our opinion on affordable noise canceling headphones

Two years after the first Buds and one year after the Buds +, Samsung is renewing its “accessible” True Wireless headphones with Buds 2 which combine the strengths to emerge from tough competition. On paper, wireless headphones have it all. What is the reality ? Full analysis in this test.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Clear, crisp calls – Three microphones and a built-in voice pickup unit ensure you …


These prices were updated on 08/27/2021 by All4affiliates. They are listed in ascending order and excluding delivery costs. Only the prices displayed at the merchants are valid.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Test carried out by Pierre-Edouard Laurent

Since 2019, Samsung very regularly renews its range “Galaxy Buds“, Bringing together True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphones similar to Apple AirPods, Huawei Freebuds or Oppo Enco. The goal is twofold. First, do not give the opportunity to other brands to convince Galaxy owners to buy another audio accessory. Next, create an ecosystem of products that work really well together. A bit like the experience offered by Apple.

Also read – Nothing Ear 1 test: just for your ears

Until early summer, Samsung had released “only” four pairs of headphones. The Original Buds in March 2019. Buds + in February 2020. Buds Live in August 2020. And the Buds Pro in January 2021, in order to go hunting directly on the lands of AirPods Pro and headphones from high-end brands, such as Bose, Sony, Seinheiser, Harman Kardon and others. At the last Unpacked conference where the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 were announced, Samsung presented the Buds 2, positioned on the same price segment as the Buds Live. Here is the full test.

Technical sheet

Galaxy Buds2
Colors white, graphite, lavender, olive
Dimensions Earpiece: 17.0 x 20.9 x 21.1 mm
Case: 50.2 x 50.0 x 27.8 mm
Weight Earphone: 5 grams
Case: 41.2 grams
Autonomy 5 hours of autonomy announced with active noise reduction without the box
7.5 hours of autonomy announced without active noise reduction without the box
20 hours of autonomy announced with active noise reduction with the box
29 hours of autonomy announced without active noise reduction with the box

Earphone battery capacity: 61mAh

Box battery capacity: 472 mAh
Wired or wireless charging

Audio codecs AAC, SBC, Scalable (Samsung owner)
Connectivity USB-C (for charging the box), Bluetooth 5.2 with HFP, A2DP and AVRCP profiles
Certification IPX2

Pricing and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are marketed since August 27, 2021 in brands and specialty stores as well as on the official website of the Korean giant. For the price, it is necessary to count 149 euros for these headphones, the charging case and a USB-C cable. They thus position themselves in competition with Oppo Enco X or Beats Studios Buds. That’s 50 euros less than the brand’s top-of-the-range Galaxy Buds Pro released earlier this year.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Headphone design

Samsung perpetuates the organic look for the shell of its True wireless headphones while introducing some subtleties. The early Buds and Buds + were round with a flattened outer face, the Live Buds looked like “beans” while the Pro Buds looked more like Maltesers. In the case of the Buds 2, the Asian manufacturer has opted for a form of olive. Coincidentally, olive green is also one of four shades offered along with white, lavender and graphite (colors in our test model).

test samsung galaxy buds 2

The Buds Pro show off a metallic dress while the Buds 2 are content with a shiny dress. Even if the two models look very similar, we notice that the Buds 2 has only two tiny holes to capture external sound while those of the Pro version are larger. For measurements, these headphones are even thinner than the Pro (17.0 x 20.9 x 21.1mm against 20.5 x 19.5 x 20.8mm). With specifications similar to the Pro model, Samsung manages to lighten each earpiece by 1.3g (5g x2) despite the magnet persistence for easier storage. For the record, the first Galaxy Buds of the name measured 17.5 x 22.5 x 19.2mm. They are not the “lightest in the world”, but the lightest sold so far by Samsung.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

