Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds Live is a bit of departure from their previous true wireless earbuds. The new Galaxy Buds Live focuses on design and comfort for all-day use.
Galaxy Buds Live
The Galaxy Buds Live seems to be designed to be worn all day. Think of it as an extension to your smartphone, and not just an accessory.
Samsung opted to move away from the tradition in-ear silicone earbud with the Galaxy Buds Live. This means that you have a lot less isolation from the earbud. While wearing the earbuds you are still able to hear ambient noise.
The benefit of this is that you won’t have to take your earbuds out all the time when speaking to people, or if you need to hear what’s going on around you, especially when out in public.
The Galaxy Buds Plus solved this problem by including its ambient sound mode which picks up ambient noise up from its microphone and pipes it into your earbud.
I personally love the ambient sound from the Galaxy Buds Plus but the sound coming from the microphone can be a bit unnatural to the ear and it definitely takes a while to get used to speaking while hearing yourself in your earbuds via the microphone.
Galaxy Buds live doesn’t have this problem as when wearing the buds you can speak and hear yourself naturally, if a little muted. This is a great solution for office workers and those who use public transport.
With the Galaxy Buds Live, you’d be able to keep your earbuds in a while still hearing what’s going on around you. It’s worth noting though that there’s a reason that most earbuds have the traditional in-ear design.
Active Noise Cancellation
When you want to listen to music without being disturbed, then ambient sounds bleeding into your ear is the last thing you want. Samsung included active noise cancelling with the Galaxy Buds Live for this reason.
The noise-cancelling manages to get rid of the worst of the ambient noise and allows you to enjoy your music undisturbed even in an environment with lots of background noise.
The sound quality is good as to be expected from Samsung with their earbuds tuned by AKG. The trade-off with the open-ear design is that it sounds as though they have boosted the bass slightly.
This is understandable as this also helps a bit to dampen some of the unwanted external noise.
Overall though the bass is more pronounced than on the Galaxy Buds Plus but not overpowering. The more pronounced bass is also slightly more noticeable with noise cancellation on.
The mids are clear and the Galaxy Buds Live seems to have learnt from the Galaxy Buds Plus and have toned down the treble which was overly bright.
The Galaxy Wearables app has a few built-in equaliser pre-sets depending on your taste but overall you shouldn’t need to fiddle around with it too much as the default setting sound delivers a great natural sound for most genres of music.
The Galaxy Buds Live have the standard touch-sensitive controls we’ve come to expect with a fast response time.
Often with true wireless earbuds, there’s a bit of a delay between your tap input and the response from the earbud but the Galaxy Live buds were quick and I never had any doubt whether my tap was registered or not.
Naturally, with a pair of earbuds that are meant to be worn all day, Samsung continued its trend of maximising battery life. The Galaxy Buds live will last between 20 and 30 hours on standby (battery-case charging factored in.
I got up to eight hours of battery life while listening to music. Do note that the battery life is considerably better if you aren’t using ANC (active noise cancellation)
With noise-cancelling enabled the battery life drops to six hours which is still very impressive for such a small set of earbuds. The case will provide an additional 2.5 charges and can be charged wirelessly or via the included USB-C cable.
The case is also smaller than the previous Galaxy Buds Plus making it easier to carry in a pocket.
The Galaxy Buds Live have an IPX2 rating so you’ll probably be okay if you get caught in a quick light shower or if it has to deal with a little bit of sweat.
However, with the unique in-ear design and lack of proper water resistance, it’s probably not going to be the best choice if you’re regularly doing a long sweaty session in the gym or are running all year round.
The Galaxy Buds Live carries a price tag of R3 999 and are available in 3 colours – Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, Mystic Black; in line with the new colours available with the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Tab S7.
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