Samsung Buds Pro Review
The best way to describe the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is they’re pretty much the Apple AirPods Pro equivalent to the new Samsung Galaxy S21 series of phones. But that doesn’t quite encapsulate everything these true wireless earbuds can do.
Yes, both the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds offer active noise cancellation. Yes, they both have some form of spatial audio support that can make TV shows and movies more immersive. And sure, they both have five hours of battery life before they need to be recharged.
However, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro goes far beyond these standout features for folks who own a Samsung phone and tablet – for them, these earbuds are the missing puzzle piece that really does tie everything in Samsung’s world together.
Pro as in Airpods pro?
There’s no denying that a few features of the Galaxy Buds Pro are heavily influenced by Apple’s AirPods Pro. The first of these is 3D audio, which is Samsung’s take on the immersive spatial audio capabilities of the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. Load up a movie with Dolby surround, and the Buds Pro will attempt to cram a surround sound listening experience into a pair of earbuds.
Samsung says that 360 audio uses Dolby head tracking technology, which “enables you to stay at the center of the scene when you’re watching a movie or TV show.” In concept, this sounds similar to Apple’s approach, which uses sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes in the earbuds and your iPhone or iPad to keep the sound source anchored to your device — even when you turn your head side to side.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how convincing Samsung’s 3D audio is or whether it compares favorably to spatial audio because it requires OneUI 3.1, which for now is only available on the new Galaxy S21 lineup. The $1,300 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra that Samsung sent for this review doesn’t have that update yet.
Samsung buds pro design
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are available in three colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Violet to match the new Samsung Galaxy S21, and the color of the Buds will match the color of the charging case that comes along with them.
Speaking of the case, it’s sort of shaped like a little treasure chest – there’s a concave lid that unhinges in the middle and flips up. It’s fairly compact, which is nice when you want to slip it into your pocket, and has a status LED on both the inside and outside of the case that turns green, yellow, and red depending on how much battery is left in the case itself.
As for the Buds themselves, they’re a far cry from their bean-shaped predecessors. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are back to their usual form as eartip-equipped funnels of sound.
How good is the battery?
Samsung claims these earbuds will last up to 5 hours on a single charge, with about 13 hours of additional charge in the case, and in our testing we found that wasn’t far off. At a consistent output of ~75 dB, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro can last up to 4 hours, 48 minutes with ANC turned on, which is pretty close to the estimate. The case also definitely has enough juice for a few charge cycles.
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A huge step up from the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro offer better sound and microphone quality with multipoint pairing and spatial audio support. They don’t offer the same level of noise cancellation as over-ear headphones or the sound quality of high-end earbuds, but for their price they offer just enough of both to be competitive.
- IPX7 waterproof
- Basic noise cancellation
- Simple touch controls
- Flat, cramped sound
- No Google Assistant / Siri support
- Bulge out of the ear