Samsung Galaxy Buds Live or Samsung Galaxy Beans are really strange at first sight. An unusual shape that suggests something new and immediately generates curiosity. Like them or not, they are something new, interesting. In the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review, we will shed light on the special aspects that distinguish them, which begin with ergonomics, and will reach many of the smart functions in which it is capable.
Let’s start from the Bean shape of the Galaxy Buds, which Samsung calls Open Type. And we want to leave the design aside for a moment that does not excite us personally because what matters, in the end, is comfort and it will go away if we have to sacrifice a little beauty for it.
Samsung has dared, but only after careful research, to make earbuds in typical Beans shape, so much so that it first takes little time to figure out how to wear them. The dimensions, the materials, and asymmetrical curves are designed to comfortably fit into the ears, to remain stable without applying pressure at any point.
The image above explains how they fit in our ears, it takes minimal practice but then it goes away easily without thinking too much. Our first mistake to keep them moving around in-ears to put them in the right place at first, once you understand the technique shown above, they become nice immediately.
However, as with any other type of earbuds fit is strictly a personal matter. For example, most people find themselves better with the right ear, however, it must be said that the Samsung Buds Live does not have prominent fins or deep grooves that enter our ear canal, so it is difficult (but not impossible) that you can find them really uncomfortable.
In the package you will also find Wingtips which are slightly larger than the wingtips installed in the factory, they can come in handy. Personally we did not need them, after a few days in which we have worn them for a few hours, we began to appreciate them and, as we write this Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review, our thought is quite clear: they work, the shape/ergonomics is the right one because it combines the advantages of in-ear with the convenience of classic earphones.
We open and close the brackets on this last statement: the new Galaxy Buds Live has their extra weapon precisely in wearability, If you feel uncomfortable, there’s no point in keeping them, you can spend less money and get smarter and better sound quality, for example, with Galaxy Buds+ that we’ve reviewed, always standby for Samsung.
Design and Materials
The design is distinctive, then Samsung thought of three colors: Bronze, White, and Black with a decidedly eye-catching Glossy finish.
Personally, there is one thing we do not like and that is that they can be easily mistaken as a hearing aid. We have no desire to start discussing the moral aspect of such a statement, but every friend and acquaintance we meet these days made the same joke that you have become deaf? Why did they put the hearing aids in the ears, and if you spent about 200 euros to buy them, you definitely wouldn’t want to hear it.
It is also true that AirPods were initially ridiculed in the same way, whereas today everyone likes them, these are the fashion which later becomes habits.
The materials are plastic, but transmit a great response, especially the inside which has an almost soft finish. They each weigh 5.6 grams and, given the very small size, they are as heavy as they seem, in fact once worn you will easily forget it.
On the part in contact with the auricle, there is a proximity sensor, a speaker output grid, a microphone, and two charging pins. Externally two more microphones and two air vents.
The miniaturized engineering of these Galaxy EarBuds is something incredible, considering that the equipment is completed by a 12 mm dynamic driver, Bluetooth chip, battery, and an accelerometer. On the outside of the body, the surface is tactile and supports some commands that we will see in the dedicated paragraph.
As for the build quality, a sore note is that on waterproofing: IPX2 only. From experience with previous Galaxy Buds, we know that they do not necessarily have to withstand rain or great humidity to ruin them, just a little sweat on a hot summer day is enough. In fact, this is the biggest limitation, we have found on Buds Live, apparently perfect for sports but actually unusable for that purpose.
As for the charging case, the dimensions are quite small (50 x 50.2 x 27.8 mm) for a weight of 42 grams. It is made entirely of good quality plastic and with a matte finish that avoids the formation of scratches, the opening mechanism is a rigid thread but you need to use a few weeks to soften.
It supports wireless or wired charging through the only Type-C port present. We missed a reset button and a new pairing, this operation is performed when wearing both earbuds with the touch and hold for 3 seconds, we found it a bit uncomfortable.
Samsung has created a very interesting product in technical terms with Galaxy Buds Live, equipped with never before seen technologies for simple TWS earbuds. Most of these features include the management of three microphones (two external and one internal) with which each earbud is equipped, which are exploited in different ways:
- ANC: classic active noise cancelling, external microphones extract Ambient sounds, and an algorithm processes them to eliminate them. The particular non-in-ear conformation does not allow a total elimination of sounds, Samsung declares about 30%. Here, this feature will disappoint you if you expect great effectiveness, it’s really just plausible to eliminate constant low frequencies such as aircraft’s engine or the rolling noise of the tires in the car, in city noise instead it sometimes does not work.