The general design is therefore very pleasant and discreet, away from headphones with crutches such as Apple Airpods, benchmark in the field. The manufacturing care is also remarkable. The product has no roughness. There are only two golden contacts for better conductivity during charging, a hole for the internal microphone (see below) and a tiny dark oval. The latter is in fact a sensor designed to detect whether the earpiece is inserted in the ear or not (a function that you also find in some competitors). As on its other models, Samsung retains soft silicone tips. The Galaxy Buds 2 come with 3 sizes (small, medium and large). As always, the intermediate version is installed by default. The app quickly checks that the correct size and position ensure optimal listening.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Unfortunately, these Samsung headphones are not IPX7 certified (water immersion up to 1m) like their big brothers, the Buds Pro. We will have to be content with the clue IPX2 That is, “protection against falling water drops, when the device is tilted 15 degrees from its normal potion”. To be clearer, you can perfectly sweat with it during your sport or listening to music in the rain. However, swimming with Buds 2 is prohibited. In terms of comfort, these headphones have satisfied us. They are not heavy and compact enough to sit in the pinna for long hours.

Charging box design

To the naked eye, the cases of the Galaxy Buds and Buds Pro are strictly identical. When we study the specifications, they are not totally. While their thickness is identical (27.8 mm), slightly more than that of AirPods Pro (21.7 mm). But the case of the Buds 2 is 50.2mm wide and 50mm deep while the opposite is the case for the Buds Pro (0.2mm that changes everything!). On the side of the scale, the case of the Buds 2 weighs 41.2 grams, which is 3.7 grams less than that of the Buds Pro and even 4.4 grams less than that of the Airpods Pro. The case is therefore very compact and light compared to the competition.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Question look, we raise a little disappointment. While the shiny plastic case is alluring (see “kawaï”) with its “squircle” shapes (square with rounded corners), but the Korean originality has disappeared. Whatever shade you choose, the hull is always white… Like Apple. While white is chic, it’s seen and reviewed, on entry-level brands and models. To have a Samsung color box, it will be necessary to switch to the high-end model, currently costing 50 euros more expensive. Only the inside of the charging box is matt tinted in the chosen color. There is the tiny inscription “sound by AKG” since AKG worked on the sound part.

test samsung galaxy buds 2
test samsung galaxy buds 2

Audio quality

Let’s talk about the audio quality. These Samsung headphones are from a “collaboration”With AKG, a venerable Austrian manufacturer, renowned for more than half a century in cinematographic and musical acoustics. Put it like that, these Buds 2 must be mind blowing. Let’s calm down. Remember that AKG belongs to the Harman group… acquired in 2016 by the Samsung group.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

That said, beyond marketing and the ad effect, the Buds 2 have the most correct acoustics. The sound dynamics are satisfactory, even if the sound sometimes lacks a little precision. For such tiny bidirectional transducers (1 woofer and a tweeter), the bass rendering is quite convincing. Despite the presence of a speaker dedicated to the bass, it is more on the treble (therefore on the human voice) that the Galaxy Buds 2 are the best. Do not expect to benefit from the same rendering as with an on-ear headphones, for example.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

For music lovers or the curious, it is possible to customize the sound tint from the Android application. In addition to the normal mode, the equalizer offers a “bass boost”, “light”, “dynamic”, “clean” and “treble boost” mode. This feature is nice, but it is only possible if the sound source comes from the phone. Also, if both headphones are removed, the music is automatically paused. It will be reactivated with a short tap (on the right or left side).

test samsung galaxy buds 2

We also tested the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 from a Windows 10 PC. The pairing was super simple and the sound well amplified (via the Dolby Access app). While watching movies and TV series, the quality of the headphones on the voices were particularly noticeable. Without installing anything, Windows 10 indicated the battery level of the headphones. Unfortunately, we were unable to take advantage of multipoint Bluetooth. However, a “light” version of multipoint exists. It is called “Auto Switch”… and it is only compatible with Samsung devices (Galaxy Tab, Galaxy S, Galaxy Z, etc.).

