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Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro: Which earbuds are best?
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Ooh, this one’s a family affair. It’s Samsung vs Samsung as we pit the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs. the Galaxy Buds Pro. In one corner, we’ve got the newcomers, the just-announced Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. At $149, they’re currently the cheapest premium truly wireless earbuds on the market. They’re also the smallest earbuds in Samsung’s line of Galaxy Buds, making them super comfortable. But despite their diminutive size, the Galaxy Buds 2 have impressive active noise cancelling capabilities and strong audio performance.

And in the opposing corner are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. Currently priced at $169, the Buds Pro are the culmination of consumer feedback over the years. The Buds Pro, the first Galaxy Buds to offer ANC also bring serious durability and are comfortable in their own right. Not to mention, they sound great. 

Both sets of earbuds share a robust feature set, wireless charging capability and near-instant pairing. Plus, each has earned 4.5 stars, an Editor's Choice award and a place on our best wireless earbuds page. But you know how it goes in a face-off –– it’s Highlander rules and there can only be one. So which Galaxy Buds will come out on top? Read on to find out.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Price$149$169
Battery life (estimated)5 hours5 hours
DurabilityIPX2IPX7
ANCYes, 3 levels of Ambient Mode2 levels ANC, 4 levels of Ambient Mode
Earbuds (weight, size)0.17 ounces, 0.7 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches0.2 ounces, 1.1 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches
Charging Case (weight, size)1.5 ounces, 1.9 x 1.9 x 1.1 inches1.6 ounces, 2 x 2 x 1.1 inches
Special featuresEarbud fit test, Equalizer, Find My Earbus, Gaming Mode, Spotify, Read notificationsEqualizer, Find My Earbus, Gaming Mode, Double-tap edge, Spotify, Read notifications, 360 audio, Voice Detect

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro pricing and availability

Samsung went for the jugular on pricing with the Galaxy Buds 2 costing only $149. The earbuds are currently on pre-order with an August 27 release date. When the Galaxy Buds Pro first debuted, they cost $199, but have since dropped to $169. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro design

Now this really is a subjective round. I mean, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On one hand, you have the Buds Pro, which is a homage to the original Galaxy Buds. However, the Buds Pro are a bit more refined as they’re rounder than the OG buds. The earcaps on my review unit are made of a glossy plastic that Samsung dubbed Phantom Black. The rest of the housing is made from matte-black plastic. However, the Buds Pro are also available in Phantom Silver and Phantom Silver. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Image credit: Future)

Then there’s the Galaxy Buds 2, which are the smallest earbuds in the line (more on that in a few). The entire casing is made of glossy plastic that, with the lavender coloring of my review units, looks like it belongs in a festive Easter basket. They’re a less-polarizing take on the bean-shaped Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. If lavender isn’t your thing, the buds are also available in olive, graphite and white. 

At 0.17 ounces, 0.7 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches, the Galaxy Buds 2 are lighter and smaller than the competition. The Galaxy Buds 2 are 15% smaller and 20% lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro which weigh 0.2 ounces and measure 1.1 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Image credit: Future)

But that’s not the only place where the Galaxy Buds 2 managed to shave off some weight; the charging case (1.5 ounces, 1.9 x 1.9 x 1.1 inches) is also smaller than the Buds Pro (1.6 ounces, 2 x 2 x 1.1 inches). In terms of actual design, however, it’s like night and day. 

Although both have the square box shape with rounded corners, the Galaxy Buds 2’s case is made of glossy white plastic with a lavender interior, matching the buds. A light-gray Samsung logo is stamped across the top of the lid with a USB-C port for charging in the back. If you take a closer look along the case’s lip, you’ll see a slight hint of color before opening the lid. Meanwhile, the Buds Pro’s case is made entirely of black matte plastic with Samsung and AKG stamped across the top of the lid in black semi-gloss lettering. The charging port is also found in the rear of the case. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro durability

Both sets of earbuds have some durability prowess but one has much more resistance. The Galaxy Buds 2 is rated for IPX2 which is slight water resistance ––  meaning it can only withstand liquid that hits them from an angle of 15 degrees. The Galaxy Buds Pro sport an IPX7 rating which is a much more powerful water resistance. These buds can be submerged in one meter of fresh water for 30 minutes and withstand splashes from any angle. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image credit: Future)

Winner:  Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro comfort

Ooh, this is a tough one. Because, as I mentioned in my Galaxy Buds Pro review, I’ve yet to run across a pair of uncomfortable Galaxy Buds. Both pairs of buds fit well in my ear and create a tight seal. But due to the Galaxy Buds 2’s smaller footprint, they are a bit more comfortable. And I definitely appreciate having a fit app to help determine whether I need to switch eartips or just adjust the earbuds’ position.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Image credit: Future)

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro app

The free Galaxy Wearables app is the secret sauce in both the Galaxy Buds 2 and the Galaxy Buds Pro. It’s here that you can access and adjust a lot of the features that make these earbuds so cool. In addition to toggling the ANC and Ambient Mode on and off, the app allows you to let the earbuds read out any incoming notifications, adjust the sound balance between your left and right ears, and access Bixby. There’s also Gaming mode, which cuts down on audio latency when playing a game. And of course, there’s the Find My Earbuds feature in case one or both or your buds go missing. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image credit: Future)

There are a few features unique to each pair of buds. With the Galaxy Buds Pro, you can select the ANC level (High or Low), block the touch controls, change what the Press-and-hold gesture launches and activate 360 audio. Plus, thanks to Samsung Labs constant tinkering, you can enable Double-tap earbud edge, which lets you adjust the volume with a precise double tap to the edge of the left and right earbud. 

