Best daily deals

Links on SoundGuys may earn us a commission. Learn more.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earphones in the open charging case on top of a Samsung Galaxy S10e smartphone in pink.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review

The Galaxy Buds 2 is a well-priced pair of ANC earbuds. Does it stand out from the Galaxy Buds line, or get lost in the middle?
By
September 9, 2022
7.7
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
The bottom line
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isn't a breakout set of earbuds, but it does its job well as an everyday headset. The sound quality is sure to please most listers and the noise cancelling, while not the best, is quite good for the price. Even still, you might find it hard to justify this compared to the more advanced Galaxy Buds Pro and more comfortable (and affordable) Galaxy Buds Plus.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isn't a breakout set of earbuds, but it does its job well as an everyday headset. The sound quality is sure to please most listers and the noise cancelling, while not the best, is quite good for the price. Even still, you might find it hard to justify this compared to the more advanced Galaxy Buds Pro and more comfortable (and affordable) Galaxy Buds Plus.
Release date

August 28, 2021

Price

Original: $149 USD

Dimensions

Earbud: 17 x 20.9 mm

Case: 50.2 x 50 x 27.8 mm

Weight

Earbud: 5g

Case: 41.2g

Model Number

SM-R177NZKAXAR

Waterproof

IPX2

What we like
Compact design
In-app ear tip fit test
Sound quality
Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC, and Samsung Scalable codec
Fast and wireless charging
What we don't like
Lacks aptX
Sensitive touch controls
7.7
SoundGuys Rating
7.8
User Rating
Rating Metric
Our Rating
User Rating
Sound Quality
9.7
7.7
8.0
Bass
9.8
7.7
8.0
Midrange
9.7
7.6
8.0
Highs
9.7
7.9
8.0
Isolation / Attenuation
6.2
7.4
7.0
Active Noise Cancelling
7.4
7.4
7.0
Durability / Build Quality
6.7
8.0
8.0
Value
7.0
7.9
8.0
Design
7.0
8.2
8.0
Connectivity
6.0
8.3
8.0
Microphone
5.6
6.8
7.0
Portability
9.2
8.9
9.0
Battery Life
5.6
7.1
7.0
Feature
8.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort
8.5
7.8
8.0

Samsung is motivated to go toe to toe with its adversary Apple, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is the latest set of noise cancelling earbuds in Samsung’s confusing portfolio. This time around, the company blends premium features like active noise cancelling (ANC) with Bluetooth 5.2 at a reasonable price. While there’s plenty to like about these wireless earphones, the Galaxy Buds 2 may get lost between its siblings, the Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Plus. Still, these mid-tier earphones must serve someone.

Time to break down the Samsung Galaxy Buds line to see how the Galaxy Buds 2 stacks up against the rest. We spent one week with the Galaxy Buds 2 and are ready to share everything you need to know about these round buds.

Editor’s note: this Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review was updated on September 9, 2022, to address how it compares to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and to add information on the Apple AirPod Pro (2nd generation). We also included standardized battery testing results and updated the score accordingly.

Samsung smartphone owners can take full advantage of the Buds 2 and its software features. It’s also great for commuters as its ANC outperforms the Beats Studio Buds and pricier Apple AirPods Pro. As far as wireless earbuds under $200 USD are concerned, the Galaxy Buds 2 is feature packed. You can enjoy things like the auto-pause function, direct Spotify access (Android only), and excellent sound quality.

Who shouldn’t get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

Those with significant nickel, acrylate sensitivities or allergies will potentially be exposed to the materials via the earbuds—however unlikely it is. Some users have reported discomfort and reactions to recent Samsung earphones with these materials. Reportedly, Samsung has been investigating the matter and assisting customers who report troubles to them directly. However, the earphones in question aren’t the only ones with this exposure potential. If you’re sensitive to these materials, please be mindful of your return policy no matter what you buy.

What’s it like to use Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds with one 'bud out of the open, angled charging case.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 fits right in with the rest of the family.

