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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Should you shell out for waterproofing or save a few bucks?
By

Published onDecember 4, 2023

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
MSRP: $199.99
7.7
Check price
Positives
Good sound
Microphone
Decent noise canceling
Wireless charging
Negatives
360 audio limited to Samsung Galaxy devices
Touch controls are too sensitive
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
MSRP: $149.00
7.7
Check price
Positives
Compact design
In-app ear tip fit test
Sound quality
Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC, and Samsung Scalable codec
Fast and wireless charging
Negatives
Lacks aptX
Sensitive touch controls

Second only to Apple, Samsung holds much of the audio wearables market, and many Android owners are faced with a choice between the newer Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the original Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. With an increasingly confusing naming schema, it’s time to parse the difference between these two and figure out which set of true wireless earbuds you’ll want to pick up. Is the Pro better than the sequel?

Editor’s note: this versus article was updated on December 4, 2023, to add commentary on the new Galaxy Buds FE in the Alternatives section.

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

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.

You’d be forgiven for getting these earbuds confused; at a glance, they look utterly alike. Suggesting something approaching individuality, you can choose Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Black with the Galaxy Buds Pro, all with a reflective finish on the earbuds. Meanwhile, the newer Galaxy Buds 2 comes in graphite, white, olive, and lavender, all with a glossy finish on the earbuds.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds have tiny stabilizers to lock into your ears. It ships with three ear tip options, and the buds have an IPX7 water-resistance rating. The Galaxy Buds Pro is not meant for swimming but should survive a dip in shallow water for up to 30 minutes. At 6.3 grams, each earbud is minutely heftier than those of the Galaxy Buds 2, and the shape is a little more bulbous, though it’s by no means large.

A hand reaches to remove one Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise canceling true wireless 2 earbud from the case.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The Galaxy Buds 2 has virtually the same case as the Pro.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 fits smaller, and folks with smaller ears may find it fits better. Shaving off 1.3 grams, the Buds 2 weighs only 5 grams each. An IPX2 rating means you can work out with the Galaxy Buds 2, but remember, it is really just splashproof, and most earbuds these days are at last IPX4 rated.

These true wireless earbuds share a number of features, like auto-pause when you remove an earbud, and nearly identical charging cases. The cases are small and plastic with secure magnets. It’s easy to operate one-handed, but the glossy finish can get slippery. In addition, USB-C and wireless charging are supported. Both earbud sets use the Android-only Samsung Galaxy Wearable app, which is largely similar — though the all-important fit test is reserved for the Buds 2.

Do the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have better controls?

The glossy back of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro in focus as man holds it up.
The Galaxy Buds Pro touchpad is found on the shiny housing.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have touch controls, and they both suffer from hypersensitivity. You can reallocate some of the commands, but scarcely. Below are the Galaxy Buds Pro controls.

ACTIONMUSICPHONEANC/AMBIENT MODE
ACTION
ONE TAP
MUSIC
Play/pause
PHONE

ANC/AMBIENT MODE

ACTION
TWO TAPS
MUSIC
Skip to track ahead
PHONE
Answer/end call
ANC/AMBIENT MODE

ACTION
THREE TAPS
MUSIC
Skip to previous track
PHONE
Decline call
ANC/AMBIENT MODE

ACTION
TAP AND HOLD
MUSIC
Right: increase volume
Left: decrease volume
User's choice (change in settings)
PHONE
Reject call
ANC/AMBIENT MODE
*Only available if you remove volume control

Here are the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 controls. You can’t remap most of them in the app, and when you do, they have to be the same type for both earbuds.

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

What Bluetooth codecs do these Samsung Galaxy Buds support?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro lay on a wooden table in front of a MacBook Pro by a window.
AAC means the Galaxy Buds Pro plays well with Apple products.

Both the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds Pro support the same codecs: AAC and SBC. For those pairing with a Samsung device, you also have the option of picking the Samsung Scalable Codec. This codec constantly adjusts the transfer rate to ensure connection stability in balance with audio resolution (88-512kbps). So while you don’t get high-resolution audio from any of the codecs — you need a hardwired connection for that — your Samsung device can send consistent, high-quality audio to whichever Galaxy Buds, rivaling LDAC.

iPhone users can still choose the AAC codec for the best quality. Meanwhile, non-Samsung Android users can stick to SBC for the most reliable connection.

In addition to the Samsung Scalable Codec, if you own multiple Samsung devices, you can take advantage of the Auto Switch feature. It works by allowing you to stay connected to more than one Samsung device at a time. Say you’re watching a show on a Samsung tablet, and your Samsung smartphone rings, so it’ll automatically switch your earbuds source to your phone.

What apps do you need for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 galaxy wearable app home settings screenshot.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The Galaxy Wearable app includes ANC, EQ presets, and a fit test (Buds 2 only).

