It looks like a bean, but it’s a headset. THE Galaxy Buds Live is the novelty of Samsung in the audio segment and comes with a different proposal from the previous models of the line. While the old Galaxy Buds were in-ear and were very discreet in the ear, the launch of the Korean brand does not go unnoticed and has a shape that does not penetrate the ear canal.
Despite the open design, Galaxy Buds Live is also Samsung’s first fully wireless headset with active noise cancellation. Does the technology work well in this format? Is the sound quality good? What about battery life? I tested Samsung’s news in the past few days and count my impressions in the next few minutes.
Review of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live phone on video
THE Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.
No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. Galaxy Buds Live was provided by Samsung on loan. The product will be returned to the company after testing.
Design and comfort
It seems that Samsung wanted to do something different from everyone, on purpose. Whether she wanted it or not, she did it: Galaxy Buds Live is a very strange headset at first glance due to its unique design, which does not resemble anything I have seen. Looking at it from a distance, the bean gives the impression that it would not fit the ear at all, but it is not only well attached but also very comfortable.
Even with its peculiar shape and bronze color, with a shiny finish that resembles metal, the Galaxy Buds Live is relatively discreet because it leaves no legs out of the ear; it certainly draws less attention than AirPods. The Samsung model also proved to be quite stable in my ears, not falling even during my morning runs.
Because it doesn’t have a silicone tip to isolate external noise, Galaxy Buds Live brings a sense of openness that makes sense when you’re walking on the street and you don’t want to totally disconnect from the world so you don’t get hit. It is also an alternative for those who feel uncomfortable with in-ear models.
Each side of Galaxy Buds Live has a touch sensor to advance music, answer a call, turn on personal assistant or set up active noise cancellation. The carrying case is a compact square and can be charged either via the USB-C port or by a Qi standard wireless charger, which is useful especially if you have a cell phone with reverse induction charging.
Software and functions
Galaxy Buds Live can be controlled by an application for Android and iPhone. In addition to showing the battery level of the case and on each side of the earpiece, the adjustments are very simple: you can enable active noise cancellation, choose sound presets in the equalizer and configure the actions performed by playing one, two or three times on the phone.
Labs is the place where Samsung gathers experimental resources, such as an option that lets part of the ambient sound pass through to avoid the sensation of pressure in the ear in more sensitive people. On Android, a game mode is also available, which reduces phone latency. I just missed an existing function in Galaxy Buds + that allows you to control the volume with touches at the edges.
Sound and microphone quality
The sound of Galaxy Buds Live surprised me in the first few seconds. Not because it is good or bad, but because it is very different from what I expected. The open shape of the headphones, without silicone tips to isolate external noise, tends to reduce the bass and make the sound more airy, with a larger opening than in the earbuds. That is not what happens here.
Possibly to compensate for the loss in low frequencies, Samsung reinforced the bass on the Galaxy Buds Live, giving them plenty of space in the presentation. In Nobody’s Love, from Maroon 5, I get tired of hearing beats, which are significantly more prominent than on AirPods. Although they do not have as much depth as in a headphone with large speakers, the bass has a body and is felt in the beginning of Radio Ga Ga, from Queen.
Only the phone sounds a little unbalanced to my ears. The big problem is that he can’t handle the middle and middle highs as well as I would expect from a good earbud. Circles, from Post Malone, seems very congested on Galaxy Buds Live, with the vocal being constantly invaded by the other instruments. It is curious that Galaxy Buds +, which theoretically would be more closed by the in-ear format, is more open and clear than Live.
The equalizer allows you to make the sound more like the customer, but does not create a new phone. Even in the Nítido option, the beats still have their privileged space, at the same time that the hiss in the voices starts to bother me. Regardless of the equalization, Galaxy Buds Live can please many people, but if your sound preferences are similar to mine, it will be difficult to really like his sound.
The three microphones are very good, within the expectations of a Bluetooth headset and considering that it does not have legs turned towards the mouth like the AirPods. The voice is picked up more clearly than in Galaxy Buds +, and the person on the other end of the line can understand what is being said, even in noisy environments.
Noise and battery cancellation
Active noise cancellation is the feature I was most curious about testing. It is not so difficult to make this technology work minimally efficiently in a circumaural headphone or in-ear phone, because passive isolation helps a lot. But how good is the feature in an earbud that does not enter the ear canal? It is better than I expected, but much worse than the competition, for obvious reasons.
If you are aware of the limitations of active noise cancellation on a headset that doesn’t seal your ear, Galaxy Buds Live does a pretty good job. Don’t expect it to reduce the next chat or the warning of the next metro station, but the background noise and more constant sounds, such as engines, are mitigated by the feature.
In an earbud, this is useful because it eliminates the need to turn up the volume so much in the midst of everyday noise, which can be very damaging to the ears in the long run. However, as expected, the active noise cancellation of Galaxy Buds Live is nowhere near the AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3.
As for the battery, Samsung promises a six-hour autonomy on a single charge and in active noise cancellation mode. In my tests, paired with a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and with 50% volume, enough to listen well indoors, Galaxy Buds Live held up exactly 7h04min before hanging up due to lack of load, an excellent duration.
Galaxy Buds Live is not for everyone. It is more difficult to please than the Galaxy Buds + because, in addition to being a more expensive phone, it has a different proposal. The open design is interesting for some people, but it has limitations: in addition to not isolating external noise well, it will never offer you the immersion and detail of a good in-ear headset. And, if you have a small ear or a lot outside the standards tested by Samsung, there is no guarantee that it will fit right.
Sound quality is a divisor of opinions: in any group of people, Galaxy Buds Live will never be unanimous. I understand who likes this style of audio and it makes sense from a marketing point of view, but it is not something that gets me down: to me, it gets sick after the first few minutes and makes it seem like they have put a filter between the music and my ears.
I would only recommend Galaxy Buds Live to anyone looking for a fully wireless headset and does not do well with in-ear headphones. If you have no problems with a silicone tip inside your ear, it is better to save some change and go to the Galaxy Buds +, which will have more battery and more balanced sound. For those who want to cancel the noise, the best in format remain AirPods Pro.
Despite the regrets, it is quite impressive to see what Samsung managed to do in a headset with such a peculiar shape. Not to mention that any attempt to escape the sameness of the market, while many other companies limit themselves to making cheaper copies of the AirPods, should be celebrated. I wouldn’t buy Galaxy Buds Live, but maybe in a second generation?