Galaxy Buds Pro Review • Almost unbeatable in quality and sound
Tech Week score:
While the Galaxy Buds Live has noise cancellation, it hasn’t been particularly effective in this form factor. The situation is completely different with the Galaxy Buds Pro (price: $ 200).
They are the most technologically advanced and functional Samsung wireless headphones to date. Galaxy Buds Pro are equipped with ANC active noise cancellation, 360 Audio surround sound and many convenient features, making them a worthy competitor to Apple’s AirPods Pro.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are not the affordable and great value proposition that the other Galaxy Buds are, however Samsung can surprise you with the sound quality and performance of these headphones.
Galaxy Buds Pro design
Undoubtedly, the Galaxy Buds Live has a unique design. This is the glossy “bean” that has inspired countless memes by columnists. Their unique shape provides a secure fit in the ear, while the earbud does not press on the inside of the ear, so you continue to feel comfortable even after long listening sessions.
In the Galaxy Buds Pro, Samsung has combined the graceful curves of the Live with the small size and teardrop shape of the original Galaxy Buds. The result is tiny earbuds that are shaped and sized to provide not only a secure and comfortable fit, but also passive noise isolation.
Galaxy Buds Pro is the most complete embodiment of Samsung’s true wireless headphone concept. Unfortunately, they turned out to be more expensive than all previous attempts by the developer. The sound quality is the best of any Galaxy Buds, and finally the efficient ANC mode works well. Nice details like Bixby’s voice control, automatic noise cancellation to pass-through when you speak, and wireless charging round out the attractive Pro package.
Another design touch of the Galaxy Buds Live is the glossy appearance, which the Buds Pro also inherits. Each earbud has a touchpad on the outside that captures all your touches and long presses to control music playback and phone calls. The inside of the drop plug has a matte finish that matches the color of the earbuds. Last but not least, Samsung opted for the same charging case shape for the new earbuds as the Galaxy Buds Live. The Buds and Buds + models were supplied in oval-shaped cases.
There are two microphones on the outside, the one closest to your face is protected by a special technology that Samsung calls Wind Shield technology. The Buds Pro generally fit better to the ear, so the impact of wind on the external microphone is noticeably reduced compared to the Buds and Buds +. And the special Wind Shield coating enhances protection from wind and other weather conditions that interfere with talking on the phone. When combined with another external microphone and a third microphone on the back of the earphone, these components work together to block out noise as part of the ANC noise cancellation system.
If you’re looking for wireless sports headphones, keep in mind that the Galaxy Buds Pro can handle intense workouts with ease. They are IPX7 waterproof (transcript: you can immerse the headphones in water, up to 1 meter deep, for up to 30 minutes). The charging case is not waterproof, but the earplugs themselves are the highest water resistant of any Galaxy Buds.
Galaxy Wearable app
As with previous Samsung headphones, the Galaxy Wearable app lets you customize all sorts of button functions and playback options for the Galaxy Buds Pro. Battery information is displayed at the very top of the home page, so you won’t need to search for it in any section.
The Noise Control section can be attributed to one of the key menus in the companion application, and this is where you can switch between ANC modes, transparent sound, or completely disable them and activate standard listening mode. Samsung offers you two levels of noise cancellation, high and low, and four levels of ambient sound skip. Finally, in this section, you can turn off voice detection, a feature that automatically lowers the music volume and switches the headphones from ANC mode to ambient sound mode when you start speaking.
In the app, you can turn off touchpad controls if you need to. You also have the ability to change the purpose of the touch and long press at any time, and the Galaxy Wearable app will help you with this. Samsung doesn’t provide many options here, but you can change the default noise control (switching between ANC and ambient sound) to call the voice assistant, as well as volume control or one-touch access to your favorite Spotify playlist.
As usual, Samsung gives you access to some additional features in the “Labs” section of the app. Here you will find the low latency Gaming Mode. In the “Advanced” section, you can enable / disable Bixby voice control (wake up Bixby after a command), automatically switch to other devices in your Samsung account, or adjust the equalizer for the left / right earbud.
Samsung offers you the ability to find your lost Galaxy Buds Pro headphones with SmartThings Find. This app can help even if the headphones are disconnected from Bluetooth or offline. SmartThings Find provides a map with detailed directions and can play a beep to help you find your headphones.
Galaxy Buds Pro sound quality
During the Galaxy Buds Pro presentation this week, Samsung spent a lot of time highlighting the two-way speaker technology. The manufacturer claims that these headphones have “the most complete and balanced sound” of any device in the wireless headphone line. After spending a week with them, we can tell you that this statement is certainly true.
Inside the wireless enclosure is an 11mm woofer that handles low frequencies, while a 6.5mm tweeter delivers crisp highs. The result is a wide soundstage for the listener with true depth and clarity across the entire frequency range.
