Review Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: quality sound without noise [análise/vídeo]

The Galaxy Buds became so well known for their direct rivalry with Apple that it was even strange that Samsung did not launch a noise-canceling in-ear model to compete with the AirPods Pro. That has just changed: the new headphones from the Korean manufacturer , predictably called Galaxy Buds Pro, promise to play music without letting the noises get in the way.

With a completely wireless design, a promise of five hours of battery life in noise canceling mode and many new features, Galaxy Buds Pro arrived in Brazil with a suggested price of R $ 1,399. Is it worth it? I listened to dozens of hours of music at Samsung’s launch in the past few weeks and count my impressions below.

Video review of Galaxy Buds Pro

Ethics notice

THE Tecnoblog it is an independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our analyzes are not intended for advertising, so they highlight the positive and negative points of each product. No company has paid, reviewed or had early access to this content.

The Galaxy Buds Pro was provided by Samsung on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.

Design and comfort

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The Galaxy Buds Pro is discreet in the ear and resembles the shape of the first Galaxy Buds, which also do not leave any legs out. The outside, which is touch sensitive, has the same mirror finish as the Galaxy Buds Live. Samsung’s promotional images make it look like this region follows the same shade of violet as the rest of the headset, but it tends to silver. It is not as elegant as bronze, but it is beautiful and it is the color I would choose.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

For the Galaxy Buds Pro to fit different sized ears, Samsung sends two extra pairs of silicone eartips. In my case, the pre-installed rubber was comfortable and sealed the ear well, as I comment below. At first, I didn’t feel as secure in the fixation as in Samsung beans, but it was just a matter of custom: the headphones didn’t fall out of my ear even during a run.

A very welcome addition to the Galaxy Buds Pro is the IPX7 certification of water resistance, to ensure that the headphones will not spoil even if you accidentally drop them in a puddle. Both Galaxy Buds + and Galaxy Buds Live were IPX2, meaning they had only basic splash protection, like light rain.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The case has an internal and an external LED to indicate the charging status and can supply the pair of headphones two and a half times. As with other Galaxy Buds, the USB-C port is on the back for anyone who wants to charge the case via cable, and Samsung has maintained compatibility with the Qi standard, which can be useful especially if you have a battery-sharing phone wireless, like those in the Galaxy S line.

Software and functions

As for the software, Samsung gave it to Apple and launched exclusive functions for those who are in the Galaxy ecosystem. One is automatic switching: if you’re watching a movie on your tablet and get a call, Galaxy Buds Pro switches to your cell phone alone, without you having to touch anything. The other is 360-degree audio, which tracks the movement of your head to reproduce a three-dimensional sound. Both require devices with One UI 3.1, still present in a few cell phones.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The Galaxy Wearable app, which allows you to equalize the headphones and customize the touch commands, remains available for any Android. Strangely, the tool still didn’t work with Galaxy Buds Pro on the iPhone while I was doing this review. It’s a throwback, as Galaxy Buds + and Galaxy Buds Live were compatible from the early days.

In Galaxy Wearable, you can switch between noise canceling and ambient sound modes, including adjusting how much external noise you want to miss. A great feature is the one that activates the ambient sound mode alone when detecting that you are talking, eliminating the need to take the headphones off when you want to talk to someone (as long as the other person does not bother with it). It is not perfect and sometimes misses detection, but it can be useful in the office.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Like AirPods, Galaxy Buds Pro is somewhat limited if you are not immersed in the manufacturer’s ecosystem. It is nice to be able to call the voice assistant just by speaking the activation command, or consult the location of the headphones if you eventually lose them. But again: this will only work if your phone is a Galaxy.

Sound and microphone quality

The sound of the Galaxy Buds Pro is one of the best I’ve heard in a fully wireless headset. It represents a great evolution in relation to the Galaxy Buds +, Samsung’s latest model with in-ear format, and can please the ear of more people than the AirPods Pro, which are even more expensive in the Brazilian market.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

At 1000 Doves, by Lady Gaga, the beats were present, without exaggerating how some headphones admittedly turned to bass, but in a more pronounced way than on Galaxy Buds +. In the middle, the power and nuances of the singer’s voice are very noticeable, with a texture that brings a sense of detail in the right measure, without appearing too harsh. I noticed a sparkle in the treble that can bother some people, but this is the type of feature that usually pleases me and is on the same level as other Samsung headphones.

In Face to Face, from Daft Punk (I miss you), I felt that the low frequencies messed up the presentation a little bit, partly because the blows were a little soft, especially in comparison with the AirPods Pro, which have drier beats and less presence, which helps to avoid that. With the equalizer in Dynamic mode, which slightly reduced the presence of the bass, but without taking away the fun, the sound was more to my liking.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The curious thing is that, for my ears, the Galaxy Buds Pro worked very well with the standard equalization in the My Sacrifice, by Creed, which has more agitated parts, with cymbals, guitars and vocals that easily turn into an unpleasant amalgam on certain headphones. The presentation was excellent from start to finish, with great body and detail. The fact that Samsung added a woofer for the bass and a tweeter for the other frequencies may have contributed to this performance.

