Although the Galaxy Buds 2 are the third generation of Samsung's entry-level true-wireless earbuds, their moniker makes sense. The Buds 2 are a change from the original Galaxy Buds and the improved Galaxy Buds Plus, which had a similar visual style. They were unveiled alongside new Galaxy foldable phones and smartwatches during Samsung's August Unpacked event.
On March 8, 2019, Samsung Galaxy Buds were announced for $149 / £139 / AU$249, making them marginally less expensive than Apple's AirPods. However, now that a newer model has taken their place, you can get the original Galaxy Buds for a fraction of the price. Prices have lately dropped as low as $80 / £65 / AU$120, and you can guarantee they'll fall even further throughout Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The Buds 2 charging case is so similar to the Buds Live charging case in size and design that accessories for the latter will fit the former, and it still charges through USB-C and Qi wireless charging. However, endurance is one area where these earphones fall short of expectations. With ANC activated, Samsung claims up to five hours of playback time (or eight with it off). With case top-offs, you'll get 18 hours of overall battery life, or 28 if you don't use noise canceling. That's on line with the competition, but it doesn't compare to the Galaxy Buds Plus' 11 hours of continuous listening. Unfortunately, on top of its more power-hungry ANC feature, the Buds Pro have a lesser battery capacity (61mAh for each bud versus 85mAh).
If you have a Galaxy smartphone, the Buds 2 will connect to it, provide a handy widget, and provide a seamless, delightful experience with additional customisation choices – and for many, this, along with a tiny and pocketable design, will be enough. Unfortunately, if Samsung intends to compete with the budget-conscious class leaders, the audio recipe still has to be improved. The Buds 2 are more active than Samsung's previous true wireless offerings, and the bottom weight is appealing, but the mix is a little too forward-focused, and the harshness across the treble is impossible to ignore.