Those who already own a pair of Galaxy Buds will feel right at home with the Galaxy Buds 2 from the hardware to the software. The Galaxy Buds 2 has a playful, rounded design that shapes both the earbuds and USB-C case. It’s a shame that Samsung omits detachable wing tips from this model, which makes the fit less secure than with the cheaper Galaxy Buds Plus. Those who dare can use these as workout earbuds, as they merit an IPX2 rating. Just be sure not to jostle your head too much, doing so will just shake the earbuds loose.

Samsung always packs its headsets with plenty of advanced technology and sensors, and we see the same thing here. A reliable proximity sensor enables automatic play/pause when removing the buds. Playback doesn’t resume when reinserting the earbuds. Instead, you need to tap either touch panel. As with older Samsung earphones, the touch controls are both intuitive and hypersensitive. The Galaxy Buds 2 often registers accidental taps when adjusting the earbuds, which often happens and sends media into a syncopated frenzy of skips and pauses. To avoid this, your only option is to turn off touch controls altogether.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless charging case with the USB-C input in view.
The Graphite, White, Olive, and Lavender colorways all include a white case with an interior that matches the earbuds.

Samsung doesn’t reinvent its charging case, as it has the same shape as the Galaxy Buds Pro and less popular Galaxy Buds Live. It looks great and is easy to open with one hand, thanks to the clearly defined lip that separates the lid from the base. A grippier texture would make it even easier to use, but we can add it to the wish list for the next-generation Galaxy Buds. Internal magnets keep the lid closed and they work faithfully. Anytime I drop the case, the lid stays shut and prevents the earbuds from flying to the not-so-far corners of my living room.

Two LEDs sit on the case, one on the outside and one on the inside. The outer LED communicates how much battery life is left in the case, while the inner LED indicates the earbuds’ battery.

How do you control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

Controlling the earphones isn’t all that complicated, and you can find the rundown of common operations below. Be aware that you can change the function of the touch controls by opening the Galaxy Wearable app, and navigating to the “Touch controls” menu. You can alter the voice assistant controls, ANC controls, and music playback controls to a point.

ActionEither earbud
One tap
Play/pause
Two taps
Next track; answer/end call
Hold
Previous track; custom option; decline call

Should you download the Galaxy Wearable app?

If you have an Android phone, you should get the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. iPhone owners, well, you can try but there’s no Galaxy Buds 2 support on iOS. That’s right, more and more companies are reading from Apple’s playbook and creating their own walled gardens, which really just hurts the consumer.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in the open charging case while connected to the Galaxy Wearable app on a Samsung Galaxy S10e.
You can take control of the earbuds from the Wearable app, but you have to agree to the terms of service first.

Those who can access the Buds 2 software features can toggle between ANC and ambient sound mode, the latter of which transmits background noise through the earbuds to keep you aware of the environment. Kudos to Samsung for rolling out a pleasant environmental passthrough that doesn’t sound robotic. For those who find this feature to sound too synthetic, you can decrease the intensity from the app.

Like the Sony WF-1000XM4, Samsung’s app includes an ear tip fit test to confirm that you’ve selected the appropriate ear tips. Not only does this ensure a comfortable fit, but it also improves sound quality by blocking out the most amount of background noise. The right fit is key to active noise cancelling earphones, and this test gives you immediate feedback.

Poke around the app and you’ll find other features like an array of EQ presets (normal, bass boost, soft, dynamic, clear, treble boost), which covers most listeners’ needs. Samsung refrains from handing off the reigns entirely: you can’t make a custom EQ. A small segment of Galaxy Buds 2 owners will rejoice knowing that they can access Bixby with just a voice command. The rest of us can create a custom control to access an alternative assistant like Google or Siri.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds next to the extra ear tips.
You get three pairs of silicone ear tips, and this selection is serviceable but doesn’t cater to a wide variety of ear shapes.

You can also enable seamless earbud connection (fast switching) in the app, and this works across operating systems. I can quickly switch back and forth between an iPhone and Samsung phone by selecting the “Galaxy Buds 2” from the list of Bluetooth peripherals, without the need to disconnect from the current handset.

Samsung consistently and reliably releases firmware updates for its headsets, which extends the life of your purchase. For instance, version R177XXU0AVC8 of the Galaxy Buds 2 firmware adds 360 Audio to the headset’s repertoire. Even if you don’t care for any of the aforementioned features, the Wearable app is a worthwhile download, just be sure to read the terms and conditions.

