Forget AirPods: Why I Use Samsung Headphones With My iPhone

AirPods Pro 2 they are the flagship headphones for an iPhone user; you get all the ecosystem benefits along with brilliant sound quality and active noise cancellation (ANC). But what if you use your iPhone with a Windows laptop, or if you have a android phone as secondary device? That’s where you’ll need a second set of headphones, unless you can find something that works well with the iPhone as well as Windows and Android. Surprisingly, the Headphones Galaxy 2 Pro are one of those products.

I have been using the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with my iPhone 13 Pro Max Y Galaxy Z Foldable 4. While there are obvious reasons for someone in the Galaxy ecosystem to buy Samsung’s flagship headphones, they work surprisingly well with an iPhone, even if there are a couple of caveats.

Open, pair and play

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Samsung has removed the Galaxy Wearables app from the Apple App Store, and as a result, Samsung smartwatches after the Galaxy Watch 3 do not have iPhone support. You might think the same can be said about Samsung earphones, but the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are different.

Unlike Samsung Galaxy 4 Watch Y galaxy 5 clock, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro do not require an app to pair and work. You can simply open the case and pair it with your iPhone. You can then play your favorite music or podcasts through any app you want on the iPhone. But you don’t get support for fine-tuning controls and you miss out on some niche features (more on that below).

What works on Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with iPhone

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with iPhone 13 Pro Max on a table

When you pair and connect the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with your iPhone, no further setup is required to make full use of the earbuds. While the headphones do support 24-bit audio, they are limited to Galaxy smartphones. That being said, normal 16-bit audio isn’t bad at all. In fact, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are an excellent pair of headphones.

The Buds 2 Pro feature dual AKG-tuned drivers, making them well-rounded. The treble is clear with a good amount of bass. You get great instrument separation with great vocals.

The active noise cancellation is some of the best in a pair of earphones without a stem design under $200. In my experience, the ANC of the Buds 2 Pro is closer to the Pixel Buds Pro. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro were my companion on my trips and trips, spanning taxis, buses, and planes. The Buds 2 Pro really shine when they silence the hum of an airplane. However, that’s not to say you feel like you’re in a vacuum. Instead, the silicone tips create a good seal (at least in my ear), and the software does the rest.

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with iPhone 13 Pro Max

What made my experience more enjoyable was the ability to have a conversation with the headphones still in place and without me touching them. How? There’s a “voice detection feature” that recognizes when you’re talking to someone and activates transparency mode, so you can hear the other person clearly. And it’s not like it’s there just because. Voice detection worked nine out of 10 times within seconds for me, and when it works, it’s very effective.

Samsung promises up to five hours of continuous playback with ANC on and 18 hours of battery life with the case. On my four hour flight, I had no battery anxiety and was able to see modern love season 1 (oh, that first episode is so wholesome). You might get better battery life on other headphones, but the sound, ANC performance, and voice detection feature all combined to give me a brilliant experience with these. And remember: all this is possible with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with an iPhone; no Samsung phone required.

Where the iPhone experience stumbles

Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on the iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Galaxy Wearable app acts as a catalyst to provide more features, but the Buds 2 Pro and its lack of availability on the App Store means you lose some features when paired with an iPhone.

First, you can’t remap the touch controls on the headphones. This is the most basic feature I expect from every manufacturer, regardless of what device you use the headset with. But surprisingly I haven’t encountered any problems with not being able to edit the controls. On the right earbud, you can play/pause music with a single tap, double tap for the next song, and triple tap for the previous song. You can tap on the left earbuds to switch between ANC and transparency mode.

Second, you cannot edit the duration of the voice detection feature. By default, it is set to 10 seconds, which, again, turned out to be enough for me. Third, you don’t get equalizer controls, which according to our Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review“the sound quality worsened.”

Fourth, you miss out on Samsung goodies, like a “Find My Earbuds” feature that plays a small tone through the earbuds to help you find one or both earbuds if they’re lost. It’s the only feature in this section that I would like to have on my iPhone for the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. I haven’t felt the need to have it, but it would be nice to have if I ever lose my earbuds.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

More exclusive Samsung features include 24-bit audio, which only works with select streaming services. There is also the Samsung Seamless Codec that nobody can license.

All things considered, I don’t think you’re missing out on much without the Galaxy Wearable app. Obviously, it would be nice to set your headphones to whatever controls you want. That’s the big caveat; everything else is just a minor annoyance. What you already have in the headphones works well and you won’t feel any friction.

Not an AirPods replacement, but close

Apple AirPods Pro 2 inside their charging case.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

So does all that mean you should be buying the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro instead of a pair of AirPods? No. While sound, ANC, and voice detection are top-notch on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you should still go for the AirPods Pro 2 for seamless connectivity between all your Apple devices.

However, if you have an iPhone but a Windows laptop, or if you use both the iPhone and an Android phone, especially a Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are a better buy at $20 less than the $200 AirPods 2 Pro Currently on Amazon.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are an excellent pair of headphones. I really enjoyed my time using them with my iPhone 13 Pro Max. And if you’re like me and use a wide range of devices, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are for you.

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