Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
This spring, Samsung already released an improved version of the Samsung Galaxy Buds, its pair of wireless earphones. The Buds live got the better audio quality and a battery that lasted much longer.
Many may have thought that we had seen the latest of new Samsung wearables with those new earbuds, but nothing could be further from the truth. Along with the Note 20 series, Samsung also showed the Buds Live, which is a new pair of completely wireless earphones that come with a fit that resembles kidney beans. Earlier I was able to test the original Galaxy Buds and the Plus version and I was very curious to discover how well these earbuds perform.
Design and build quality
The design of these Buds Live is very new compared to the transition from the Galaxy Buds to the Galaxy Buds Plus which were largely identical. At first glance, the design is a bit strange. It is a fairly new design that you do not see with most other wireless earphones.
We see that most wireless earbuds roughly follow the design of the popular AirPods from Apple, and the Buds live feels immediately refreshing. Although I was sceptical in the beginning when I first saw the images of these ears. Still, the Buds look very good live in real life and the strength of this design is especially felt in the wearing comfort. More about that in a moment.
I have noticed one drawback and that is one of the cases of these earphones. This time Samsung does not opt for pill-shaped boxes, but a rectangle with rounded corners. The new boxes still look slick and it exudes premium quality, but it is much less easy to open with one hand.
Wearing comfort and handling
The wearing comfort of these Buds Live earphones is really very good, and that is all thanks to that ‘bean shape’. This keeps the ears in place very well and I never had the fear of losing an ear while running. In addition, you hardly notice that you have them in your ear due to the low weight. The Bus Live are therefore suitable for long-term use.
What is typical for wireless earphones is the touch-sensitive operation, and we the Galaxy Buds and the Plus version are no different. You tap briefly to play or pause, you can browse music tracks, adjust the volume and control active noise cancelling (ANC).
Not so good is that the touch control is sometimes too sensitive and in other circumstances too little sensitive. While running I soon noticed that the ears paused by themselves. Then when I wanted to turn the music back on, it would sometimes register two touches and go to the next track. That is quite annoying. In other cases, I noticed that I sometimes had to press hard on the earbuds to make a button work. Unfortunately.
The Galaxy Buds Live can, just like the Buds Plus, connect to Spotify, you can set that with a long press on the ears Spotify will be started automatically. This just works very well if you use this music streaming service of course.
The sound in these ears really surprised me. It was already good with the Galaxy Buds Plus, but Samsung has clearly made improvements compared to the earphones from this spring. You notice that with bass tones that also sound extra good, and the design of this Buds Live also plays a role in this.
Still, apart from the bass sound, it is rather an equation in terms of sound quality. This time, we don’t get a real radical improvement as we did with the Buds Plus earbuds. The ears do well regardless of the music genres you like to listen to.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds and the Plus version came without an active noise cancelling feature. This is a function that suppresses your ambient noise because your ears pick up the sound with their microphones and then play ‘counter-noise’. Many of Samsung’s competitors already use ANC with their wireless earphones, so it is a logical step for Samsung to join the boat.
Samsung has done that, but in my eyes – or should I say “ears” – the company has failed. You can activate the noise-cancelling function by simply pressing your earpiece for a long time, but as soon as you activate the feature, you hardly hear the difference. If we look at competitors such as Huawei’s Freebuds Pro, we notice that it can filter out sounds up to 50 dB, but with the Buds Live, the ANC has hardly any effect. There is also no way to adjust the sensitivity of the noise cancelling.
Presumably, the design of the earbuds has a negative influence here, because the counter noise from the Buds Live is played less deeply in your ears than with a different design for wireless earphones. I would even say that the original Galaxy Buds and the Plus version that come without ANC are even better at getting rid of the ambient noise in a purely physical way.
Microphone (for calling)
The Galaxy Buds Live have three microphones that should guarantee good call quality. Samsung succeeds in most cases, but not always. If you are calling indoors, the quality is simply very good. if you call while cycling, you will soon hear a lot of noise over the line due to the wind. We notice that more wireless earphones experience problems with this, and Bus Live is no exception.
The equalizer function works very simply in the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app in the same way as the previous generations of the Galaxy Buds. You can easily switch between different presets, depending on your own preferences. My preference is, for example, the ‘Dynamic’ mode, which gives a good all-round sound for different music styles.
You can adjust the various settings of the Buds live in the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. That’s the app that Samsung uses for all of its wearables, and the app’s layout is very clear. You have many setting options such as: ‘Read aloud notifications’, ‘Find my ears’, and in the ‘Labs’, or access to the experimental functions. There I noticed the possibility of removing a pressing feeling in your ear if you use the earbuds in combination with noise cancelling. I haven’t had that feeling, so I didn’t need this feature. In the app, you can also easily link actions yourself to the touch controls of the Buds Live.
The battery life of the Galaxy Buds Live is fine, and that plays a big role in wireless earphones. You want to use them for as long as possible in combination with the charging case that should extend the battery life. Samsung indicates that you can use the earphones themselves for about 8 hours (provided you have ANC off), and that the case can charge the earphones 1.5 times. In practice, you don’t use the earphones for 8 hours at a time and you often put them in the case if you are not using them for a while, but in any case, the useful life appears to be accurate. In addition, the ears charge very quickly, so that they can be fully used again after a short charging moment.
Samsung makes bold choices with the Galaxy Buds Live, and I was really surprised by the number of features of the earbuds. In my opinion, the new design is a good find, because it makes your ears fit even better and it also benefits the sound for the low tones.
Less positive is the new ANC function, and although Samsung does go big with it, the result is disappointing. Some competitors of the Buds live are simply doing better, and hopefully, Samsung will improve this aspect in the next version. In addition, I also expect that the touch control will work better with a successor to the Buds Live.
+ Sound quality
+ Battery life
– Active noise canceling is very disappointing
– Touch operation sometimes unreliable
Buy Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are available in the colors Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze and Mystic White. The suggested retail price is 189 euros and you can find the earphones at MediaMarkt, Coolblue, Belsimpel, Bol.com, Mobiel.nl, Amazon.com and the Samsung website.