SamsungSamsung should’ve called these exact things the Galaxy Beans. Just what a missed opportunity. With that taken care of, let’s discuss the brand new Galaxy Buds Live. The company’s latest true wireless earbuds and their unconventional design have leaked extensively during the last couple of months, and I’ve had many questions on the way. How will you achieve noise cancellation with earbuds that don’t seal in your ears? Can this bean condition possibly feel safe?

The $169.99 Buds Live have a method almost all their own. They’re super reflective in the bronze color, that may look more rose gold in a few lighting. But I generally just like the look and the actual fact that Samsung is experimenting. You’ve never worn earbuds that can compare with these, this means putting them in the first few times feels somewhat foreign, and you may overthink it. Works out, they slot in to the concha of my ears quite naturally – the bean design works! – and so are both comfortable and stable once there. There are no silicone tips; the speaker points straight into your ear canal. The Buds Live involve some silicone stabilizers nearby the top, and there’s a slightly larger set contained in the box if those help the buds better sit in your ears’ contours.

My pal Megan has really small ears and had a hard time obtaining the Galaxy Buds Live to match. I had no such trouble, and I’m among those persons whose ears hate regular AirPods; the fit here’s different and wholly unique. I came across that the very best sound quality and bass performance came when I shoved them as far into my ears as they’d comfortably go.

The Galaxy Buds Live have a bean-shaped design that sticks out from other earbuds.
The tap controls work exactly like those on the Galaxy Buds Plus: single tap to pause, double to skip, three to return, and you could customize just what a long press does. The Galaxy Buds Live travel case, that includes a USB-C port and wireless charging support, is wonderfully compact, although earbuds will surely go flying out in the event that you drop it given that they don’t employ a deep cradle.

The AKG-tuned Buds Live have 12-millimeter drivers – bigger than what’s inside Galaxy Buds Plus – and a “bass duct” to greatly help ramp up the reduced end. Just like the AirPods Pro and Google’s Pixel Buds, Samsung also built-in an air vent to create them feel as natural as possible without the sensation to be closed off. This spaciousness lends well to audio tracks quality, which is dynamic and full-bodied. I’ve been amazed by simply how good the Galaxy Buds Live sound. Taylor Swift’s “Exile” collaboration with Bon Iver is an excellent showcase for these buds, with the distinct vocal qualities of Swift and Justin Vernon both coming through clearly.

Similarly, Jack Antonoff’s production on the brand new album Gaslighter by The Chicks has a lot of room to breathe, and the harmonies never feel mushed together. Jumping across different playlists and genres, I came away happy by the heat and balance of the Buds Live. If you’re concerned about bass, don’t be. As long as they’re in your ears right, the Buds Live can kick out a good amount of oomph on underneath end. These sound excellent and precisely what I’d hoped for taking into consideration the $170 price.

ButBut the noise cancellation facet of the Galaxy Buds Live has been oversold a bit. To be clear, these earbuds let in a substantial amount of outside noise constantly. That’s intentional and where I believe the “Live” section of the name originates from. These aren’t likely to drown out your co-workers whenever we get back to any office someday, nor are they likely to be your recommended airplane companions. Samsung says it designed the Buds Live to remove suprisingly low frequencies – think the persistent hum of an air conditioning equipment or the rumbling of an Amtrak – and you could hear a few of that ambient sound get sliced off when you start active noise cancellation.

The active noise cancellation can remove some low frequencies but isn’t all that effective.
But AirPods Pro or Sony 1000XM3s they are not. You’re still likely to hear a lot of the world around you. Some persons should that they won’t need to worry about missing travel announcements or someone trying to talk with them nearby, but I’m more of a tune-out-everything-else person when I pay attention to music. If that’s you, the Galaxy Buds Plus could possibly be an improved choice given that they seal in your ears and create more isolation, even without the active noise cancellation. In the event that you choose the Galaxy Buds Live as a result of the advertised noise canceling, you’ll be sorely underwhelmed and disappointed.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus have a far more traditional design with silicone ear tips.
BluetoothBluetooth stability on the Buds Live doesn’t seem to be quite as robust much like the Galaxy Buds Plus. I’ve had the casual episode of split-second cutouts when walking outside. It’s not a frequent source of frustration, nonetheless it happens with an increase of frequency than other earbuds I’ve reviewed lately. I’ve had zero signal problems when relaxing and listening within my apartment, though. Nor do I’ve any gripes with battery life; Samsung says the Buds Live can last for six hours of continuous listening with ANC enabled (21 hours total with case recharges) or eight with it off (29 hours with the case). Those numbers are very good and beat out the AirPods Pro, nonetheless they flunk of the staggering 11 straight hours the Galaxy Buds Plus can last on a charge.

WithWith three total beamforming mics – two externally and one inside – the Galaxy Buds Live have performed just fine within my Zoom meetings and voice calls. Samsung says there is also a “voice pickup unit” in the hardware for improved speech detection. You should use either bud independently as the other is charging in the event.

So there’s a whole lot of good, however the Galaxy Buds Live aren’t without faults. For just one, they’re only rated IPX2 for water and sweat resistance, which is less durable than wireless earbuds from other manufacturers in 2020. I’d be considered a little concerned about them in the torrential rain or if you sweat a whole lot at the fitness center. These aren’t destined to be fitness buds, which is disappointing since they’ve got a design that can help you stay aware when out running. And like the majority of other true wireless earbuds besides those from Jabra, the Buds Live can only just hook up to an individual device at the same time.