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Buds 2 benefit from the version 5.2 of the Bluetooth wireless standard with HFP, A2DP (better quality than HFP, because stereo) and AVRCP profiles (to control your multimedia devices remotely). The AVRCP profile is useful for listening, for example, to your favorite Internet radio station from a PC. But be careful: you must have compatible software (such as Groove Music preinstalled by Microsoft). Buds 2 don’t control VLC, for example. Watching videos, we can see a small latency between lip movements and voice.

And in communication?

In phone mode, music playback will automatically pause and indicate the phone call. With two taps on any earpiece, the phone call is answered. The interlocutor’s voice is clear and high even if we perceive from time to time small distortions. For the interlocutor, your voice is well filtered thanks to the combination of 3 microphones and an adaptive algorithm. With this combo, the parasitic noises are well suppressed. The result is quite stunning, often better than with the phone alone.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

At the end of the call, music listening resumes automatically. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 support classics AAC and SBC codecs, as well as the proprietary format Scalable (from Samsung). With a latest generation Samsung smartphone, the audio qualities will certainly be better.

Noise reduction

As the headphones are in-ear, passive isolation is already excellent (more than 60% reduction in surrounding noise). However, Samsung has equipped its Buds 2 (like the Buds Live and Buds Pro) with active noise reduction. RBA (Active Noise Reduction) is enabled by default on the application. However, as soon as you remove an earpiece (for music playback or on the phone), noise reduction is automatically suspended (option can be deactivated). It reactivates as soon as you put it back in place.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

The exterior sound is really very attenuated. Noise with a certain sound pattern (squeaking of a train or washing machine) will be better reduced than loud voices, for example. Moreover, the algorithm seems a lot more effective on bass reduction than treble. With ambient electro noise with big bass that throbs the subwoofer and jazz playing on the mobile, the bass outside was almost inaudible. On the other hand, with human voices (starting more in the treble), the reduction is much less convincing. Unfortunately, the app does not allow any adjustments, unlike more high-end headphones.

Smartphone app

For mid-range True wireless headphones, Samsung had to offer as good, if not better, than the competition. The result is mixed. Already the application (Galaxy Wearable) is compatible with Android. Rest assured, iPhone and iPad owners, you can still use Buds 2. But you will not have access to any settings, of course (punishment from Samsung for choosing Apple …). Then, installing the app requires Samsung to access your contacts, calendars, and text messages. Otherwise, no installation.

test samsung galaxy buds 2
Connecting and controlling Galaxy Buds 2 on an iPhone

For Google mobile OS users, the app offers three listening modes: ” active noise cancellation “(Enabled by default),” disabled “(Passive reduction only) and” its surroundings “. With the surrounding sound (which is called Transparency in some competitors), the headphones pick up ambient sounds with the two external microphones and the single internal microphone and broadcast them into the ear canal. Three levels (low, medium and high) are available. Like other headphones, Samsung offers theautomatic headphone adjustment (thanks to the triad of microphones precisely).

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Reading notifications can be activated aloud. In practice, a soft voice whispers “email” to you with each email received or “call” if you are telephoned. In order not to be hassled with messages while you enjoy Jul (or another artist…), the applications allowed to speak are gathered in a list of checkboxes.

Touch controls and advanced functions

Gaalxy Wearable also allows unbridle touch controls. En effet, le double tap (pour passer à une autre musique) et le triple tap (pour changer le contrôle du bruit) sont désactivés par défaut à l’installation. En outre, il n’y a pas non plus de contrôle du volume différencié sur chaque écouteur. Enfin, ça… c’était avant !

test samsung galaxy buds 2

En effet, une mise à jour est récente venue enrichir les contrôles tactiles. La nouveauté peut rester invisible aux utilisateurs, car elle s’active à partir de la nouvelle rubrique Labs qui recense les « fonctions expérimentales ». En activation cette fonction, en touchant la pointe haute ou basse de l’écouteur droit, le volume augmente et inversement avec l’oreillette gauche. Cette dernière mise à jour introduit également le « son environnant pendant les appels » pour que vous entendiez « votre propre voix plus clairement lorsque vous êtes au téléphone ». C’est plus naturel et à réserver, de préférence, aux environnements calmes.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