The Galaxy Labs tab is home to “gaming mode” which reduces audio-visual lag. Gaming mode isn’t just for mobile gamers, it’s also a nice feature for anyone who streams a lot of videos from their phone.

How does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 connect?

A hand reaches to remove one Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless 2 earbud from the case.
Samsung added 360 Audio to the Galaxy Buds 2, which is compatible with video content.

The earbuds use Bluetooth 5.2, which leaves an opportunity for LE Audio support and the LC3 codec. You can immediately pair the Galaxy Buds 2 to any Samsung device. When you open the case for the first time near your Samsung phone, a pop-up notification will appear on your phone asking you for permission to pair it with the Galaxy Buds 2. Once you do so, connection stability is reliable whether inside or outside. If you have a non-Samsung Android phone, you can connect to the Galaxy Buds 2 through the Galaxy Wearable app, or through your phone’s Bluetooth settings.

Like the rest of Samsung’s earphones, the Galaxy Buds 2 supports a few Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, and the Samsung Scalable Codec. The proprietary codec works similarly to aptX Adaptive, constantly balancing connection and sound qualities and dynamically adjusting the bit rate from 88-512kbps. This makes the Galaxy Buds 2 an excellent choice for Samsung smartphone owners and leaves non-Samsung owners holding the short end of the stick. AAC rates are still inconsistent depending on your Android hardware.

Yes, you can connect the Galaxy Buds 2 to an iPhone by following these steps:

  1. With the earbuds in the case, place the Galaxy Buds2 case next to the iPhone and open the case.
  2. Open your iPhone’s Settings app.
  3. Select the “Bluetooth” menu and turn the Bluetooth toggle on (green).
  4. Wait for your iPhone to find the “Galaxy Buds2.”
  5. Click on “Galaxy Buds2” from the Bluetooth menu, and the phone should establish a connection.

Be aware that while you can use the Galaxy Buds 2 on an iPhone for music playback, you can’t access any software features or firmware updates through iOS.

How long does the battery last on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earphones in the open charging case on top of a Samsung Galaxy S10e smartphone in pink.
The Galaxy Buds 2 supports Wireless PowerShare like all the Galaxy Buds that came before it.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earbuds have an official battery life of 5 hours with noise cancelling on. In our standardized testing where we subjected the buds to a constant output of real music peaking at 75dB(SPL), the earbuds lasted 5 hours, 3 minutes. The charging case provides an extra 15 hours of on-the-go playtime. A 5-minute quick charge leaves the earbuds with 60 minutes of battery, so forgetful gym-goers will always have music to underscore their workouts.

You have a few ways to top up the boxy case, with the flashiest option being Wireless Powershare. To do this, enable PowerShare on your Samsung device, and place the case on top of it. That’s all you need to get charged. Alternatively, you can plop it onto a Qi charging mat or go the wired route with the supplied USB-C cable.

Is the Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling any good?

A chart depicts the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 isolation and noise cancelling performance, with low-frequency sounds rendered one-quarter as loud with ANC on than without the earbuds in at all.
This is quite good for a pair of noise cancelling earbuds, especially given the price.

The Galaxy Buds 2 has better noise cancelling and passive isolation than the Galaxy Buds Pro, but it’s not the best pair of noise cancelling earbuds. Samsung’s ANC quiets low frequencies and makes them one-quarter as loud as they’d sound without the earbuds in at all. You’ll notice a difference when toggling noise cancellation on and off.

Although most listeners will find something comfortable from one of the three ear tip provisions, not everyone will. This, again, is where it would be nice to have wings that keep the earbuds stable. I don’t experience consistently good ANC as the chart depicts, because I can’t get the earbuds to stay in place. See, a strong physical seal between the ear tips and your ear canal is required to block out the most amount of noise and let the ANC shine. You may have better luck in this department than I.

How does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 sound?

