Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: 24-bit Audio FTW!

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The Galaxy Buds2 Pro is the latest AKG-tune TWS earbuds with active noise cancellation from Samsung!

Find out just how good it really is, and why its 24-bit audio support is something audiophiles will love!

 

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro : What’s In The Box?

First, let’s take a quick look at what’s inside the box.

Samsung kindly provided us with a better unboxing video than we could have done ourselves.

Inside, you will find the following items :

  • A pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro storage + charging case
  • Guide Start Guide
  • USB-C to USB-C charging cable
  • Two sets of extra ear tips (small and large)

 

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro : Key Features

The Galaxy Buds 2 is the latest AKG-tuned TWS earbuds from Samsung, with a slew of improvements.

Despite its name, it is the second generation version of the ultra-premium Galaxy Buds Pro, and not an improved version of the Galaxy Buds2 we reviewed last year.

Comfort

These are amongst the lightest and smallest earbuds I ever tried. Each earbud weighs just 5.5 grams and are 15% smaller.

They feel less intrusive, and are also more discreet than the last generation Buds Pro – fitting snugly into your ear.

The earbuds come with medium ear tips fitted, but the package includes small and large ear tips, allowing you to swap them out for a snug fit.

IPX7 Water Resistant

Unlike the Galaxy Buds2, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro are IPX7 water-resistant, so you can carry on using them even in the rain!

While they are officially rated to withstand submersion in up to 1 metre of fresh water for up to 30 minutes, Samsung do not advise you use them at the beach or in the pool.

I should also point out that the charging case itself is NOT water-resistant, so please make sure you keep it dry. In addition, you must dry the Galaxy Buds2 Pro before you put them back into the charging case.

Even so, water-resistance is one of the things I love about Samsung wearables and smartphones. As a rather clumsy person, I’ve dropped my fair share of gadgets, and more often than not – into pools of rainwater, or even swimming pools!

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: 24-bit Audio FTW!

Active Noise Cancellation

Budget ANC earbuds use one microphone, with mid-range ANC earbuds like the Galaxy Buds2 use up to two microphones to receive ambient noise for cancellation.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro uses three microphones with high signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio to expand the amount of ambient noise it can cancel, and you can tell the difference. Its ANC performance is markedly improved from the last generation.

I managed to test them out on two turboprop flights which are noticeably louder than your typical airliner, and they worked great! The noise outside the planes was greatly muted, and once onboard, it’s like you are in your own oasis of peace and quiet.

If you need to listen to someone speak, there is an Ambient mode that temporarily disables ANC and lets you listen to the outside world. When you take out one earbud, the other earbud cleverly switches to Ambient mode so you don’t get disorientated, and switches back to ANC when you put the earbud back on.

You don’t even have to turn Ambient mode manually like with the Galaxy Buds2. The Galaxy Buds2 Pro comes with the Voice Detect feature, which automatically activates Ambient mode when you start talking! Just make sure you enable it in your Galaxy Wearable app first!

24-bit Audio

If you are an audiophile, you will love the 24-bit audio support in the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

24-bit audio has been around for a while, offering higher audio resolution and fidelity. However, adoption has been limited so far to expensive music players and audio devices.

After all, the entire chain – from the music file to the music player (software or hardware) and the earphones / headphones, plus the connectivity between them – must support 24-bit audio.

So it’s great to see Samsung driving the 24-bit audio effort forward by making sure that its mobile devices support 24-bit audio. Just make sure you upgrade to the One UI 4.0 or higher, to enable its proprietary Samsung Seamless Hi-Fi codec.

Built on the Scalable Codec it introduced several years ago, the Samsung Seamless codec is able to encode full 24-bit audio to transmit to the Galaxy Buds2 Pro wirelessly.

The only downside is that it’s proprietary, and will only work with Samsung Galaxy devices running One UI 4.0 or higher.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: 24-bit Audio FTW!

360 Audio

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro also supports 360 Audio, which is basically their version of the spatial audio feature in Apple AirPods. It’s not enabled by default, because you may not want to turn it on all the time.

The 360 Audio feature only works with apps and content that support Dolby Atmos surround sound. When enabled, it delivers a 360-degree surround sound effect for a more immersive experience.

On top of that, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro supports head tracking, so the 360 audio you hear will actually change with your head movement!

While it doesn’t do much for music (very few are encoded for Dolby Atmos), you should enable it for movies and games.

Connectivity

The Galaxy Buds2 Pro connects wirelessly to your devices using Bluetooth 5.3, with support for AAC, SBC and Samsung’s new Seamless codec, but not aptX, LDAC or LHDC. Again, please note that the Samsung Seamless codec is proprietary, and will only work with their devices running on One UI 4.0 and above.

These earbuds do not offer Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, which means they can only be connected to one device at any one time.

They support automatic switching between Samsung Galaxy devices using the same Samsung account, but if you want to switch from your Samsung Galaxy smartphone to your laptops you need to manually switch using the Bluetooth menu.

Battery Life

The biggest problem I have with the Buds2 Pro though is its short battery life of about 5 hours with ANC enabled. I can get about 8 hours with ANC disabled, but that’s still on the low side for premium earbuds.

This is really a trade off – a larger battery (and consequently, longer battery life) would mean a heavier and more obtrusive earbuds. There is only so much Samsung can squeeze out of the tiny 61 mAh battery in each earbud.

The charging case with an internal 515 mAh battery provides another 13 hours of extra battery life (ANC enabled), or 21 hours (ANC disabled) – roughly 2.5 full charges.

They support quick charging though – a 5 minute charge will get you about an hour of battery life.

Pro Tip : Get into the habit of popping these earbuds into their case whenever you are not using, and you will never run out of battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro Review: 24-bit Audio FTW!

 

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro : Our Verdict

If you want the very best TWS earbuds with active noise cancellation technology from Samsung, there can be no doubt – the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is it.

It is amazing that such a small package comes with so many great features – 24-bit audio with 360 Audio, active noise cancellation with three SNR microphones, and IPX7 water resistance.

While the Galaxy Buds2 Pro is not cheap, those features do really make a real difference in the enjoyment of your music, videos and games.

For those reasons, I think it deserves no less than our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

Tech ARP Reviewer's Choice Award

Just be aware of its relatively short battery life, lack of Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, and reliance on a proprietary codec which limits 24-bit audio to Samsung devices.

If you are in the Samsung ecosystem and would like to enjoy 24-bit audio and/or surround sound, you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

But if you are not using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, or do not need 24-bit audio support, then these are not the earbuds you are looking for. You are better off buying the cheaper Galaxy Buds2!

 

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro : Where To Buy?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is priced at RM899 / S$328 / US$229 / £189 / A$349.

Here are some online purchase options (prices accurate as of 11 November 2022) :

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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