- Ambient sounds: sounds captured from the outside at very low volume are emitted in the earbuds, it is useful to avoid these with ANC, also convenient in the city if you move in traffic to avoid being too isolated. This feature also has minimal impact, but in the long run, if it is deactivated you will miss it.
- Clear audio in a call: external microphones work together with an internal one and accelerometer to understand when you are speaking on a call that all together will eliminate the annoying noise for the listener and isolate your voice.
- Bluetooth microphone: by recording videos in PRO mode with Galaxy Note 20 Ultra it is possible to use earbuds as a source for the microphone with separate left and right audio, but the result is not the best in terms of quality.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is equipped with a good dose of Smart functions, manageable through Samsung wearable application, is compatible with all Android smartphones, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds app for iPhone (from iOS 10). Excellent that Samsung allows you to exploit the full potential of Galaxy Buds Live for all smartphones with Bluetooth.
They connect via Bluetooth 5 just by opening the case, fast pairing is supported so that you will bring them closer to a compatible smartphone as soon as pop-ups appear. Once connected you can start using them in a simpler way.
For interaction, the touch surface is used outside each earbud, with a single tap, the play/pause function is activated, with a double-tap skip/forward music or answer/end if there is an incoming call, with a triple tap back to the previous song, while the long press is customizable.
You can select different commands between right and left by selecting one of them: ANC on/off, voice assistant activation, volume up/down, starts Spotify. Finally, touches can be completely blocked.
Among other smart functions we find the reading of notifications aloud, Bixby voice wake-up, automatic switches between Samsung devices connected to a single account, game modes to reduce latency, earphone finder to make them ring in case of lost, finally you can update the firmware.
The audio quality is good, the volume is high and for casual listening to music, Galaxy Buds Live will be able to give you some satisfaction. Personally, we expected a bit more in terms of accuracy on mids and highs, instead, they are earbuds that have a classic emphasis on bass and a nice rounding, but for around 200 Euros you can get a lot better.
However, we should note that despite the future shape, the joint in the ear is not particularly deep, so it is impossible to achieve the same immersion as in-ear headphones. To make a comparison, we are almost at the level of the Galaxy Bud. Samsung has managed to get a good sound out of the 12mm drivers, but miniaturization has certainly forced some compromises on audio quality.
Audio transmission accompanies the SBC and AAC codecs, which are combined with a scalable, Samsung’s proprietary that optimizes transmission in environments disturbed by WIFI frequencies.
On the other hand, they disappointed us a bit. The shape also does not allow the main microphone to be near the mouth. We can turn noise cancellation on and off and it will function differently for the caller and listener.
For those who are wearing headphones, this would be a normal noise cancellation, while for the interlocutor the audio is cleaned of the environmental noise picked up by the three microphones. In practice, the quality leaves a lot to be desired, obviously always taking into account the price situation, the voice is muffled and in noisy conditions, the algorithm does not always correctly isolate the speaker’s voice from disturbing noise.
By deactivating the active noise cancelling function, things get better, but the interlocutor will always perceive you in the distance.
Battery life and connectivity
Samsung claims a continuous playback of up to 6 hours, but we got 4 hours and a few more minutes, and up to 16 hours of battery life with charging case, which is far from the 21 hours offered by Samsung. But this battery life much depends on the functions and the times when they are kept activated, the ANC consumes a lot of battery juice as well as the detection function of ambient sounds.
The last thing is praised on the correct stability of the connection, we have never encountered indecision between two earbuds, latency, or range problems in a smartphone connection. Samsung’s codecs also work well over long distances, for example, at home, it is not uncommon to be able to move between rooms without losing connection.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live price is $169.99 and can be purchased through the Amazon.com and Bhphotovideo.com stores. The price is high, but it is justified by the innovation that the product brings to the field.
They are very stylish and fashionable earbuds that will be liked by everyone at first sight, but they could be the right choice if you don’t like the in-ear constriction and the lack of stability of the earbuds. Overall they work well and give you satisfaction regarding sound performance.
Personally, we were frustrated with some details such as limits on water and dust resistance and touch control, you should know that you will not take home those headphones that sound better or smarter, you just pay their exclusivity.
- Comfortable fit
- Bold design
- Full compatibility with Android and iOS
- Sound quality on a call
- ANC is not very high
- Lack of impermeability