It seems like just a few months ago Samsung released its active noise-canceling Galaxy Buds Live. Oh, right, that’s because it did. And yet here we are with a brand new pair of active noise-canceling Bluetooth earbuds, Galaxy Buds Pro. They’re a little pricier than the Buds Live, but promise more intelligent (and hopefully more capable) ANC than their predecessors. They’re also not shaped like weird metallic beans, which is nice.
Samsung took the wraps off its new $200 earbuds at its Galaxy Unpacked event today, alongside a trio of Galaxy S21 phones. The most notable feature at first glance is the design, which is more traditionally earbud-like than the Galaxy Buds Live. But Samsung also included a swath of enhanced audio features in its newest earbuds. Let’s run down the specs.
The Galaxy Buds Pro pack in an 11mm woofer and 6.5mm tweeter for more balanced sound, and three microphones, a Voice Pickup Unit, and Wind Shield technology for clearer phone calls. Like the Buds Live, the Buds Pro offer active noise cancellation, but Samsung calls this version more intelligent—the new earbuds have voice detection, which should allow them to automatically activate Samsung’s Ambient Sound mode to more easily have a conversation without needing to actually take the buds out of your ears.
Of course, Samsung is all about seamless integration with its Galaxy devices, and so you get a couple of extra features when you use the Galaxy Buds Pro with a Galaxy S21. Similar to the Spatial Audio feature in Apple’s AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, the Galaxy Buds Pro enable a more immersive audio experience when watching Dolby Atmos content. (You can enable the feature, called 360 Audio, in the Advanced section of the Galaxy Wearable app on your S21.) The S21 lineup supports recording on multiple microphones with a vlogger mode, and the Galaxy Buds Pro can be one of those mics. Samsung says the Buds Pro have reduced audio latency when used with the S21's Game Mode, so there won’t be any awkward lag between the action you see on screen and the audio in your earbuds. And the Galaxy Buds Pro will automatically switch between Galaxy phones and tablets, depending on what device you’re listening to.
When it comes to battery life, Samsung is promising eight hours of playback in the buds themselves with ANC turned off, with an additional 20 hours stored in the wireless charging case. With ANC activated, you’ll get five hours of playback and 13 hours in the case. Five minutes of quick charging should juice up the ‘buds with another hour of playback.
Now let’s talk design. The Galaxy Buds Live sported a polarizing look. (Beans. Enough said.) The Buds Pro are more conventional, like the Galaxy Buds+, and also more ergonomic, so they’ll probably fit better in your ears. Hopefully, this improves the quality of the ANC, which we found lacking in the Galaxy Buds Live.
The new earbuds come in three colors—black, silver, and an extremely cute violet to match the new S21 hue—and are available to order through Samsung today. The Buds Pro will be available through national retailers and carriers on Friday. Stay tuned for a full review.