I loved Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ and appreciated the follow-up Galaxy Buds Live. Now the company is kicking off the new year with the even more impressive Galaxy Buds Pro.
Samsung’s clear answer to Apple’s AirPods Pro has arrived and quickly has become one of the items I HAVE TO CARRY WITH ME when I hit these socially distant streets.
Design & Quality
Two things are greatly appreciated when it comes to Samsung, the company listens to its customers and constantly learns from its previous models and applies that to new designs. That continues to be the case with Galaxy Buds Pro, with Samsung deciding to take design aspects from both the Galaxy Buds+ and Galaxy Buds Live to bring the Galaxy Buds Pro to fruition.
The Galaxy Buds Pro flawlessly combines the in-ear design with silicone tips that Galaxy Buds+ wearers loved with the Galaxy Buds Live open-air design, which compliments the matte and glossy finish. The buds’ shell has also been revamped. Samsung states the reasoning behind this decision is to “reduce the contact area between your ear and the buds, improving comfort and minimizing any clogged-up feeling.” The Galaxy Buds Pro also no longer sticks out from your ear as much while being worn.
Samsung decided not to bring back the Galaxy Buds+’s wingtips, which is a great thing. Some customers complained of discomfort after extended wearing. The Galaxy Buds Pro instead features three silicone tips that come in different sizes that are not as long as previous designs that allow for a much more discreet look while wearing them. A small section of mesh acts as a windshield while making voice calls and covers one of the three built-in microphones.
The Galaxy Buds Pro’s secure fit you get after just a simple twist of the buds into your ear is also greatly appreciated. The buds feel totally stable when in-ear and never give you a clogged feeling even after hours of use. The Galaxy Buds Pro also has an IPX7 rating for water and sweat resistance. So if you sweat like Patrick Ewing in the fourth quarter of a Knicks game, you don’t have to worry about your Galaxy Buds Pro becoming a victim of your perspiration.
New Features, Noise Canceling, Microphone & Sound Quality
A better fit isn’t the only thing the Galaxy Buds Pro is giving wearers. There are really some pretty amazing features as well. The Galaxy Buds Pro has two-way speakers in each earbud, an 11-millimeter woofer, and a 6.5mm tweeter, which is bigger than what the Galaxy Buds+ offered but smaller than the Galaxy Bud Live’s single 12mm driver. That, of course, was done on purpose to deliver “the most comprehensive sound in the Galaxy Buds line yet.” Samsung definitely does deliver on that.
The Galaxy Buds Pro delivers a crisp sound experience that can be adjusted through the Wearables app. The dynamic equalizer setting is a personal favorite, which delivers richer bass and brings more life to the songs in your playlist. The active noise cancellation is much improved in the Galaxy Buds Pro. It does a great job in tuning out the noise around you, easily putting the buds in discussion with Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds, Sony’s WF-1000XM3 earbuds, and the AirPods Pro in that department.
But what separates the Galaxy Buds Pro from those other devices is its new “voice detect” feature. Basically, the buds will automatically lower your music and switch to ANC (active noise canceling) mode when it detects your voice. With the help of a “voice pickup unit,” the buds sense your jaw movement letting the buds know that it’s you talking and not someone else nearby. It’s honestly the best feature of the Galaxy Buds Pro, and I can understand if others can’t see themselves using any other wireless buds or headphones that don’t have this feature becuase it’s so clutch.
For voice calls, the Galaxy Buds Pro uses a three-microphone system in tandem with beamforming to help isolate the wearer’s voice from the environment. The Buds Pro’s new lower-profile design and the mesh covering the chamber help reduce wind noise while on a phone call outside. The clarity for voice calls has also been improved, and to complete the hands-free experience even though Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby, is still not a favorite thing to use.
Battery life is the only department where the Galaxy Buds Pro comes up just a bit short compared to previous models. To be such an exceptional wearable device, the Galaxy Buds Pro’s battery life is just average, giving you 5-hours of playback with ANC activated and just eight with it off. With the charging case, you max out at 18 hours, and with ANC deactivated, 28 putting it on par with every other pair of wireless buds out. But the Galaxy Buds Pro falls short of the 11 hours of playback that the Galaxy Buds+ gave wearers.
Still, the Galaxy Buds Pro’s 61mAh battery should be sufficient enough to help you make it through a day.
Another new feature the Galaxy Buds Pro now have is automatically switching between your Samsung devices. Apple AirPods Pro users were already enjoying this feature. It’s a welcomed late addition and will allow you to switch the Galaxy Buds Pro between your Galaxy phone or tablet. Sadly it won’t work it Samsung’s laptops, but that’s an issue that could be addressed with a software update.
Despite average battery life and the fact the buds only can be fully taken advantage of on a Samsung Galaxy device, the Galaxy Buds Pro is, in my opinion, the best wearables out right now. For $199.99, you are getting your bang for your buck with features like “voice detect,” exceptional active noise cancellation, great sound thanks to Samsung’s long partnership with AKG, and an attractive pair of buds that don’t stick out like Apple’s AirPods when in-ear.
Samsung’s wireless buds continue to improve with each new model making it very easy to be a big fan of the wearable device. It’s a fair question to ask how the Korean tech giant can improve on the Galaxy Buds Pro when it’s time to unveil a new pair of wireless buds, but that’s a bridge I’m sure the company is fully capable of crossing when it gets there.
The Galaxy Buds Pro is available right now in three colors Phantom Black and Phantom Silver, and Phantom Violet, and costs $199. If you preordered Samsung’s new flagship new Galaxy S21 model, you could get a pair for free as a preorder bonus that you will surely appreciate.
Photo: Bernard Smalls / @PhotosByBeanz83/ Samsung