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Our expert's thoughts on Samsung's new ANC wireless earbuds.
Available in four colours, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are a lightweight, everyday pair of wireless earbuds. At £139, they're a good price if you're after a pair of ANC earbuds.
Unveiled at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event in early August, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are the brand's latest true wireless earbuds. Not the only product to be revealed, the earbuds were launched alongside two new foldable phones, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, along with a new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Featuring a three-mic system, Active Noise Cancellation and available in four colours – including olive and lavender – the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have a lot to offer on paper. So, we put the earbuds to the test to decide if they're worth their £139 price tag or if you're better offering buying one of the many options in our best budget wireless earbuds guide instead.
Read on for our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 review as we test out the earbuds' design, battery life, sound quality and features.
To read more on Samsung's latest devices, head to our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review. Or, check out the best wireless earbuds guide for even more earbud recommendations.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are a lightweight pair of ANC wireless earbuds that are comfortable, have a well-balanced sound and clear call quality. If we had to be picky (and it's sort of our job to be), we would say that the ANC could be stronger. However, it still did a decent enough job of blocking out the usual commuter bustle, so this will come down to personal preference. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are a brilliant pair of everyday earbuds, especially if you have a Samsung phone.
Released today (25th August), the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are the brand's newest wireless earbuds. Offering Active Noise Cancellation and a good array of colour options, the earbuds are small, lightweight and easy enough to slip into a pocket or bag. At £139, they're definitely not the budget end, but the fact they're cheaper than the likes of Apple AirPods Pro and features such as sweat resistance and gesture controls go some way to justify the price.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are an upgraded version of the brand's classic wireless earbuds. The earbuds are comfortable and light enough to wear all day, making them a great option for everyday use. The addition of Active Noise Cancellation also means they're a good companion to have on your commute.
At £139, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are neither budget wireless earbuds or a premium offering. Instead, they sit somewhere in the middle. You get a decent range of features for that price, including Active Noise Cancellation, gesture controls, IPX2-rated water resistance, and wear detection. All of these go some way to justify the price, but you're always going to pay a little more for a brand like Samsung because you're paying for how seamlessly the earbuds work with your Samsung Galaxy phone or smartwatch.
And compared to its main competition in the form of Apple AirPods Pro and Google Pixel Buds, the Galaxy Buds 2 from Samsung are good value for money. They're cheaper than both these options and come with ANC, which the Google Pixel Buds does not offer. While you can definitely get cheaper ANC wireless earbuds, the ease of set-up, if you have a Samsung device, makes them worth the price.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are small, rounded earbuds with a shiny finish. The earbuds have a little more character than most and are available in four colours – graphite, white, olive and lavender. The charging case is also smaller than most, square in shape with rounded corners.
We found the earbuds to be extremely comfortable and that it was easy to wear them throughout the whole working day. The comfort is helped by the 'fit' test available in the Samsung Wearable app that helps you test whether the silicone tips on the earbuds are the right size for you. The earbuds can either be controlled via the same app or with the touch controls on the earbuds themselves. The touch controls are quite sensitive, and we did occasionally find ourselves accidentally pausing music when adjusting the earbuds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 have all the essential features you'd expect from wireless earbuds. Wear detection means that any music playing will automatically pause when the earbuds are removed and have decent battery life. They don't quite offer the nine hours of the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+, but you do get five hours with ANC (or six and a half without). When topped up by the charging case, the earbuds offer a total of 20 hours of listening time.
If you have both a Samsung Galaxy Watch and a Samsung phone, you can also seamlessly switch between the two devices to control your music. We found this particularly useful during workouts when our phone wasn't always within easy reach.
We were pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. Music sounds well balanced, but the Samsung Wearable app also gives you the option to boost the bass or treble as needed. However, where the earbuds excel is with call quality. Voice calls are extremely clear, helped by a three-mic system Voice Pickup Unit in each earbud.
The earbuds also come with Active Noise Cancellation. When on the ANC mode isn't the strongest we've experienced but still managed to block out most commuter noise. We also didn't experience any of that 'pressured' feeling which is often present with ANC wireless earbuds.
Setting up the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 takes a maximum of five minutes, and that includes any updates that might be needed. With a Samsung Galaxy phone, the easiest way to pair with the earbuds is through the Samsung Wearable app. This is also where you'll find information around battery life, the 'fit' test and various other settings.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 also come with swift pairing, so the earbuds will be automatically picked up when near a windows laptop. This worked the first time for us, and the earbuds were immediately picked up by our laptop when we opened the charging case.
Two of the biggest differences between the Apple AirPods Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is the price and design. The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are the cheaper of the two at £139, while the Apple AirPods Pro are now typically found for £189. When it comes to design, the AirPods Pro are only available in white. Samsung's earbuds are available in a total of four colours and also don't have a stem. The brand instead choosing a more rounded design.
However, there are some similarities. Both earbuds offer ANC and have a similar battery life of five hours on a single charge. Both pairs of earbuds are also designed to work seamlessly with their specific brand's smartphones, and they both do the job well. In the case of the Apple AirPods Pro, the earbuds will automatically be detected by an iPhone when the case is opened, and the user will be prompted by a notification to pair. Choosing between these wireless earbuds will largely come down to what smartphone you own.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are a lightweight pair of ANC wireless earbuds with a sleek design and great colour selection. The call quality is superb, music sounds well-balanced, and the set-up process is seamless.
Yes, we did have a little trouble with how sensitive the touch controls are and would have preferred the earbuds to have a more comprehensive water resistance rating, but this doesn't take away from the fact the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are good wireless earbuds. Overall, if you're looking for a pair of everyday earbuds that pair up nicely with your Samsung phone, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 deliver on all counts.
Some categories (sound quality and features) are weighted more heavily.
Sound quality: 4/5
Value for money: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5