The $199 Galaxy Buds Pro have long been one of our top wireless earbud picks, thanks to their great sound, reliable noise cancellation, and particularly robust feature set. But it’s been nearly two years since they were first launched, and in that time plenty of great alternatives have popped up, including the super-adaptive Sony LinkBuds S and the super-secure Beats Fit Pro.
Now’s the perfect time for a refresh, and Samsung is delivering just that with the Buds 2 Pro: a pair of $229 wireless earbuds that are designed to feel – and sound – even better than their popular predecessors. But can these smooth buds justify their higher price tag? Here’s everything we know about them after a few quick impressions.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for pre-order today for $229 and will begin shipping on August 26. Those who order through Samsung will now receive a free wireless charger, $30 in Samsung credit, and up to $75 off with a qualifying trade-in.
You’ll have three color options to choose from: White, Graphite and Bora Purple – the latter of which you’ll find on almost all new Samsung products for this summer, for those looking to coordinate.
While they may remotely resemble their predecessor, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro actually have some notable changes from last year’s model. The most striking difference is that the buds now have a smooth matte finish, which is easier on the eye – and should hopefully be less prone to smudges – than the glossy coating of the original Buds Pro.
Samsung claims the new buds are 15 per cent smaller than the previous edition, and that seems legit from what we’ve seen. These headphones are much sleeker and more evenly rounded than their bulkier predecessors, and look a lot like the standard Galaxy Buds 2 – or a pair of AirPods Pro with their stems cut off. According to Samsung, the new design will reduce pressure and prevent the buds from spinning too much in your ear. We’ve already found the original Buds Pro to be quite comfortable, so we can’t wait to see how different they feel this time around.
When I picked up the Buds 2 Pro during my brief hands-on time, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the case now had a soft-touch finish rather than a glossy plastic exterior. Not only does this feel great and make the case easier to grip, it should also be less prone to scratches and smudges when you put it in your pocket. And while the Buds 2 Pro come in virtually the same colors as before, they all look better up close, thanks to this new coating.
We haven’t tested the audio quality of the Buds 2 Pro yet, but given the quality of the original, we have high expectations. Samsung promises support for 24-bit high-fidelity audio this time around as well as Dolby Atmos for immersive 360-degree sound. It’s a compelling upgrade for audiophiles, although only certain music streaming services, such as Tidal and Qobuz, offer support for this level of quality. These new additions join an already robust set of Galaxy Buds Pro features, such as active noise cancellation, an ambient sound mode, custom equalizer settings, and support for SmartThings Find to track down your buds in case you would lose them.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro looking to improve on one of the best pairs of wireless headphones with an even more attractive design and high fidelity audio support. There is only one big problem: the price of $229.
That’s a $30 increase over the original retail price of the Galaxy Buds Pro, which themselves are currently available for almost $100 these days. At a time when the AirPods Pro often dip as low as $160 – and with so many big $199 competitors like the Sony LinkBuds S and Beats Fit Pro – the $229 asking price of the Buds 2 Pro seems particularly high. We’ll find out if the upgrades are worth the extra expense when we get our hands on the Buds 2 Pro for a full review later this month.