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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung had a hit on its hands with the original Galaxy Buds Pro, combining a solid feature set with usability and sound. Cut to more than a year and a half later, and we have the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and its improved active noise cancelling (ANC). We spent over a week with each set of Samsung earphones to inform you whether the newer Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is a worthy successor.
Editor’s note: this article was updated on March 20, 2023, to add information about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro recording binaural sound, to add the Google Pixel Buds Pro as an alternative, and to update formatting.
What’s it like to use the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro compared to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
Like many updated products in the same series, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the recently discontinued (but still available) Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro share quite a lot in common. From the outside, their cases are virtually the same shape and size: a squat, square box with rounded corners and a clamshell-style lid. The Galaxy Buds Pro comes in a glossy plastic with reflective jewel-like accents, while Samsung covered the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in a uniform matte, rubberized plastic. Both cases scratch somewhat easily.
Though composed of different plastics, the buds are similar in shape and fit, give or take a millimeter. At 5.5g per bud, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is 0.8g lighter than the Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds. Both buds are comfortable and ship with three different sized sets of ear tips to find your best fit. You can take an ear tip fit test with either set of earbuds through Android’s Galaxy Wearable app to ensure you’ve selected the right tips for your ear shape, but more on app features in a bit.
There’s always “the right” set of buds for your needs, and it’s important to look beyond specs alone. Despite the durable IPX7 rating shared by both Samsung earbuds, neither is ideal for exercising since they lack additional stabilizers or hooks, as seen in the JLab Epic Air Sport ANC, to secure the fit. However, for the person on a commute, or working at a desk, both versions of the Samsung buds do more for you than an overly secure fit designed for running. You could still go for a run with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Galaxy Buds Pro if they suit your anatomy, but their features and generally looser fits suggest you pick them for ANC, music listening, and productivity.
Once paired with your device, you benefit from quick reconnections and the Galaxy Wearable app to get the most out of the buds. Android owners, especially Samsung owners, gain handy OS-exclusive features like automatic device switching (for Samsung accounts and devices) and bonus niceties like notifications read aloud through the buds. These features are basically the same on both earbuds and toggled through the app.
How do you control the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro features a touch panel with good sensitivity for on-ear controls. It registers commands accurately and rarely misfires. In the app, you can alter the default setting for the touch-and-hold motion only, and you are limited to only one “type” of command per bud. For example, you cannot assign the left earbud to control listening modes and the right one to Spotify Tap. The app will automatically reassign the other earbud to the most recent “type” of command you select.
With the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you also get direct access to voice commands for your smart assistant saying, “Hey, Bixby.” With Bixby active, you can inquire about the weather, have notifications read aloud, and ask anything else.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro controls:
|INPUT||ACTION (music)||ACTION (phone)|
Skip to track ahead
Skip to previous track
Tap and hold
Right: increase volume
Left: decrease volume
Toggle ANC/ambient modes (change in settings)
Voice your request or inquiry (Samsung device only)
These commands by default work basically the same on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro as on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the Galaxy Buds Pro suffers from hypersensitive touch panels.
From the Galaxy Wearable app, you can designate the touch and hold function to command four things: cycle through listening modes, wake your phone’s smart assistant, volume up/down, or access Spotify Tap.
Should you use the Galaxy Wearable app?
The Galaxy Wearable app is a must for Android users, even if you just use it for the initial set up and update access. Apple iPhone owners are left out in the cold on this one because there is no iOS-compatible app for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Buds Pro. This means you won’t get direct access to any of the following features on an iPhone.
Because the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro use the same app, the experience is largely similar. You can access listening modes (ANC, Ambient, and normal), adjust ANC and Ambient mode intensity, customize some settings like EQ presets (or a limited number of touch commands), and enable 360 Audio. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro also support “Voice detect,” which works like Sony’s “Speak-to-Chat” function on its flagship headsets. When you speak with this setting enabled, the Galaxy Buds 2 series will lower media volume and enable Ambient mode so you can carry on a conversation with someone. After five, 10, or 15 seconds of not detecting your voice, the earphones will return the volume to the previous setting.
