Samsung has some more true wireless earbuds in the works: the Galaxy Buds 2.
As the name suggests, they should be a proper sequel to the original Buds, with all that entails. So what's the news so far on them? What's the expected launch date? Do we have an idea on price? And will they trouble our list of best wireless earbuds? Read on for everything we know so far...
Galaxy Buds 2: release date
According to SamMobile, the Galaxy Buds 2 launch date is set to be this summer, most likely around July or August.
Samsung has previously released two pairs of true wireless earbuds around that time: the original Galaxy Buds (in August 2019) and the Galaxy Buds Live (in August 2020). See below for the previous Galaxy Buds release dates.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds: August 2019
- Samsung Galaxy Buds+: May 2020
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: August 2020
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: January 2021
So there's plenty to support a July or August launch this year.
The end of August or beginning of September plays host to the IFA tech conference in Berlin, too (this year it takes place from 3rd-7th September).
Samsung usually launches new products at IFA, most notably its latest Galaxy Note smartphone. But this year, it's rumoured to be skipping the Note. Could the Galaxy Buds 2 step up and take centre stage at Samsung's launch event? Or will they launch as a complementary product to a more 'wow' device like the rumoured Galaxy Fold 3? Hopefully we'll find out before long.
Galaxy Buds 2: price
At £139 ($129), the original Galaxy Buds were priced somewhere around the middle of the true wireless earbuds market. But with a thin sound that lacked detail, we thought there were better options for the money.
Samsung is undoubtedly hoping to change that with the sequel. If it can deliver a much improved sound and modernised feature set, it could well be justified in asking a little more for the Buds 2 – the second-gen AirPods cost £159 ($159), after all, and Samsung sees itself as a real competitor to Apple when it comes to mobile devices and accessories.
As such, SamMobile reckons Samsung will ask for $170 for the Buds 2, positioning them slightly below the more premium Galaxy Buds Pro (which cost £219, $199). If so, Samsung will have an uphill battle on its hands. Not only will they be more expensive than the AirPods (or even the AirPods 3, which should launch in the coming months), they will cost a lot more than the new breed of budget alternatives, some of which, like the Earfun Air Pro, offer noise cancellation.
Can Samsung justify this relatively high price while omitting such killer features? It'll be interesting to find out...
Galaxy Buds 2: design
So far, no pictures have leaked of the Galaxy Buds 2. We haven't even had a render showing what to expect. But still, we have a pretty good idea how they will look.
That's because of their model number. As Dutch website Galaxy Club reports, the Galaxy Buds 2 have the model number SM-R177, which is in keeping with others in the Galaxy Buds line (all of which follow the SM-R17x naming convention).
Admittedly the Galaxy Buds Live (pictured above) fall into this category too, and looks-wise, they are quite a departure, shaped as they are like a pair of jelly beans. But the Galaxy Buds 2 are likely to be far more conventional, and look very similar to the original Galaxy Buds. Think pretty standard-looking true wireless buds, complete with wing tips for keeping them in your ears and a carry case that doubles as a portable charger.
Nothing radical there, then. But as long as they're comfortable and perform well, we'll have no complaints.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: features
The original Galaxy Buds launched in 2019. We're expecting a very similar skillset from its successor, but hopefully with improvements across the board. Because while 2019 might not seem that long ago, the true wireless earbuds market has come a long way since then.
Take battery life. The original Galaxy Buds managed a total run time of 13 hours (six hours from the buds, plus another seven from the case). A couple of years ago, that was passable, but today it just won't cut the mustard. Since then, we've seen the introduction of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, which manage a total run time of a staggering 45 hours. And for cheaper than the original Galaxy Buds.
The original Galaxy Buds couldn't connect to iPhones, as they were Android-only. This was rectified with the Galaxy Buds+, and we would expect the Buds 2 to work with Apple devices, too.
We wouldn't expect the Buds 2 to have noise cancellation as that will likely be reserved for the Galaxy Buds Live and Pro.
In all, we're not expecting any surprises on the features front. Think touch controls, Bluetooth 5.0, compatibility with voice assistants, and support for the major streaming services. All of which are pretty standard on true wireless earbuds.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: early verdict
It's early days yet – we haven't seen leaked specs or any images of the Galaxy Buds 2. But going on past form, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
To say Samsung has its work cut out would be an understatement. There's currently a huge choice of true wireless earbuds to suit all needs, at all budgets, be it the wallet-friendly Earfun Air or premium Sony WF-1000XM3. And more are in the pipeline, including the Apple AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro 2, Sony WF-1000XM4 and Google Pixel Buds A-Series.
If Samsung is hoping it can survive on brand name alone, it might be in for a surprise.
But let's not judge the Galaxy Buds 2 before they launch. True, Samsung's true wireless earbuds haven't scored more than three stars in our reviews, but they have improved over the years. Fingers crossed Samsung can take the lessons of the past and put them to good use in the future.
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