When you buy the Galaxy Buds 2, you’re investing in a pleasing frequency response that reproduces a variety of music genres well. You’ll notice the relatively boosted sub-bass notes, and appreciate how the mids remain clearly audible—unless it’s a particularly busy song full of bassy instruments. Most listeners will like the greater sense of clarity from strings, small woodwind instruments, and better intelligibility to speech sounds.

In Zac Greer’s song Melatonin, the background guitar strums are hard to hear over the low-pitched electric guitar strikes during the chorus. Similarly, some rasp from Greer’s voice is lost during the chorus too when I turn up the volume beyond 50%. You’ll only notice this if you’re listening critically and trying to find fault with the response. When out and about, the Galaxy Buds 2 sound is great.

Can you use the Galaxy Buds 2 for phone calls?

A woman wears the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds.
The microphone works decently but doesn’t handle wind noise well.

You can use the Galaxy Buds 2 for phone calls, but keep your expectations realistic: this can’t compare to an external boom mic. Samsung’s triple-microphone system reads as impressive, but as you can tell from the demos below, it’s good, not stellar. The microphones don’t do much to cancel out background noise, which means the person on the other end of the call will hear all of your keyboard clacks.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

4132 votes

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling true wireless earbuds in the open charging case, partially obscured by greenery.
This set of noise cancelling earbuds is a good option for those who don’t care for the ability to submerge the earbuds.

The Galaxy Buds 2 is a good buy for listeners who want reasonably priced earphones with solid sound quality and fast charging. Although a greater rating than IPX2 would be nice, the Galaxy Buds Plus has held up over the years without issue. I sincerely hope Samsung fixes the sensitivity of its earphones’ touch panels, but that won’t be solved by switching to another pair of Galaxy Buds. Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 doesn’t break new ground. It simply performs well and has solid noise cancelling for the price.

Still, if you don’t care for noise cancellation, the Galaxy Buds Plus is a true treasure that compares favorably to the Google Pixel Buds A-Series. Alternatively, if you want a more attractive earbud design with a few more software features and much better microphone quality, get the Galaxy Buds Pro instead.

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with the engraved case standing in front of an iPhone 14.
Apple The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) will be the first to feature personalized Spatial Audio.

As of September 9, 2022, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is not available but it will be on September 23. While we expect the second-generation AirPods Pro will be better than the first, we can’t yet recommend you pre-order them. Instead, we recommend that iPhone owners either wait for reviews to come out, or make a surefire investment in the AirPods Pro (1st generation).

The first-generation AirPods Pro noise cancelling isn’t as good as the Buds 2, but you get to take advantage of software features like spatial audio and automatic device switching across iOS devices (under the same iCloud account). You also get an ear tip fit test through the iOS Settings app and the earbuds warrant an IPX4 rating. The AirPods Pro is quite a bit pricier than any of Samsung’s offerings at $199 USD, but it often goes on sale for even less.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise cancelling earbuds in black against a white background.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?

A hand holds the open case with the buds showing of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in front of green succulents.
The buds are prominent and bulb-shaped, making it easier to grasp them and perform touch commands.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro improves upon the Galaxy Buds 2 in every way, particularly with noise cancellation. Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Galaxy Buds 2 article for a detailed look. If you’re short on time just know that with ANC enabled, the Buds 2 Pro cancels out up to 50dB of low-frequency noise, blowing the Galaxy Buds 2 and other Galaxy Buds out of the water. Speaking of water, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can actually survive a dip in the pool just like the Galaxy Buds Pro. Both the Buds 2 Pro and Buds Pro share the same IPX7 rating.

This time around, the touch controls have a measured degree of sensitivity. You can adjust the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds in your ears without worrying about constant misfires. Sweat droplets won’t accidentally trigger commands either. Samsung keeps the spirit of the Galaxy Buds 2 design on the Buds 2 Pro but the newer earphones (and case) have a rubberized texture, making everything much easier to grip.

Price is the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro’s biggest con. At $229 USD, Samsung is ready to play hardball with the best of them, and the Korean-based company has some stiff competition from the new Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.

On a white background is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in Bora Purple with the buds sitting outside the case.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I: Which should you buy?

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds noise cancelling true wireless earbuds rest outside of the charging case on a table and in front of a stack of books.
The Bose adaptive EQ is great and makes the QC Earbuds an easy device to use, but pickier listeners can EQ the sound from the Music app.

