What you need to know at a glance
- The sound quality is very good and balanced.
- The battery life promised by the manufacturer is real.
- Active noise cancellation is questionable as it only reduces low frequencies of external noise (from 700 Hz down). In rooms it does its job nicely but outdoors it behaves differently. In addition, there are Bluetooth headsets on the market that do better at noise cancellation (Sony WF-1000XM3, AirPods Pro).
- The bean shape (yes, bean 😂) fits very well in the ear. Plus, you have to test a bit at first until you find the right position because if these headphones aren’t placed correctly, the sound doesn’t come through properly (from this point of view, many people discard them, thinking they’re no good).
- Galaxy Buds Live, on the whole, are “universal” headphones and offer all the features most users need.
- Did they convince me? Yes, for comfort/sound quality. But not for noise cancellation (not being a necessity for me this feature, they have become the best plugless Bluetooth headphones at the moment).
|Model||Samsung Galaxy Buds Live|
|size||buds:16,5 x 27,3 x 14,9 mm|
box: 50,0 x 50,2 x 27,8 mm
21 hours if the housing is used
|sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, touch|
Bixby noise cancellation
|Compatibility||Android 5.0 or later|
iPhone 7 or later with iOS 10 or later
One of the big differences the Galaxy Buds Live brings visually is its ergonomic shape. Instead of looking like the Apple AirPods we’ve become accustomed to, Samsung decided to take a degree of risk with this “bean” shape.
If anything, they’re interesting because they’re ergonomic. In my case, they worked well. They fit correctly in the ear and are comfortable, but it took a while at first to find the right position. The first time I didn’t put them on correctly and the sound came out disproportionately, with no bass sound (due to the bass speaker obstruction). At this point, I know their position instantly and have no more difficulties.
The outside of the headphones are plastic, except for the top, inside area where the silicone charging pins are located. The purpose of this is to improve comfort once the earphones are placed in the upper ear cavity. The silicone pin is removable and can be replaced with a second larger pair included in the package.
The weight is only 5.6 g per earphone, while the dimensions are 27.3 x 16.5 x 14.9 mm. There are 5 colours currently available on the market:
- Mystic Black
- Mystic Blue
- Mystic Bronze
- Mystic White
- Mystic Red
Personally, I’ve tried using them in different situations. In line at the supermarket, during a workout and on a walk. They have always stayed still in the ears, with a truly commendable comfort level that makes the wearer almost forget they are wearing them.
The big drawback, however, seems to be subjectivity. They are headphones that change the experience greatly depending on the user.
In terms of the audio quality offered, the Galaxy Buds Live tries to please the average user, but not excessively so. This is highlighted by the non-in-ear design.
Usually, the best tech companies in the world try to take bass sound as far as possible. Galaxy Buds Live are an exception, however, as they offer bass that kicks in at just the right moment and manage to make the sound more enjoyable.
In terms of mid frequencies, they are balanced very well, but the high frequencies, when listening at very high volume, make listening slightly tedious if you’re picky. However, in the Galaxy Wearable app you can set the Equalizer to the right mode (I recommend Dynamic) and this slightly subjective issue will be solved.
One aspect that I personally appreciated is the sense of spaciousness that the design of these headphones allows you to perceive during use.
Active noise cancellation
ANC technology is present in these headphones but its effectiveness is dependent on how they are positioned, as isolation from the external environment relates to this aspect. Therefore, the shape they have does not help ANC.
And if we were to compare them to other headphones with ANC, they rank in the top a bit lower, as they cannot completely isolate the user from outside sounds from 700 Hz upwards.
One of the strengths of these headphones is the call audio quality. This is due to the three microphones (one internal plus two external ones, one up and one down) along with the Voice Pickup sensor that uses accelerometer to detect jaw movements and converts vibration data into voice signals.
The implemented technology allows the caller to hear you more clearly during calls, even when you’re in noisy environments. I tried it and was told that my voice came through very clearly, even when listening to background music.
The autonomy of the headphones with ANC enabled is about 5 hours. For longer use of 6-8 hours, I recommend to turn it off and use the case which can provide another 2.5 charges.
The charge percentage is not visible until you use the app.
The case is rechargeable via USB-C cable and wirelessly. The headphones, on the other hand, also support fast charging, which allows you to get an hour of use with just 5 minutes of charging.
Verdict: Is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live worth it?
Galaxy Buds Live are headphones whose strong point is comfort. They can be worn for hours on end without being intrusive and, if positioned correctly, will withstand any kind of movement. The sound performance, without the limitations dictated by the nature of these headphones (as they are plugless), is very good, the same goes for the microphone. All in all, the Buds Live are headphones that we can define as successful. Samsung has managed to create some very different gadgets than what is currently available. They are very stylish and fashionable. They work well and leave you satisfied in terms of sound performance.