A feature unique to the Galaxy Buds 2 is the Ear Fit Test. Instead of giving us a separate way to control the volume, you have the option of changing the press-and-hold functionality. You have a choice using the gestures to switch between ANC and Ambient Mode, launch Spotify or adjust the volume. It would have been nice if Samsung could have found a way to add the volume functionality as a separate touch control.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro active noise cancellation

When it comes to active noise cancellation, it seems that smaller is better. As I watched Judge Mathis on my LG TV, the Galaxy Buds 2 blocked out the judge doling out his brand of Detroit justice with the television’s volume set to 13. The Galaxy Buds Pro achieved complete silence with the volume set to 10. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image credit: Future)

And in the case of Ambient Mode, it seems that there are indeed levels to this with the Buds 2 rocking three and the Pros sporting four. I have to say that I appreciate the extra setting from the Buds Pro. When I’m on the subway, there are definitely levels to how deeply I want to eavesdrop on people’s conversations. 

On the Galaxy Buds 2, Low is just a small step up from having the ANC off, while Medium lets me hear bits and pieces of two friends dishing the details of a date gone bad. High was the closest I got to hearing the world like I didn’t have anything in my ears and hearing how said date kept referring to himself as an alpha male. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Image credit: Future)

Similar to the new earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro low setting only lets me hear unintelligible murmuring on the train. The Medium setting wasn’t much different, while High matched the Galaxy Buds 2’s High option. The Extra High setting allowed more ambient noise into the soundscape than the Buds 2, allowing me to be noisy under the cover of wearing earbuds. 

Winner: Draw

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro audio performance

For the audio test, I listened to both pairs of earbuds with the equalizer on Normal. And to ensure I was listening to the best quality tracks possible, I queued up Tidal and listened to a series of tracks labeled Master a.k.a. Master-Quality that’s streamed at 96 kHz/24 bit. I started with Normani’s “Wild Side” and my ears were immediately buffeted with dank lows punctuated by sparse deep synths and crisp highs. The singer’s coquettish vocal did what it was supposed to by seducing my ear. The bass was a little thick which hid a few of the finer details. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image credit: Future)

Something I noticed immediately is that the Galaxy Buds Pro are nowhere near as bass-forward as the Buds 2. The thick bass on the Buds 2 muffled a few things I heard clearly on the Buds Pro, such as the constant tinkling of bells in the background. The backup singers also sounded clearer on the Buds Pro. 

Next, I listened to Cassandra Wilson’s cover of Strange Fruit, where I could hear the twangs of the bass with the mournful wail of a trumpet on the Galaxy Buds 2. Wilson’s melancholy deep alto was clear and warm. However, the same track on the Galaxy Buds Pro sounded more refined. I clearly heard the hand striking the bass and the semi-discordant notes and much more body. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image credit: Future)

For my last song, I chose Baby Got Back Talk’s “Historically White College.” Unfortunately, Tidal doesn’t have the Master version of the track so I had to go with HiFi. The Galaxy Buds 2 did a great job with the riffs of the electric guitar and I heard every strike of the cymbals; the presentation was full and dynamic with a generous soundstage. But again, when I heard the same track on the Galaxy Buds Pro, the song delivered more detail, although the guitars got a wee bit screechy. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 vs Galaxy Buds Pro battery life 

Samsung has the Galaxy Buds 2 rated for five hours with ANC enabled and 7.5 hours with the feature disabled. The Galaxy Buds Pro are also rated for an estimated 5 hours that turns into 8 hours with the ANC off. Both instances have an estimated 3.5 hours of talk time. Combined with the charging case and its additional charges, that total runtime turns into 20 and 29 hours, respectively, on the Galaxy Buds 2 and 18 hours and 28 hours on the Galaxy Buds Pro. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Image credit: Future)

During my testing, I squeezed 4 hours and 52 minutes out of the Galaxy Buds 2 with the ANC enabled while the Galaxy Buds Pro lasted 4:48. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Pricing and availability98
Design97
Durability69
Comfort97
App99
Active noise cancellation98
Audio performance89
Battery life98
Total7765

Bottom line

In the battle of Samsung Galaxy Buds, the Galaxy Buds 2 were the winners with a decisive 5-to-3 victory. Not only are the earbuds less expensive, but they’re more stylish and comfortable, and they have better battery life in both estimated and real case usage. They’re the culmination of the lesson learned from the previous four generations of earbuds. 

However, don’t write the Galaxy Buds Pro off just yet. They’re currently only $20 more expensive than the Galaxy Buds 2 and offer better durability, more app features and better audio quality. And although the Buds 2 offer better active noise cancellation, the Buds Pro are the clear winners when it comes to Ambient Mode. 

Both earbuds are great choices for Samsung aficionados as each delivers near-instantaneous pairing, a host of cool features and great audio performance. If you’re looking for a hardier earbud, go with the Galaxy Buds Pro, but if you want a jack-of-all-trades, opt for the Galaxy Buds 2. You can’t lose with either choice. 

Sherri L. Smith
Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.