The $199 Galaxy Buds Pro have long been one of our best wireless earbuds picks, thanks to their great sound, dependable noise cancellation and uniquely robust set of features. But it’s been nearly two years since they first launched, and in that time, a lot of worthy alternatives have popped up — including the ultra-adaptive Sony LinkBuds S and the super-secure Beats Fit Pro.
That makes now a great time for a refresh, and Samsung is delivering exactly that with the Buds 2 Pro: a $229 pair of wireless earbuds that are built to feel — and sound — even better than their popular predecessors. But can these slick buds justify their higher price tag? Here’s everything we know about them after some quick eyes-on impressions.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are available for preorder today for $229 and will start shipping on Aug. 26. Those who order through Samsung now will get a free wireless charger, $30 in Samsung credit and up to $75 off with an eligible trade-in.
You’ll have three color options to choose from: White, Graphite and Bora Purple — the latter of which you’ll find on nearly all of Samsung’s new products for this summer, for those looking to coordinate.
While they may look similar to their predecessor from a distance, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro actually have a few noticeable changes over last year’s model. The most striking difference is that the buds now have a smooth matte finish, which is more pleasing to the eye — and should hopefully be less prone to smudges — than the glossy coating on the original Buds Pro.
Samsung says the new buds are 15% smaller than the previous edition, and that seems legit from what we’ve seen. These earbuds are much sleeker and more uniformly rounded than their bulkier predecessors, and look a fair amount 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 keep the buds from rotating around too much in your ear. We already found the original Buds Pro to be pretty comfortable, so we’re eager 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 has a soft-touch finish rather than a glossy plastic exterior. Not only does this feel great and make the case easier to grip, but it should also be less prone to scratches and smears when you put it in your pocket. And while the Buds 2 Pro come in virtually the same colors as before, they all look nicer up close, thanks to that new coating.
We’ve yet to go ears-on to test the Buds 2 Pro’s audio quality, but considering how great the original sounded, we have high expectations. Samsung is promising support for high-fidelity 24-bit audio this time around as well as Dolby Atmos for immersive 360-degree sound. That’s a compelling upgrade for audiophiles, though only select music streaming services — such as Tidal and Qobuz — offer support for that 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 SmartThings Find support for tracking down your buds in the event you lose them.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro look to improve on one of the best pairs of wireless earbuds with an even more attractive design and high-fidelity audio support. There’s just one big sticking point: the $229 price tag.
That’s a $30 bump from the original retail price of the Galaxy Buds Pro, which themselves are currently available for close to $100 these days. At a time when the AirPods Pro frequently dip as low as $160 — and with so many great $199 competitors like the Sony LinkBuds S and Beats Fit Pro — the Buds 2 Pro’s $229 asking price seems especially steep. 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.