So, Edifier released their Neobuds Pro mid 2021 and they were, they are great. Sleek, stylish, and packed full of tech and they performed well. Well now Edifier has brought out the next version, the Neobuds Pro 2 and I’ve been using them over the last month, to see if there have been any performance improvements and whether you should upgrade or stick with the original Neobuds. Let me run you through the differences, the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision as to whether you purchase them or not.
Visually, the case and buds are almost identical but I will say the Neobuds 2 are a little more refined in my opinion. The charging case, they’re almost the same size and weight, just a slightly different look, with the original Neobuds have a smooth black case and brushed silver inset, while the Neobuds 2 don’t have the brushed metal and instead have an all-black look, with this sleek matte case lid and a gold/copper logo. If you’re familiar with the original buds, it had this knight rider lighting effect when you opened the case, that remains in the Neobuds 2. I loved that feature back then, and still love it now.
As for the earbuds, again almost identical apart from a couple of things. A matte black finish this time, with a marginally different stem design. Otherwise, it’s the same shape and size, with a rubber tip at the end, that sits snug inside your ear. They both sit the same within my ear, they are both comfortable and secure enough to exercise with.
Look-wise, not much in it really but I am favouring the Neobuds 2 as I do like the matte black look.
Moving on to specifications and features, and this is where the changes begin to show.
So the Neobuds 2 include multi-channel ANC, spatial audio, head tracking, and in-ear detection, which were not available with the originals. The originals did have ANC though, just not multi-channel. The actual drivers within the buds remain the same, they’re both Knowles BA + Dynamic, using audio codecs SBC, LDAC, and LHDC, the buds 2 now also have AAC, but I assume the originals did too. Pretty standard codec but the website says they don’t. The Buds 2 include Bluetooth 5.3, over 5.0, plus there is one additional microphone up to 4 from 3 in each bud. Frequency response remains the same, as does sound pressure level and they’re both IP54. Battery life is lower with the buds 2, one hour less while using them with ANC on, so 4 hours instead of 5. Similar to ANC off and generally, the Buds 2 do have a smaller battery capacity.
So there is an improvement there, I like the improved ANC, spatial audio and head tracking is fun and as long as your playback device can handle LHDC 5.0, you can get 192kHz/24bit audio. But, does any of that equate to a better listening experience?
In short, yes. The originals were, are a great pair of earbuds, but now the Neobuds 2 are my preferred option if I were to pick between the two. Out of the box, the audio performance is very good, and it’s fairly well balanced, perhaps the highs need to go up a smidge but enjoyable, and if the option to tweak wasn’t there, I’d still be happy. However, you can tweak it via the Edifier app. Classic EQ is the default, but you can also select dynamic which boosts the bass quite significantly, which may be good for a specific genre. Go to customised and you can tweak the EQ to suit your preference and then save it. You can move the sliders on the fly and listen in real time to the changes which is great.
The original buds also had access to the app, so you could adjust the EQ to suit.
The spatial audio option with head tracking is quirky but it is quite niche and Im not really a fan of listening to music but I can see the point of it a bit more with video content. Within the app, you can go to the spatial audio page and you’ll see this AI head floating, which is you. While staying still, hit calibrate and the app will set up to your head position. This then means when you move your head left, the audio fades into the right earbud more, and visa versa. It works pretty well, the app is responsive to your head movements, so if you like this feature, you should enjoy it.
Moving onto ANC it is very good with the Buds 2, I dare say one of the best I’ve tried in a while in fact. There are various options in terms of noise cancellation, including high, medium, and low levels of cancellation, plus ambient mode, wind reduction, and then all off. Scrolling through them via the app, you can hear very subtle changes between the ANC options, and more of a change when off. The ANC with the original buds was very good too and using both buds one after the other, a few times through, any differences are not night and day but If I had to choose one, I do believe the Neobuds 2 have the edge.
If you want to receive or make calls with these in your ears, you can and during testing, both performed the same. The Neobuds 2 have 4 microphones per bud, while the originals only have 3. ONLY. The quality is more than fine with both and I do not feel adding a fourth mic has helped much at all.
During testing, battery life from the Neobuds 2 sat at around 4 hours, maybe a touch less but almost true to what Edifier is stating. It’s not that long really, you could easily be working for 3, maybe 4 hours at a time with the Neobuds 2 in, with ANC on, and then they could fully run out of battery and need to charge. Although saying that, the originals only offer an extra hour. However the bigger battery with the originals are favored for me.
Other worthwhile mentions, the Buds 2 include Google Fast Pair but I’ve not tested that as I have an iPhone at present. They both offer a low-latency gaming mode which I believe helps but I don’t mobile game enough to really benefit from that. The in-ear detection play/pause in the buds 2 is a bonus, I think that should be standard on all earbuds now. You can also adjust the RGB strip light when you open up the lid which is cool but only on the Buds 2 at present. Generally, the app support for the originals looks quite poor now, you certainly get alot more choice through the app with the Buds 2.
My only negative, which applies to both, the touch controls are not that responsive, it’s quite hard to find the touch area and register a command. It annoyed me while using them both.
Price-wise, checking Google and Amazon, there appears to be about a £30 to £40 price difference between them at present but I imagine the original buds to become discontinued soon, if they haven’t already. Would I pay the extra If I had to choose, I probably would yes. Audio quality is noticeably better, ANC is equal or better, plus there are a handful of new features that I feel warrant that extra cost.
For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Edifier website.