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?
Editor’s note: This post was updated on January 20, 2022 to mention new features and include buying options.
What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
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 6.3g, 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.
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?
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?
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 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. 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.
Does the Galaxy Buds Pro or Galaxy Buds 2 have better battery life?
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.
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.
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.
Does the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sound better?
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.
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?
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.
In December 2021, Samsung added wearing detection during phone calls to both the Buds Pro and Buds 2 in South Korea and more areas of the world are likely scheduled to receive it later. 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 2 microphone demo:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro microphone demo:
Tell us what you think!
Which is better, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2?
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. Both models have dropped in price while maintaining the approximate difference, too. 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.
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.
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.