Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are the latest true wireless earbuds from Samsung, and they seem pretty damn good, despite a slightly iffy appearance. Samsung Galaxy
Buds Pro are the brand's latest effort to make a dent in the true wireless earbuds market dominance of Apple AirPods and, obviously, Apple AirPods Pro. How? By introducing a new feature that a lot of people will love, alongside audio quality and noise cancelling that are probably both highly proficient.
Galaxy Buds Pro are unveiled today alongside the new Samsung Galaxy S21 phones. That's at Samsung Unpacked, which is taking place at CES 2021. This is an online-only affair this year, as the halls of Las Vegas echo with the sound of broken dreams (and no people).
We were big fans of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, which came out last year. These Galaxy Pro Buds look like a big step up from them, however, despite their slightly toy-like appearance.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: price and release date
Pre-orders for Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are open now, with shipping and official on sale date being January 29.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro price: US $219, AU $349 or £219.
The buds come in Phantom Black (or 'black', as us boring squares call it), Phantom White ('white') and Phantom Violet ('violet').
• Buy Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro at Samsung.com (USA) (opens in new tab)
• Shop Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro in the UK (opens in new tab)
• Buy Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro in Australia (opens in new tab)
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: design and features
As you'd expect for a pair of flagship buds in 2021, Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro feature active noise cancelling (ANC). Samsung refers to this as Intelligent ANC, as opposed to stupid ANC, and it does seem to offer something genuinely smart, which I promise I will come to very shortly.
Samsung claims that Intelligent ANC blocks out 'up to 99%' of background noise, and you can raise and lower it to suit your surroundings. There are also four levels of 'Ambient sound', which lets through the sound of your surroundings so you are aware of what's going on.
But, adds Samsung, this is the game changer. Are you ready for this? Because Intelligent ANC can discern the difference between noise and speech, it can automatically turn ambient sound on and fade your music down when you start speaking. No touch controls or app buttons required.
If you're the sort of person who likes to have buds in all the time, this does seem like a very useful upgrade. Erm, obviously if you're the sort of person who takes their headphones off to speak to people, it's completely useless. However, particularly since the arrival of AirPods, there is an increasingly large percentage of the population who routinely wear earbuds while hanging out with friends, working in the office and, for all I know, rescuing people from house fires, probably.
For them, this part of Samsung Intelligent ANC could indeed be the game changer Samsung claims. Start chatting, music turns off. Finish chatting, music starts again 'at its original volume'. YES! Oh, and you can set the delay from when the music resumes at a more or less seamless 5 seconds, or a somewhat less seamless 10 or 15 seconds. Handy if you have friends who finish saying something, then realise there was something else they need to tell you.
As you'd expect, you can control EQ settings in the app as well, and fans of Bixby will be pleased to know that there is also Bixby voice control for the Galaxy Buds Pro. Woop.
Similarly to AirPods, Galaxy Buds Pro can automatically switch between compatible Samsung devices as needed. So, for instance, you can be watching a video on your Galaxy Tab, and the connection will switch if you receive a call on your Galaxy phone.
The design of the buds is in line with previous Samsung Galaxy true wireless earbuds. Which is to say they look a little plasticky, with their mixture of pearlescent and shiny surface textures, but are probably well made in actuality.
Previous Samsung Galaxy buds have all had very good sound quality and we would expect Galaxy Buds Pro to sound even better. We also expect them to get regular and hefty discounts, which in all honesty Buds Pro will probably need if they are to make inroads into Apple's overwhelmingly large market share.
Samsung is also emphasising that the fit is secure and comfortable, with a vented design that means they feel like earbuds rather than earplugs, even with noise cancelling turned on.