To a sure extent, all new devices are an evolution of the units that got here earlier than them, bettering on present know-how whereas additionally including model new options for much less. With the Galaxy Buds 2’s energetic noise cancellation, stable audio and voice high quality, and $150 price ticket, Samsung is setting a brand new normal for what we should always anticipate from reasonably priced wi-fi earbuds.
In years previous, prioritizing ANC in a pair of wi-fi earbuds meant dropping $200-$300 or extra. However with the ANC-equipped Galaxy Buds 2, which joins different reasonably priced newcomers like Nothing’s $99 Ear (1), ANC feels much less like a luxurious inclusion and extra like a typical characteristic that needs to be accessible on all however the least expensive headphones. And by utilizing the Galaxy Buds Professional as a template, Samsung has created reasonably priced earbuds that ship nearly the identical expertise as Samsung’s premium earbuds, however for $50 much less.
As with earlier Galaxy Buds, the Galaxy Buds 2 are available in a compact wi-fi charging case, with the one distinguishing characteristic on the surface being a USB-C port for wired charging. The principle distinction on this mannequin is that the case encompasses a shiny end as an alternative of the extra matte texture Samsung has favored earlier than, with the case’s inside sporting the identical coloration (olive, white, lavender, and black) because the buds for somewhat matchy-matchy goodness.
Samsung appears to have totally leaned into operate over type for the earbud design itself, with the Buds 2 nearly utterly devoid of any distinguishing traits or branding. All you get is 2 plastic shells with a number of holes for microphones and silicone ear recommendations on the tip. The entire setup is tremendous minimalistic, nearly just like the form of generic earbuds you may see in a sci-fi film.
You received’t see any markings, however the Galaxy Buds 2 nonetheless include built-in contact controls, so you’ll be able to pause your present observe with a single faucet, skip ahead with a double faucet, or return to a earlier observe with three faucets on the edges of the buds. And by default, if you wish to flip ANC on or off, all you’ll want to do is faucet and maintain. The one draw back to that is that whilst you can customise a few of the contact controls, if you wish to reserve the contact and maintain command for one thing like quantity, there’s no method to set the ANC toggle to a special gesture.
The Galaxy Buds 2 lack the extra in-depth ANC settings discovered on the Galaxy Buds Pro, so there’s no setting to regulate the power of ANC—it’s both on or off. The Galaxy Buds 2 case comes with a pair small indicator lights that permit you know the way a lot further juice it has left (which fits from inexperienced to yellow to pink relying on cost ranges). Samsung tossed in a complete of three units of silicone ear ideas (small, medium, and huge) and a spare USB-C cable (however no energy brick).
Setting the Galaxy Buds 2 up couldn’t be a lot easier. These with Samsung telephones ought to get a popup notification the primary time you open the case, which can rapidly information you thru the pairing course of. And for these on different Android telephones and even iOS, you’ll be able to merely obtain the Galaxy Wearable app and go from there. It’s vital to notice that a few of Samsung’s extra experimental options just like the decreased latency gaming mode in Samsung Labs are solely accessible on Samsung units.
As soon as paired, Samsung has created a brand new earbud match take a look at that will help you determine which dimension eartips you ought to be utilizing, which for me had me improve to the big ideas although each the medium and huge ideas felt equally comfy. For those who ever have to pair your buds with one other machine, all it’s a must to do is open the case, and earlier than taking the buds out, faucet and maintain on the buds for about three seconds till the lights within the case begin flashing.
All advised, all the things is extraordinarily simple and works as anticipated, which is all I’m actually in search of from reasonably priced headphones.
Sound and ANC
On the subject of sound high quality, the Galaxy Buds 2 come actually near matching the audio you get with Samsung’s extra premium buds, which in all probability says extra in regards to the Buds Professional than the Galaxy Buds 2. In sure conditions like on “Modjo’s Lady,” the Galaxy Buds Professional makes the highs come by means of brighter and clearer whereas sustaining a barely rounder tone on the bass line in comparison with the Galaxy Buds 2. However it’s extraordinarily shut, and for a lot of the lossy music you get from main streaming companies, until you’re doing direct side-by-side comps, the distinction sounds fairly negligible.
The actual eye opener is while you examine the Galaxy Buds 2 to the usual Apple AirPods, additionally $150, which not solely don’t have the identical acoustic vary because the Galaxy Buds 2, however the lack of actual ear ideas to assist seal away outdoors noise means you’re extra prone to endure from distractions. The Galaxy Buds 2 merely make Apple’s AirPods look and sound a bit dated, and whereas there are rumors that Apple is already is engaged on a follow-up within the close to future, the Galaxy Buds 2 make me really feel like new AirPods can’t come quickly sufficient.
The ANC on the Galaxy Buds 2 isn’t dangerous, although the Galaxy Buds Professional have a transparent benefit. On the Galaxy Buds 2, high-pitched sounds just like the screeching of brakes on the subway or police sirens come by means of extra, as do low rumbles just like the tires of an 18-wheeler. For $150, I don’t suppose it’s a dealbreaker, however for folks in search of the form of ANC that delivers a cocoon of silence, you’ll in all probability need to improve to costlier headphones just like the Buds Professional or Sony’s WF-1000XM4.
The Buds 2 characteristic three onboard mics, which use beamforming and a brand new machine learning-based algorithm to filter out distracting sounds. And whereas nobody is ever going to get the Buds 2’s mics confused with a desktop mic, voice high quality is greater than serviceable. For those who want some further assist listening to issues (or simply don’t need to take the buds off when ordering espresso or no matter), the Galaxy Buds 2 additionally helps Samsung’s Ambient Sound characteristic, which will be set to 3 completely different ranges of sound amplification.
Underwhelming Battery Life
The overall runtime of the Galaxy Buds 2 could be the weakest a part of its package, not as a result of it’s dangerous, however as a result of earlier Samsung headphones just like the Galaxy Buds+ boasted a whopping 11 hours of battery life on a single cost. The Galaxy Buds 2 have virtually the identical battery life because the Galaxy Buds Professional, with the Buds 2 lasting round 5 hours with ANC turned on (7.5 hours with ANC turned off), or round three hours of speak time in case you’re on a name. That’s not fairly sufficient to remain powered up throughout a complete workday, however as at all times, you’ll be able to rapidly recharge the buds by tossing them of their case, which holds round three to 4 extra full fees.
Time for some actual speak: There’s nothing on the Galaxy Buds 2 that we haven’t seen earlier than. They’ve just about the identical wi-fi charging case Samsung has been utilizing for years, and their design is extra of an train in minimalism than one thing meant to catch your eye (although that’s not essentially a nasty factor). And ANC has been a identified amount for years on each high-end headphones and pricier earbuds.
The place the Galaxy Buds 2 excels is in combining all of these issues together with stable audio high quality and easy-to-use controls in a pair of wi-fi earbuds that price simply $150, which makes the Galaxy Buds 2 one of many first earbuds to actually deliver ANC into the mainstream. Certain, battery life may very well be a bit longer, and I’d like somewhat extra customizability over ANC power or quantity changes. However for $150, the Galaxy Buds 2 are simply good little earbuds, and that’s the form of simplicity I can recognize.