Samsung usually introduces a new set of true wireless earbuds alongside its latest phones, and today is no different. Alongside the Galaxy Fold 4, Galaxy Flip 4 and new watches, the company is introducing the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the successor to the Galaxy Buds Pro that launched early last year. While not a full redesign, this new model offers an overhaul with smaller buds, improved active noise cancellation (ANC), upgraded audio, and a host of other handy features. Any upgrades will cost you, though: the Buds 2 Pro are $30 more than their predecessor.
By design, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 15 percent smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro. According to Samsung, the “new compact, ergonomic design” offers a secure fit that doesn’t move in your ear, even during exercise. The design should also relieve pressure, thanks to a vent and nozzle grille that facilitate airflow. While the buds may look similar to the previous model, they are actually different. The case, on the other hand, appears to be largely unchanged. Like the previous model, the Buds 2 Pro are IPX7 certified for water and sweat resistance, although Samsung has made it clear that the same protection doesn’t apply to the case. Should you lose an earbud, the Buds 2 Pro can be located either inside the case or outside using SmartThings Find.
Inside the Buds 2 Pro, two-way speakers (woofers and tweeters) handle the sound. In addition to 360 Audio (Dolby Atmos) that debuted on the Buds Pro, this model also offers 24-bit HiFi audio via Samsung’s seamless codec (the Buds also support AAC and SBC). The company claims this produces 256 times “richer sound” than 16-bit audio. In terms of noise cancellation, Samsung explains that three new high-pitched microphones are able to block out subtle and high-pitched sounds with a further three decibels of total reduction.
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro | 48 photos
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro | 48 photos
There’s also ambient sounds and a new voice recognition feature on board. With speech recognition, the Buds 2 Pro can tell when you’re speaking. The tool temporarily switches to ambient noise mode and lowers the volume so you can have a quick conversation without removing the earbuds. Sony has been offering something similar with its buds and headphones for a while, but its speak-to-chat tool cuts the audio entirely when you’re speaking. And yes, Bixby handles voice control on the Buds 2 Pro, a feature that works on Samsung’s phones, tablets, and even its newer TVs. The company also says LE Audio will be coming to the earbuds later this year, a tool that lets you capture 360 degrees of ambient noise when you’re streaming or recording.
Unfortunately, the battery life is unchanged from the Galaxy Buds Pro. You can expect up to five hours of use with ANC on (18 hours with case) or eight hours without ANC (29 hours with case). If you were hoping that Samsung would restore iOS compatibility with this model, you will be disappointed. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will work with these devices, but only with Bluetooth – there’s no companion app to unlock the full range of features. These are reserved for Android (Galaxy Wearable app), PC (Galaxy Buds app) and Samsung’s 2022 TV. Speaking of TVs, the company has added these to its compatible devices for audio switching. Basically, the Auto Switch feature allows you to quickly switch between Galaxy phones, tablets, and TVs without going into pairing mode.
When it comes to first impressions, Engadget Assistant Editor Cherlynn Low was “loved by the fit” and noted that the ANC worked well too. UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith explained that the smaller size is indeed more comfortable and the Buds 2 Pro feel “less intrusive”. He also said Voice Detect works well, but it could be fooled by coughs and buzzes as it relies on a voice pick-up unit to detect vibration. For what it’s worth, that’s also a downside to Sony’s automatic speech recognition.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for pre-order today in Graphite, White and Bora Purple for $230 from Samsung, Amazon and other retailers. General availability begins on the 26th. Both the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds 2 remain in Samsung’s true wireless range if you prefer open-topped and more affordable options respectively.
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