Although the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I is a great pair of earbuds, one thing that holds it back is its price. At $279 USD, this isn’t cheap. You can buy two sets of Galaxy Buds 2 for the price of one set of QC Earbuds from Bose. Yet, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I is a headset worth the hype for listeners who value ANC performance and comfort more than anything else. Bose’s noise cancelling edges out the famed Sony WF-1000XM4 when it comes to the attenuation of certain frequencies, and features pretty good passive isolation too.

Unlike the Galaxy Buds 2, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I is OS-agnostic and a better pick for those who often switch between Apple and Android hardware. With the Bose Music app, you can create a custom EQ from any device. To create a custom EQ for the Galaxy Buds 2 on an iPhone, you’ll need a dedicated EQ app.

A chart compares the Bose QC Earbuds noise cancelling to the Sony WF-1000XM4, revealing that Bose's earphones do more to attenuate low frequencies.
150-300Hz frequencies will sound much quietier with the Bose QC Earbuds than the Sony WF-1000XM4.

Athletes will be more drawn to the Bose earbuds’ IPX4 rating, which is more durable than the IPX2 rating of the Galaxy Buds 2. Bose’s proprietary ear tips also make the QuietComfort Earbuds a better workout pick, because they have integrated wing tips that secure the buds to your ears. Alternatively, you can even grab Bose’s dedicated workout earbuds.

While it seems the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I is superior to the Galaxy Buds 2, the Galaxy Buds 2 is the better pick for most because it’s a better value.

Microphone quality is okay but not the best we’ve heard from an embedded system.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I microphone demo (Ideal):

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I microphone demo (Office):

How does the microphone sound to you?

5126 votes
The Bose QuietComfort true wireless noise cancelling earbuds in black against a white background.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
All prices listed in USD unless otherwise specified. Prices may change over time, and vary by region. Unfortunately, we cannot list Amazon prices on the site, as they vary greatly by currency.

Samsung Galaxy Buds guide: What’s the difference between the Galaxy Buds Plus, Live, Buds2, and Buds Pro?

If you want to be sure you’re making the right decision before you commit to the Galaxy Buds 2, let’s do a brief rundown on the Samsung Galaxy Buds line of earbuds. First, the similarities: all models have touch controls, an IP rating (IPX2 to IPX7), support for the SBC, AAC, and Samsung Scalable codecs, and all include a USB-C case with wireless charging and Wireless PowerShare functionalities.

Onto the differences:

Samsung discontinued the original Galaxy Buds when it announced the Buds 2. You can learn all about this in our full review, and if you can find them: you’ll enjoy the Bluetooth 5.0 firmware, IPX2 build, and 6 hours of battery life.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Galaxy Buds' true wireless charging cases open with the earbuds inside.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds (left) and Galaxy Buds Plus (right) appear nearly the same.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus is the most comfortable pair of earbuds you’ll wear, or at least that’s what many of the user reviews say. This is a great value as it has the same IPX2 rating as the Buds 2, a nearly 12-hour battery life, and wing tips that stabilize the earbuds. We have a complete comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs the Galaxy Buds 2.

A picture of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live noise cancelling true wireless earbuds outside of the closed case and on a black surface.
Opening the charging case for the first time felt like digging into a new pair of earrings.

Do you like the idea of beans in your ears but don’t want to deal with the mess, consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. These earbuds don’t seal to the ear and rely on an ergonomic bean shape to stay in place, along with very small ear stays. This is Samsung’s only open-type fit earbuds, and hopefully its last. We give props to Samsung for braving something new here as the open earbuds also have noise cancelling. It actually works a little bit, but at that point, just get any of these other headsets instead.

The Galaxy Buds Live is, however, good for the Android phone owner who wants to be aware of their environment at all times. The fit is more secure in my ears than the AirPods, which isn’t saying much, and this model introduced the jewelry box-inspired case.

Man holding up the open charging case for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro takes the best features from all of the previous Galaxy Buds generations.

