Get ready for the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Live noise cancelling ear buds because they are being released today! These are a complete redesign of their original Galaxy Buds. The Galaxy Buds were Samsung’s attempt to take on Apple’s AirPods and Galaxy Buds Live is their attempt to take on AirPods Pro. Samsung is also offering these for $80 less that AirPods Pro. What sets these apart from their competitors is the pairing of active noise-cancelling tech with a bean shape that wedges down into the ear. This is different from the others that create a physical seal in the ear utilizing silicone tips. With this design, Samsung is promising that you will get noise-cancellation without the feeling of total isolation that is common with headphones. This would be similar to the transparency mode that the AirPods Pro and Bose 700 headphones offer to allow you to interact with the outside world. This is definitely and interesting product, so let’s take a closer look.
The new buds come in three colors, black, white, and bronze and have a matching charging case small enough to fit in your pocket. The buds can be charged both wirelessly or using the USB-C port on the back. Unlike other earbud makers that are still trying to copy the AirPods, Samsung has created something original. With the kidney bean shape they definitely look different from any other wireless earbud. As far as operating the functions on the buds, there are touch sensors that respond to different tap combinations for playing and pausing, and going forwards or backwards through the tracks.
Galaxy Buds Live also integrates with Spotify allowing you to assign a shortcut on your phone. You can touch and hold for one second and access all your tunes and playlists. To do this though you’ll have to configure touch pad settings using the Galaxy Wearables app.
Samsung has really packed a lot into the Galaxy Buds Live. Each bud has three microphones and an additional voice pickup unit, a speaker with a bass duct, and a number of sensors. The water resistant rating is a disappointing IPX2 so hopefully you don’t sweat much during intense work outs.
The Galaxy Buds Live supports Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) as do the AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3. With there bean design Samsung has developed what it calls and ‘open type’ ANC that reduces low-band background noise under 700Hz. So you won’t hear trains and buses but you will hear voices.
The ANC should work well with phone calls. There are three beam forming microphones (two inner, one outer) and a Voice Pickup Unit that uses the accelerometer to sense jaw movement. It uses bone conduction vibration, which I assume is similar to a bone conduction hearing aid, to convert vibrations into voice signals. This should make it easier to be heard on the other end of the call even when it’s noisy.
The audio quality is good with a balance of bass and treble that is neither shallow nor overpowering. The AKG powered 12mm speaker achieves a well-balanced and deep audio output. The Galaxy Live Buds have an air vent for ventilation to help minimize that stuffy clogged feeling you get after hours of in-ear use.
There are a number of features on the buds to keep you connected to your device. Samsung uses Bluetooth 5 and a proprietary Scalable Codec that prevents audio chopping because of its ability to change the bit-rate based on the strength of the Bluetooth connection. A higher compression ratio is used to encode the audio when the connection is weak. This eliminates interruptions with data reception by the earbuds.
With quick-charging capabilities the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live can provide about an hour of playtime after just a five-minute charge. You should expect six hours of playtime on a full charge and the battery case cover provides more than two full charges. This equates to around 20 hours of total playback with the buds and case at full charge. This is similar to the AirPods Pro but there are a number of cheaper models that have a much more impressive battery life.
Even though these are a brand new product, you should strongly consider these if you are an Android user. It’s cool that Samsung has decided to move away from the common design used by other ear bud makers but it is a risk. They kind of look like hearing aids but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They seem to be well-built and I like the colors and finish. My prediction is the new design won’t scare people off and it may turn out they fit better than what you can get currently. I always seem to have trouble fitting earbuds but maybe I just have weird shaped ears. If the functionality and the noise cancelling ability stacks up to other devices this could be a winner for Samsung.
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