Second only to Apple, Samsung holds much of the audio wearables market, and many Android owners are faced with a choice between the new upstart Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the pricier 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 its sequel?

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.

Related: Best true wireless earbuds under $200

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 6.3g, 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 cancelling true wireless 2 earbud from the case.

The Galaxy Buds 2 has virtually the same case as the Pro.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 fit smaller, and folks with smaller ears may find it fits better. Shaving off 1.3g, the Buds 2 weighs only 5g each. An IPX2 rating means you can work out with the Galaxy Buds 2, but remember, it is really just splashproof.

These true wireless earbuds share a number of features like auto-pause when you remove an earbud and the 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.

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.

Related: Understanding Bluetooth codecs

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, 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.

The Galaxy Wearable app includes ANC, EQ presets, and a fit test (Buds 2 only).

With the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (Android), 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 get 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.

The Galaxy Buds 2 misses out on the Galaxy Buds Pro’s 360 Audio feature, which uses Dolby Atmos and is further limited to Samsung Galaxy devices. While both earphones have ANC settings, the Galaxy Buds Pro also has variable high and low settings. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Buds 2 does not let you adjust how much noise cancelling you get.

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

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, as does the Galaxy Buds Pro.

The Galaxy Buds 2 has better battery life than the Buds Pro, and offers 5 hours, 9 minutes of playtime with ANC on. Under these same conditions (constant 75db(SPL) output), you’ll get 4 hours, 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.

Related: Where do batteries come from? And where do they go?

Both sets of Galaxy earbuds support Wireless Powershare, which can help in a pinch. By enabling Wireless PowerShare on your Samsung device, and sitting 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 cancelling than the Galaxy Buds Pro?

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. You get a high and a low setting. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Buds 2 provides you simply with on and off. Both have Aware modes allowing you to pipe in some of your environment. 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.

See: The best noise cancelling true wireless earbuds

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 house 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 cancelling true wireless earbuds next to the extra ear tips.

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 diffiuclt 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 cancelling true wireless earbuds.

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.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 microphone demo:

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo:

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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.

A key feature is the price of each headset. As the current flagship of the Galaxy Buds line, the Galaxy Buds Pro costs more, anywhere from as little as $20 USD to as much as a $50 difference. Across the board, both true wireless earbuds compete toe-to-toe, so it comes down to a couple of things. One is whether you care enough about the extras to pay more, 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 cancelling tech when it comes to blocking outside sounds.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 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.

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. Finally, if you foresee yourself wanting to adjust between a high or a low ANC setting depending on your surroundings, you grab the Galaxy Buds Pro.

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.

Buy the Galaxy Buds 2 if you don’t care about 360 Sound and don’t plan on doing a lot of phone calls. These buds are also a better fit for people who prioritize music listening, rather than movies, due to the lack of Dolby Atmos. For readers with iPhones, it makes more sense to save and get the Galaxy Buds 2, because it sounds good and the ANC works well; plus, you can’t use those extra features anyway.

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.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort 35 II vs Bose QuietComfort 45

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