Samsung is to be congratulated on the sound quality, and the capture is not far behind. There are three microphones (one internal and two external) that record the voice clearly, especially considering that he has no leg turned towards his mouth like other headphones. Bluetooth compression, which impairs the definition and brings a slightly metallic aspect to the lines, is present, but at a very low level, which still allows the person on the other side to understand you perfectly.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Noise and battery cancellation

The big news of Galaxy Buds Pro is, without a doubt, active noise cancellation. I had already sampled Samsung’s ANC technology on Galaxy Buds Live and I liked what I heard, considering that we were talking about an open-format headset, which would never be able to eliminate as much noise as an in-ear headset. So I had very high expectations for the new model. And they were answered.

Galaxy Buds Pro made my working days on hot afternoons calmer by being extremely adept at eliminating high-pitched noises, such as those emitted by a portable air-conditioning inverter compressor, that AirPods Pro let a little while pass. It also means that sudden noises, like voices, sirens and motorcycles passing by on the street, will be less noticeable when you have Galaxy Buds Pro in your ears.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

As we are not traveling and the more traditional noise cancellation test cannot be performed, I played an airplane cabin sound on the office speaker, a Sonos Play: 5. The conclusion is that AirPods Pro are even better in this scenario, but the disadvantage of Galaxy Buds Pro is very small, and you will still have a great experience listening to music without the noise of an engine bothering you.

The battery left me with a bit of disappointment. Samsung promises five hours of continuous playback in noise-canceling mode, which is within the market average, but the Galaxy Buds Pro, with 50% volume, only lasted 4h26min, below the official estimate. I repeated the test and the result got worse: the right side died after 4:04 am, almost an hour less than promised.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

This intrigued me, because the manufacturers tend to underestimate the autonomy of their headphones, disclosing a smaller number than the real one. Galaxy Buds + itself was an example: it had an 11-hour promise, but it held up to 12:33 in my tests, a sensational duration. The problem with a fully wireless headset that lasts less than promised in the first few days of use is that, with the natural wear and tear of the battery over the months, the autonomy tends to get even worse.

Turning off noise cancellation, the Galaxy Buds Pro lasted 8h34min – now, above the manufacturer’s 8-hour promise. This result indicates that either Samsung overestimated the autonomy of the headphones in ANC mode, or the noise cancellation algorithm is not yet optimized and can be improved in future updates to consume less battery.

When the battery runs out, at least the supply is fast. After resetting the charge, I put the headphones in the case and, 15 minutes later, the battery was already 49%, enough for two more hours of music in noise canceling mode. Levels reached 80% after 40 minutes and 100% after 1h15min. The case can give up to 2.5 full charges on each phone, so total autonomy is sufficient for most people.

It is worth it?

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Galaxy Buds Pro is an excellent choice for true wireless headphones with active noise cancellation. The comparison with AirPods Pro is inevitable, as it became clear during the review, because the Apple model is the one that sells the most globally. Samsung managed to deliver as much quality as the competition, only by charging a less salty price and with pampering for those within the Galaxy ecosystem.

Note that I mentioned “ecosystem” three times during the analysis. For me, Galaxy Buds Pro, more than a new phone, signals a change in positioning from Samsung, which had already made some features of Galaxy Watch watches exclusive to Galaxy phone owners. If you were used to a Samsung agnostic and more open than Apple, you may be disappointed. On the other hand, it offers the best musical experience so far for those who have a branded cell phone.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (Image: Paulo Higa / Tecnoblog)

The launch price of R $ 1,399 for the Galaxy Buds Pro is difficult to swallow because the Galaxy Buds +, at the time of publication of this review, was found for around R $ 500 in retail, a real bargain. Fortunately, as with previous Samsung headsets, the trend is that the value will drop over time. And, even if I have to accept a lower battery, I would certainly pay about 30% or 40% more for noise cancellation and better sound quality.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Pros

  • Good water resistance (IPX7)
  • Active efficient noise cancellation
  • Compact and safe design in the ear
  • Microphone with good pickup quality
  • Great sound for those who like a fuller audio

Cons

  • Battery life in ANC mode is not that good
  • I still need to get used to a closed Samsung like Apple

Technical specifications

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0;
  • Codecs: AAC, SBC, Scalable;
  • Batteries:
    • Wireless charging case: 28 hours of sound (ANC off) and 20 hours of sound (ANC on);
    • Galaxy Buds Pro (each side): 5 hours of sound (noise canceling enabled), 8 hours of sound (noise canceling disabled) and 4 hours of talk;
  • Sensors: two external microphones, an internal microphone, wind filter, proximity, accelerometer and gyroscope;
  • Compatibility: Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets with One UI 3.1 or higher (for quick switching between devices and 360 degree audio);
  • Protection: against submersion in water (IPX7);
  • Dimensions:
    • Wireless charging case: 27.8x50x50.2 mm;
    • Galaxy Buds Pro (each side): 20.5 × 19.5 × 20.8 mm;
  • Weight:
    • Wireless charging case: 44.9 grams;
    • Galaxy Buds Pro (each side): 6.3 grams.

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