The vocals stand out on this stage, it literally penetrates even the most chaotic and “noisy” genres, such as prog-rock and metal. For example, in Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd, you can clearly hear the choir, which sounds open and atmospheric against the backdrop of bombastic drums and droning guitars. In testing with the Note 10+, we found that every genre here sounds detailed and well-formed, no conciseness or harshness as is often the case with Bluetooth headphones. When we switched from Note to iPhone, the results weren’t quite as impressive, but the sound quality is still good. But in “multi-layered” genres, details are literally confused along the way.
Thanks to the special shape of the Galaxy Buds Pro eartips, the ANC quality is noticeably improved compared to the Galaxy Buds Live. Active Noise Isolation (+ passive silicone and teardrop isolation) blocks out constant background noise such as dishwasher or fan hum. As with most things, this ANC does not do the job of completely muffling the active telephone conversation of the person next to you, but it is better than nothing.
In the Galaxy Wearable app, Samsung offers a selection of equalizer presets if you’re one of those users looking for something beyond the default sound. There is no adjustable “manual” EQ here, so your options are limited. And in our experience, the sound profile that the manufacturer has set by default is, in any case, best suited for most genres.
To offer an alternative to the spatial sound of Apple’s AirPods Pro, Samsung developed 360 Audio and added this technology to the Galaxy Buds Pro. The Galaxy Buds Pro’s surround sound is the same as Apple’s most expensive earbuds. Built-in accelerometers use Dolby Head Tracking technology to create more immersive audio with Dolby Atmos content. The idea is to simulate surround sound by fixing the position of your head so you can “feel” that the music surrounds you no matter how you move.
Call quality on Galaxy Buds Pro
As always, Samsung is pushing call quality with improvements to the microphone technology of its latest headphones. Many companies do this, but they end up with mediocre results in practice. Samsung says the system in the Galaxy Buds Pro can eliminate unwanted noise using a combination of three microphones and an accelerometer or Voice Pickup Unit (VPU). What’s more, one of the external microphones is tuned for a high Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR), which allows it to better focus on your voice rather than any sounds from your surroundings.
We decided to check the quality of communication on Buds Pro ourselves. During a conversation, the voice of the interlocutor sounds clear and loud (if everything is in order with the connection), there is a slight echo effect, it feels like the person has turned on the speakerphone. You have probably come across this if at least once tried to talk on the phone using in-ear headphones. Also, the person on the other end of the line said that he heard a little background noise, but it never got louder than the voice.
As previously mentioned, Samsung has also equipped the Galaxy Buds Pro with Wind Shield technology, which should help your voice sound louder and clearer when you need to take a phone call outdoors. Definitely, wind noise always has a bad effect on the quality of telephone conversations in headphones, so even a slight improvement and help here will not be superfluous.
Galaxy Buds Pro battery life
Bearing in mind that the developer always wants to show its best, we decided to confirm the battery life information that Samsung has provided. During the official release, the company announced that you can listen to music from the Galaxy Buds Pro for five hours with ANC and Bixby voice control enabled. During testing we hit the bull’s-eye almost every time, plus or minus five minutes. Taking into account the charge of the case, the total listening time should be approximately 18 hours.
If you need the best performance possible, disabling ANC and Bixby voice prompts will let you extend these headphones up to 8 hours, or 28 hours with the charging case. What’s more, Samsung’s Fast Charge feature gives you five additional hours of listening time in just five minutes.
AirPods Pro vs Galaxy Buds Pro comparison
Clearly Samsung was trying to create a competitor for the AirPods Pro. This can be understood even from the fact that they still named their new model Galaxy Buds Pro . Price, performance and sound quality match the premium range of Apple’s popular headphones. With the addition of silicone earpieces, AirPods Pro are more comfortable than the base model, plus Siri voice control, quick pairing and wireless charging are also included. AirPods Pro offer automatic device switching and 3D audio, so if you’re looking for something more than many other headphones in terms of immersive audio – and you’re an iPhone user – you should consider the AirPods Pro instead of the Galaxy Buds Pro.
When it comes to other wireless headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is still one of the best options. Since their introduction in 2019, only a few companies have come close to offering the combination of sound quality, noise cancellation and additional features that Sony has incorporated into its flagship model. For those who care about sound quality first, Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 is a great option. The company has put all its energy into creating a formula for clarity, detail and frequency balance, and fit it into tiny headphones.
Galaxy Buds Pro Conclusion
Galaxy Buds Pro is Samsung’s complete suite of advanced wireless headphone technologies. The sound quality of these earplugs surpasses all previous Galaxy Buds, with a really effective ANC mode being the highlight. Features such as voice control of the Bixby assistant, automatic switching between playback modes and wireless headphone charging rank the Buds Pro as the best wireless headphone available today. The Galaxy Buds Pro will need 360 Audio to compete with the AirPods Pro, and it’s coming soon. With this set of features, fans of the Samsung Galaxy series finally have a premium audio accessory to match their tech flagships.