As we get to the end of the year, it’s a good time to look back at the products that we have reviewed throughout 2022, and which of them were our favourites. With that in mind, we will be doing a “best-of” for every major category of products we tested, including smartphones, games, and of course, wireless earbuds.
In this article, we’ll look at the best wireless earbuds 2022 has to offer. Two particular products stood out to us: the 2nd generation Apple AirPods Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. In fact, we consider both of them to be the best wireless earbuds this year…depending on the device you use.
If you’re an iPhone user, we highly recommend the AirPods Pro, thanks to its slew of features that only work with Apple’s own phone. These include spatial audio, control customisations, seamless pairing, and of course, the Find My feature if you ever misplace the earbuds.
But beyond these exclusive iPhone features, the 2nd gen AirPods Pro is also a very refined pair of wireless earbuds with a pleasant, “warm” tuning. It has strong, punchy bass; forward, full-sounding vocals with the elevated mids; and subdued highs to avoid sibilance, though this also comes at the cost of reduced airiness and sparkle in the treble region.
Another feature of the updated AirPods Pro that we are fond of is its transparency mode. Everything sounds so natural and lifelike with the mode enabled; it feels almost like we’re not wearing the earbuds at all. It’s also worth noting that the transparency mode can automatically reduce the volume of loud sounds like sirens and power tools.
Naturally, the active noise cancellation (ANC) performance of the AirPods Pro is good too. It can cancel out ambient noise competently – the sound of an air-conditioner or a rumbling engine, for example, is barely audible – and even human voices are drowned out quite well.
In comparison, the ANC performance of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is very similar to the AirPods Pro. But in our testing, we get better results from the latter as its ear tips offer a better seal in our ears. With the Buds 2 Pro, it’s a little tricky to get a good fit, though your mileage may vary.
Despite that, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro does have its own winning qualities. You don’t need to rely on an iPhone to get the most out of the earbuds, and it also offers good audio quality, even though the tuning is quite a bit different.
Just like the AirPods Pro, the Buds 2 Pro offers strong, controlled bass, but it has relatively neutral mids instead. This results in a “cleaner” sound profile, though this comes at the cost of vocals not sounding quite as forward as some folks (including us) would’ve liked.
Nonetheless, in the treble region, the Buds 2 Pro is quite pleasant without any hint of sibilance.
The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro actually has one feature the new AirPods Pro doesn’t have: voice detect. When I start speaking, the earbuds will automatically let in ambient noise so that I can have a conversation, which is quite convenient. It’s similar to the “Speak-to-Chat” feature on the older Sony WF-1000XM4, basically.
Now, pricing. The Buds 2 Pro is the more affordable wireless earbuds of the two with a RM899 price tag, though you can now get it for as low as RM759. As for the 2nd gen AirPods Pro, it retails at RM1,099, and unfortunately enough, there doesn’t seem to be any discount for the earbuds at the time of writing.
Evidently, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is the more budget-friendly option, but the AirPods Pro, in our opinion, is the more refined option. Its transparency mode is simply unbeatable, and in terms of technical performance, the AirPods Pro is more resolving than the Buds 2 Pro as well with superior detail retrieval.
But regardless of which option you go with, both the 2nd gen Apple AirPods Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are our best wireless earbuds for 2022. Simply put, if you’re an iPhone user, consider the AirPods Pro; go with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro instead if you have an Android phone.
If you’d like to learn more about these two wireless earbuds, check out our full reviews of the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. With the holiday season approaching, perhaps these two earbuds would make for a good gift.