Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Review: Entry-level but more than good enough

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 is the entry-level model of the South Korean chaebol’s true wireless in-ear headphone (TWH) offerings. It replaces last year’s Buds+ to sit below the mid-range Buds Live and the flagship Buds Pro.

SPECS
PRICE: $248, available in Lazada and Shopee
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.2
COMPATIBILITY: Android 7.0 and above
WATER RESISTANCE: IPX2
WEIGHT: 5g (each earbud); 41.2g (charging case)

Available in four colours of white, olive, lavender and graphite (version reviewed), the Buds2 is said to be Samsung’s cheapest and lightest TWH. Yet, it still comes with active noise cancellation (ANC) – something not found in Buds+.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 comes in four colours. (Photo: Samsung)

DESIGN
Regardless of the colour you choose, the charging case of Buds2 is always going to be white on its exterior. The difference is in the interior, which has matching colours with the earbuds. For example, the review unit’s charging case interior is graphite like the earbuds.

On its outside, the charging case looks like a ring box with a glossy outer surface. It has a USB-C port at its rear for charging and supports wireless charging too.

The interior has matching colours with the earbuds. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The earbud itself looks like a tiny shiny pebble with a tiny stem leading to the silicone ear-tip. Its smooth exterior surface is touch-sensitive and responds enthusiastically to your taps. But it does pick up a fair share of fingerprints and smudges.

While the Buds2 are not exactly what you might call as sleek, it is certainly small and discreet. When you wear them, they do not protrude out rudely. In fact, people might not even know you are wearing the earbuds.

Like the Buds+, the Buds2 have a water-resistant rating of IPX2, which means they are only sweat-resistant. You probably do not want to wear them in a drizzle even. Given its price tag of S$248, the water resistance ought to be better.

The water resistance level of Buds2 could have been better. (Photo: Samsung)

Inside each earbud, there are three microphones and a built-in voice pickup unit for clear calls. In addition, two of the three microphones detect ambient noise, while its ANC technology blocks unwanted sound. The two-way dynamic speakers of Buds2 are said to offer great audio output.

PERFORMANCE
With its Galaxy moniker, the Buds2 is like the “AirPods” to Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Pairing it with a S21 Ultra is a cinch. Open the lid of the charging case with the earbuds in it and move the case close to the smartphone. A window will appear and then tap on Connect finish the pairing.

Pairing the Buds2 with a S21 Ultra is easy peasy. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

After pairing, you will be moved straight to the Galaxy Wearable app. Here, you can update its firmware, change the equaliser (EQ) settings, customise the tap controls, and even do an earbud fit test.

Three pairs of differently sized ear-tips are included. The app will tell you if the ear tips are of the right fit. The medium ear-tips are perfect for me. And the Buds2 stayed put in my ears during jogs and even when I shook my head vigorously.

Plus, the Buds2 are lightweight and really comfortable to wear. I can wear them all the time while doing household chores or typing this review. Sometimes, I even forgot I was wearing them.

The Buds2 is comfortable to wear and looks very discreet. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

In terms of calls, parties on the other end never complained about not able to hear my voice, whether I was in my study room with the noisy fan or walking back from lunch on a street pavement.

You can toggle through ANC, Ambient Noise and ANC off either by using the app or by tap and hold any earbud. While the ANC is decent and able to filter much ambient noise, it is not on par to the excellent ANC found in Apple AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3.

FOR
+ Good audio quality
+ Small and discreet
+ Comfortable snug fit
+ Decent ANC performance

AGAINST
– No auto-pause
– Cannot create your own EQ setting
– Low water-resistance rating

For audio performance, with the EQ set to Normal, I found the bass punchy with distinct highs distinct and sharp mids. If you think this EQ setting is not to your liking, you can opt for other EQ options such as Bass boost, soft, clear, treble boost or dynamic. Having tried all the EQ settings, I still prefer Normal as it has a balanced soundscape. On the downside, you cannot create an EQ of your own.

Plus, I found that there is no auto pause function during music playback when you take out one earbud to answer a call or colleague’s hi. Some might actually prefer the music to continue playing, but it is something to take note of.

BATTERY LIFE
According to Samsung, the Buds2 can last 5 hours of music playback with ANC turned on. The charging will add another 15 hours.

In my tests, I found that the Samsung’s claims to be spot on. With ANC turned on and the volume at 75 per cent, the battery levels of the earbuds dropped to 66 per cent after around 100 minutes. This is above the average of 3 to 4 hours in most true wireless earbuds.

VERDICT
The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 is the perfect audio companion to any Galaxy smartphone with its reasonable price tag, discreet design, decent ANC and good audio performance.

RATINGS
FEATURES: 8.5/10
DESIGN: 9/10
PERFORMANCE: 8/10
BATTERY LIFE: 8/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 8/10
OVERALL: 8.5/10