Samsung last week unveiled new flagship smartphones and the new bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live, a set of wireless earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation that are designed to rival Apple’s AirPods Pro. We got a set of the new Galaxy Buds Live and compared them to the AirPods Pro in our latest YouTube video.
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Priced at $179, the Galaxy Buds Live have a unique look with a jelly bean-like design that matches the contour of the ears. We found them to be comfortable even for long periods of time, and the multiple ear tips available will allow them to work with most ear sizes.
Samsung added 12mm drivers to the Galaxy Buds Live along with three built-in microphones and a voice pickup unit, with the microphone quality demoed in the video above.
When it comes to sound quality, the Galaxy Buds Live sound decent (and better than the
AirPods), but the AirPods Pro win out with more balance and clarity. The Galaxy Buds Live have more noticeable bass, but it can cause songs to sound a bit muddy. Sound can be adjusted with equalizer settings available in the Galaxy Buds app, but we didn’t see much of an improvement tinkering with these settings.
One of the main selling points of the Galaxy Buds Live is Active Noise Cancellation, a feature also offered in the AirPods Pro, but the Galaxy Buds Live ANC functionality was mediocre, at least with our unit.
It’s hard to tell when ANC is enabled or disabled on the Galaxy Buds Live because the feature just doesn’t seem to be blocking out much ambient noise. There’s no comparison to the AirPods Pro, which offer much better Active Noise Cancellation. It’s better than no ANC at all, but it’s so subtle that it can’t compare to competing products.
There are several gestures available for the Galaxy Buds, which are similar to the gestures available on AirPods Pro. One tap pauses, two taps skips a song, and three taps goes back. A long press can be set to turn Active Noise Cancellation on or off, activate Siri, or control the Volume.
The Galaxy Buds Live offer eight hours of battery life before needing to be recharged, while the AirPods Pro offer 4.5 hours of listening time. The square-shaped case that houses the Galaxy Buds Live and provides extra battery life is compact and pocketable, plus it has a USB-C port for charging. It adds an additional 21 hours of playback time, while Apple makes about 20 hours of additional battery life available with the AirPods Pro case. In total, the Galaxy Buds offer 29 hours of battery life while the AirPods Pro offer 24.
Galaxy Buds Live have useful features for Samsung users, such as one tap pairing and seamless switching, but on an
iPhone they function as standard Bluetooth earbuds. There’s a Galaxy Buds app in the iOS
App Store for connecting and to provide firmware updates and equalizer settings, but since these are designed for Samsung devices, Apple features are limited.
Galaxy Buds owners who have iPhones are going to want to download the app and update the Galaxy Buds Live software right away because we found the Active Noise Cancellation and gestures weren’t working properly until an update was installed.
Even with the less than stellar Active Noise Cancellation functionality, the Galaxy Buds Live sound decent, fit well, and are some of Samsung’s best true wireless headphones. At $179, they’re cheaper than the $250 AirPods Pro, but if you’re an iPhone user, you’d be better off with Apple’s more expensive option.
Android users seeking a solid set of true wireless earbuds should take a look at the Galaxy Buds Live as a potential option.