With the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (Android only), both sets of earbuds access mostly the same settings. You can toggle ANC and ambient sound mode and adjust the touch controls (or disable them). While there is no customizable equalizer, you can select from preset EQ settings. You can also specify voice assistant preferences in the app.

You are out of luck if you’re an iPhone owner. In what can only be interpreted as pointed, Samsung has not extended support for Galaxy Buds 2 or Buds Pro on the Samsung Galaxy Buds iOS app. iPhone users are left with default settings unless a friend configures the earbuds on their Android device.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sit on a shelf next to a Google Pixel 4a with the Samsung Wearables app open on it.
The Galaxy Wearable app is easy to use and makes customizing your experience a breeze.

At first, the Galaxy Buds 2 missed out on the Galaxy Buds Pro’s 360 Audio feature, which is further limited to Samsung phone devices. Still, Samsung released an update (versionR177XXU0AVC8) that allows the Galaxy Buds 2 to use 360 Audio too. Both earphones have variable ANC settings. The Galaxy Buds Pro has high and low settings. The Galaxy Buds 2 got an update to give it three ambient settings to choose from, which is a bit more flexible.

According to Samsung, 360 Audio relies on sensors in the earbuds to track your head movement and adjusts the left and right earbud volumes as you move your head. It requires One UI 3.1 or later.

Does the Galaxy Buds Pro or Galaxy Buds 2 have better battery life?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise canceling true wireless earphones in the open charging case on top of a Samsung Galaxy S10e smartphone in pink.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
The Galaxy Buds 2 supports Wireless PowerShare, as does the Galaxy Buds Pro.

The Galaxy Buds 2 has better battery life than the Buds Pro and offers 5 hours and 9 minutes of playtime with ANC on. Under these same conditions (constant 75db(SPL) output), you’ll get 4 hours and 48 minutes of battery from the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Buds Pro case has enough capacity for a little over two additional charging cycles, while the Buds 2 case provides an extra three battery cycles.

You can use either case to fast charge its respective earbuds. The Galaxy Buds Pro case also provides 85 minutes of playback after 10 minutes of charging; meanwhile, a 5-minute charge supplies the Galaxy Buds 2 with 60 minutes of power.

Both sets of Galaxy earbuds support Wireless Powershare, which can help in a pinch. By enabling Wireless PowerShare on your Samsung device and setting the case on top of the device, the buds can steal some battery from the device.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have better active noise canceling than the Galaxy Buds Pro?

A chart compares the combined isolation and ANC of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.
Benefitting from technological improvements, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 both blocks and cancels noise better.

At this price range, both Samsung earphones isolate and cancel noise well. With ANC on the highest setting, the Galaxy Buds Pro reduces noise to roughly one-quarter the volume around 100Hz. ANC and isolation work pretty similarly on the Galaxy Buds 2, though it cancels out slightly more low frequencies than the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Buds 2 even affects treble frequency attenuation a bit more than the Buds Pro, but this is reliant on getting an optimal fit with either headset.

Man holding Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro earbud with focus on proximity sensor.
Each Galaxy Buds Pro earbud houses a slew of sensors for 360 audio, automatic ear detection, and more. Ultimately though, a good fit determines ANC performance.

The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app paired with the Galaxy Buds Pro lets you select between two ANC settings: high and low. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Buds 2 provides you with three ambient sound modes: high, medium, and low. Non-repeating noises like speech tend to be a weak spot for ANC, just because of how it works, so you’ll still pick up some chatter on your commute. The Galaxy Buds 2 is amongst some of the best noise canceling earbuds for the price.

Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sound better?

Comparison chart of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro versus the house curve.
In cyan is the Galaxy Buds 2 frequency response. In yellow is the Galaxy Buds Pro. Pink represents the house curve we measure each headset against.

Both earbuds have consumer-friendly frequency responses and do well against our headphone preference curve. The Galaxy Buds Pro has more high-end emphasis, topping out at over 5dB more volume around the 10kHz frequency than the Galaxy Buds 2, which can make some treble notes too loud. Through the mids and bass the Galaxy Buds Pro possesses some emphasis, which can sound good and shouldn’t pose much of an issue when it comes to masking. The default Galaxy Buds Pro sound is pretty good.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise canceling true wireless earbuds next to the extra ear tips.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
You get three pairs of silicone ear tips with the Galaxy Buds 2.

In contrast to the Galaxy Buds Pro, the Galaxy Buds 2 has some midrange under-emphasis, with more boosted bass notes — at least, compared to the mids. Highs follow our house curve relatively closely, if anything, under-emphasizing sound around 10kHz. Unlike the Galaxy Buds Pro, at 1kHz the Galaxy Buds 2 sees some emphasis, gaining what many refer to as a “punchier” sound. As a result, it you may find it difficult to hear vocal and string detail, but not a lot.

In any case, if you don’t like the default frequency response, you can always go into the Galaxy Wearables app and select an EQ preset.

Is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 better for phone calls?

