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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
A true wireless earbud, Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are good, but not great. While they offer 28 hours of combined battery life and a number of neat features, their sound isn’t that impressive, and the noise cancellation could be improved. You should look somewhere else if you’re looking for high-end sound quality and excellent noise cancellation over a conversation-starting design.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Pros
- It fits really well, which is surprising
- Bass in abundance
- Battery life is combined for 20 hours
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Cons
- Quality of sound is middling
- An insufficient noise reduction system
- Rating low for IP
A review of two minutes
Almost every single aspect of Galaxy Buds Live is unique. In addition to being Samsung’s first true wireless earbuds with noise cancellation (although many later buds do), they offer a large dose of bass. Their design is unique.
Are the Galaxy Buds Live worth buying?
In addition to Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, the brand has released Samsung Galaxy Buds and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus before. Several other true wireless earbuds have since been released, including Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
There are a number of headsets on the market, but none of them have the sweet, kidney bean-shaped design of the Galaxy Buds Live. It is also unique compared to other wireless earbuds on the market, which plug directly into your ear canal.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have been around for a few years now, but they still offer features similar to those found on the Apple AirPods and Google Pixel Buds.
For the best Android-based true wireless earbuds, check out our review of the Sony WF-1000XM4. But the Buds Live sound fine and have good noise cancellation.
You’ll find that the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is a decent replacement for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, but not a standout earbud. If you would like to see how the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live compares to our pick for the best true wireless earphones right now, keep reading.
The earphones boast an acoustic design: Open-back Weight: 5.6g (buds) 42.2g (charging case) Additional features include: Impulse detection, Voice Pickup Unit, Touch controls, Quick charging, and Bixby support.
What are the prices and availability of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live?
Summer 2020 marked the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. At launch, they cost £179 / $319, however, since they’re now a few years old, you’ll probably find them cheaper. From the official Samsung website, they cost / £79 at the time of writing.
Consider the AirPods Pro 2 if you’re looking for a more expensive alternative, but they’re better performing.
Initially, a lot of people were confused by the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. They are priced at £159 / AU, which is almost the same price as Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.
It appears that the Buds Live work with active noise cancellation while the Buds Plus work with ambient noise reduction. Furthermore, the Buds Plus have a longer built-in battery life, but a lower life when you factor in the charging case.
The Galaxy Buds Live are probably a better buy than the Galaxy Buds Plus unless you intend on wearing your earphones for 11 hours straight. Especially since it’s now possible to find a decent deal on the Galaxy Buds Live.
A design perspective
Galaxy Buds Live are available black, white, dark gray (called Mystic Black) and bronze, and are accompanied by a charging case that fits in your pocket. You can charge the case wirelessly or via a USB Type-C port on the back. An LED indicates the charge status of both the case and the earbuds both inside and outside the case.
In terms of design, Samsung made something truly charming and unique here. Other wireless earbud manufacturers are still copying Apple’s AirPods, but Samsung’s design team is clearly trying to innovate here.
To fit them into your ear, you must push the speaker grille further inside the ear, while the charging contacts sit in the top of the outer ear. When properly aligned, the Buds should seal your ear well.
Despite this, it’s not always a perfect fit. The distance between your ear canal and the outer ear will not be adequate for holding these Buds in place, which means they will easily pop out especially if you plan to buy these for your kids.
The problem with these buds is that they’re IPX2, so they’re only comfortable to wear during light sweaty workouts.
Furthermore, each earbud is equipped with a touch sensor that recognizes a single, double, or triple tap to play, pause, or skip tracks, as expected. It is also possible to customize the tap and hold actions for each bud individually – you can set them to increase/decrease volume, launch Spotify, or launch Bixby. It is only possible to launch Spotify on Android devices, and Bixby works only on Samsung phones.
A noise cancelling headphone from Samsung
There are a lot of features packed into the Galaxy Buds Live that are impressive. In addition to three microphones on each earbud, there is also a voice pickup unit, a bass duct on the speaker, as well as an accelerometer, an infrared sensor, and a capacitive sensor. There are a number of different features on the Galaxy Buds Live because of all of this technology.
