Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: with noise cancelling, 'all-day' battery and a loose fit, it's an AirPods killer AND an AirPods Pro killer. Maybe.

So, Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Beans turn out to be called Galaxy Buds Live

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
(Image credit: Samsung)

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.

Sony WH-1000XM4 review

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 and get a free wireless charging pad

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

L-r: Mystic white, mystic bronze, mystic black. Obviously. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

Priced at $169.99 or £179, the Galaxy Buds Live 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, 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…

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.

• Buy Galaxy Buds Live now for $169/£179 and get a free wireless charging pad!

How to buy EVERYTHING from Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020

(Image credit: EE)

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.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."