A la différence de certains modèles qui nécessitent un écouteur « maitre » et un « esclave », les Samsung Buds 2 fonctionnent parfaitement avec un seul écouteur. Si vous avez quelques soucis auditifs, l’accessibilité a été encore améliorée avec cette mise à jour. Désormais, l’auditeur peut régler le ton du son ambiant, mais également amplifier ou réduire le volume de chaque écouteur. Samsung s’est inspiré des meilleures apps pour fournir un niveau de paramétrage remarquable. A dessein, l’assistant vocal Bixby n’a pas été implémenté, pour protéger les modèles Buds Pro et Live, plus onéreux.

Autonomie et recharge

C’est justement en regardant dans les paramètres de l’application que vous retrouvez des informations sur les batteries. Un écouteur dispose ainsi d’une batterie avec une capacité de 61 mAh, alors que le boitier assure 472 mAh de capacité. Théoriquement, le boitier devrait offrir presque 4 charges (472 / (61 x 2) = 3,87 exactement). En pratique, c’est plutôt 3 charges. Avec la réduction du bruit activée, les Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 offrent une autonomie de 5h (volume à 30%). Sans réduction de bruit, les écouteurs gagnent 2 h 30 environ d’autonomie. On approche donc des 20h (avec réduction de bruit) et des 29 heures (sans réduction) annoncées par le constructeur.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

En termes de charge, l’utilisateur jouit d’une grande liberté. Il peut simplement charger le boitier (incluant les écouteurs) avec le câble USB-C fourni (sans prise murale). Autre option, l’induction. Contrairement aux premiers Buds, les Galaxy Buds 2 acceptent en effet la charge sans fil. C’est une technologie pour le moment assez énergivore, mais plus pratique que le branchement/débranchement classique. Nous avons testé avec un chargeur sans-fil compatible (Anker) : la charge fonctionne sans problème.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Comme les écouteurs nécessitent une liaison Bluetooth permanente, rappelons qu’ils consomment de l’énergie hors de leur boitier. Nous l’évaluons à 2% de batterie par heure. Soit 6 mn d’autonomie en moins chaque heure. Par ailleurs, les écouteurs peuvent bénéficier d’une charge rapide depuis le boitier (en charge ou non). En l’espace de 10 mn, ils récupèreront 30% de leur capacité, soit 1 h 40 environ de musique avec réduction de bruit. 75% en 30mn. Le temps de faire un break et c’est reparti pour des heures de musiques. On est certes encore loin des dernières technologies type Quick charge, mais on s’en rapproche clairement.

Conclusion

Les Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ne sont sans doute pas les meilleurs écouteurs TWS. Pourtant, ils sont certainement parmi les meilleurs pour Android et offrent l’un des meilleurs rapports qualité-prix du moment. Pour moins de 150 euros, ils offrent une excellente isolation passive, une très bonne réduction de bruit active, 20 heures d’autonomie minimale, la charge par induction, la charge rapide, un son puissant notamment dans les basses… Une véritable liste à la Prévert.

test samsung galaxy buds 2

Par rapport au grand frère Buds Pro, ces écouteurs partagent une très bonne filtration des bruits ambiants, des transducteurs similaires et une excellente compacité/discrétion. Les Buds 2 ont simplement moins de raffinements (pas de Dolby Atmos, pas d’assistant vocal, moins d’autonomie) que le haut de gamme de la marque asiatique. Pour la majorité des usagers, les Buds 2 recèlent 90% des fonctionnalités… et coutent 50 euros moins chers que les Buds Pro.

Photo de samsung-galaxy-buds-2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Appels clairs et nets – Trois microphones et une unité de prise de voix intégrée vous assurent des…


Ces prix ont été actualisés le 27/08/2021 par All4affiliates. Ils sont listés en ordre croissant et hors frais de livraison. Seuls les prix affichés chez les marchands font foi.

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