Discreet and effective true wireless headphones

After the best-in-class Galaxy Buds Pro headphones, Samsung is tackling the entry-level revamp with the Galaxy Buds2, which sells for €149, but can be found cheaper on many trade sites. These models succeed in Galaxy Buds in 2019, which impressed us with its nearly seven-hour battery life, but we were disappointed with the quality of its sound. Did Samsung correct the situation?

iPhone Users: Beware! You can pair and use Galaxy Buds2, but you can’t access advanced features because Samsung doesn’t offer an app for iOS. It is therefore recommended to use it on an Android smartphone, to be able to install the Galaxy Wearable app.

It is not waterproof

Opening the box, we discover headphones without a bar, with an olive-shaped design. Once in our ears, the headphones are fairly discreet and hold very well in place. Samsung, on the other hand, revised its water resistance down, with an IPX2 index against IPX7 for the Buds Pro. This means that they are not afraid of rain, but they should avoid falling into the water. Another downside, we often activate the touch controls by manipulating them to position them correctly in the ears.

Like the Buds Pro, the Buds2 makes use of two internal speakers to reproduce bass and treble. Measuring the frequency response shows that the headphones give bass center stage, but when listening, it’s not too intrusive and the sound is pleasant and balanced. We can blame it on a slight lack of detail.

An important difference between the Buds2 and the first Buds is the arrival of Active Noise Reduction (ANC) technology, which complements the passive reduction provided by the ear tips (there are three different sizes to choose from). The system performs its role honorably by significantly reducing low frequencies, but does not provide isolation for high-end models. The headphones have a mode for listening to ambient sound, at a level that can be adjusted in the app. There is no Bluetooth multipoint technology on these headphones, but Samsung offers an auto-switch function that allows you to manage two active connections on Galaxy devices, for example a smartphone and a tablet, and switch between them.

Nearly seven hours of battery life

Is Buds2 as tough as First Buds? The answer is positive with a measured autonomy of 6 h 54 min, which increases to 7 h 27 min if the noise reduction is lowered. The case has two charging level diodes: the inside is for the headphones, while the outer shell is for the case. In the form of a pressed powder, it is compact, but it requires opening both hands. Note that it is compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard.

buds 2

Now let’s see what functions does the Galaxy Wear app offer? First of all, it turns out to be particularly intrusive, because we can’t use it without giving it a lot of permissions. It should have access to calendar, contacts, text messages, call logs, phone and storage. Fortunately, the app is well designed and easy to use. We especially liked the insulation test, which helps see if you’ve chosen the right sized tip.

However, the equalizer is limited to pre-set settings and we would have liked to be able to adjust the frequencies more precisely. We liked the dynamic setting, which gives the sound more powerful. Another limitation: customization of touch controls. It’s only for long touch and you have the choice between toggling the ANC, activating the assistant’s voice commands, and adjusting the volume. In short, it is impossible to have both volume control and noise reduction at the same time.

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Finally, you can make the earbuds look like a Bluetooth beacon, making them easier to find if you’re out of place and nearby.

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