“Open” ANC sounds strange, and as you might expect, it does not work as well as true wireless models with ear tips that create a seal. Based on my early tests, I can know when ANC is active in the Galaxy Buds app, but the feature does not do much to block what is happening around me. More often than not, I just take things into my own hands with more volume. Not so good for your hearing.
Grasping the noise cancellation aside, Samsung’s claims that these are the “most ergonomic headphones yet”
Touch controls are located on the outside and give you access to play / pause, skip thanks and answer calls. These core controls are mirrored on both sides. You also have the option to turn the ANC on / off with a long press, or you can assign that action to volume controls, Spotify (Samsung devices) or access to your voice assistant. Speaking of voice controls, Galaxy Buds Live always gives you Bixby for the first time. Just like Apple does for AirPods, you do not have to press a button to call Samsung’s assistant. Just type your commands and Bixby will do his thing. And do not worry, you can disable access-free touch if you want to save some battery time.
For calls, Samsung says that Galaxy Buds Live’s three beam-forming microphones focus on your voice and reduce clutter in the background. The company explains that its technology is automatically adapted to keep the emphasis on your words rather than what is happening around you. Of course, the actual results can vary greatly in terms of real wireless earbuds, but we will be sure to test these claims during our review.
Just like Galaxy Buds +, Galaxy Buds Live will work with Samsung audio apps on both Android and iOS. This means that iPhone users have access to most of the earbuds’ important functions – except always at Bixby, of course. With the app, you can choose from a collection of audio presets, enable ANC, disable or customize touch controls, find lost headphones and more. Samsung also offers a Buds Together feature that lets you connect two sets of earbuds to a device so you can listen to music or any movie … together (devices running One UI 2.5 or later).
In terms of battery life, Samsung promises eight hours with both ANC and Bixby always disabled (21 hours in the case). With only noise reduction mode, that number is reduced to six and a half hours. Add hands-free Bixby and you’ll be watching for six hours. A fast-charging feature gives you an hour of listening time of five minutes, and the Galaxy Bud’s Live Case supports wireless charging with Qi-certified accessories. Yes, you can even load it on the back of the new Note 20. We will test all of these numbers and offer our detailed impressions in a full review soon.
Finally, Galaxy Buds Live is IPX2-ranked. There is not much protection against moisture – only certified to resist water drops. It is probably enough if you briefly get stuck outside during a light rain and to protect the earmuffs against semi-sweaty workouts. Everything else and you may be in trouble. However, given how these only sit on the outside of the ear, they are probably not the best option for physical activity.
Galaxy Buds Live will be available tomorrow, August 6, for $ 170. You can choose from bronze, white and black color options – whatever best suits your Samsung phone or smartwatch.