The TWS segment has grown fiercely competitive in India, with every other tech brand coming up with its own offerings contributing towards the growth of the segment, which was once considered niche. India's TWS shipments grew 66 percent year-on-year in Q1 2022 and the Indian brands captured the lion's share. The premium segment is still dominated by Apple's AirPods, but other high-end TWS products have earned much fanfare. Samsung's latest Galaxy Buds2 Pro has a lot to offer.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro in August alongside the Fold4 series. A few highlights of the Buds2 Pro were a seamless auto-switch feature, 24-bit HiFi sound support, 360-degree audio by Dolby Atmos and improved ANC. All of these features did sound exciting on paper, and we finally had the chance to test them out.
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro is priced at Rs 17,999 and comes in three shades, White, Graphite and the exciting Borapurple. In fact, our review unit is in the Borapurple shade, so take some time to check out those product shots.
Design and fit
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro continue the comfortable design we've seen and loved in the past. But it's even improved slightly, to make those long listening sessions even more comfortable. Samsung says earbuds' size is reduced by 15 percent for a more secure fit and they sure do feel light and fit snuggly into the ear canal.
The first thing you'll notice is the shiny plastic finish is traded for a feel-good velvety matte finish, which adds to the appeal of the Borapurple shade. It surely gives a premium feel. The icing on the cake is that the case is smaller and fits comfortably in the pocket of your jeans. If we're comparing, they are surely smaller than the AirPods Pro, but you'd want to handle the case with care as it is prone to pick up a few scratches along the way. The charging case also has a USB Type-C port without any physical buttons, so pairing is done just by flipping open the case.
The earbuds tucked inside the boxy case are incredibly comfortable to wear as they cover the inner canal completely and there's no way they're dropping out. The default ear tips offered the perfect seal, but you can run an Earbud Fit Test from the Galaxy Wearable app so you can swap for a smaller or bigger ear tip. To top it all off, the bean-shaped earbuds come with IPX7 rating, so we didn't have to worry about them during unexpected rain showers.
To say the least, they can be worn at all times, from working out to running or just catching up on your midnight TV shows - all with ease.
Audio performance, ANC and more
Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro is packed with features. Let's start with connectivity. They pair as seamlessly with Samsung phones as AirPods do with iPhones. The auto-switch feature saves a great deal when you have a Samsung ecosystem. In our case, we used the Buds2 Pro with Galaxy Z Fold4 and Samsung Galaxy Book2 360, which has been an exhilarating experience. But there's a limitation to this capability as a non-Samsung device can play a spoilsport.
Let's stick to the Samsung ecosystem experience here and we found more than one ways to be impressed. Dive into the app settings and you'll be welcomed with so many options. For instance, voice detect worked well. It automatically understood when I was talking to someone and the ambience mode would get activated. Even when there's music playing, the volume would automatically dial down to avoid the "pardon me" exercise.
Samsung Buds2 Pro also support 360 Audio, which works as advertised. Watching action-packed Marvel movies and listening to Atmos tracks delivered an immersive experience, which we just couldn't resist.
Now, the biggest feature we found to have been vastly improved upon is the ANC. The active noise cancelling works well on the Buds2 Pro. You can enable ANC and filter out harsh sounds in a second. Just a long tap and hold on to the earbud and voila, you enter into a new dimension. But we found the ANC to work a tad better on the AirPods Pro, which did a fairly better job in busy, noisy environments.
Since we've mentioned the touch control on the earbuds, let's get into it. Again, the possibilities are far more if you're using a Samsung phone. The earbuds are extra sensitive to the touch but work great. Single tap to pause or play, double tap to change track, triple tap to the previous track and touch and hold control is customisable. We opted for switching noise control on right and Bixby on left but then changed to volume up on the right and volume down on left. Both these controls worked well for us and it comes down to your personal preference on how you wish to choose it. But given the extra sensitive nature of the sensors, which can accidentally trigger different functions, there's an option to turn off all controls or specific ones. The freedom to do so is rewarding.
The advantage Samsung users get with the Buds2 Pro is being able to get more settings worked out. For instance, there are six preset equalisers, which can be used based on your usage. The Bass Boost worked well for music, Clear for gaming, Dynamic for streaming content and there are Soft, Normal and Treble Boost to match your taste. We wish these presets were customisable as we often found wanting to adjust the tunes for different genres.
If you have an ear for detail, the Buds2 Pro may falter in some areas where we found the AirPods Pro to excel. But again, if you're a huge part of the Samsung ecosystem, this is hardly a reason to pass on the Buds2 Pro. In fact, Samsung has built this product to enhance its ecosystem and it's taken a page out of Apple's playbook to serve its loyalists right.
Samsung Buds2 Pro is decent when it comes to battery. With ANC on and at 70 percent volume, the earbuds lasted about five hours. Thankfully, the case is handy enough to be carried around, which means you can get a total of up to 20 hours of battery life. Now, if you're not hell-bent on keeping the ANC on all the time, you can add extra hours and get up to 8 hours on a single charge, which is the obvious choice while travelling.
Should you buy the Buds2 Pro is the biggest question. There's no straight answer to this, but if you have a Samsung ecosystem, this one's a perfect fit. They look great, fit perfectly, and touch controls are effective and practical. The additional features you get like the 360 Audio, customisable settings, Voice Detect and more are just icing on the cake.
If you're a non-Samsung user, this may be a hard sell, especially if you have an iPhone. The AirPods are a far better fit for you. The Buds2 Pro work quite well with the iPhone as well, complete with good audio performance, ANC, and connectivity, but you do not get the freedom of customisation like a Samsung user.
So yes, the Buds2 Pro are worth the buck for a premium Samsung customer.