 features a similar charging case design as the earlier Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live. Rather than coming in different colours, the Galaxy Buds2 charging cases this time around all uniformly have a white external charging case and it’s only when you flip it open that you reveal one of four possible colourways that have matching earbuds.
Unlike the rather quaintly designed Galaxy Buds Live which had bean-shaped earbuds, the Buds2 have more conventional silicone-tipped earbuds that feature a more streamlined, curved look about them with the curved section acting as a control surface that responds to taps.
The rest of the gear offered with the Galaxy Buds2 is fairly standard with a USB-C charging cable, two additional pairs of silicone ear tips in smaller and larger sizes, a quick start manual and the Galaxy Buds2 itself.
The finish on the charging case and earbuds itself is shiny and smooth which does add some amount of risk if you have greasy fingers or if you’re not careful as it can easily slip out of your grasp.
They’re also somewhat hard to fish out of the case though on the bright side, our Galaxy Buds2 review sample done up in graphite in effect, a dark shade of grey – does shrug off fingerprints nicely with its matching cioloured earbuds.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 review – Specifications
In terms of hardware, the Galaxy Buds2 is equipped with the following:
|Speaker||2-way (Woofer + Tweeter)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2, AAC, SBC, Scalable|
|Microphone||3 mics (2 outer + 1 inner) + Voice pickup unit|
|Battery||61mAh (earbuds) / 472mAh charging case | 5 hours playback/ Total 20 hours with ANC on | Up to 7.5 hours playback/ Total 29 hours with ANC off|
|Size/Weight||17 x 20.9 x 21.1mm / 5g [earbuds] | 50 x 27.8 x 50.2 / 41.2g [charging case]|
Like its predecessors, the Galaxy Buds2 is compatible with iOS and Android gear but naturally sees the easiest pairing and compatibility with Samsung’s own phones.
The earbuds each pack a woofer and tweeter for balanced sound. Each earbud also features two outwards facing microphones with one inner microphone as well as a dedicated voice pickup unit (VPU) to ensure better audio quality. In terms of features, the Galaxy Buds2 offers up active noise cancellation or a dialable ambient noise mode to allow selected external noises to filter in.
Battery life is officially rated at up to 5 hours of music playback per charge with a total of 20 hours including the case with ANC on and about 7.5 hours per charge on the earbuds and up to 29 hours in total with ANC off.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Review – Setup and the Galaxy Wearable App
Getting the Galaxy Buds2 set up and paired with a Samsung phone like the new Galaxy Z Fold3 5G was a fast and straightforward process with one request for location data before it paired up in a matter of seconds with the Buds2.
While it can work straight out of the box, you can’t tweak sound modes or finetune the settings which is where the free Samsung Wearable app comes into play.
It’s free to download on the Google Playstore and is installed by default in almost all Samsung phones. Unfortunately, there’s some caveats for iOS and iPhone users. It will easily detect and pair up with an iPhone but there’s no Galaxy Wearable app available for iOS that can tweak any of the settings beyond the hardwired defaults.
Most of the controls in the Galaxy Buds2 are hardwired and are mirrored across the left and right earbuds though you can, however, customise what a ‘tap and hold’ function does for the left and right earbuds.
You’re able to either summon Bixby or trigger Spotify for either earbud and assign volume down for the left earbud and volume up on the right. You can also assign either earbud to swap between ambient or active noise cancellation or turn ANC or Ambient sound on or off.
The Galaxy Wearable App also has several other handy features that let you select from one of six equaliser settings – Normal, Bass boost, Soft, Dynamic, Clear and Treble Boost, play a high-pitched noise so that you can find your earbuds if you misplace them and also electively enable an experimental Gaming mode. Unfortunately, there’s no way to select your own equaliser settings which may be a factor for audiophiles.
Of more practical use is an Earbud fit test that can conclusively tell you if the earbuds you’re using with the Galaxy Buds2 are the right fit by playing a sound while they’re in your ears.
The provided medium sized silicone ear tips offered an excellent passive sound seal and a secure fit. Of note is that the earbuds have an IPX2 rating and are able to survive a modicum of sweat or a possible splash of water but they’re not considered effectively rain proof so you’ll have to opt for other models if you’re going to be using it outdoors extensively in areas with a risk for rain.
Galaxy Buds2 Review – Performance
The Galaxy Buds2 kicks out sound through a dual-driver design that features a woofer and a tweeter in each earbud with the choice of six preset equaliser settings.
On the standard mode without aural embellishment, the Galaxy Buds2 proves to be a well-balanced pair of buds that can capably handle the vast majority of tracks and movies in a very capable fashion.
Seeing as Squid Game is all the rage these days, we played through part of the OST which features Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major and the now nightmarish Pink Soldiers track with its trilling refrain. Both tracks sounded crisp and detailed on the Galaxy Buds2.
The show itself proved to be a treat with great sound staging especially when the pink guards start offing contestants with their revolvers. Pink Floyd’s signature track ‘Time’ didn’t disappoint with superb left/right sound staging.
Bass was agile and handled well though it isn’t as beefy or as thumpy on normal settings unless you kick in Bass mode in the equaliser settings. Vocals were well represented and clear with Joanna Wang’s signature tones in ‘Vincent’ sounding lustrously rich and delightful to the ear.
The provided active noise cancellation is rated to eliminate up to 98% of external noise which is an impressive figure when combined in tandem with a properly fitted pair of silicone ear tips. With ANC turned on, I tested it by playing loud white noise to simulate a busy market and it was able to squelch most of it to a satisfying degree. If you still need to hear some level of external noise you can turn on Ambient mode.
Battery life for our Galaxy Buds2 review sample with ANC on fitted the official quoted figures with shy of five hours of music playback before it needed a recharge.
If you’re particularly frugal, you can use the earbuds individually and also turn off ANC to eke up to 29 hours of battery life. At 5 hours with ANC on, it’s above average in terms of endurance though charging it is a relatively simple matter with a USB-C port at the rear or via Qi wireless charging.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds2?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 offers exceptional bang for the buck. For RM499, you’re getting a comfortable pair of wireless earbuds with good, balanced sound paired with great active noise cancellation and a solid ambient mode.
These wireless earbuds are ideal for everyday use and work from home scenarios for music and calls. If you own a Samsung phone, this is a mandatory acquisition and for others looking for a decently priced ANC-enabled pair of earbuds and own an Android phone, the Galaxy Buds2 comes highly recommended.
Galaxy Buds2 review sample courtesy of Samsung. Available online at the Samsung online store at https://www.samsung.com/my/audio-sound/galaxy-buds/galaxy-buds2-lavender-sm-r177nlvaxme/
Samsung Galaxy Buds2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Review
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 brings a tasteful design, excellent balanced sound with solid active noise cancellation with good ambient sound at a reasonable price point that beats the competition.
Excellent sound quality Has good ANC and ambient noise Good value for features Useful test fit app Wireless charging
Only preset sound settings Case and earbuds are a bit slippery to hold Only IPX2 water resistance rating