Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved audio and ANC for $230

New features like Voice Detect should come in handy too.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Samsung typically reveals a new set of true wireless earbuds alongside its latest phones, and today is no different. In addition to the Galaxy Fold 4, Galaxy Flip 4 and new watches, the company is debuting the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, the follow-up to the Galaxy Buds Pro that debuted early last year. While not a complete redesign, this new model offers enough of an overhaul with smaller buds, improved active noise cancellation (ANC), retooled audio and a host of other handy features. All of the upgrades will cost you though: the Buds 2 Pro are $30 more than their predecessor.

In terms of design, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are 15 percent smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro. Samsung says the "new compact, ergonomic design" is built to offer a secure fit that won't move around in your ear, even during workouts. The design should also relieve pressure, thanks to a vent and nozzle grille that facilitate air flow. So while the buds may look similar to the previous model, they are indeed different. The case, on the other hand, appears to be mostly unchanged. Like the previous model, the Buds 2 Pro are IPX7 rated for water and sweat resistance, although Samsung made it clear the same protection doesn't apply to the case. Should you lose an earbud, the Buds 2 Pro can be located with SmartThings Find either in the case or out.

Inside the Buds 2 Pro, two-way speakers (woofers and tweeters) handle the sound. In addition to 360 Audio (Dolby Atmos) that debuted on the Buds Pro, this model also offers 24-bit HiFi audio via Samsung's Seamless Codec (the buds also support AAC and SBC). The company says this produces 256 times "richer sound" than 16-bit audio. When it comes to canceling noise, Samsung explains that three high new mics are capable of blocking subtle and high-pitched sounds with three more decibels of overall reduction.

There's ambient sound and a new Voice Detect feature on board as well. With Voice Detect, the Buds 2 Pro can determine when you're speaking. The tool temporarily changes to ambient sound mode and lowers the volume so you can have a quick convo without removing the earbuds. Sony has offered something similar with its buds and headphones for a while now, but its Speak-to-Chat tool fully pauses the audio when you talk. And yes, Bixby handles voice control on the Buds 2 Pro, a feature that works across Samsung's phones, tablets and even its newer TVs. The company also says LE Audio will debut on the earbuds later this year, a tool that allows you to capture 360 environmental sounds if you're streaming or recording.

Unfortunately, battery life is unchanged from the Galaxy Buds Pro. You can expect up to five hours of use with ANC on (18 hours including the case) or eight hours with it off (29 hours with the case). If you were hoping Samsung would reinstate iOS compatibility with this model, you're going to be disappointed. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro will work with those devices, but with Bluetooth only — there's no companion app to unlock the full suite of features. Those are reserved for Android (Galaxy Wearable app), PC (Galaxy Buds app) and Samsung's 2022 TVs. Speaking of TVs, the company has added those to its compatible devices for audio switching. Basically, you can quickly change between Galaxy phones, tablets and TVs via the Auto Switch feature without having to enter pairing mode.

When it comes to first impressions, Engadget Deputy Editor Cherlynn Low "loved the fit" and noted that the ANC worked well too. UK Bureau Chief Mat Smith explained that the smaller size is indeed more comfortable and the Buds 2 Pro feel "less obtrusive." He also said Voice Detect worked well, but it could be duped by coughs and humming since it relies on a voice pickup unit to detect vibrations. For what it's worth, this is also a downside to Sony's automatic-pausing speech detection.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for pre-order starting today in graphite, white and Bora Purple for $230 from Samsung, Amazon and other retailers. General availability begins 26th. Both the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds 2 will remain in Samsung's true wireless lineup if you prefer open wear or more affordable options, respectively.

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