Both earbuds provide features like find my earbuds, earbud fit test, voice command, and accessibility options that include channel balance, mono listening, and ANC in one earbud. Samsung requires that you approve a lot of data permissions just to access the app. Still, it’s nice that it doesn’t hog a bunch of your device’s storage. If you have a Samsung smartwatch, it will use the same app.
How do the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro connect?
Samsung device owners reap the most rewards from the codec selection with both sets of buds using proprietary codecs. The latest Galaxy Buds 2 Pro has the Samsung Seamless Codec, capable of delivering 24-bit audio to select Samsung phones. Found on the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Samsung Scalable Codec can stream up to 16-bit audio, which works just fine on CDs and most listeners’ hearing abilities. With these codecs and your Samsung phone, you’ll enjoy low latency when streaming videos. To access 360 Audio, you’ll also need a Samsung device.
Unfortunately for other Android device users to connect you only get AAC or SBC codecs. Neither codec ideally suits Android. SBC behaves with more stability over Android, and AAC performs inconsistently across Android devices. Meanwhile, AAC works perfectly well on iPhones.
Featuring Bluetooth 5.3, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro has the potential for Bluetooth LE Audio in the future. The Galaxy Buds Pro uses Bluetooth 5.0 and won’t support LE Audio down the line. You won’t notice a difference in daily use at this point, but the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is more future proof.
Pairing the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for the first time is simple, and the process is almost the same for both earbuds.
- Open the case.
- Make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your device.
- Remove the buds from the case if you’re connecting the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. Leave the buds in the case if it’s the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
- Press your fingers on the touch panels of the buds to enter pairing mode. On the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro do this until the case light blinks red, blue, and green.
- Select the earbuds on your device’s Bluetooth settings.
Subsequent connections with the same device should happen immediately when you open the case and pluck out the buds. With a previously paired Samsung device, you might see a card pop up when you open the case asking if you want to pair the buds, even if the Bluetooth is off. That’s another way to pair. There are a few other ways to do this, but the above method works regardless of whether you use a Samsung device, iPhone, PC, or other Android device.
Is battery life better on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
The battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is almost the same as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. You get around 5 hours with either headset. More specifically, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro provides 4 hours and 50 minutes of playtime, and the Galaxy Buds Pro provides 4 hours and 48 minutes of battery life with ANC on. While this figure works fine for most, the buds will have more charging cycles than other earbuds with longer standalone battery life. In other words, the products may not last as long as alternatives.
Both Samsung Galaxy cases charge USB-C cable, wirelessly from a Qi mat, or with the PowerShare feature from a Samsung phone. For a couple of flagship wireless earbuds, we expect longer batteries. It’s worth acknowledging that the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro likely enlists a lot of battery to power the impressive active noise cancelling.
Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro block noise better?
Noise cancelling performance is the biggest difference between the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Galaxy Buds Pro doesn’t hold a candle to the ANC performance of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
With the new flagship’s better noise blocking and cancelling capabilities in loud environments you can keep your volume at a safe level. The ANC onboard the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro does a great job of nearly muting low-frequency noise, about 30dB of noise reduction at 100Hz, which is 15dB more effective than the Galaxy Buds Pro at the same frequency. While the Galaxy Buds Pro is still a good set of ANC-capable earbuds, the noise cancelling tech on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in the mids and bassy frequencies shows it’s one of the best out there. In contrast, the older Galaxy Buds Pro struggles to attenuate much sub-bass frequency noise, showing its age.
Isolation above 1kHz is similar between these Galaxy Buds, with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro pulling slightly ahead in the 1-5kHz range. Again, you’ll need to find the best ear tips when using either earphone set. A poor fit might let external noise mask your music and render ANC much less effective than the chart above depicts. You may find that you need to use one size tip for your left ear and a different size for your right—that’s normal!
Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sound better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?
If you were thinking of upgrading your Galaxy Buds Pro to the latest for an improved sound, perhaps hold off. Samsung hasn’t changed much between the two sets of Galaxy Buds, which is especially true of the frequency response. In comparing the two with our target curve, we see a generally close approximation of our ideal curve, specifically in the mids. Comparatively, the original Galaxy Buds Pro has a slightly subdued sub-bass response. You can select an EQ preset like “Bass Boost” if you need more oomph. With minorly exaggerated highs, the Galaxy Buds Pro still mirrors our curve well.
