Ever since the Galaxy Buds hit the market a few years ago, Samsung has constantly upgraded its true wireless earbuds with exciting new features and designs. While the shiny bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live earphones debuted in 2020, the Galaxy Buds Pro debuted a bit later in early 2021. This time Samsung is promising a better experience with features like Active. Noise Control and 360 Audio. And that brings us to an important question: are these features useful? Does it make sense to switch from Galaxy Buds Live to Galaxy Live Pro?
Well, that’s what we’ll explore in this article as we pit the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro against the Galaxy Buds Live and see if it’s worth upgrading to the new version.
Since it’s gonna be long, let’s get started, okay?
Specifications that matter
|Property||Samsung Galaxy Buds Live||Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro|
|Property||Samsung Galaxy Buds Live||Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro|
|Dimension||2 x 2 x 1.1 inches||2 x 2 x 1.1 inches|
|Battery life||Up to 5.5 hours with ANC||Up to 5 hours with ANC|
Design and comfort
The Galaxy Buds Live has posted many polarizing opinions. While some loved the comfort of the bean-shaped buds, some of us at GT found the buds to be a bit uncomfortable. The inflexible nature made them extremely uncomfortable to wear for a long time. Of course, the experience may vary and you might be lucky enough to find them comfortable. But again, it’s a gamble.
The open bud design eliminates the “ stuffy ” feeling that is typically associated with upside down silicon tipped buds.
Regardless of size and shape, the Galaxy Buds Live manages to stay anchored to the ears. However, the lack of silicone tips, ear wings, or a waterproof rating made them a bit awkward to use during workouts and exercises. And if your ears sweat excessively during workouts (mine do), the metallic exterior does little to help its cause.
At best, the Galaxy Buds Live is usable for occasional listening, and in this it performs quite decently. The best part is that these headphones come with touch sensitive buttons, which makes them easy to use. All you have to do is tap the outside of the earbuds to change volumes, wake up Bixby, or answer / reject a call.
While this works wonderfully during winters, it’s a bit different during summer as the buds may or may not register your touch, all thanks to sweaty fingers.
Fortunately, Samsung has removed the bean-shaped design from the Live Buds. And if you look closely, the Galaxy Buds Pro looks like a cross between the Galaxy Buds Live and the Galaxy Buds Plus. Yes, a lot of Galaxy terms to use.
You’ll find the familiar long-neck design of the Galaxy Plus earbuds flanked by a silicone tip, while the exterior has the metallic look of the Galaxy Buds Live. Understandably, the new heads are smaller than their predecessors and the new design is light and comfortable to use. So far we have not had any discomfort carrying these buds.
Although there are no wing tips, they stick to the ear canal. Of course, you’ll need to find the right set of tips for the perfect fit, and provided you do, and can wear them while running or exercising. The fact that the new heads have an IPX7 rating even further sweetens the deal.
So if you plan to use these headphones in your gym, now you can do it without worrying about sweat or water damage.
When it comes to touch functions, you will find most of the common functions like play / pause song with one click or answer or reject calls with double tap. It was the “long press and hold” action that saw changes. As well as waking up Bixby or adjusting the controls, you can also use it to switch between active noise cancellation or ambient noise, depending on the need of the time.
In short, while the Galaxy Buds Pro don’t win any awards when it comes to design, they are still the best deal thanks to the comfort and tight fit it brings to the table. And the feeling of closure is a relief, to be honest.
Battery life and connectivity
When it comes to battery life, there isn’t much improvement. The older Buds Live could last up to 5.5 hours on a single charge with ANC enabled, with the charging case giving you an additional 20 hours with ANC. Without ANC, you should get around 8 hours of continuous playback and around 22 hours from the charging case.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Buds Pro will last around 5 hours on a single charge with ANC, and the case gives an additional 13 hours. That means you get around 18 hours with ANC (and 28 without ANC and Bixby).
While the battery life might seem a bit shorter, most current headphones with ANC, such as the Bose QuietComfort headphones or the Sony WF-1000XM3, have a continuous playback of 6 to 7 hours on average. Of course, the charge cycle and battery management differ between different types.
When it comes to connectivity, the Buds Pro come with a major addition: automatic switching. Using the auto switch feature, you can switch between nearby connected devices (signed in using your Samsung account) with ease with the need to pair and unpair. So, for example, if you are watching a TV show on your tab and a call comes in to your phone, you can switch between the two devices.
Apart from that, the Galaxy Buds Live supports AAC, SBC, and SSC Bluetooth codecs just like the Galaxy Buds Live headphones. And yes, support for Bluetooth 5.0 means no connection is dropped. For example, I could watch TV shows or YouTube videos without any visible lag on both headphones.
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Audio quality and noise cancellation
Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Pro are a huge improvement over Galaxy Buds Plus. While the latter had a more balanced soundstage with minimal bass, the Galaxy Buds Live changed that. He brought home a wider soundstage and a much richer bass with clear vocals, and it goes without saying that it was a joy to listen to.
However, the open-ear design sort of defeated the purpose of the ANC in these buds. Aside from the hum of the AC or printer, the open-ear design allowed a lot of noise to seep in, thus stealing the goal of buying a pair of headphones with active noise cancellation.
With the new Galaxy Buds Pro, Samsung has improved the design of the driver. Well, the new buds deliver balanced sound with a wider soundstage. The bass is perfect, and the good thing is you can play around with the EQ settings as well. You will need a proper adjustment of the heads to get the full effect.
Besides the sound enhancement, there are also a few additional features: ANC and 360 Audio. While the former is much better compared to its predecessor, it leaves something to be desired, especially on a pair of headphones that cost around $ 200.
While they seem to block out noise and hum from printers, air conditioning, or fans, they still let in some noise. Yeah, the sound was definitely reduced, but yeah, I could hear vocals, music, or keyboards banging every now and then.
Another cool feature is voice detection. When activated, it automatically switches to ambient sound when it detects someone speaking. Otherwise, it will go into ANC mode.
It looks great on paper, but real-world use is a bit boring, especially if you plan to use the headphones outdoors or if you or your partner is sharing the study room.
Should you upgrade
So, should you upgrade to the new Galaxy Buds Live? If you already own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you’ll feel right at home with the Galaxy Live Pro, especially with features like 360 Audio. Most importantly, these headphones are extremely comfortable to wear even for long periods of time. And yes, the best audio streaming sweetens the deal.
But at the end of the day, the ANC feature falls short of the $ 200 headphones.
At the same time, if you don’t like the idea of the Galaxy Buds Live’s unique shape, there are several quality wireless headphones available. For example, the Jabra Elite 75t has a great design and quality sound, and the same can be said of the Sony WF-SP800N (see Sony WF-SP800N vs. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus).
The latter is extremely comfortable to wear and brings a ton of features. Finally, if you’re looking for top-notch ANC and dynamic sound, the BoseQuietComfort headphones are also a good buy, though they cost a bit more.
Last updated Feb 4, 2021
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