It has been happening for a while now, but in case you hadn’t noticed still, Samsung has quietly and efficiently gone about making a very strong case as serious wireless earbuds options. It started with the Galaxy Buds some time ago, and ever since then, we have seen step by step enhancements with the Galaxy Buds+, the uniquely shared Galaxy Buds Live with the present and temporary culmination of this journey at the Galaxy Buds Pro. Priced at Rs 15,990 at this time, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sit at the very top of Samsung’s current wireless earbuds lineup. For context, the Galaxy Buds Live are priced at Rs 11,990 while the Galaxy Buds+ cost Rs 8,990.
The party piece of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, for a lot of users, would be the intelligent Noise Cancellation option. For some, it could be the 360-degree immersive audio option, something many folks may have looked at in envy as the Apple AirPods Pro did well in the not-too-distant past. Among other things. Now, Android phone users can enjoy something similar, for a more affordable outlay. I have to say, and you may hold me responsible for a spoiler alert, but the Galaxy Buds Pro are Samsung’s greatest wireless earbuds, yet. I have no doubt that the next will take another step forward, that is just the trailblazing path that Samsung is on, with audio these days. Good timing too, because almost everyone seems to want one of these wireless earbuds options.
The design of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is a mix of the Galaxy Buds Live and the Galaxy Buds+. The in-ear fit and the earbud design is inspired by the Galaxy Buds+ while the charging is reminiscent of what we saw with the Galaxy Buds Live. Convention and wider appeal are perhaps why Samsung have gone back to a more conventional earbuds design, and it absolutely works. However, I would personally like to see the bean-inspired buds, the Galaxy Buds Live, be an inspiration again. For what they are, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sit very nicely in the ear. They are light, a snug fit after you’ve selected the correct eartips for yourself and the design tweaks mean less part of the buds themselves touch the innards of your ear.
The other important Galaxy Buds Live follow-through, apart from the charging case, is the air vent on each earbud. This not only eases the pressure on the ear if you happen to wear these for a long time, but also helps the audio sound wider and more spaced out instead of being hemmed in tight confines. All said and done, I must appreciate how lightly these buds sit in the ears and don’t really jut out like a lot of other earbuds with similar designs do. It is really helpful that Samsung have given us the option to turn off accidental touches—these can be a bit irritating if something gets registered as you are adjusting the earbuds.
There are multiple colour options available for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. And these have been primed to match your Samsung Galaxy S21 series phone, in a way. You can choose between Phantom Black, Phantom Violet and Phantom Silver, perhaps to match your new phone too. There might just be argument that unless you buy the violet buds, the Galaxy Buds Pro won’t exactly be easily distinguished apart from the predecessors. And that argument does hold merit. Yet, it shouldn’t really weigh on your decision.
I must talk a bit about how each earbud is configured. On the outside, you’ll see a mesh grille, and that is the chamber where the microphone sits. This has been designed to minimize wind noise, in case you are trying to have a phone conversation or try to say something to Bixby, while out and about. This is the direction in which the voice pickup unit sits. I’ve already mentioned this, on the inner side of the buds is an air vent, the advantages of which you’ll notice when wearing the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for longer durations at a stretch. Inside each bud is a 6.5mm tweeter for vocals and treble and an 11mm woofer for the lower frequencies. These have been tuned by AKG. There is also another array of mics which work in tandem with the outward facing mic, to hear you call out.
Noise cancellation is where Samsung has really expanded the feature set. It had to, considering there’s the example set by the Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Apple AirPods Pro, in terms of blocking out the ambient noise. It is just the demand of the times. What Samsung have therefore given the Galaxy Buds Pro is a multi-layered noise cancellation (that is high and low levels), a transparency mode and a very cool “voice detect” feature. In the low noise cancellation setting, the buds do a fairly good job of isolating you from noises that may be emanating from a distance (a sign of the noisy country we live in). Yet, you’ll have to dial it up to the high setting in really noisy environments. Perhaps my ears are too sensitive from the persistent nerve and bone issues, but I did feel a definite extra pressure build up almost immediately. Though you don’t notice as much in a while as your ears also get used to it. This is where the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro block out pretty much every irritating ambient noise.
Many wireless earbuds do noise cancellation, and most do it well enough. Yet, there is the standout element called voice detect, which automatically lowers the volume of whatever it is that you may be listening to at that time and also switched the noise cancellation mode to ambient mode, irrespective of the ANC setting at that time. This is extremely slick, convenient and in my experience, worked seamlessly every single time. The way this works is that it uses the voice pickup unit as well as accelerometers in the buds to detect facial movement when you speak. I never found the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro stumbling and thinking someone else speaking in the ambience to be me instead. Yet, every time I said something, this kicked in. To be honest, it is super convenient to not have to manually pause or worse still, have to take the buds out of the ear. You can even choose the duration for the voice detect feature to remain in-force every time your voice is detected, such as 5 seconds or 10 seconds.
The 360 audio is another interesting element to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. This uses the head tracking technology, something very similar to the way the Apple AirPods Pro handle this wider audio experience. While testing this with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy S21+ running the newest One UI, which you need for 360-degree audio to work, there was a definite difference with this enabled. Yet, I have to say that a lot will depend on whether the app you are using for music or for watching movies and TV shows, is able to deliver the experience. Any force push towards 360-degree experience will not sound the same as something that’s optimized for it.
For all the promise on the spec sheet, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro does also sound great out of the box. It tries to build from a neutral sound signature, yet at the same time, I noticed and quite appreciated the soft sound that these buds deliver. The harshness that a lot of buds deliver alongside vocals and higher frequencies, is nicely chopped off. The Samsung Wearable app also has the EQ presets that you can choose from—Bass Boost is what some music afficionados may want. Speaking of the app, this is available for Android devices on the Google Play Store, but there is no app for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for the Apple iPhone just yet (true at the time of writing this). There is app support for the previous generation Galaxy Buds options, and chances are that by the time you read this, the app and support would be available for the iPhone.
In terms of the battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro deliver on the claims. Since most of my listening was with the noise cancellation turned off, these buds lasted close to 8 hours before the case was needed to juice them up. If you use noise cancellation a lot, you’ll still get about 5 hours of battery life from the buds. The case delivers 13 more hours with noise cancellation on and up to 18 hours more with it off.
The Last Word: Enough Inspiration From The Elders, But Its Own Identity
No matter the very capable wireless earbuds options already available for Android users, there has always been the case of looking towards the Apple AirPods Pro with a bit of envy, for the feature set it brings to the table and the performance it delivers. The thing is, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro do their best to end that journey of envy. A very similar feature set as well as the actual delivery of top-notch performance. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again—this is just another chapter in Samsung’s journey of brilliant wireless earbuds. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are the best wireless earbuds from the house of Samsung till now.