Samsung may have launched a brand new flagship pair of wireless earbuds – the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which sports a fresh redesign and plenty of new features and new tech – but we're looking at two of its older stablemates here.
Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 wireless earbuds feature the tech giant's latest noise-cancelling technology and are Samsung's 'lightest' wireless in-ears yet. But how do they compare to another of Samsung's noise-cancelling buds, the older Galaxy Buds Pro?
We compare the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 with the Galaxy Buds Pro and see which – if either – is worth your hard-earned.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: at a glance
- Buds 2 are smaller and lighter, making them better for smaller ears
- Buds Pro are priced higher, but both can be found at cheaper prices now
- Buds Pro have more advanced noise-cancellation features
- Buds 2 have two hours more battery life
- Buds Pro lack sparkle, but sound less harsh than the Buds 2
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: price
The Galaxy Buds Pro cost £219 ($199, AU$299) at launch, but shop around and you should be able to get a discount.
The newer Galaxy Buds 2 are noticeably cheaper than the Buds Pro. They're priced from £139 ($150, AU$219), which is the same launch price as the original 2019 Samsung Galaxy Buds.
With the newer Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro now released at £219 / $229 / AU$349, however, both Buds Pro and Buds 2 have drastically dropped in price. We've listed today's cheapest Galaxy Buds Pro and Buds 2 deals below.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: design
At just 5g per bud, the Galaxy Buds 2 are Samsung's smallest and lightest wireless earbuds to date. (The new Buds 2 Pro are 5.5g per earbud.) Although the outside of the square charging case is white, the buds themselves and the inside of the case come in a choice of four colours: graphite, white, olive or lavender.
They're less bulbous on the underside than the Buds Pro, making them a better fit for smaller ears. And you can use the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone to conduct an earbud fit test – this recognises that we have placed the buds in our ears, sends a few tones into our shell-likes, and then decides whether the eartips we have selected from a choice of three has provided a good fit. For us, the pre-fitted medium pair offers a good seal and, although they aren’t the most secure set of earbuds we’ve ever worn (we wouldn’t wear them for our tougher workouts), they are comfortable and light over the course of our listening.
The (slightly) older Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro weigh in at 6.3g each and are a tad chunkier. They also come in some natty colours: Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver and Phantom Black.
Samsung supplies three pairs of silicone eartips with the Galaxy Buds Pro. As we noted in our review, "It's quite easy to get the earbuds positioned comfortably – although, perhaps because of their physical size, there’s a little more movement in the buds than is ideal."
Both models feature Samsung's Auto Switch feature, which lets the earbuds simultaneously connect to multiple Galaxy devices and automatically switch to the one you’re using. Handy if you want to go from streaming music on your Galaxy Tab to picking up a call on your Samsung Galaxy S21.
The Buds Pro are rated IPX7, which means they can be submerged in up to 1m of water for at least half an hour. The Buds 2 can't match that performance – they're rated IPX2, meaning they're only splashproof.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: noise-cancelling
The Buds Pro feature two Active Noise Cancelling levels, low and high, and four Ambient Sound settings. 'High' is designed for noise-polluted areas such as busy city streets, while 'Low' is better for nixing rumbling sounds, such as the hum of an aeroplane engine.
Samsung claims that the Buds Pro remove "99 percent of noise" at 118Hz. That might sound impressive on paper, but under review, we felt that the noise-cancelling was underwhelming.
That's partly because competition among the best noise-cancelling headphones is fierce, with the five-star (and pricier) Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Sony WF-1000XM4 leading the way on cancellation.
The Buds 2's active noise cancellation promises to nix external noise by up to 98 per cent. This is joined by an ‘enhanced’ Ambient Sound mode, plus three microphones per earbud – one inner with voice pickup unit for clear calls, two external beamforming mics – to boast a 'significantly reduced latency'.
You can access these noise profiles using the on-device controls, but it's a little hit and miss, so you may well find yourself reaching for your phone instead. The noise cancellation and Ambient Sound are as good as we would expect for the price, though there are no degrees of ANC, just on or off.
If you're wondering why the Buds Pro are so much more expensive, it's because they have Intelligent ANC and Dolby Head Tracking features.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: battery life
The Galaxy Buds 2 might be cheaper than the Galaxy Buds Pro, but they come out top when you compare battery life.
The Buds 2 claim five hours per charge with noise cancelling switched on, plus an additional 15 hours provided by the USB-C charging case (pictured above). Not bad, although the AirPods Pro 2 top that with 30 hours total battery life.
The Galaxy Buds Pro also last five hours per charge, but their charging case supplies an extra 13 hours' worth of juice. Total battery life? 18 hours – a solid two hours less than the new Galaxy Buds 2.
Both of these in-ears support Qi wireless charging. Five minutes on a standard 5A pad should return around one hour of playback.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: sound quality
Sound quality is much of a muchness here, as both Samsung buds received three stars out of five when we reviewed them. Their decidedly average performance won't trouble the best at this price, but they do offer slightly different sonic characteristics.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are tonally-balanced and provide plenty of detail through the midrange. You can expect nice harmonic separation and a civilised level of bass, too. Overall these Buds Pro sound inoffensive but lack sparkle. It's a performance that falls short of class leaders.
The Buds 2 aren't any better, we're afraid. While they pack a good dollop of detail and healthy bass kick, the timing needs work. Theirs is an energetic performance, but in all the excitement there's a harshness through the treble that makes the midrange sound decidedly flat. Disappointing.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: verdict
This is a tricky one. The Buds Pro are (for the most part) better-specced than the Buds 2, with better water resistance and more advanced audio features. However, the Buds 2 are lighter, smaller and offer better battery life. Both pairs pair just as seamlessly with a Galaxy smartphone, so there's nothing between them there.
Sound quality aside, it could all come down to price. We've seen the pricier Buds Pro on even cheaper deals than the Buds 2 before (which could swing it in their favour), but there are discounts aplenty to be had across both earbuds. The newer (but still three-star) Galaxy Buds 2 Pro might be a better option overall thanks to better design and new features, but we'd hold off until those were on a good deal, too.
Read the newer, flagship Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review
More wireless wonders: best wireless earbuds
These are the best headphones of all styles and prices
Looking for a bargain? Check out the best cheap headphone deals