Samsung is one of the only brands brave enough to take risks. Risks that many times may not pay off, but they attract more eyeballs than other brands. It’s also imprinted in the brand’s DNA to try out new and innovative products that may or may not pass the test of time. The Samsung Buds Live ended up on the wrong side of the fence. The Buds 2 here? They somehow manage to conjure a fit and feel that is truly snug.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
A fitting bud
Design and Case: Makeup box
The case itself has been shrunk down greatly. It’s smaller than even the OnePlus Buds Pro case, but the slippery material on the outside is bothersome. The slippery finish also extends to the Buds which makes it hard to handle in general. There’s a wee bit of anxiety while removing or wearing them during workouts or in busy places because of how easily they slip your grip. It’s like catching a bar of soap dipped in oil.
We liked the matte finish on the OnePlus Buds Pro case, it had grip and texture. Since the buds don’t have a stem or a grippy shell, it’s very difficult to hold them in place while wearing them. You can drop these just as easy as the aforementioned soap. Although, once you slot the buds in place, they have one of the best fits in the TWS market. At least for the writer’s ears. The buds lock into place but you may or may not find that fit comfortable depending on your ear. For us, these never dropped or became loose during running or any other workout.
Touch controls: Place it in
The downside is that they move while you use the touch input and adjusting it back into place might trigger accidental touches. It’s a little wonky. However, the Galaxy Wearable app is quite useful. You can swap out touch controls with better ones. There are also no physical buttons on the case. So you have to use the touch controls on the Buds to pair them with your smartphone. Obviously, these work best with Samsung devices.
We tried it with the iPhone as well, but it’s impossible to change the settings for the touch controls or update the thing without the supported app which is only for Android devices. The pairing method is also a bit new. You have to place the buds in the case and then hold down the touch-sensitive side on the buds till the LED blinks into pairing mode.
Sound: Tight but needs work
When it comes to audio, the folks at AKG (owned by Samsung) have been tuning everything related to sound. Odyssée by L’Impératrice starts off on the right note. The Buds 2 handle the toe-tapping rhythm and bass with clean precision. Even while playing The Payback by James Brown, the Buds 2 gets the bass line and lower frequencies just tight enough to be likeable. However, James’ raspy voice is rather muted. The high frequencies are too sharp and it’s not dynamic enough to handle a wide soundstage.
Homecoming by Kanye West starts off with an energetic bassline. Again, the Buds 2 handles lower frequencies well enough, but Kayne’s rap and Chris Martin’s soothing voice needs more dynamic range to sound as good as they do on the OnePlus Buds Pro. The buds themselves are just 5g each and are also the smallest Galaxy Buds, heck the smallest TWS in town. So the fit is quite snug and tight. Although, there’s no fancy vent on the Buds like the AirPods Pro that equalizes the air pressure on the inside. So they can get a bit stuffy when you wear them for a long period of time. The ANC is on par with the ?10K TWS in the market right now, and you can even adjust the level of ANC as you like as well. It’s got brilliant microphones as well.
The Galaxy Buds have a long history of not being able to nail the audio quality and the Buds 2 walk the same path. If you’re locked in the Samsung ecosystem, these will work across all your devices very well but the audio quality needs a bit of polish before it can match up to the best ones in this cut-throat TWS segment. The fit is done well though. Samsung has nailed the size and weight for anyone looking for small in-ears with great touch controls. However, that too has its not-so-bright moments.
Great feature set but they lack maturity in terms of audio