Samsung’s flagship headset goes head-to-head against the AirPods Pro and shows that the company learned from the foibles of the Galaxy Buds Live, and returned to a sealed design. The Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds have a pretty standard shape and seal to the ear, blocking out quite a bit of background noise. You get an IPX7 rating and they’re the first earbuds to support 360 Audio (compatible with Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and Apple TV Plus.). Battery life is okay at 4 hours, 48 minutes and iPhone owners don’t get any app support with this headset either.

A man wears the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro while facing left, and he's about to tap the touch pad with trees and concrete in the background.
You control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with a series of taps, presses, and holds.

Samsung continues the confusingly similar naming with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. These earphones feature the best ANC from Samsung we’ve seen, cancelling out more low-frequency noise than non-Samsung options from Bose and Sony too. You get Samsung 360 Audio and Bluetooth 5.3. Debuting with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, Samsung smartphone owners can take advantage of the Samsung Seamless Codec. This Bluetooth codec offers 24-bit audio (OneUI 4.0+ software required).

You can read more about the earbuds in our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.

What should you get instead of the Galaxy Buds 2?

Aside from Samsung’s litany of wireless earphones, there are plenty of suitable alternatives depending on your needs. The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) is smart and pretty affordable. Amazon decks its earphones out with a more robust IPX4 rating and direct voice access to Alexa instead of Bixby. You also get an ear tip fit test, and the experience is identical on Android and iOS.

We also like the Jabra Elite 4 Active as it only costs $119 USD. For that price you get extreme durability with the IP57, so it’s a good option for rock climbers and runners. You also get Bluetooth 5.2 and support for the SBC and aptX codecs. If you have an Android device, you can enjoy consistent high-quality streaming to your device. iPhone owners may have to pony up a bit more for the Elite 7 Active and its AAC support.

Nothing Ear 1 earbuds on table with plant in background.
The Ear 1 from Nothing is a great pair of earphones for daily use.

Other OS-agnostic options include the JBL Reflect Flow Pro and the Nothing Ear 1, which retail for $179 and $99 USD respectively. Both earbuds have ANC, and the JBL buds merit an IP68 rating, making them a great pair of workout earphones. On the other hand, Nothing’s buds have a standard IPX4 rating and superior fast charging speeds. Like the Echo Buds, the Ear 1 supports automatic ear detection for auto play/resume.

Frequently asked questions about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

A hand holds the Google Pixel Buds Pro with the case open in front of a wood surface.
The Pixel Buds Pro is a powerful set of earbuds, but it has stiff competition.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro is a perfectly fine set of wireless earbuds with noise cancelling. However, for most, the cheaper Galaxy Buds 2 will be a smarter purchase. With the Pixel Buds Pro, you get better low-frequency noise cancellation, especially from 150-400Hz. But the passive isolation is better on the Galaxy Buds 2. With the Buds 2, high-pitched unpredictable sounds will be blocked out more. Microphone quality is better in windy conditions with the Galaxy Buds 2, too.

You also get more features and customization with the Galaxy Buds 2 than with Google’s Pixel Buds Pro. While Google will update its earbuds with spatial audio, Samsung has already updated its Pixel Buds 2 with support for Samsung 360 Audio. True, the Pixel Buds Pro has a more durable IPX4 rating and the case has an IPX2 rating, but this may not be worth the extra $70-100 USD for people.

Yes, the Galaxy Buds 2 has a very good ambient sound mode that passes audio through the earbuds in a fairly pleasant manner. Some headsets, especially earlier true wireless models, over-process the audio and make it sound almost robotic, that’s not the case with the Buds 2.

We’ll let you decide that, see the microphone demos for each below:

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone demo (Non-standardized):

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal):

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live microphone demo (Non-standardized):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Ideal):

The Galaxy Buds 2 earbuds do stick out from the ear a tiny bit, but it isn’t comical by any means. For reference, the Panasonic RZ-S500W sticks out quite a bit more than the Buds 2, and Panasonic’s is still a compact pair of earbuds.

Now, if you really want a pair of wireless earbuds that rests flush against your ear and even somewhat “beneath” it, check out the Beyerdynamic Blue BYRD (2nd generation), or the Soul BYRD if you want a wired option.