Samsung's next wireless earbuds could be just weeks away. The Korean giant will hold its annual Galaxy Unpacked event on 10th August, but rumours suggest the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 will arrive before then.
The original Buds Pro were a bold attempt but ultimately failed to make waves in a highly competitive market. So, will the imminent Buds Pro 2 make more of a splash?
Here's what we expect (and hope) the anticipated sequels will bring...
Galaxy Buds Pro 2 release date rumour
Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event takes place on 10th August, starting at 2pm BST (6am PT/9am ET/11pm AEST). According to the official invite, we'll see at least one new foldable device, but we're actually expecting Samsung to showcase two: the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4. A new smartwatch is also rumoured.
What, no earbuds? That's because we could see them even earlier. That's according to Max Jambor. The tipster tweeted that the Buds Pro 2 will launch before Unpacked (see below), though he didn't give an exact date nor mention where his sources are from. File this firmly under 'rumour' for now.
Suffice to say, we're expecting to see them launch no later than 10th August.
Buds Pro2 will launch before UnpackedJune 23, 2022
Galaxy Buds Pro 2 price prediction
The original Galaxy Buds Pro currently sell for £139 / $169 / AU$319 – that's quite affordable for a pair of wireless earbuds (and a fair bit cheaper than their original launch price). That slots them between the price of the best cheap wireless earbuds and that of the premium models, such as the Sony WF-1000XM4 and AirPods Pro.
There's no word so far on how much the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 will cost, but we would imagine Samsung will position them similar to the first pair.
Whatever price they launch at, they'll have their work cut out, now that there are very good pairs covering pretty much every price level – from the Sony WF-C500 to mid-market models like the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus and Panasonic RZ-S500W and premium pairs like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3. We've never had it so good.
7 features we want to see
1. Better battery life
The original Buds Pro managed a modest five hours of battery life from the earbuds, plus another 12 from the charging case. Even in 2021, when they launched, that was fairly underwhelming. Plenty of rivals now offer more from both the buds themselves and from the case – a 24-hour total battery life is common for mid-to-premium pairs. Let's hope Samsung squeezes a little more life out of the Buds Pro 2.
2. Enhanced sound quality
The Galaxy Buds Pro don't sound awful, but we've heard better – a lot better. On the positive side, the Buds Pro are nicely balanced and shift smoothly up and down the frequency range. But we also find them pretty bland to listen to – "they’re so inoffensive it’s really quite offensive", we noted in our review. We know Samsung can do better with the Buds Pro 2, and they'll have to in order to gain a recommendation from us.
3. Newer Bluetooth
The original Galaxy Buds Pro support Bluetooth 5.0, but there are now newer versions around. Bluetooth 5.1 lets Bluetooth devices pinpoint your location – hence the glut of 'find my earbuds' in-app features. It also allows slightly quicker pairing, a stronger Bluetooth signal and a reduction in power consumption.
Bluetooth 5.2, meanwhile, brings LE (Low Energy) Audio, with a new codec (LC3) allowing high-quality audio with less power consumption. That has allowed earbuds to be smaller thanks to their smaller batteries. The 5.2 standard also allows both earbuds to connect to your source device (as opposed to one, and then the other connecting to that) for a more stable connection, the option of choosing which one earbud you want to use (should you only want to use one) and the ability to wirelessly connect two sets of earbuds to one device. Plenty of pros, then.
While a good number of earbuds support the high-quality LDAC (Sony) and aptX HD (Qualcomm) Bluetooth codecs on top of this, Samsung has been historically patchy in its support for the latter. Seeing as Samsung's Galaxy S22 phones omit it, don't expect the Buds Pro 2 to support a Qualcomm codec higher than aptX.
What the Buds Pro 2 will almost certainly support is Samsung's own Bluetooth technology – Samsung Scalable Codec – which essentially aims to provide a stable, drop-out-free connection between Samsung devices and earbuds that prevents audio chopping. The codec does this by constantly analyzing the radio frequency environment around the earbuds and device and adjusting the bitrate dynamically.
4. Improved ANC
The Buds Pro's noise-cancelling is a similar story to its sound quality – it's okay but really not great. We found it neutralised some ambient sound, but even when set to max, some still got through. Again, we hope for better here.
5. Smaller size
Earbuds are getting smaller all the time – just look at the Sony LinkBuds S, the smallest of their kind in the world. When it comes to earbuds, Samsung is no stranger to 'out there' designs (remember its kidney bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live?). Hopefully, Samsung can improve the features and functionality while shrinking the size of the Galaxy Buds Pro.
6. Same Android-esque experience
To get the most out of the Buds Pro, you have to be a Samsung diehard. We don't expect this to change for the Buds Pro 2, but we don't mind that too much – there are plenty of Samsung diehards around, just as there are plenty of Apple fanboys (just don't get the two groups in a room together). The Samsung Wearables app allows for some pretty cool features not available to non-Samsung Galaxy mobile owners, like the ability to customise the buds' touch controls. More of that please.
7. Audio switching
This one might be a pipe dream, but we can hope. The forthcoming Google Pixel Buds Pro will feature Google's new audio switching feature, which switches between devices automatically depending on what's happening. If you're taking a call, for example, it'll switch the connection of the earbuds playing music from your laptop, to your phone. Google has said (opens in new tab) it will roll out the feature to "select" models by JBL and Sony, and to other platforms in the future. Fingers crossed the Galaxy Buds Pro 2 are one of those shortly down the line.
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