In such small earbuds, active noise cancellation can be difficult to achieve. Because these Buds don’t have silicone ear tips like some other buds that support ANC, it’s even more challenging to get ANC working with them. As a result, Samsung has developed active noise cancellation for open earbuds, which, according to Samsung, can reduce low-band background noise, such as trains and buses, by 97% while still allowing voice and announcements to be heard.
The sound sounds great on paper, but we didn’t really see much difference with voices in our testing. The voices around us could be heard with or without ANC at lower volume levels, but at volumes above 90%, the voices disappear. The ANC function of wireless earbuds depends on the way the buds fit and the volume of what you’re listening to.
What’s it like to talk on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live?
Using three microphones (one inner mic and two beamforming microphones on each side) and an accelerometer to sense the movement of your jaw, the Voice Pickup Unit converts that kinetic energy into voice signals using bone conduction, which works well for call quality.
When you use this feature, you will be able to hear those on the other end of the call better, even in noisy environments. We tested this and reported that our voice was very clear, even in noisy environments.
A multitude of Bluetooth 5-based features keep your Buds Live connected. Samsung’s proprietary Scalable Codec prevents audio chopping with the Galaxy Buds Live by adjusting the bit-rate according to Bluetooth strength in order to keep a steady audio stream.
During a weak wireless connection, Scalable Codec automatically compresses the audio information to ensure that the earbuds receive data without interruption. In spite of the fact that the Galaxy Buds Live were over twenty feet away from the phone when we tested them, if you plan on walking between rooms without your phone, you probably should not go that far.
The overall audio quality is good – the bass has a punchy bounce that makes songs like Godzilla from Eminem slam, but it does obtrude on clarity in the mids and highs. Galaxy Wearables has six sound modes to choose from, including bass boost and treble boost, but you cannot create a custom equalizer setting.
It’s also good that the Galaxy Buds Live don’t plug into your ear canal so they won’t make you feel uncomfortable even after prolonged use. Air vents have been added by Samsung for ventilation, which minimizes the stuffy feeling you can get after listening to music for a long period of time.
Commuters and office workers may complain about how loud your music is because the air vent leaks a lot of sound.
How long does the battery last on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live?
If you fully charge the Buds Live, it will last for about six hours, and if you charge the battery case cover twice, you will be able to play for about 20 hours at a time. With just five minutes of charging, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live can be played for about an hour.
What makes this model stand out from the rest? Well, it is similar to what Apple provides with the AirPods Pro. But some cheaper models offer more impressive battery life, for example, our Lypertek Tevi review.
Why you should buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
Galaxy Buds Live are an excellent Samsung-friendly alternative to Apple AirPods if you’re looking for a cool companion to your next Samsung Galaxy smartphone. As well as the Scalable Codec, they pair more easily, and they include a number of features tailored specifically to Samsung users.
Bixby is your favorite smart assistant Another advantage of using the Galaxy Buds Live with a Samsung device is having Bixby as your smart assistant. This isn’t a huge advantage for most people, but if you’ve been enamored with Bixby for the last few years, well, who are we to tell you otherwise?
While the Galaxy Buds Live do not deliver the best sound quality, they do really bring the bass to your music. You should definitely pick up a pair of the Buds Live if you enjoy fun, thumping bass and don’t mind if some mids and highs don’t sound clear enough.
Whay you shoulden’t buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
A noise cancelling device is absolutely necessary
With the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, active noise cancellation is more like noise reduction than full cancellation, there is no doubt about that. Almost everything will still be audible around you if you don’t wear the earbuds, just at a slightly lower decibel level.
The shape of your ears is irregular
Additionally, you don’t know if they’ll fit your ears. Although Galaxy Buds Live have a unique shape that should fit comfortably, if you have large or particularly small ears – or you’re buying them for your kids – the space between the outer ear canal and the inner ear may not be adequate to hold the Buds in place.