With more bass, especially sub-bass, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is better suited for pop music than the Galaxy Buds Pro. You still get natural-sounding mids, but the bass is louder. The treble sounds too loud from 3-6kHz and above 10kHz, and a little quiet between 8-10kHz. Even so, the significant volume bump above 10kHz mainly affects harmonics, rather than entire instrument parts. Most people will like the sound of both sets of buds.
Yes, you can EQ both Samsung buds in the Galaxy Wearable app, however, you only get to choose between presets. The presets preserve the gist of the default frequency responses of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro, which is fine considering they already sound good. You’ll need a third-party equalizer app to get a radically different sound.
Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have a better microphone?
Both sets of Galaxy Buds have beamforming microphones and voice pickup units. In ideal conditions, both products capture voices with similar results. Sound is intelligible and good enough for most Zoom meetings and phone calls. Basically, this is standard for our expectations of mics in wireless earbuds. If you need something for constant conference calls, consider investing in a purpose-built headset.
The key difference between the two is that the newer Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro more meticulously filters noise without removing your voice. The Galaxy Buds Pro can occasionally filter out your speech when trying to reject external noise.
As of early 2023, you can also record binaural sound with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in the camera app. This uses the 360 Audio Recording feature found in Samsung Galaxy phones running One UI 5.0 or newer.
Listen to our demos below and let us know your thoughts!
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Street conditions):
Which microphone sounds better?
Should you get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
If you have a Samsung device and spare cash, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is worth the extra entrance fee for some of the best ANC performance. All else is pretty similar between the earbuds, except for the improved noise filtering on the mic. In fact, these Galaxy Buds have more in common than they have setting them apart. You get the Samsung Seamless Codec, rather than the Samsung Scalable Codec, on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offering a greater potential transfer rate.
Commands are almost identical, as are the functions, and the companion Galaxy Wearable app. With the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, you benefit from more refined touchpads, which make a difference in daily use. Battery life is effectively the same as well. Aesthetically, the Galaxy Buds Pro has a flashier shiny plastic, versus the subdued rubberized look of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Although both cases are prone to scratching, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is additionally a dust magnet.
Both earbuds have the same IPX7 rating, and share similar fits. One upside of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is that Samsung will continue to support and update it for longer because of its newness, whereas the original Galaxy Buds Pro has been discontinued. You can still find the original Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro at an attractive discount, making it an excellent pair of earbuds for under $200.
What should you get instead of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
Of course, Samsung owners might want to consider the middle ground option, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. The price of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($99.99 at Amazon) lands around the same ballpark as the Galaxy Buds Pro, which may be worth comparing. They sport similar battery life scores and ANC performance. The Galaxy Buds 2 is newer and hasn’t been discontinued, so expect support and updates for longer than the Galaxy Buds Pro. With that said, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 doesn’t trounce the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Folks most interested in coupling a nice sound with a bit of noise cancelling should try the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless for $69.95 at Amazon. While the noise cancelling is not class redefining, it’s comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, and it plays nice with Android and Apple alike with excellent codec options.
Still, for the Android fans out there looking to maximize some of its features, perhaps the Google Pixel Buds Pro will satisfy best (for $192.5 at Amazon). It offers excellent ANC, and a few exclusive luxuries such as immediate voice translation. Google continues to update the buds, with features like spatial audio too. Its one of the closest competition compared with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
The premium Sony WF-1000XM4 ($178 at Amazon) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds ($189.99 at Amazon) are still great picks for iPhone and Android users. Both earbuds offer better battery life than either pair of Galaxy Buds, with Sony’s buds lasting nearly 8 hours. Noise cancelling is close between these Sony and Bose earphones, and the apps work regardless of your OS choice. However, the prices are more than the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro. We are hard pressed to recommend the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, because they’re expensive and have way too much bass.
Frequently asked questions
If you have a newer Samsung device the answer is probably. It needs to be running One UI 4.0 at least.