Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have been announced as part of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 launch at Samsung Unpacked 2020. The original Samsung Galaxy Buds were by no means amazing, but the new version looks to be taking the fight to the Apple AirPods Pro and the standard Apple AirPods, in an audacious bid to be crowned THE best true wireless earbuds.
They do this by sitting quite loosely in your ear so you can hear 'ambient sounds' – that's 'the world around you' in English – like AirPods but also have noise cancelling, like AirPods Pro. Cunning.
Samsung has gone with the name Galaxy Buds Live rather than the mooted Galaxy Buds 2. Because they are 2 Live 4 U. Another working name for these buds was Galaxy Beans, and Samsung Galaxy Buds Live undoubtedly look quite like blingy beans. But will this legume shake the room?
• Pre-order Galaxy Buds Live now for $169/£179 (opens in new tab) and get a free wireless charging pad
Priced at $169.99 or £179, the Galaxy Buds Live (opens in new tab) come in Mystic White, Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze – a sort of advanced rose gold – and Mystic Meg – an elderly British astrologer.
This makes Galaxy Buds Live more expensive than the existing Galaxy Buds Plus (opens in new tab), which cost $149. Buds Plus are more traditional, in-ear buds that block out noise rather than actively cancelling it.
Galaxy Buds Live claim up to six hours of battery life with ANC and Bixby (LOL) turned on, with the battery case giving a further 15 hours. Turn Bixby and the noise cancelling off and you'll get eight hours – 29 with case recharges. There doesn't appear to be an option to turn Bixby off but keep ANC on.
Samsung describes this as 'all-day' battery life, and who am I to point out that days traditionally last longer than six hours?
Charging can be done wirelessly with a standard Qi pad or compatible Galaxy or other Phone, and Samsung is offering a free charging pad if you pre-order NOW, so get on with it.
Despite being noise cancelling buds, Galaxy Buds Live sit just in your ears – more like Apple's original AirPods than the more deeply penetrating – excuse me – AirPods Pro. So you can hear what's going on around you.
The noise cancelling on Galaxy Buds Live is meant to cut out annoying, rumbly frequencies – ie: the noises made by airplanes, trains and boring people. As noted above, the design means they do this while at the same time letting in ambient sound. Cool idea.
At Samsung Unpacked, Samsung stated that the buds give superior call quality to 'another popular earbud' – whatever could that be? That's due to the same advanced mics and tech used for cancelling noise on your music.
The buds also allow easy sharing of your music with other people who have Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. This is a standard Bluetooth 5.0 feature but it may be more straightforward/slick if you both have Galaxy phones.
Rated IPX2 for water and sweat resistance, Samsung Galaxy Buds will probably perform adequately as workout buds but won't stand up to rain storms, extreme sweatiness, or immersion in the post-gym shower. They won't be among the best running headphones.
The unkind might say that having a pair of bronze broad beans in your ear is probably not likely to to be as appealing to people as the iconic AirPods, but time will tell.
If you pre-order selected phones or tablets from the newly announced Samsung Galaxy Note range, you can pick up a pair for free which seems like a good deal…
- Shure Aonic 50 review – among the very best noise cancelling headphones
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: release date and price
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are available to pre-order now in Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black. They will ship August 20.
How to buy EVERYTHING from Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020
UK readers: pre-order a new Samsung Galaxy S20 phone or Galaxy Tab now and you can get your choice of Xbox accessories and Xbox Game Passes, wireless charging pads, and even the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live or Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus for free.
The quality of the offers varies according to the expensiveness of the Samsung Galaxy products you're buying, naturally.
- Pre-order the new Samsung Galaxy Note20 or Note20 Ultra 5G at EE and get 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with a free Xbox controller and wireless charging stand OR Samsung Galaxy Buds+ with the Galaxy Note20 or Galaxy Buds Live with the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order at O2 and get the same deal (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order at Carphone Warehouse and get the same deals (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order Samsung Galaxy Note 20 range at Sky Mobile and get the same deals (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order on GiffGaff and get the same deals (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order Galaxy Note 20 range at Samsung and get the same deals (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order Galaxy Tab S7 or S7+ at Samsung and get a free Claim a Book Cover or a Games Pack (opens in new tab)
- Pre-order Galaxy Watch 3 at Samsung and get a Wireless Charger Duo Pad worth £89.99 (opens in new tab)