A woman wears the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise canceling true wireless earbuds.
Lily Katz / SoundGuys
Despite being newer, the Galaxy Buds 2 still has the same hypersensitive touch controls.

One of the points of difference between the two Galaxy earbuds is the microphone. While both do a fine job at rejecting noise, the Galaxy Buds 2 has difficulty with wind. Your voice won’t sound as comparatively natural with the Galaxy Buds 2, either.

In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro mic reproduces voices faithfully. Additionally, the mic rejects environmental noise well, meaning it works for outside phone calls, too. Most voters greatly prefer the mic system of the Galaxy Buds Pro over the Galaxy Buds 2.

In December 2021, Samsung added wearing detection during phone calls to both the Buds Pro and Buds 2. That means voice calls will automatically switch between your phone or the earbuds as required when you take either model out of your ears or put them back in.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

Tell us what you think!

Which microphone sounds better to you?

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Which is better, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro true Wireless earbuds sit on a white shelf in front of a reflective black surface, with one earbud in the case.
The Galaxy Wearables app is pretty neatly laid out, and it’s responsive.

Unless you found a killer deal, you should probably consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, because the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has been discontinued. Across the board, both earbuds compete toe-to-toe, so it comes down to a couple of things. One is whether you care enough about the extras, and the other factor is which earbuds fit you best. Fit is hard to determine since you can’t try in-ears on the same way you can with headphones. Generally, smaller ears fit the Galaxy Buds 2 better. Remember, a good fit is just as important as noise canceling tech when it comes to blocking outside sounds.

Basically, you buy the Galaxy Buds Pro for the IPX7 rating. This is for the person who goes running in a downpour and expects to drop the buds into a puddle. Additionally, owners of multiple Samsung devices can reap the benefits of 360 Audio for movies. If you want a set of earbuds suited to phone calls, the Galaxy Buds Pro tends to sound best.

Buy the Galaxy Buds 2 if you don’t care about the option to submerge the buds in water. The better ANC onboard the Galaxy Buds 2 is worth the money. Finally, it could also come down to whether you want green earphones because only the Galaxy Buds 2 comes in Olive. If these seem like pretty granular differences, it’s because they are — these earbuds are just that similar. Lastly, the Galaxy Buds Pro is discontinued, which means you’re more likely to continue receiving updates to the newer, Galaxy Buds 2 for longer.

See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
33%off
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
Compact design
In-app ear tip fit test
Sound quality
See price at Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
30%off
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Good sound
Impressive microphone performance
Wireless charging

What should you get instead of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?

A hand holds the open case with the buds showing of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in front of green succulents.
Jasper Lastoria / SoundGuys
Samsung trades in the jewel tones for matte finishing on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Good news, you need not venture far from the Samsung ecosystem now that the Galaxy Buds Pro has been discontinued. Instead, you should check out the updated Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro (at $179 at Amazon). While the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 has great noise canceling when compared to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro flagship grade ANC, you might want even more. Otherwise, the touch controls work better than both the original Pro and Buds 2 and the app remains virtually unchanged. You also get some exclusive improvements, such as the (albeit niche) ability to record 360 audio (actually, it’s more like binaural audio) with your Samsung phone’s video mode.

If you want something more affordable but also future-friendly, Samsung has released a new pair of Galaxy Buds FE.  As far as sub-$100 earbuds go, they are about as sure a bet as it gets, well-suited as commuter buddies on the train or in an airplane. You don’t get as many of the special features that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro bring, but you go get pretty good ANC and sound quality, even if it is a little bassy.

On the off chance you got this far and you’re the proud owner of an iPhone, you should really check out the Apple AirPods Pro (3rd generation) or AirPods Pro (2nd generation) instead of Samsung buds because the Galaxy Wearable app won’t work on your device. You’ll be able to make the most of the AirPods Pro (2nd generation)‘s capabilities with the updated H2 chip and excellent ANC. Plus, you get the fun Spatial Audio and Spatialize functions for surround sound. Find it for $239 at Amazon.

Finally, in the realm of Android-friendly earbuds worth your consideration, if you don’t own a Samsung device but want some smart capabilities and noise cancelation, try the Google Pixel Buds Pro (at $199 at Amazon). In true Google style, you benefit from some exclusive features like auto-translate, in addition to the lightweight fit and highly effective noise canceling tech.

No, neither the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro nor the Galaxy Buds 2 have Bluetooth multipoint. However, they both can switch between Samsung devices that are signed into the same account.

Yes, it’s totally fine to buy discontinued flagship earbuds like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. There are some benefits to buying earbuds that are recently discontinued. Ffor instance, any bugs or glitches from the early versions of the software will be sorted out by the time you get it. The downside is that it won’t receive updates as far into the future as the current model. You’ll also likely find the discontinued Galaxy Buds Pro on a discount ($139 at Amazon), which might edge it ahead as a top pick.